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Old 05-25-08, 09:50 PM   #1
cccorlew
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sad admission...

Fellow 50+ers, the time has come for me to realize the dream is over. It hasn't been easy to come to terms with, but today I made the leap. I'm not at peace, but I think I am at last willing to accept reality.
Yep, you guessed it. I changed the stem on my road bike. I now have an old guy bar set up. Ill never be young and agile again.

I finely admitted to myself that my drops were almost never being used, and that I lived on the hoods. Sure, I could hit the drops for a short spurt, or when I knew that PhotoCrazy™ was shooting the century I was riding.
But really, I wasn't comfortable at all.

So I have a new stem. Darn it. As Billy Crystal said "It's better to look marvelous than to feel marvelous." and I no longer get even close to marvelous.
Here's a photo of me as I think I am (and only semi-marvelous even here), shot during the Chico Wildflower this year.


Someday soon I'll post a photo of myself in my new and (cough) improved upright geezer riding position.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:07 PM   #2
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The good news is: Nobody cares.

Case in point: Yesterday a tire blew on my road bike as I was about to head out on a big group ride. So I grabbed by my 25-year-old fat-tired touring bike. Ended up riding 50 miles with a charming and rather attractive young woman who had a purple bike with purple pedals and purple socks, purple shoes, purple shorts and a purple jersey, oh, and purple gloves and a purple helmet. She was so busy being purple and I was so busy being charmed that no one seemed to notice my rust bucket with a quill stem.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:11 PM   #3
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Welcome to the bright side. Whatever keeps you riding.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:14 PM   #4
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Hi cccorlew,

Your reality was my (somewhat) irrational fear when I awoke on my 50th birthday last year I thought that my back would instantaneously lose its flexibility and I would have to buy rising stems for my bikes.

Fortunately, this did not happen. However, my position is definitely a little higher than it was when I was younger so slowly, but surely, my stem height is rising.

I will also note that I was never one to ride in the drops very much unless I was racing. That's pretty much still the case.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:19 PM   #5
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Out of curiosity, do either of you do any stretching exercises on a regular basis?
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Old 05-25-08, 10:23 PM   #6
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Your supposed to ride in the drops?
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Old 05-25-08, 10:47 PM   #7
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Drops?
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Old 05-25-08, 10:58 PM   #8
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Out of curiosity, do either of you do any stretching exercises on a regular basis?
Nope. I do play a lot of tennis, which requires lots of movement and stretching during play. I tried yoga, but ended up in a class with 19 year old girls who bend more than I ever did. I didn't stay long.

Plus, even though i weigh 151 I could lose 7 more and bend a bit better. But even if I did that, the low bar thing is now a thing of the past.

I can never post in the Road forum again.....
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Old 05-26-08, 12:28 AM   #9
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Come on- We are supposed to be setting an example to the younger set (Road Forum).

It is very remiss of you to give away the secrets of why we can do century rides and then get home and do 3 hours gardening and then take the wife out to a restaurant for dinner- And still go to work the next morning without having to brag about how far we went on the bike this weekend.

Very disappointed.
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Old 05-26-08, 12:37 AM   #10
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get some shallow drop bars. I switched to some this summer and have been much more comfortable, and am using the drops much, much more.
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Old 05-26-08, 01:03 AM   #11
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I found a photo of the part I bought....
Needless to say it is not pointed in the same direction shown here...

Ad copy: "This unique Specialized stem is adjustable in 2-degree increments from +/- 8-degrees to +/- 16-degrees ensuring dialed ergonomics. This forged beauty also features an oversize 31.8mm clamp and a 4-bolt face plate for exceptional strength."
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Old 05-26-08, 04:45 AM   #12
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I put a stem riser on my touring bike yesterday and tried a 60K ride with it. Back felt great, sure looks goofy though.
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Old 05-26-08, 04:51 AM   #13
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As said the truth is , no one cares. Guess we all age differently. I find riding in the drops comfortable. Maybe back exercises might help. Still, no one cares .
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Old 05-26-08, 05:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
The good news is: Nobody cares.
Life had 3 phases:

In the first we worry way too much about what other people are thinking about us.
In the second we stop worrying about what other people think about us.
In the final stage we come to realize that other people aren't thinking about us.
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Old 05-26-08, 06:06 AM   #15
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My Nitto Techomic quill stem is great. It not only helps my arthritic neck, but it gives mounting space for a Tera cycle accessory mount for my light, plus the light battery. The stem is as high as it can go, and all of the accessories cover it up. But as it has already been stated, who cares what is looks like as long as it keeps you riding.
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Old 05-26-08, 06:33 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=cccorlew;6760438I tried yoga, but ended up in a class with 19 year old girls....[/QUOTE]

Um, just exactly where is this class?
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Old 05-26-08, 07:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
The good news is: Nobody cares.

Case in point: Yesterday a tire blew on my road bike as I was about to head out on a big group ride. So I grabbed by my 25-year-old fat-tired touring bike. Ended up riding 50 miles with a charming and rather attractive young woman who had a purple bike with purple pedals and purple socks, purple shoes, purple shorts and a purple jersey, oh, and purple gloves and a purple helmet. She was so busy being purple and I was so busy being charmed that no one seemed to notice my rust bucket with a quill stem.
Was her hair purple too?

PS-if you happen to sign up for the class with the 19yr olds let us know so we can have EMS on standby......
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Old 05-26-08, 07:16 AM   #18
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I went through a bit of this when I realized I needed to raise the bars. Probably as close as I got to a mid-life crisis, (I'm old and fat and slow, wahh). It does affect your aerodynamics a little, and I'm aero challenged as it is. My body sure feels better after a long day on the bike, though.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:52 AM   #19
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I can't remember ever being in my drops.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:40 AM   #20
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An alternative to ditching drop bars is to get set up with the bars higher and perhaps a bit further forward. And use those shallow drops.

Although I notice Moulton in his blog on getting old and riding suggests simply shortening the reach and maintaining the drop.

Oddly I still have about the same drop and reach I used to in the early 1970s. And through better fitting I generally end up at the end of the season with substantial drop and excellent structural fitness. Although I have to be very careful. Setup is much more crucial with narrower tolerances!

What hurts me is not riding. I get stiff and lose flexibility. Just riding my commuting bike doesn't do well for me either. It's the strong riding on a responsive machine that keeps everything working.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:49 AM   #21
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When Yen said her hubby gave up and installed a riser stem, I gave in and did the same.

Result: my back and shoulders are much more comfortable.

Interestingly, the move caused wrist and hand pain, so I tilted the saddle up one notch and it instantly went away.

So after one year, I'm just now feeling like my Buenos Aires is dialed. Whcih is why I've been doing more mountain biking lately. Go figure.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:54 AM   #22
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Drops?
I think it has something to do with water bottles.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
Ended up riding 50 miles with a charming and rather attractive young woman who had a purple bike with purple pedals and purple socks, purple shoes, purple shorts and a purple jersey, oh, and purple gloves and a purple helmet. She was so busy being purple and I was so busy being charmed that no one seemed to notice my rust bucket with a quill stem.


Wasn't this lass I encountered last summer, was it?
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Old 05-26-08, 09:16 AM   #24
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OK. I'm thinking that I forgot my cycling basics: When in doubt, buy stuff.
I think I'm going to give those shallow drop bars a shot.
The goof ball stem I got (actually it my not be so bad, even though it weighs at least 1/2-a-feather more than my old one, and how can that be acceptable?) is adjustable. If I try shallow drops it makes sense because I'm a smaller person and should have been on them all along.


On the subject of the 19 year old girl pretzels in yoga class.
Sure, it sounds like heaven. But in practice it was astoundingly uncomfortable. The classroom was a dance studio filled with mirrors. Every direction I looked with filled with the image of a pretzel girl in an interesting position sending the following mental message: "Avert your lecherous gaze old man. And, like, why are you, like, here anyway? "

The only escape was to drop the class. So now i can't reach my drop bars and I'll have to drop more money on shallow drop bars because I was too shallow to stay in class.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:16 AM   #25
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When Yen said her hubby gave up and installed a riser stem, I gave in and did the same.....
When Hubby told the fitter at the LBS that he wanted a taller stem, the fitter only said "That wouldn't look good".

Those words coming from the fitter. And he is not a young guy.

I'm so glad it worked out for you, TWL.
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