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  1. #1
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Returning to cycling after 15 years off

    Hello everyone. This august I will be 51. After my son's basic training graduation, I decided I need to return to my former self. Many years of, well...varied inactivity...have left me overweight and out of energy. I have recently lost 14 pounds and started riding my old schwinn criss-cross a couple of weeks ago on a rails to trails conversion here in the midwest. As the pounds continue to melt off, I am already feeling better. I was once a 250 mile per week road cyclist, an avid (rabid) off road rider and general fitness buff. Roller blading, skateboarding, body surfing, cross country and downhill skiing, rock climbing, parasailing...the whole nine yards. My spare time was consumed with these sports/hobbies. I recently realized I have sacrificed many of my favorite things to be lazy and fat. Perhaps someone else here can relate.

    Today I rode 10.5 miles on a soft, rainsoaked limestone chat railroad bed. It was a good ride, but my expectations are high. I feel the power of muscle memory kicking in and accidentally overdo it. I feel the wind in my face and push until anaroebic lockup from lactic acid in my legs is way too near. My heart rate hovers within 5 bpm of the "220-your age" wisdom of my memory.

    That was hours ago, and I feel pretty darned good right now. I know this may be a long road ahead as I strive to lose at least another 30 pounds. I found this forum and ask for your support and advice in this quest. I know machinery has improved greatly, but my budget prohibits anything but clothing at this time. So I am suited up and ready to ride...shooting to get on my 12 speed, shimano 105 equipped 21 pound road bike before the end of the summer (that's how old my stuff is...$600 dollar bike new). I will be soaking up posts here to see how the rest of the over 50 crowd is doing this. It's quite hard...really, It seems hard to me...but I can feel the past coming back as I ride. I look forward to the day when the whole ride seems like fun again.

    Thanks for reading.

    God bless!

    -Ron

  2. #2
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    Welcome back!

    You're not the only one -- I returned to cycling 3 years ago after about 20 years not riding. Progress was much slower than I expected, frustratingly so, but it really does progress. It's really gratifying to be back, and I'm having a blast! Sounds like you are too!

  3. #3
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    It only gets easier.

    A friend of mine who is 73 rides a 10 speed 1950's vintage bike. He is a former TdF racer and wipes me out with my 27 speed.

    Lot's of folks are into single speed and fixed bicycles.

    Your 12 speed will do just fine, and 21 pounds isn't too bad. My old steel mtn bike must weigh about 30 pounds or more, and I did the Ride the Rockies on it when I first started bicycling 10 years ago when I was 58.

    You are off to a GREAT start and that muscle memory coming back is most interesting.

    Keep it up, plan a sort of training regimen, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, be sure to give your body rest days and rest rides.

    Have fun.
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  4. #4
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a great bike to start with until you figure out what N+1 will look like.
    N+1 could be a reward once you hit a major fitness milestone.

    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  5. #5
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    I started riding again about 3 years ago after about 18 years of not riding. I have to warn you . . . if you keep it up you'll be hooked again, and if you're like me it will be worse than the first time! You're doing the right thing!

  6. #6
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Wow! Fast responses...must be some avid cyclists here. My criss cross weighs in at 27 pounds...old school, but pretty nice for a hybrid from back then...double butted frame, etc. The cilo is a bona-fide racing bike from back then...geometry that turns when you think, etc. Can't wait...but I need to due to finances and road conditions out here. Need different tires for the road bike for these roads.

  7. #7
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    Welcome ronbo. There's nothing wrong with either of your bikes. Many of us here still ride older lugged steel. My '87 Bianchi, Columbus SL frame, Campy equipped beauty is one of my loves in life. (See the pic in my profile)

    That Cilo sounds like a winner.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Thanks. The cilo has climbed many New york hilly roads and blasted down many backroad curvy sections. It is the bike I rode 250 miles per week on in my 30's. Probably the bike responsible for the muscle memory I am experiencing this soon in my return. I also had a much cheaper cilo in my teen years...same sort of usage, also in New York state. That first road bike had 42/52 and 15/21...won't be doing that anymore! The current one is 42/52 and 13/24. Even that may be a bit tough.

    I actually rode the criss-cross off road more than on so I could ride with my son when he was very young. I also pulled the two kids in a trailer with both bikes, depending on the terrain. The criss cross was fitted with 700x45 panaracer smoke off-road tires for the first few years of its life. I put a 32 tooth chainring and a 36 tooth cog on it for a real stump-pulling gear. I took it to England on a deployment when I was in the Air Force and rode it all over the countryside...on and off road. Both bikes really perform great. When the time comes that I get back on the cilo...I have to be realistic. I used to average 23-24 mph in the new york hills on a typical 40 mile ride. Not likely I should be shooting for that any time soon.

    God bless!

    -Ron

  9. #9
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Sedalia, Missouri? My med school roommate, a gent by the name of Chuck Huddleston, was from there. His dad worked in the broom-manufacturing plant. I don't know if any of that still exists. I hope to see him at our 30 yr reunion this fall.

  10. #10
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    Welcome aboard. Hang around long enough and you'll get support, advice, humor, and perhaps some things you didn't even know you wanted. I remember when I started again, I set a weight loss goal before I could purchase a new bike.... what a positive motivator. As DenvrFox says it will get easier... that is until you get more and more fit. Then the "It doesn't get easier. You just get faster." quote comes into play. Enjoy the ride.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Welcome. Sounds like you are off to a good restart. You'll probably have more trouble keeping yourself from overdoing than with getting motivated to do enough. Don't go for too much too soon and you'll be surprised how much of your former level of riding will come back to you.

    Nothing wrong with older lugged steel. My Bridgestone has been my weapon of choice for 16 years and counting. It sounds like your road bike is a good one, though I am not familiar with the name "cilo". Is that short for something?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
    Yen
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    Surly Girly Yen's Avatar
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    Welcome! Yes, there are a lot of avid cyclists here.

    It sounds like you have all the skill, desire, ability, and ambition to get to where you want to go again. Your Schwinn will get you there -- as many here told me when I was riding my hybrid (~34 lbs), it's more about the engine than the bike.

    Be sure to not overdo it.... stress injuries (e.g. tendonitis) will only set you back so take it easy at first, slowly re-build the muscle, and listen to your body. Take days off (can't stress that enough -- just as important as riding days) and eat a nutritious diet to lose weight slowly so you lose the fat but keep the muscle. A 1-pound/week loss is ideal for that and easier to keep off. Just keep riding, and be gentle and patient with your 50+ body to respond.

    Keep it fun!
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

  13. #13
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    Welcome back. Take this advice from an owner of a 14 year layoff from cycling. GO SLOW at first.(both speed and distance) This is going to take longer than you think. Really 2-3 years to get back into form is not out of the question. Avoiding injury is key. Good luck.

  14. #14
    fxp
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    Junior Member fxp's Avatar
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    I got back into riding by going out and buying a new Fuji Track. In having to do things a little different with the fixie really made it seem more interesting and new. I don't ride far, but do it every day and in the Winter, too. I have to say the riding every day part sure makes it more fun.

  15. #15
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    This is going to take longer than you think. Really 2-3 years to get back into form is not out of the question. Avoiding injury is key. Good luck.
    Exactly.

    Exactly.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Cilo 12 speed road bike w/shimano 105 and tange #1 double butted frame,fork and stays...Schwinn criss cross, modified to climb off road..currently treaded for the katy trail.
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    Cilo was a swiss company that folded sometime this century in the face of technology it chose not to compete with. There is a picture of my exact bike somewhere here...sport 105 is the model. I saw it last night after many searches. Actually sport 105 will bring it right up. I made some mods like sealed hubs, lighter wheels, stem,bars, clipless pedals, saddle...basic fit and personal preference items. So mine is a tad different looking than that one...not much though. The bike weighs a nice even 21 pounds. Nice lively tange #1 double butted frame, fork and stays. I just aired the tires up on it for a fun experiment...it's been hanging upside down in the garage with occasional relief and wheel rotations. we'll see if they hold air and I'll check them for dry rot, etc. I think they are about 5 years old from a time I thought I might just hop back on it and ride around here...pipe dream.

    Today I rode pretty hard for 9 miles on the trail...4.5 out then back. It was hot, blazing hot. Not much fun, but here I am alive anyway. I met a guy coming in as I was going out. I said "how are you?" He said, "good, now that that's over"....I think I had more fun than that at least...LOL.

    God bless!

    -Ron

  17. #17
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Here are my bikes. They are really beat up from gravel road riding...even the cilo. I rode it on leave one summer in the northwest corner of Missouri. My in-laws lived a mile from the first paved road. The road the lived on was along the old prehistoric river bank (bluff). I rode that gravel everyday for two weeks to start and finish my ride. Talk about learning some moves! Large gravel and dirt on 700x23 tires...pretty interesting getting clipped in some days. I even did some hill climbing (and descending_ on the bluff road going up and over the bluff! Oh to be 30 again.



    criss cross...everything but the 700x45 panaracer smokes:



    The power grip pedal straps have to be the best kept secret of fitness and recreational cross riding. I use puma leather cycling shoes (About 22 years old) or just plain old sneakers with a quick size adjustment.

    and the cilo:





    BTW, I really like the old sampson clipless pedals...very light, but the cleats are definitely not for lots of walking.

    God bless!
    Ron

  18. #18
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Great classic bikes! If the Cilo is a great steel frame don't you dare pitch it. If you want to rebuild it to a modern drive train you may be able to get the chain stays stretched to accomidate. Great riding steel frames are getting hard to find - you can't beat the smooth ride. I am going to rebuild my steel ride with Campy Chorus. I also have a CF bike - it climbs like a goat, a great sprinter but it stays home on a long ride.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BLIZZ's Avatar
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    Now thats back in the day when men were men, and bar drops had some depth to them!
    Are the tires sew ups?
    I'm not totally useless....I can be used as a BAD example.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    I really like the steel frames...I had a glued aluminum/steel raleigh before the cilo. Forks and stays steel, main tubes glued aluminum into the steel lugs/bb. Very nice ride too, but one limp noodle in the hills of central new york. Foothills of the adirondack mountains where I was stationed. I rode the hybrid bike in california and immediately sold it and bought the cilo in new york. My first road bike was a cilo when I was 15. It was a weird animal with weinman center pulls, a french derailleur I can't remember the name of, mavic rims, unmarked hubs with WING NUTS, no markings on the tubing except cilo, and fair looking lugs..not great. It was a 27 pound bike with 15-21 in the back (five cogs) and 42-52 in the front. Really made me get in shape! It never let me down, so I got this one when I saw the 105 group and the price...these were 600 dollar bikes like all the other 105 bikes that year. I got the wide bars later. The lbs threw in the seat post and stem I needed and some better pedals with straps..can't remember them. I sold them and got the sampsons. Also, I preferred the dark 105 brake levers so they swapped those in. I'm really a steel guy, but I'll admit it's because I don't know any better. I just get such joy from the ride it's tough to picture any need to change....so I don't.

    God bless!

    -Ron

  21. #21
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    The tires are tube. The ones on there are 700x25 with a slick tread..don't recall what brand/model...probably specialized...too lazy to look LOL. It's too rough to ride on 23's out here...the roads are quite bad. I may have to go to 28's. I have 35's on the crisscross and they even ride a little rough on some of these roads!

    I have a long torso and ape arms. My fit is a little weird because of this. I am experimenting with the criss cross saddle since I'm not used to riding the katy trail...the nose high was today's experiment. Not bad. The cilo is just as it was fit-wise when I was riding 250 miles/week. very comfy.

    God bless!

    Ron

    -Ron
    Last edited by ronbo; 08-01-08 at 05:43 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    here's a shot of how wide the bars are. they are 42 or 44, I forget...long time ago. The bike had 39's on it and I really felt cramped when I was climbing. These did the trick.



    God bless!

    -Ron

  23. #23
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronbo View Post
    I really like the steel frames... I'm really a steel guy, but I'll admit it's because I don't know any better. I just get such joy from the ride it's tough to picture any need to change....so I don't.
    I'm with ya there - my Simoncini is a sweet ride (see the pic at the bottom of my website listed in my signature line). The CF Tarmac was bought as an experiment. It is faster and on a short ride more fun, but the steel Simoncini may not be a faster ride - but it is a better ride!

    Steel is real!
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ronbo's Avatar
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    Nice bikes. I see you ride a high saddle to bar setup as well. Ape arms, perhaps?

    God bless!

    -Ron

  25. #25
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    You'll probably get a kick out of the new handlebar tape. Very cushy and worth the $10 investment.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

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