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Old 08-27-08, 01:49 PM   #1
MSchott
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Musings from a 50 year old rider recently back to the sport...

I used to ride a lot about 10 years ago, 80-100 miles/week and after a while lost my motivation so I gave it up. Recently we bought my wife a bike and that rekindled my interest. I now ride my road bike (a 1992 Bianchi Virata) 4-5 days a week about 15 miles per ride.

I'm of course slower than back then as well as 20 pounds heavier even though I've already lost 15 pounds.

I've discovered the following since my cycling rebirth:

1) I use a lot more gears than in the past
2) I need larger (more teeth) gears to climb
3) I'm 2-2 1/2 mph slower than in my 30's (I avg about 15.5 mph now)
4) I still love my steel frame and love to buy new toys for the bike.

Any advice or similar experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mike.
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Old 08-27-08, 01:59 PM   #2
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HI I am coming back Too

HI,
Just started riding again really getting to love that morning ride, I have lots of Bike trails so I don't get much highway time.
I ride a modified mountian, I seem to enjoy biking more now that in my youth, I had to find something to do since my back was complaining about all the Jogging I used to do, I haven't jogged in the past few months and my BAck is better.
Enjoy your rides thats the most important thing , forget the past it dosen't mean much all that matters is today.
Hope you are able to ride safely with your wife, I ve had several real close calls recently so I am stricty ridding defensivly to the point I get off the bike when approaching a major intersection. PS for an old guy I have seen real improvement in endurance and speed thats a big plus.
DOug
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Old 08-27-08, 03:04 PM   #3
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Welcome back. Its fun, its good for you, your wife will enjoy it..................................the bike..the bike.

Its an excellent way to get in shape while doing something else..........riding around looking at things. You'll like this forum, folks here try to put a reasonable spin on addiction.
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Old 08-27-08, 03:18 PM   #4
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1 Buy a more modern bike and you can have more gears to play with

2-Take it that is on the rear cassette- other wise more teeth in the front will be showing you how maturity has strenghthened the legs

3- At 15.5- are you sure you are old enough for this forum

4-It's a Bianchi-What else do you expect? Pics please.



Your doing great- welcome back- But the toys have changed- be prepared to spend more money.
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Old 08-28-08, 04:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
I used to ride a lot about 10 years ago, 80-100 miles/week and after a while lost my motivation so I gave it up. Recently we bought my wife a bike and that rekindled my interest. I now ride my road bike (a 1992 Bianchi Virata) 4-5 days a week about 15 miles per ride.

I'm of course slower than back then as well as 20 pounds heavier even though I've already lost 15 pounds.

I've discovered the following since my cycling rebirth:

1) I use a lot more gears than in the past
2) I need larger (more teeth) gears to climb
3) I'm 2-2 1/2 mph slower than in my 30's (I avg about 15.5 mph now)
4) I still love my steel frame and love to buy new toys for the bike.

Any advice or similar experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mike.
It all sounds real similar to my RTC (Return To Cycling) starting about 5 years ago. My endurance has improved from comfy 10 miles to comfy 40 miles, I do need lower gears than back when, I'm still slower than you (just had a 15.5 mph 40 mile loop), and now love my recent 10 speed (10 in the back and 2 in the front) upgrade.

Welcome back!!!
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Old 08-28-08, 05:39 AM   #6
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Welcome. My two bits of advice are:

1. Ride with pleasure in mind. That is, do it because it's fun. While it's admirable that you've already lost 15 lbs., don't fall into the trap of making riding a chore aimed at a loft goal.
2. Come back and visit this forum often; maybe even explore the other sections of BF too.
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Old 08-28-08, 05:47 AM   #7
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I slacked off on cycling several times in the past - the las time was in the later 80s/early 90s when I took up sailing. Coming back I found it took bit of time to get back into shape and I picked up knee problems but my weight was under control. That was mi early 40s. I kept the riding up but the intensity slacked way off as the knee held me back - unfortunately 30 lbs also got added. For the past 3 years I have lost the 30 lbs and greatly improved my skills. My speed went from an average of 15.5 to 17.5 but it has taken some serious training - not just casual riding.

Welcome back - you can do what you did before on the bike - you can do more. We have a few serious racers in this group and thier posts are pretty inspiring.
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Old 08-28-08, 06:04 AM   #8
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If you can climb the hills, don't worry about the gears.

Get new brake pads - they get old and hard.

New tires are very good. Get some nice ones.


Otherwise, gradually working up to speed work as part of a slightly structured training program will bear substantial dividends. Lots of well thought out training information on line.

As to bikes - a 1992 steel bike will be OK. Unless you can afford it, I highly recommend not trying a new carbon performance bike with Ultegra or anything along those lines. While the performance gains aren't exactly a leap, many of today's bikes really feel great when they fit right.

One reason to change bikes would be geometry. Early 90s still seems to have had steep head tube bikes. Now there's a return in most lines to a slacker, taller head tube model. Those can be very nice to ride if sized carefully. Have to watch it with today's limited range of compact models.
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Old 08-28-08, 07:17 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. Here's a picture of the bike:



I recently added new tires, Conti Grand Prix 4000S 700 x 23. I've also upgraded to newer Ultegra pedals and Specialized shoes.

As far as a new bike, I'm amazed at how much has changed over the last 15 years. Carbon is everywhere and bikes weigh a lot less. Prices have doubled or tripled. This one was $1200.00 in 1992 with full Ultegra 600. I may look at a new bike next spring, mainly for the lighter weight, STI levers and added gears. I am concerned about the fragility of carbon though.

By the way my Bianchi has old fashioned long distance geometry. It's definitely not a crit bike. The head tube is not too steep and the top tube is long giving me a nice flat back when in the drops. I have short legs and a long torso so this works well for me. I don't seem to suffer from any back pain on the bike but I can't stay in the drops as much as before.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
Thanks everyone. Here's a picture of the bike:

As far as a new bike, I'm amazed at how much has changed over the last 15 years. Carbon is everywhere and bikes weigh a lot less. Prices have doubled or tripled. This one was $1200.00 in 1992 with full Ultegra 600. I may look at a new bike next spring, mainly for the lighter weight, STI levers and added gears. I am concerned about the fragility of carbon though.

By the way my Bianchi has old fashioned long distance geometry. It's definitely not a crit bike. The head tube is not too steep and the top tube is long giving me a nice flat back when in the drops. I have short legs and a long torso so this works well for me. I don't seem to suffer from any back pain on the bike but I can't stay in the drops as much as before.
You already have the perfect bike (see my signature ). The geometry and the steel frame are ideal for typical recreational and fitness cycling. I ride mine with my club and have never felt that the equipment is holding me back.
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Old 08-28-08, 10:00 AM   #11
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You can widen your gearing by switching to a compact crank and/or by changing your rear cassette. Don't worry about speed unless you intend on racing. If you want to go fast find a good steep hill. You can ride up for the training effect and fly down it for the adrenalin rush.


p.s. Find a cafe that serves good pie or better yet find several.
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Old 08-28-08, 11:41 AM   #12
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Beautiful bike. Very similar in many ways to my '92 Bridgestone RB-1. It is still my main road ride. I experimented with a compact crank, but found it didn't really work out well with the 7 speed rear end. With 9 or 10 speeds, I'm sure it is a completely different experience.

I am much happier with a triple crank. The Sugino XD 600 is a good crank that looks just right on a steel bike of that vintage.
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Old 08-28-08, 12:10 PM   #13
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Welcome back to cycling . . . If you're like me, you will wonder why you ever left . . .

I've got 2,100 miles on a year-old carbon bike and it's a joy to ride . . . but I still like my steel bike, too . . . totally different rides . . .

How do you like the Contis?
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Old 08-30-08, 12:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I can't stay in the drops as much as before.
Well, as someone who has ridden only road bikes with drop bars for the past 38 years, I've got news for you: Unless you are racing - and even then unless you are towing the peleton or sprinting at the finish or racing on the velodrome - you don't ride in the drops.

Most people who do not race may just as well cut off the drop section underneath the brake levers. You will never, ever see an experienced road racer on a group ride get down on the hooks unless he's about to go ballistic on the bunch. I remember putting new white handlebar tape on my commuting bike at the start of the year and not ever touching the virgin tape wrapping the drops. You've got plenty of comfortable hand positions on the tops and over the brake levers; why would you ever want to get in the drops? (Jeez, I've even done road races where I've never gotten onto the drops until the final sprint...) And even in races, hammering up climbs is even done on the tops, and riding out of the saddle you hold the brake hoods. (You may occasionally see the odd Spanish climber on the drops, but this is usually the exception.)

So don't worry about not being in the drops. (You can always tell who the beginners are. Because the bike has drop handlebars, they think they need to be in the drops. I guess in this regard the bicycle does not have an "intuitive" human interface, where the way the tool is designed invites holding it a certain way. A really good example of an extremely poor human interface is the way they've designed the credit card slot at gasoline pumps. If you are right-handed, you would expect to insert the card face up or face left. Instead, you must feed it into the machine with the back to the left. This is counter-intuitive, in much the same way that the drop handlebar is counter-intuitive. The most common position is on the tops, not in the drops, but it invites you to be in the drops...

Luis
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Old 08-30-08, 07:13 AM   #15
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If the bars are mounted a little higher, the drops become a more comfortable position for riding. I agree that the hoods are used more often, but the drops are very useful for acceleration or for riding into a headwind.
A good solution for the Bianchi posted above would be the Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem. I put one on my Bridgestone to bring the bars up from 4" below saddle height to 1" below. The change made the drops a much more useful position for me.
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Old 02-22-09, 06:44 AM   #16
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1992 Bianchi Virata......

I've got one too....very good bike.....still going strong down here in Orlando.....I do about 21 miles a day.....more, if I have the time......

Last edited by Bianchi 30 Mile; 03-03-09 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 02-22-09, 07:00 AM   #17
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You're story could have been mine about this time last year.

I went from a '92 Myiata 914 to a Felt (carbon) Z35 last June. I was a little afraid of
a carbon frame too at the time.
I'm sold on it now, it is alot more comfortable ride than my Myiata and the frame is under
warranty for life so I don't worry about it anymore.
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Old 02-22-09, 07:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
If the bars are mounted a little higher, the drops become a more comfortable position for riding. I agree that the hoods are used more often, but the drops are very useful for acceleration or for riding into a headwind.
A good solution for the Bianchi posted above would be the Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem. I put one on my Bridgestone to bring the bars up from 4" below saddle height to 1" below. The change made the drops a much more useful position for me.
Nice saddle!
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Old 02-22-09, 08:10 AM   #19
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Welcome to the group. If you are like most of us it is good to be back I am sure.

The best advice I could give you is something they told me when I came back. Much like Cyclinfool I gave it up when I was boating and moved to where cycling was hard to do. But I was told to learn to spin more and put on the base miles.
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Old 02-22-09, 08:21 AM   #20
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Being shy of 50 by a month, perhaps I can speaking of musings.

1. Don't be in a hurry. At 50, hopefully, you have already arrived. Being in a hurry is for youngsters. We just enjoy still being...

2. As you ride, your speed will creep up naturally, sort of like old age did. In time, you will notice you are riding faster, just as I now notice nearly all of my hair is white.

3. Being in style is for those who are trying to impress the opposite sex with having nothing but being in style. Ride what you like.

4. Don't listen to old people like me, we are all opinionated old geezers...
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Old 02-22-09, 09:13 AM   #21
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Mike, Welcome aboard, I'd quit for many years between the late 80's and the mid-2000's. In 2005 we bought Fuji Comfort Bikes, was pretty active for a little over a year, then for some reason's were still not sure of, we just bailed out and sold the bikes. Late 2008 we had a personal financial meltdown and lost our car so I bought a Wally-Mart MTB Clone and a kiddie pull trailer so we could get FOOD and other larger items you can't haul on a BUS. Wasn't going to get back into cycling but found I still really enjoyed it so I started riding the POS MTB as much as the weather would allow.

We managed to get enough in our tax refunds to purchase some good entry level Jamis Trail-X MTB's from our loca LBS, (well the wife has her new Jamis Trail-X 1.0, I'm still awaiting our Federal Refund to get my either Trail-X 2.0 or 3.0), so we are back and can't wait for summer weather so we can get out more, (yes, I'm a wuss, it's got to be 40+ and SUNNY for me to get motivated to ride) We can't afford to join in any club activites but at least we can ride the local rail-trails and singletrack parks they have in our area.

Hoping to be able to scrimp and save for a 2nd. set of QR wheels to put "street tires" on so maybe we can ride some of the local area Century Rides, short rides by 2010 season as we can't afford a MTB and a Road bike. With our trails being a mix of "dirt/concrete/asphalt", the MTB totally makes more sense than a pure road bike for us. Enjoy being back, I know we are!
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Old 02-22-09, 09:20 AM   #22
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Welcome. My two bits of advice are:

1. Ride with pleasure in mind. That is, do it because it's fun. While it's admirable that you've already lost 15 lbs., don't fall into the trap of making riding a chore aimed at a loft goal.
....
You are wise, grasshopper! Though I relish the benefits (weight loss, pie without guilt, cholesterol down to normal), have some general goals, and enjoy new gear and gizmos, like any good serious leisure activity cycling should not really be instrumental to anything else. It is about itself. Too many goals spoils the soup. Just my two cents.
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Old 02-22-09, 11:10 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
Thanks everyone. Here's a picture of the bike:



I recently added new tires, Conti Grand Prix 4000S 700 x 23. I've also upgraded to newer Ultegra pedals and Specialized shoes.

As far as a new bike, I'm amazed at how much has changed over the last 15 years. Carbon is everywhere and bikes weigh a lot less. Prices have doubled or tripled. This one was $1200.00 in 1992 with full Ultegra 600. I may look at a new bike next spring, mainly for the lighter weight, STI levers and added gears. I am concerned about the fragility of carbon though.

By the way my Bianchi has old fashioned long distance geometry. It's definitely not a crit bike. The head tube is not too steep and the top tube is long giving me a nice flat back when in the drops. I have short legs and a long torso so this works well for me. I don't seem to suffer from any back pain on the bike but I can't stay in the drops as much as before.
Nice bike!
I have a 1992 Specialized steel road bike. I recently went from a standard double crankset to a Sugino XD triple. I changed both derailers but kept the 7sp DT shifters. It's like a new bike. Much more versatile gearing. I also have a newer road bike but still love the old steel.
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Old 02-22-09, 11:23 AM   #24
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Welcome. I love my CF Giant with its swoopy lines, but have to admit, there's something pretty cool about the old steel bikes. I was musing the other day that I wish I had kept my Schwinn Varsity. I bought it used in 72 and sold it in 96.
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Old 02-24-09, 03:24 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
I used to ride a lot about 10 years ago, 80-100 miles/week and after a while lost my motivation so I gave it up. Recently we bought my wife a bike and that rekindled my interest. I now ride my road bike (a 1992 Bianchi Virata) 4-5 days a week about 15 miles per ride.

I'm of course slower than back then as well as 20 pounds heavier even though I've already lost 15 pounds.

I've discovered the following since my cycling rebirth:

1) I use a lot more gears than in the past
2) I need larger (more teeth) gears to climb
3) I'm 2-2 1/2 mph slower than in my 30's (I avg about 15.5 mph now)
4) I still love my steel frame and love to buy new toys for the bike.

Any advice or similar experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mike.
My experience getting back into it at age 59 last year was similar. Although I generally avg 13/14 mph depending on the terrain and length of the ride, I enjoy it more than I ever have, and I find I enjoy riding alone very much, time to think, enjoy the surroundings, not worrying about what someone else is doing etc.
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