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Old 07-05-08, 07:59 AM   #1
Tacfarinas
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of necks and bifocals, women and bars (!) and roadbikes

Hi,

Mr. Tacfarinas is now on her second roadbike, and still not really comfortable. She likes her hybrid fine, but wants the efficiency of a road bike. Her first roadie was a new Fuji Roubaix, set up by the LBS with a stem raiser. We decided that part of the problem was the thin road tires and that she'd be happier with more of a touring bike: same efficient geometry but trading slower ride for a greater feeling of security. So we pulled a Bianchi off ebay, fitted a Nitto techtronic stem and 28mm tires. And she's happier. This bike had a relatively short top tube, and the stem has the smallest possible forward extension, but she still feels stretched out: her arms are totally straight even when she's on the hoods.

We realize that she may get more flexible (she's a fit 6' early fifties, with a short torso). But I wondered if there was one bar in particular that might get her a little more comfortable. I know there's been much discussion of pros and cons, but I can't figure out what the various options do for fit, if anything.

The other problem she has is that she has to pull her head way up in order to see out of bifocals (I'm not sure I quite get how this works, actually, but there it is). One LBS guy suggested contacts. Can anyone think of a solution short of that?
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Old 07-05-08, 08:05 AM   #2
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I ride with bifocals, but, especially when I am riding, I rarely need anything but the tops. Is she trying to read computers?
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Old 07-05-08, 08:12 AM   #3
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Can you raise the stem--or get an extender? I think that could make riding more comfy. And maybe the guy at the LBS is right about the contacts.
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Old 07-05-08, 08:12 AM   #4
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Is she riding with normal prescription glasses and finding that she is peering over the tops of the frames in her natural riding position? If that's the case, she should switch to a prescription lense in a regular pair of sport sunglasses. Many models have that as an option. Does she need the bottom part of her bifocals to read her computer? If not, then just having the distance prescription should be enough. They do make stick-on bifocals (Google them for a link) that work like magnifiers and can be used on the lower part of cycling glasses. This may only work if she just needs the magnification...it may not work for an astigmatism issue.
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Old 07-05-08, 09:54 AM   #5
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She has other, more serious, problems if Mr. Tacfarinas is a she...
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Old 07-05-08, 09:58 AM   #6
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She has other, more serious, problems if Mr. Tacfarinas is a she...
Why?
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Old 07-05-08, 11:00 AM   #7
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She has other, more serious, problems if Mr. Tacfarinas is a she...
Perhaps they live in California.
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Old 07-05-08, 11:40 AM   #8
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One possibility is an adjustable stem. They look a bit 'Fred' but might help in finding an angle and length that provides comfort.

Good luck.
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Old 07-05-08, 12:56 PM   #9
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If she is not broad-shouldered, she might also try narrower bars which will bring her hands in a bit and therefore raise her up just a bit. That's what the fitter recommended for my husband's and my Roubaix.

The fitter also taught me to lean forward from the pelvis, rather than bending from the waist.
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Old 07-05-08, 01:53 PM   #10
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As she rides more she may feel less stretched out.

I ride with bifocals and I simply learned to adapt. I don't always expect to be looking through the best part of the lens, but I see cars and potholes and other hazards well enough. When I had a computer I learned to shift my head enough to be able to read it when necessary.
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Old 07-05-08, 08:06 PM   #11
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The bifocal problem doesn't make sense to me. Bifocals use the upper portion of the lenses for distance vision and the lower portion for near vision...just what you need on a bike to look where you're going and to see any computer readout on the handlebars. Unless the glasses fit so low on her nose that she's looking over the top of them??? If that's the problem, go back to where she bought them, and get them adjusted...it's probably free, even.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:27 AM   #12
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Sometimes one measurement is worth a thousand guesses.

Start with a bike that she's comfortable with.

1. Measure from the seat to the floor and the handlebar to the floor. Note the difference.
2. Measure the horizontal distance from the nose of the seat to the back of the handlebar.
3. Measure from the top of the saddle in line with the seat tube to the centerline of the crank.
4. Drop a plumb bob from the nose of the saddle and measure the horizontal distance to the centerline of the crank.

Try to mimic those measurements on her new bike. Changing any one will affect others.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:54 AM   #13
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I wear bifocals (Varilux, actually) except when I ride, and then I wear Monovision contacts. It works well, and one pair of contacts lasts forever. Few thing are more annoying than getting dribbles of sweat on prescription glasses.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:16 AM   #14
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Donna has a Lemond Reno women's specific bike which works well for her. Donna is 5'3''-5'4", and on her bike, her arms do have a bend in them. The WSD Reno has narrower bars, shorter top tube than an equivalent men's size bike, and the brakes have a shorter pull. Many brands have bikes designed specifically for women, and there are subtle differences which may make one of them more comfortable for her. As for the glasses, don't know what to tell you there. I wear tri-focals, and no problems with seeing the road or computer.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ticwanos View Post
Is she trying to read computers?
If so, put a velcro cover or tape over the computer readout while riding and wear regular well fitted distance single prescription glasses. Get computer readouts, as required/desired, upon completion of ride. Problem solved.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:28 AM   #16
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Trifocals

She needs to ride more. Her body and eyes will adjust to the bike.
I wear Trifocals, No big deal.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:42 AM   #17
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One little tip I got from Sheldon Brown, and which helped me. If you wear glasses, you may want to wear a strap that holds your glasses tighter against your head. As you cycle they will tend to slip down a bit and it will make your neck sore and mess up your vision if you wear bifocals as I do. I now wear eyeglass holders, like Croakies, on longer rides and it helps.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:40 AM   #18
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Being extremely myopic (-7.5 diopter correction), I have easily avoided bifocals by dynamically adjusting the position of my glasses along my nose, from high / close to the eyes for distant vision to low for desk work to off entirely for close work. Bifocals sound like a particularly poor idea for jogging and stair descending, and not much better for cycling. Monovision is one option; another is to go with a compromise single-vision prescription, accepting a little fuzz at near and far fields.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
I wear bifocals (Varilux, actually) except when I ride, and then I wear Monovision contacts. It works well, and one pair of contacts lasts forever. Few thing are more annoying than getting dribbles of sweat on prescription glasses.
+10000000. I have found monovision contacts to be a real blessing not just for cycling but every activity, from computing to tennis. Mine as are toric as well (for astigmatism), which makes it impossible to get dailies, but I'm OK with monthlies. They are really very comfy, and less, FAR less eyestrain than glasses. I'd highly recommend looking into this option, unless there's a medical reason why it's not an option in the first place.
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Old 07-06-08, 12:32 PM   #20
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My eyes no longer adjust their focus at all (due to cataract surgery and implantation of plastic lenses in both eyes), so bifocals are a necessity with me. The bifocals cause no problems except when I'm using my computer. Then, I get a literal pain in the neck trying to see the monitor. The solution for that was single-vision glasses that focus at the distance to the monitor. Walking (even on stairs), driving, biking all present no difficulty with my bifocals.
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