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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Riding in the drops

    A few months ago, I began riding in my big ring up front, and it became easy, and now it's where I ride 90% of the time (granted, I'm in flatland most of the time). Lately, I've begun riding in the drops, rather than on the hoods. I'm probably better fit than a year or two ago, which explains why I'm not feeling any pain in my back, neck, or arms.

    I don't ride that way to be faster, but got started simply as a change of pace. I'm beginning to spend more and more time in the drops, and one thing I like is that I can apply the brakes with just a squeeze from one finger. And if I use all my fingers, the braking is noticeably easier than squeezing from the hoods.

    I guess my question is for those of you who ride with drop bars, how often do you ride in the drops? I'm wondering if, as I get used to the position, I will find myself riding there most of the time, just as I now ride in the big ring most of the time.

    Just curious!
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  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Maybe 1/4 of the time. Mostly on downhills or into headwinds or when I'm trying to catch someone. Sometimes I'll ride in the drops for variety or to stretch my back for a while. But I spend most of the time riding on the hoods or the ramps (the flat section leading to the hoods).
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Maybe 1/4 of the time. Mostly on downhills or into headwinds or when I'm trying to catch someone. Sometimes I'll ride in the drops for variety or to stretch my back for a while. But I spend most of the time riding on the hoods or the ramps (the flat section leading to the hoods).

    +1. BluesDawg, you took my post! Everything you said matches my riding except I'd probably go with 1/5 of the time (I don't try to catch people as much as I used to and ride mostly solo.)

    DG: I find that as I get older, the drops are less comfortable for longer stints that they used to be. The shoulders and neck just don't like the extra work of trying to look up for extended periods of time. Additionally, I'm looking for a new set of bars for the bike I ride the most. I'd like something with a drop not quite as deep as the current bars. My second most often ridden bike has a slightly more shallow drop and I find I ride in them a bit more.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Blues Dawg........+1. With the addition of an aero bar on my long-ride bike.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I dont ride in the drops much at all. 90% of the time I have my hands on the brake hoods.

  6. #6
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I drop when I want to change hand position, riding into a headwind, or when I want to increase my speed 1 to 2 MPH using the same gear and cadence. I also drop for long downhills for better handling and braking.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Maybe 1/4 of the time. Mostly on downhills or into headwinds or when I'm trying to catch someone. Sometimes I'll ride in the drops for variety or to stretch my back for a while. But I spend most of the time riding on the hoods or the ramps (the flat section leading to the hoods).
    +2
    I used to run the bars with the tops 3-4 inches below the saddle, now I like them higher, maybe an inch below the saddle.

  8. #8
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi DG,

    It's really personal preference and how your bike's set up. I am rarely in the drops -- even during races. However, the tops of my bars are at about the same height as the drops of my friend's bars (he rides roughly the same size bike as I). He spends most of the time in his drops.

    Also, I am more comfortable in the drops during the racing season because my flexibility is better then.

    BTW, I spend more time in the small ring than in the big ring. I've probably worn out small chainrings in a 3:1 ratio to big chainrings.

    So if being in the drops works better for you, great.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks.
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  9. #9
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    DG,

    I ride Mimi ('69 Peugeot U08) in the drops about 85% of the time. However, she fits me like a glove and the drops are not that low. My saddle is even with the top of the bars.

    I like being in the drops. It's comfortable, semi-aero and all that closer a reach to the down-tube shifters.

    Tyson

  10. #10
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    We have so much wind down here, I find myself more in the drops, than I thought I'd be. I've spent 8 miles in the drops at a time, but I had to learn to relax my stomach more, so i could pedal easier and breath easier. The Roubaix is a nice bike and very easy to ride.
    George

  11. #11
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    I ride in the drops about 1/3 of the time, but my drops are about the same height as other people's flats!

  12. #12
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    A few months ago, I began riding in my big ring up front, and it became easy, and now it's where I ride 90% of the time!
    You're in the big ring 90 percent of the time? You should be giving advice, not asking for it.
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  13. #13
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    You're in the big ring 90 percent of the time? You should be giving advice, not asking for it.
    Thanks, but it doesn't feel very extraordinary. A bit tough starting out at a traffic signal, but otherwise, no big deal. Maybe I have a small big ring?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by solveg View Post
    I ride in the drops about 1/3 of the time, but my drops are about the same height as other people's flats!
    +1

  15. #15
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    On the top about 10%, hoods both over and under 80%, drops 10%. I am mainly in the drops when I need to push a big headwind. Most of the time I will ride either with my hands gripping the hoods or with my hands over the top of hoods for a little more aero position. I am working on sprinting from the drops, which is still not 100% comfortable for me.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  16. #16
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Maybe 1/4 of the time. Mostly on downhills or into headwinds or when I'm trying to catch someone. Sometimes I'll ride in the drops for variety or to stretch my back for a while. But I spend most of the time riding on the hoods or the ramps (the flat section leading to the hoods).
    Another +1 here, too.

    Strong headwinds are when I usually ride in the drops.
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  17. #17
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    I usually only ride in the drops into headwinds. I have a relaxed geomentry bike with an adjustable stem, so my drops are very easy on my body.

  18. #18
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Just curious, what are the sizes of your rings?

  19. #19
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    On one of my bikes the stem is almost as high as the top of the seat. I ride it in the drops a lot. The exception is in cold weather. Somehow my hands stay warmer on the top of the bar. On my other bike the stem is a bit lower and I ride on the hoods far more than on the drops. Getting rid of some belly fat helped me want to ride on the drops. I do notice I pick up about 3/4 mph in speed when I am on the drops, especially in a headwind. I ride in a more upright position when there is a tailwind just to take more advantage of it.
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  20. #20
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    A few months ago, I began riding in my big ring up front, and it became easy, and now it's where I ride 90% of the time (granted, I'm in flatland most of the time). Lately, I've begun riding in the drops, rather than on the hoods. I'm probably better fit than a year or two ago, which explains why I'm not feeling any pain in my back, neck, or arms.

    I don't ride that way to be faster, but got started simply as a change of pace. I'm beginning to spend more and more time in the drops, and one thing I like is that I can apply the brakes with just a squeeze from one finger. And if I use all my fingers, the braking is noticeably easier than squeezing from the hoods.

    I guess my question is for those of you who ride with drop bars, how often do you ride in the drops? I'm wondering if, as I get used to the position, I will find myself riding there most of the time, just as I now ride in the big ring most of the time.

    Just curious!
    I ride in the drops about 98% of the time, even when climbing. Here's a pic from one of the last century rides I was on with the DC Randonneurs. The guy who took the picture caught me in my usual position:



    It's been about 6 months since I transitioned to this as my "normal" riding position after discovering how much energy I saved from being in it--even compared to being on the hoods.

    You can see my seat to drop distance from this pic--haven't changed it since taking the picture:

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  21. #21
    Ol' Paint
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    I feel much more comfortable/in control of the bike while in the drops and stay there almost all the time. I like the ease of braking and reaching the shifters on the downtube. I only go into the small chainring if I get tired of mashing up a hill. Since I am a solitary rider, I thought that was normal.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    Thanks, but it doesn't feel very extraordinary. A bit tough starting out at a traffic signal, but otherwise, no big deal. Maybe I have a small big ring?
    DG: just one, sincere, well-intentioned comment re. this: for G__'s sake, watch your knees Doing this may feel fine now, but you really are risking long-term damage -- even to the point of blowing out your knees. Just sayin!

  23. #23
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
    DG: just one, sincere, well-intentioned comment re. this: for G__'s sake, watch your knees Doing this may feel fine now, but you really are risking long-term damage -- even to the point of blowing out your knees. Just sayin!
    +100.

    Shift into your middle chain ring before you stop. You want your starts to be quick and fluid and easy on the knees. Starting from a dead stop in your big chain ring proves nothing.

    Re riding in the drops: I prefer it, for the control of the bike. If I can't do about 20 mi. in my drops then I work on my flexibility and core strength. In town, or in a peloton, I'll ride on the hoods because it's easier to turn my head without turning the bike, too.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    Just curious, what are the sizes of your rings?
    I have pretty close to the same bike and it's 30/39/50.
    George

  25. #25
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    about half and half, depends on the wind direction here in Texas
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