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Old 08-22-05, 07:26 PM   #1
speedlever
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A new (old..er) rider

I'm 54 and last week bought my first new bike in 40 years. I elected to buy a hybrid over a comfort bike anticipating doing some easy trail rides. Today I finally had a bit of time to ride and I put 12 miles on the new bike.

Boy, I don't remember bicycling being so much exercise! I did 12 miles in 55:43 for a 12.9 mph average. In the first half mile, I found myself huffing and puffing. So I settled down to a comfortable pace and enjoyed the ride. I certainly gained a new appreciation for the TdF bicyclists!

I'm still new to this forum and somewhere read something about spinning... and if my understanding of spinning is correct, I found my speed to jump significantly if I could keep my concentration on spinning vs pumping the pedals. But I found it hard to keep focused on spinning. I guess it's a learned thing. :-)

Also, I found that my hands tended to get numb after riding a while.. even changing my grip using bar ends didn't eliminate it. I could shake out the numbness but it was aggravating. FWIW, I had similar numbness when I rode motorcycles too. I was diagnosed with CTS some years back, but never had anything done about it since I could shake out the numbness with no lasting effect... and still can.

All in all, I really enjoyed getting some exercise this way... much better than using a treadmill or running. I look forward to becoming more involved in the sport and hope my interest survives the new bike syndrome. ;-)

The bike is a Marin Novato.
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Old 08-22-05, 08:04 PM   #2
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Old 08-22-05, 08:24 PM   #3
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Welcome, speedy!

You did twice as much as I did on my first ride. Congratulations!

As far as the numbness, are you wearing gloves? And did they fit you on your bike when you bought it? Leaning too much on the bars can cause numbness in your hands. If you haven't been fit, you should ask your bike shop about it. You're also less likely to experience other pains and injuries in the knees, back, and shoulders if the seat and bars are set right for you.

Good luck and be sure to share your progress with us!
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Old 08-22-05, 08:33 PM   #4
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As far as the numbness, are you wearing gloves? And did they fit you on your bike when you bought it
Yup... I use gloves ( six six one). By fit, do you mean adjust the seat height for proper leg extension? If so, then yes. Otherwise, I'm unsure of what "fit" means.

Bicycling has changed a great deal since I was a kid!
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Old 08-22-05, 09:57 PM   #5
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Longhorn, speedlever, et all,

I looked into gloves because, I wanted to mount a wide-angle 2 inch dia auto mirror on the back of the glove when cycling in traffic. I temporarily mounted it on a velcro closing watch strap and the rear viewing was great, but the watch strap is uncomfortably thick at the palm. Glass ear piece mounted mirror and helmet mounted mirror are hard to keep in adjustment and have deadly blind spots for me when getting into left turn lanes. Drop bar mirrors for mounting near the brake lever or brifter cause a loss in one of the hand positions and also suffer blind spots for left turning. Bar-end mounted mirrors will easily break off. How come bikes no longer have mirrors like motorcycle mounts? Too dorky?

I find I don't really need gloves on quality cork tape wrapped drop bars for rides of 2-3 hours. No numbness if I do'nt grip the bar excessively for long periods. I probably grip tighter in certain situations but I don't notice it. I don't know about a century ride. I sweat too much with gloves in the summer. All the bike gloves that were reasonably priced at REI were heavily padded in the palms so that with my relatively small hands, wrapping my hands around the bars was not comfortable. The non-padded thin leather suede gloves felt OK when gripping drops but were way too pricey (40 bucks). I think I'll sew up a loop of 1 inch wide elastic strap from the sewing store to encircle my palm and affix the mirror with super glue.

That's my take on gloves for the summer. For winter or cold weather, soft deer skin work gloves from Home Depot are a lot cheaper than bike specific gloves. I'll glue the mirror on back of the Home Depot glove for the winter.

Sinchi
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Old 08-22-05, 10:07 PM   #6
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speedy:

Yes, I think you have the right idea about fit. There's a little more to it than seat height, of course. There are specialists at the various bike stores with whom you make an appointment and you generally pay $40 or more. Here's the info my LBS has about it: http://bicyclesportshop.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=164

stonooka: I just posted on another thread about a great helmet mirror that many of the cycling associations sell. It's the Ultralight made by a guy in Ohio named Chuck Harris. Check it out here: http://www.sawheelmen.com/aboutus/merchandise.htm

More info about halfway down this page: http://www.experienceplus.com/readin..._i_be_usi.html
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Old 08-23-05, 01:18 AM   #7
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welcome aboard, I just got started again after 15+ years and the first couple of weeks were tiring, not to mention the sore butt, but it only gets better.

I get a numb right hand sometimes (never left hand for some reason). I shake it and the numbness goes away. I suppose if it keeps up, or gets worse on longer rides I'll look at gloves, but I've avoiding the "uniform" so far
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Old 08-23-05, 05:23 AM   #8
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Welcome - (New . . newer) rider - you are just a youngster compared to those of us 65+.

Numbness is a challenge for many.

My situation is the opposite of most folks. I have big hands (The XL is just a bit too small, I can barely get them off at the end of a ride), which are naturally well padded.

Therefore, I wear a glove with as little padding as possible, as opposed to most folks who wear as much padding as they can. If I wear padded gloves, the pressure of the padding on my already well-padded hands absolutely kills me.

It is something that is unique to each individual, and there are no easy answers.

Have to figure it out for yourself!!

Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-23-05 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:28 AM   #9
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Welcome Speedlever,
You'll find no paucity of help and suggestions here. From a huge variety of folks with a great range of experience. I think the glove question has gotten a good going over for you. As to bike fit, (mentioned earlier) in addition to the length of leg versus position of seat. The fit of the handlebars can also be managed depending upon the length of your torso. I actually think my own ride is a little short in this area, but I have been with it for so long now. But hand discomfort can sometimes be a sign of too long a reach, hence your weight is greater on the bars than might be ideal.

Before I get into over analysis, lets leave it that you might just be unaccustomed to having your hands have any weight on them for any period and you are just in for a period of adjustment. Welcome, enjoy your riding and keep us posted.
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Old 08-23-05, 07:12 AM   #10
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Thanks much for all the good info!

I think I'll just ride for a while and see how it progresses. It could be that my numbness is medical in nature and something I'll just have to endure... although I imagine there are ways/techniques to minimize it.

RE biking uniform... all I have (and plan to use) are my helmet and the gloves. ;-)

Changing the subject slightly:
I travel a lot and am on the road right now. I am researching some accessories that appear useful... such as the Topeak Road Morph frame pump. I'd like a decent floor pump too. This forum is a terrific resource for the new rider. Search function works well on my laptop. :-)

Are the built-in gauges on floor and frame pumps reasonably accurate? I've never trusted the built-in gauges on the pumps found at gas stations and always carry my own auto gauge which (I hope) is accurate. Are the small digital gauges accurate too? (I'm still reading through all the posts a search brought up!) I'd like a small accurate gauge for those road topoffs and a quick check without having to hook up the floor or frame pump.

Back on subject... I hope that a few years down the road I'll be enjoying this sport like those of you in the 65+ age group.

Edited for spelling.
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Old 08-23-05, 07:17 AM   #11
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RE biking uniform... all I have (and plan to use) are my helmet and the gloves. ;-)
Around here you would get arrested. We have one guy who does wear only a bikini along with his gloves and helmet, but no one who uses only helmet and gloves!
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Old 08-23-05, 07:19 AM   #12
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Alrighty now, DnvrFox! You're taking things a bit too literally there.
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Old 08-23-05, 08:00 AM   #13
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Welcome. I have 2 pressure guages. A guage alone and on on the floor pump. I'm only using the floor pump guage as the two are very close to each other. The floor pump has a dial I spin to my desired pressure, and inflating is a snap.

I returned to cycling after a 30 year hiatus, and it's good, but it took me more than 500 miles under the belt before some of the real joy of cycling started to come back. The old muscles just aren't what they used to be. But then they're much better than they were last year.

Have fun exploring your new ride and the joys it can bring.
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Old 08-23-05, 08:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonooka
Bar-end mounted mirrors will easily break off. How come bikes no longer have mirrors like motorcycle mounts? Too dorky?
Try this one:
Mountain Mirrycle

It's excellent; very sturdy mount, not affected by vibration, great field of vision. I wouldn't be without it.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by stonooka
Longhorn, speedlever, et all,
I find I don't really need gloves on quality cork tape wrapped drop bars for rides of 2-3 hours.
Sinchi
Oh yes you do need gloves. Gloves arn't for when you ride they are for when you road surffing on your hands.

Way back when there was hair I had a real bad carsh and lost a bunch of skin off the palm of my hands. Gloves would have prevented the injury.

Never ride with out them, a crash hurts too much. If you don't like the padded gloves you can get gloves w/o pads.

If you have not crashed yet you will soon or later, make sure when it happens you have helmet and gloves on.

Joe
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Old 08-23-05, 06:39 PM   #16
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I absolutely agree about the gloves. They came in real handy (no pun intended) when I went asphalt surfing after lowsiding my motorcycle some years ago. The helmet I was wearing (full face) protected my chin and nose from being ground away as I slid down the road at 60mph.. feet first (on my back)... then flipped head first (face down)... then flipped back to feet first (on my back) to a stop. I was fortunate I was not run over as there was heavy traffic all around. My beloved motorcycle did get run over.
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Old 08-23-05, 08:38 PM   #17
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Welcome to the forum Speedlever. I'm 54 also....'51 was a very good year .
I've been thinking about using gloves because sometimes my hands sweat so much that I can't change gears.
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Old 08-24-05, 11:23 AM   #18
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You will steady out to a rate that is comfortable for you, but that first mile or so is best taken at a steady rate to get the muscles warmed up. It will also get the lungs and body a bit attuned from rushing in from work to get the bike out. The numb hands, and likewise the numb bum, may go with practice, but is probably down to the bike not being set up for you yet. Too much weight forward will cause the problem, and one of the ways to cure it is to raise the bars, or shorten the reach, along with about 500 miles of riding.

Bar ends give you a different position on the bike, and are great. Not only for the different position, but for putting you in a different position to put in power. Gloves are a must!!! That padding on the palms does help a lot, but make certain they are the right size. Welcome not only to the forum, but the new life you will have with the extra fitness you will be gaining.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:34 PM   #19
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one of the ways to cure it is to raise the bars, or shorten the reach
Hmm. One of the reasons I passed on a comfort bike is that I didn't care for the upright position and felt cramped. By raising the bars, it seems I would begin to approach the position of a comfort bike. No?

I must confess that I sometimes wonder if I should have waited for a larger bike. I got a 17" and maybe should have waited for a 19"er. OTOH, I am getting to the age where swinging my leg over something taller is more problematic than it used to be!

I'm 5'9' and a 32" inseam.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:40 PM   #20
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sometimes my hands sweat so much that I can't change gears.
I found it sometimes hard to change gears due to numbness! Oh well. Let's see what a few miles tell me about my riding position, etc.

BTW, I'm a '50 baby (makes it easy to figure my age... if I really want to know)... but hey!... the fifties were all a good vintage!
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Old 08-24-05, 07:48 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedlever
Hmm. One of the reasons I passed on a comfort bike is that I didn't care for the upright position and felt cramped. By raising the bars, it seems I would begin to approach the position of a comfort bike. No?

I must confess that I sometimes wonder if I should have waited for a larger bike. I got a 17" and maybe should have waited for a 19"er. OTOH, I am getting to the age where swinging my leg over something taller is more problematic than it used to be!

I'm 5'9' and a 32" inseam.
You got my attentio, and I probably am going to put my foot in my mouth one more time here.

I'm curious. Are you in the habit of getting speed up with one foot on the pedal and then swinging the other foot over the seat and top tube? That is what it sorta sounded like when you said "swinging my leg over something."
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Old 08-24-05, 08:16 PM   #22
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Are you in the habit of getting speed up with one foot on the pedal and then swinging the other foot over the seat and top tube?
Good question. As I've been outta the bike scene for a long time, I don't remember my habits. But I have done and probably will do as you questioned. But not all the time.

The reason I mentioned it is that I sometimes had a hard time keeping my balance when sit-testing some bikes while shopping. I didn't always think to lean the bike over before climbing on or getting off in tight quarters. So I thought a 17"er might be easier for me to get on/off.

I'm not quite used to barely tip-toeing the ground from the saddle when stopped.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedlever
Good question. As I've been outta the bike scene for a long time, I don't remember my habits. But I have done and probably will do as you questioned. But not all the time.

The reason I mentioned it is that I sometimes had a hard time keeping my balance when sit-testing some bikes while shopping. I didn't always think to lean the bike over before climbing on or getting off in tight quarters. So I thought a 17"er might be easier for me to get on/off.

I'm not quite used to barely tip-toeing the ground from the saddle when stopped.
Okay.

The current technique for most of us is to place one foot on the ground, tip the bike a fair amount, lift the other foot over, get stabilized, start pushing with one foot, and get on your way.

Generally, when I am stopped, I have one foot solid, the other not. Gosh, like you said, it is hard to remember, it is so automatic. But I definitely do not push and get up speed with one foot on the pedal and swing the other foot over.

I had one of my seniors in my riding group take a nasty fall using that technique recently.

Any other comments by other folks?
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Old 08-24-05, 10:18 PM   #24
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Sheldon Brown talks about that technique here . He calls it the "Cowboy Mount." My husband was mounting like that till I read him Sheldon's comments. Now he mounts the proper way.

Thanks for the tip about tipping the bike, DnvrFox. I'm afraid it was a little too obvious for me to figure out. Of course, with the motor on the left side, battery, and all the other junk I've got it weighted down with, I'll have to be careful not to tip it over!

I've had some trouble mounting my bike since I raised the seat to its proper height. I got too used to taking off while seated. So now I'm trying to get used to taking off and THEN sitting down.
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Old 08-25-05, 08:06 PM   #25
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Hi Speedlever,

Glad to hear you're still alive after dumping your motorcycle at 60 mph. When I use to ride a motorcycle, 30 years ago, I wore helmet, boots or sturdy shoes, gloves and pants. I do'nt think I ever dropped my motorcycle. On a bike I can wear running shorts (with padded briefs), sneakers on my clip-ons and no gloves in the summers.

A foot powered bike is something else. So far, I have not had any high speed crashes. Only slow dumb ones: losing control at slow speed looking back to check which rear cog I was in; a slow speed panic stop-skid when an auto unexpectantly blocked my exit park path to the street. I probably broke the fall with my knee and palms but there was no blood or broken skin. I should stop looking back at the rear cogs at any speed. Two, expect the unexpected from auto drivers as I did when I rode a motorcycle.

Sinchi
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