Dang, I am 48 and after reading this thread I can't wait to be 50! :thumb:
Dang, I am 48 and after reading this thread I can't wait to be 50! :thumb:
Great sticky, threads and advice.
Anyone have wisdom to share as regard the use of clip style pedals for those of us 50+ who may be re-entering the cycling world and have no prior history of using them? :eek:
That's me and while taking in all the good advice from the commentary provided here in this sticky, to having my newly acquired high-end used road bike check-out and tuned by my LBS along with my scheduled frame-set fitting the day after tomorrow - the only concern I feel I have at this time is not having a foundation of awareness of how to properly and safely use clip style pedals. As such, I would appreciate some insight and knowledge as regard;
- knowing how to properly engage or disengage the shoes/clips with the pedals, such as when commencing to take off or coming to full stop (what to do and how to do it safely and in what order)?
- knowing how and what steps to take to safely release from the pedals in the event of an emergency or in part with a mishap, ie. unexpected fall....(what precautions)
- any other tidbits of advice, i.e. tension adjustment, left foot vs. right foot first, kicking out, etc, etc.
OK. So I consider myself a noob - bought a (huge - XXL - it was on sale!) Scott P4 a couple of years ago and struggled to make it out around once/month, after years of a sedentary lifestyle (not to mention not riding a bike for some thirty-five years!). And what's with these new presta valves? They give me fits!!!
Anyway, just traded it in on a Cannondale Quick CX5 - it ought to be better fitted to me.
And... geez, folks... I feel so special!!! There are separate sections for 50+ riders AND 200+ pound riders, and I'm both!! (55, 270) Not sure WHAT to expect! :)
In a word, unless you're a racer you don't need clipless pedals. We cyclists are suckers for every gadget and innovation that comes along and I am just as guilty as others in that regard. I have a high end carbon fiber bike (Trek 5200). I put the clipless pedals on when I got it. Worked fine for quite a while. Then in a space of a few months my deraillier got slightly out of adjustment and I fell three times when the chain came off after shifting into the small chain ring. I took the pedals off and replaced them with toe clips, and frankly I can't tell the difference except in emergency situations when I need to come off the pedals in a hurry. That's when I'm glad to have them. I am basically a road tourist, having done nearly 40 across state rides over the past 30 years. My experience may not work for everyone, but I think it's at least worth thinking about.
A couple of years ago I helped an older lady (76) buy a good road bike and the young salesman kept trying to get her to buy shoes and clipless pedals. I persuaded her not to listen to him, and I told him, "Look, she's not going to do the Tour de France. Toe clips will work just fine." Tourists and other ordinary riders really don't need the additional stress of racing clipless pedals.
Just came across this. Very well put.
BTW, I use MTB shoes on a road bike because I want to be able to walk in the shoes and not ice skate, duck-walk, or destroy the clips in a short period. I also use the SPD SH-56 multi-release cleats rather than the standard SH-55 cleat. The SH-56 cleat is much easier to clip in and out and there are more options for clipping out. In fact, I had to increase the tension from loosest to about the middle for the multi-release cleat.
Good thread (I read the whole thing, having just finished reading a cycling book and enjoying having some more cycling stuff to read). I learned here that my hybrid is really a "fitness" bike. It's funny that without knowing it I picked just the bike I would have wanted. I even got the right size, not that the store gave me a choice anyway. I'm average in height and weight for an American male so I guess that helps a lot when buying a bike off the rack.
One thing I'm kind of put off by in the thread is the assumption that because we're newbies and in our 50s that we're out of shape and seeking to make bicycling easy. It's true I'm new to biking but I've kept myself in decent shape doing other things and I'm looking to bicycling to help me get in better shape. I have little interest in using lower gears or getting a faster bike just to make my work easier. Of course, I have nothing against using lower gears for hills or sprints and for getting a new bike for longer, harder rides.
It would be great to have folks continue to add knowledge and links to this thread. I feel it's always better to have more info than not enough. For my part, I've only been riding for four months but, nonetheless, I could put a plug in for hybrids. They're a lot less scary than the superfast road bikes with skinny tires for beginners and one can also enjoy stonedust trails with impunity. You will be limited to about 15 mph on the speed front, if that's an issue, especially if you load up with a rack and supplies for the day.
I'd also like to put in a plug for a really old book I just finished reading from my library. I don't even think you could buy it anymore. It's an engaging account of the author's rides across the US, both top to bottom, and across. After reading about all his training, it really shamed me into upping my own mileage quite a bit. Like the author stated, much of one's limitations are just in one's mind (assuming you're in decent shape). The book is 'Sport Cycling,' by Michael Shermer, pub 1985. He also gives a lot of riding tips and biking explanations that are still valid today.
Happy riding! Ron
Welcome to 50+, belatedly for me. As to the part about lower gears or seeking to make riding easier for the beginners, much of the encouragement for gearing is that "mashing" or grinding the high gears can lead to knee problems, as well as making ascents more difficult. That point isn't just for those just starting out, or returning, to cycling. Many long time riders mash or grind out of long held beliefs that you have to push big gears to be a "serious" cyclist. As for me, I was lead to spinning gears in 1979 by an older club member in the club we rode in back then. I was having left knee pain when I rode, at no other time did it hurt, even when running high mileage. He suggested I spin the gears a bit. Long story to a shorter version, the spinning was the answer, I was pulling the big-small combination on a 53-42 crank and a 13-20 set all the time as I thought it made me a stronger cyclist.It just made my knee sore and was discouraging me from riding.
It is just the way we try to help others, your mileage and use of your hybrid is very good, from the numbers you are riding so far and if higher gearing and not spinning them works for you, it is great that it allows you to enjoy your miles. I have been impressed by the mileage personally, you seem to be in good shape as you are starting out.
The book you recommend is a good one, Shermer is a good writer. You may want to try some of Joe Friel's and Lennard Zinn's books as well, if you haven't already read some or all of them. I like Joe Friel's take on over 50 cycling and his various training books as well as using his Cyclist Training Diary myself. All the best in your riding and getting the fitness you and all of us are seeking.
Hey, I was just wondering if my bike is not adjusted correctly because my knees hurt after I ride. I have been riding since May, riding 10-20 miles most days.
I am a runner and have not had any knee aches with running at all, this bike is about to get the best of me. I am 54, 5'6" and 146 lbs.
I have some questions.
It could be the bike fit that is causing your pain, it might be a good idea to give some more information about where in your knee the pain is occurring and your particular bike. Also, post this question and the additional information in the bike fitting forum. The saddle position and height can cause knee aches and trying to push high gears rather than spinning the cranks can make the knee(s) hurt. A combination of saddle height and pushing big gears did this to me in the late 70's, I went a bit lower on the saddle and began spinning rather than grinding out a big inch gear. Also, if you are using cleated shoes and clipless pedals the position of the cleats can cause knee pain. This requires you to adjust the cleat(s) to suit your feet and legs correctly.
Best of luck on solving this problem, don't let it stop your riding it is most likely a simple adjustment. And, welcome to the 50+ Forum and to Bike Forums.
clipless= foot claustrophobia
About "clipless": 1. it's worth it, and 2. Don't get them until you have some good mileage under your belt.
If/when you decide to try it, either 1. Use the Shimano "Click'r" pedals, or 2. Get the Shimano M324s and use SH56 cleats with them.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience, Bill. I'm not so stubborn as to not listen to new ideas and to giving new things a try. I guess my main point would be that to have fitness gains one has to work hard not easy.
I'm going to check out the authors you recommend also.
I am 63, a bike commuter and road biker. Actually a road triker, as I ride a tadpole trike. 2 wheels or 3 wheels, recumbent or upright, its all cycling to me, and any cycling is good. The original poster had a mention for recumbents, and just in case any new 50+ riders are interested further in recumbents or trikes, here is some introductory info on trikes:
Recumbent trikes are a great way to get some exercise and human powered mobility. Some people get started riding them due to a physical condition, then find that they are so much more comfortable than road or mountain bikes we wish we had started riding them 40 years earlier. I got started due a bulged disk that is now fully recovered. My shoulder keeps me off road bikes due to part of the socket being broken, so I can't lean forward on handlebars of regular bikes.
Trikes are made by several manufacturers, mine is a Catrike, Speed model, which I bought new in 2008. I have not ridden a road bike, nor driven a car to work, since the day I got it, including snow, rain, wind, dust, ice, and wind. And yes, I could drive a car if I wanted to.
Catrike is based in Florida, made in the USA, and their trikes are lighter than most trikes, and have higher end equipment. They are also low to the ground, so are harder to into and out of. That is something you get better at with practice. They are the sports car of trikes: no suspension, light weight, built for speed.
Terratrike is another U.S. manufacturer. They are cheaper than Catrikes ($900 to $2300) , a little bit higher off the ground, and heavier. They have models for people up to 400 pounds (the Rover). The weight limits don't affect riding around town, but if you hit a pothole going 30 mph, the rider's weight can play a big factor in the frame cracking, so for heavier riders they make the frame pretty beefy. For a heavier rider, Terratrike would be a good place to start.
ICE is a super nice trike made in England and imported to the U.S. They are pricey, but super smooth and high quality. They have suspension, which adds weight but some people like it. They are a little higher off the ground than Catrikes, so they are easier to get out of.
Greenspeed is made in Austrailia but are seen in the U.S. from time to time. They are nice trikes, in the same class as ICE trikes.
Hase makes delta trikes, 2 wheels in back, one in front. They are higher off the ground, very fast and very cool. They are at the high end of the scale at about $4000.
HP Velotechnic (HPV) is made in Germany, and is a nice trike for $2000 to $7500. The Scorpion is noted as a great trike by all who own one.
As noted,depending on the rider and depending on the trike, trikes are a bit slower uphill. On the flat they are close to upright bikes in speed. Downhill no bike can keep up with my trike. In rolling hills the downhill speed can be used to build up speed that carries you partway up the next hill. For fun, comfort, and all weather riding, you can't beat trikes. two wheel bents are a whole other story for another time. Bob bicyclepatents.com
Thanks Catweazle, for all the information about getting started. I will find a lot of it to be very useful. Especially the "bicycle fitting" part. Some people might think it's to redundant to give out information that they think is obvious. But there are people out there who don't know these things. At least the information is there for someone to learn from.
I'm a bit beyond the 50+ and currently using a Trek Alpha 2.3 about 5 years old. I am keen to know if I would notice a significant difference in climbing hills if I were to upgrade to (say) a Trek Domane 5.2. Would anybody have any thoughts on this please? So far I've moved on from thinking a hill of 7.8% was impossible to yesterday managing a 17.3% incline - I had to take a bit of a breather after that one.
At 74 I find "clipless" the only way to go. I can't rack up the miles at low cadence - period. Spinning is the only way to go for me. A typical ride will show high 80's average cadence and that is with lots of pauses to drink, think, catch my breath etc. Can you hold 100 plus cadence with toe clips? My past use of toe clips had some of the same problems attributed to clipless. By the time I got them tight enough to due some serious pedaling I would occasionally have problems getting out of them at stops. Yes I fell with the bike. I have used both and won't go back to the rat traps.
Way to go, 17.3% is a great accomplishment. Being from East Tenn. we have lots of hills. The Domane would help . Remember when climbing weight makes a difference. The less you weigh , the less the bike weighs the better. To be a good climber practice climbing, do hilly rides , get comfortable standing going up. The more you climb the better you will get.
I am a newbie and benefited greatly form this. I agree with Yen to keep going with a "beginner" synopsis on nutrition and how a person can use stuff (computers/heart monitors/charting progress/rewards/training schedules etc...) to reach goals like even a century ride!!!! (Wow-can't even imagine)
Very good forum here.
I'm nearly 60 and am hell bent to get and STAY fit.
As I am a newbie, and at almost 56,I am so loving the fact that I have started riding. I ride in the atlanta area every Saturday with Performance Bikes for a 10 mile ride. I have been trying to get out Mon, Wed, Friday, and Sunday on my own to ride. During my weekday ride its 5.7 miles round trip. Unfortunately it's in traffic which unnerves me a bit. I am a little afraid to try the neighborhood bikes trails, I am afraid that small kids on their bikes or dogs will run in front of me and I don't want any of us to get hurt. Anyone living in the Atlanta area have suggestions for good beginning trails to ride. I am in Gwinnett co. Thank you.