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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 02-24-09, 01:30 PM   #1
Jean Beetham Smith 
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How dumb I can be

I retired early, last spring, so I could spend more time caring for my out-of-state 93 yo mother. I thought I was all prepared for reduced income. I thought I had my lifetime set of bikes; a Felt road, a Terry tourer, and a MTB modified into a city bike. At 5'0", these were hard to find and were set up with the shortest stems available for road bikes. Late last fall I suddenly noticed that the reach was feeling long, so it shouldn't have been a shock when my MD told me I was only 4'11". I've changed handlebars to help with the fit some. About the only way I can get a shorter stem is to get a DH stem, which will look bad on my bikes. Another year and another inch and I will probably need a new bike,which I hadn't budgeted. When I had already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and every time I hug my mother (who was taller than me) I notice that my chin rests on her head; how could I have not planned for my own loss of height? I even worked for a guy that was always saying "Denial is not a river in Egypt". It is hard to make the transition from "grown-up" to "shrinking".
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Old 02-24-09, 01:37 PM   #2
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What would you have done differently if you'd planned for more loss of height? Sounds like you already have the smallest equipment available.
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Old 02-24-09, 01:48 PM   #3
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There are no style points awarded on the 50+ forum. You need to go to the Road Forum for those. Get shorter stems and ride in comfort.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:13 PM   #4
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When I was a young kid, I simply couldn't believe it when someone told me older mountains are smaller than younger ones. I thought everything got bigger as it got older. Sigh.

I'd listen to Allegheny Jet if I were you. Above all else, your bike HAS to fit.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:28 PM   #5
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Not to be harsh, but what do you care what the stem might make your bike look like? As long as you are comfortable, just enjoy the riding, and by the way, HTFU.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:39 PM   #6
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Sounds like you already have the smallest equipment available.
Damn but that sounds cold....
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Old 02-24-09, 02:50 PM   #7
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Damn but that sounds cold....
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Old 02-24-09, 03:56 PM   #8
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ROLF is your friend!..
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Old 02-24-09, 04:11 PM   #9
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Old 02-24-09, 04:19 PM   #10
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There's always a smaller size
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Old 02-24-09, 04:25 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, too short a stem could adversely impact handling as well.

Fortunately, I don't think that human shrinkage ia a linear thing. Also, try some stretching, and you may be able to curtail the shrinkage. Maybe start hanging from a pull-up bar when you are not riding...
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Old 02-24-09, 06:08 PM   #12
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Have you considered an adjustable stem?


Sorry to hear about the osteoporosis. I hope you've talked to your doctor and researched ways to reverse it or at least slow it's progress.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:20 PM   #13
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Here on 50+, we can fix anything...

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Old 02-24-09, 07:52 PM   #14
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On the flip side, I somehow grew an inch this year. Made my BMI look good . . .

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Old 02-24-09, 08:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Unfortunately, too short a stem could adversely impact handling as well.
From personal observation (two life flights to regional trauma centers) I think that using a short stem can be very dangerous.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:30 AM   #16
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Unfortunately, too short a stem could adversely impact handling as well.

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From personal observation (two life flights to regional trauma centers) I think that using a short stem can be very dangerous.
I guess that is the big question. How short is too short. I'm not worried about my knees hitting the bars when I stand, because my knees just don't hammer anymore. What I'm really worried about is at what point do you get dangerous twitchiness?

Thanks for the good humor guys.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:43 AM   #17
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I guess that is the big question. How short is too short. I'm not worried about my knees hitting the bars when I stand, because my knees just don't hammer anymore. What I'm really worried about is at what point do you get dangerous twitchiness?

Thanks for the good humor guys.
I'm sure your LBS can answer this question for you. Also talk to them about changing the seat post angle. My touring bike's reach was a little too long for me and they put on a shorter stem and changed the seat post to get me a better fit. I'm just a little taller at 5'3'.

I also have osteoporosis and used to be 5'4" Medication and exercise has kept the loss stable for several years.
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Old 02-25-09, 10:42 AM   #18
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Current seatpost angle is 76*, don't think I can go any steeper. I already feel like my seat is as far forward as I can tolerate. I think the stem is all that is left that I can fool with.

Medication has not worked well for me. Fosamax gave me such severe GERD that I thought I was having a heart attack, and Reclast seemed the only way to go. I had one injection last June, but now my kidney values have gone up so that is the end of that. I'm trying to find a weight program that my insurance will cover since all of the gyms here are very expensive.
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Old 02-25-09, 01:25 PM   #19
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Current seatpost angle is 76*, don't think I can go any steeper. I already feel like my seat is as far forward as I can tolerate. I think the stem is all that is left that I can fool with.
Some seat posts will adjust the saddle further forward than others. I use an inline seat post and this gives me plenty of adjustment- but I did try another form of inline post a few years ago that pushed the saddle too far forward. And on that Bar stem- I have run as short a stem as 40mm on the Tandem and only found that it was too short. Did not affect the steering at all and if anything is going to react to anything being wrong- it is a Tandem.
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