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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 03-22-10, 02:37 PM   #1
Bob/FLA
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Newbie could use your opinion

Hi folks!
I'm in the 50+ group and started cycling again this year. I drive a Trek 7.5FX that fits and was pretty athletic in my youth, but have NO aspirations of competing with anyone other than my waistline.

I am pretty fit now and get a few hours on the bike a week, but want to do a cross Florida run in the fall. I also commute about once a week 25 miles round trip. My average speed is 14.7mph and ride about an hour at a time.

I have had C-spine and lumbar spinal surgery and live relitively pain free....relitively...that's why the 7.5 with a more upright posture.

Is there a training plan out there for folks in my position? A guide on how to build endurance and strength without sacrificing injury. Also, is there a better bike option for me?

Thanks for your participation and guidance
Best to all
Bob
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Old 03-22-10, 03:48 PM   #2
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Bike option is vast- but don't rule out Road bikes. The longer stretched out position does help several backs. And you don't have to ride in the drop position unless you want to.

Hate to say it but you have just joined the 50 + group. Although riding to retain fitness and improve the form is one of the reasons- we do have certain parameters to stick to. One of which is the PIE ride in September

http://sites.google.com/site/50pluscyclist/traditions

Forget the Waistline- This will be a hard ride for newcomers that are not very fork adept.- so start training now but start gently. Just plain apple with cream to start with and work your way up. The real experts are onto Blueberry at least a month before the ride.
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Old 03-22-10, 04:02 PM   #3
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Yes, there is an excellent training plan for you. This may strike you as simplistic, but consider miles and frequency. If you ride 5-6 days a week for an hour or more, things will start happening. Nothing gets a person into cycling shape quicker than cycling itself. Upgrade your bike if you want but there is no replacement for miles obsessively ridden. If your loved ones don't complain a little, you're not riding enough (haha).
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Old 03-22-10, 04:02 PM   #4
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Is there a training plan out there for folks in my position? A guide on how to build endurance and strength without sacrificing injury.
Ride as often as possible. More miles is the key to preparing for a cross FL ride.
If you're comfortable riding the Trek then ride and train with it.
Good luck.
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Old 03-22-10, 05:03 PM   #5
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With your medical history I would consult a PT or coach - but make sure it's one that does not think anyone over 50 can't accomplish such a ride. Screwing up your back just isn't worth it - be careful.
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Old 03-22-10, 05:16 PM   #6
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I have a bulge at L4-L5 and a bit of spondylothesis. I have had no operations. My neurosurgeon and my physiatrist both said the road bike is better for me, as it stretched out the back and the pressure was not directly on my spine, as it would be in an upright position. Don't forego a road bike on any common and incorrect assumptions. Perhaps your case is different, but be sure, and check it out.
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Old 03-22-10, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post

http://sites.google.com/site/50pluscyclist/traditions

Forget the Waistline- This will be a hard ride for newcomers that are not very fork adept.- so start training now but start gently. Just plain apple with cream to start with and work your way up. The real experts are onto Blueberry at least a month before the ride.
Should he get a suspension fork?

Oh, never mind.

Grasshopper, I recommend patience. As a non-racing 50+er with no pressing goals, just ride around and take it easy. The key to avoiding injury is not to take too much too quickly.

Unless you are in really really good shape, it will take you a couple of years for you to get your cycling legs.
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Old 03-22-10, 08:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input!
The problem about the drop bar is the titanium plate in my neck restricting my mobility...2/7ths of my neck are essentially welded together. The 7.5 gives my a pretty good balance between stretched out and restricted head movement. I will take a test ride on a "real" bike when I get a chance.

I'm actually good building up my miles and time on the road. When I'm not on my solo, my wife joins me on the tandem. That's the best time! I also have an indoor trainer for the foul weather days we are so fond of in Florida. I'm working my way up to riding 5 days a week.

A couple of years to get cycling legs? I've got nothing but time.

Thanks again and best to all
Bob
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Old 03-22-10, 09:10 PM   #9
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The bike will be fine. The book "Cycling past 50" by Joe Friel has some good advice for us old farts. While training, especially at our ages, more is not always better. Quality riding , while often not as much fun, is more beneficial than "just riding". I took one of my longest tours (so far) at the age of 64, 3650 fully loaded miles. I really believe that bike touring is more about our mental atitude than physical condition, age, or the kind of bike we ride. Good physical conditioning and the bike may make long rides easier; but mental toughness is equally or even more important. I'll bet that you will be ready in less than the 2 years "to get cycling legs"! Good luck
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Old 03-23-10, 10:57 AM   #10
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Mentally tough?
23 years military, law enforcement now. Definite type-A personality. So I guess it should just be a matter of time to get 'er done! I will check out the "Cycling Past 50" book you suggested, and one other goal is a long distance ride...FL to TN.

Thanks for your generous input for a new guy.
Best to all
Bob
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Old 03-23-10, 06:50 PM   #11
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Mentally tough?
23 years military, law enforcement now. I will check out the "Cycling Past 50" book you suggested.
With your background, you won't have to actually read the book. Just pistol-whip it until it gives you the answers you want.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:26 PM   #12
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+100 Don't be too quick to dismiss a road bike. They can be set up to be pretty comfortable IMHO.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:59 PM   #13
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You might set some intermediate goals such as riding 40 miles, riding 50 miles, riding your age in miles, riding a metric century (100 km, 62.1 miles) etc. As you accomplish the intermediate goals, you can give yourself a pat on the back and move on to the next one. As the trips get longer, you will need to pay attention to fuel and fluids. You can run out of gas on a bike (a/k/a bonk). You will need to experiment with the types fluids and foods that work for you and keep you going. Good luck. Keep riding.
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Old 03-24-10, 01:15 PM   #14
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Bob - A year or so ago I mapped out a good cross-Florida route, from Crystal River to New Smyrna Beach, about 129 miles, most of the way on SR 44 with a few back roads around some of the more congested places. I've never done it, but I'd love to sometime this year. If you're game, let me know.
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Old 03-24-10, 01:45 PM   #15
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Bob - A year or so ago I mapped out a good cross-Florida route, from Crystal River to New Smyrna Beach, about 129 miles, most of the way on SR 44 with a few back roads around some of the more congested places. I've never done it, but I'd love to sometime this year. If you're game, let me know.
I would be interested in this as well if you all want to make a group ride.
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Old 03-25-10, 08:01 AM   #16
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I'm certainly no expert. I suffer from lower back problems. My back never hurts when I ride my road bike. I feel that the bent over position stretches it out and helps, not hurts. My biggest problem with the road position is that it puts weight on my wrists and forearms. They start to ache after long rides - especially long rides on successive days on tour. For that reason I like my bars a little higher than normal road position - almost level with my saddle. But it's for my hands and arms - not my back.
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Old 03-25-10, 03:54 PM   #17
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A groiup ride sounds great! I work rotating weekends off...how about the 12-14th of November? That will give me time to work on my legs for a long ride.

I appreciate the suggestions! I was planning to ride my age in early summer...June? My commute will help a lot, 26 miles round trip. I am developing a 5 day ride program, but it's difficult when working 12 hour shifts. The commute should help.

Best to all
Bob
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Old 03-25-10, 04:17 PM   #18
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If you are commuting 5 days a week- you don't need a program.
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Old 03-25-10, 04:57 PM   #19
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I (53yrs old & 4 knee surgery's) just switched to a road bike,and the laid down position is way good. It took the muscles about 75 miles to learn to stretch out like this. Once they did, and I never thought they would, it started to feel real good. I couldn't believe it.
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Old 03-25-10, 07:58 PM   #20
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Everything is good except my neck...can't extend to look up from a crouched position...wish I could. C6-C7 are fused with a plate...was told this week that C5 is BAD. If I could hook-up a heads up display, that would be great!

Best to all
Bob
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Old 03-25-10, 08:14 PM   #21
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Everything is good except my neck...can't extend to look up from a crouched position...wish I could. C6-C7 are fused with a plate...was told this week that C5 is BAD. If I could hook-up a heads up display, that would be great!

Best to all
Bob
Don't think about looking up and stretching your neck. Think about tucking your chin in close to yout neck. If you wear a visor, take the visor off.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-10, 10:51 PM   #22
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I have a severely herniated C5 C6 disc and started with a very upright Trek 7200 4 years ago, as my riding improved I found that ride lacking. Early last year after many test rides I settled on a leftover 08 Specialized Sequoia Elite due to its more upright riding position even in the drops. Since purchase I have changed the saddle, pedals/shoes, shortened the stem and lowered the bars to the point that they are slightly below the saddle height. My neck has been fine, my rides are not that long <2hrs about 4 - 5 days a week. The improved control and more efficient riding position really do help make the miles roll by!
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Old 03-26-10, 03:10 AM   #23
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No visor, but good call. I try to keep my chin down and look over my glasses to reduce neck extension. The problem is I can't rotate or extend my hear "up" as in this photo




The Elite is a great looking bike, something I will have to look at in the future. I'm sure as my riding improves, so will my "ride."

Thanks again
Bob
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Old 03-26-10, 05:49 AM   #24
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If the 7.5 FX allows you to ride comfortably, go for it. Find a club, and ride -- lots. Aim for 150 miles per week, with at least one or two century rides, as you get nearer to the event. Since you don't have race aspirations, just ride at your normal pace minus a mph or so and you'll do fine.

If the upright bothers your neck, even as upright as you can get it, then consider a 'sport' model recumbent.
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Old 03-26-10, 03:03 PM   #25
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Some road bikes like the Sequoia and the Roubaix do have an upright position with the bars up on a level with the saddle. Then other bikes can be modified to give this position. Then there are different types of bars that will almost give a straight bar to a road bike.

But staying on the same Style of bike- There are a few that could be an improvement. One of which is the Specialised Sirrus Elite. You would have to check the spec- but The Sirrus is more road spec than your FX and should give a better ride.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...nuItemId=12189

Looking at the ride position of the Sirrus- The bars will be in the region of the height of the saddle- but this could be altered.

"BUT" As I have said- bar height of road bikes can be altered by simple changing the Rise of the bar stem. I did this on my first road bike to bring the bars up to the height of my MTB. You do not have to ride in the drops all the time- or even any of the time. Most of us ride on top of the brake levers (On the hoods) or on the flat bit on the top.

Attachment is of my first road bike and shows the height I put the bars to. Taller stems are available too.
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