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  1. #26
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    Hi, Huffypuffy!

    It seems I've come a little late to this thread, but here's free advice for what it's worth:

    -Be sure to get a bike you can ride in a nearly upright position! You're not Lance Armstrong and you don't need to ride like him! Your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, back and neck will thank you. In general, this means the height of where you grip the handlebars should be two or more inches above the top of the saddle.

    -The most important bike fit item is the seat height. If you feel pain or soreness in the front of your knees, raise the seat. If you feel pain or soreness in the back of your knees, lower the seat. When you get near your ideal seat height, small changes in height will make surprizingly large changes in comfort.

    -Don't be afraid to get a big fat seat with springs. These are well suited to upright riding. I got one for my wife, added higher handlebars, now she loves her bike.

    I've learned this through recent experience, the hard way!

  2. #27
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brianwh
    Hi, Huffypuffy!

    It seems I've come a little late to this thread, but here's free advice for what it's worth:

    -Be sure to get a bike you can ride in a nearly upright position! You're not Lance Armstrong and you don't need to ride like him! Your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, back and neck will thank you. In general, this means the height of where you grip the handlebars should be two or more inches above the top of the saddle.

    -The most important bike fit item is the seat height. If you feel pain or soreness in the front of your knees, raise the seat. If you feel pain or soreness in the back of your knees, lower the seat. When you get near your ideal seat height, small changes in height will make surprizingly large changes in comfort.

    -Don't be afraid to get a big fat seat with springs. These are well suited to upright riding. I got one for my wife, added higher handlebars, now she loves her bike.

    I've learned this through recent experience, the hard way!
    Your advice is suitable for recreational riders not consistently doing long distances.

    It is generally the opposite of what is recommended for serious bikers who do centuries and the like.

    1. Riding in a nearly upright condition defeats the "three point" process of sharing the weight of your body between your feet, your butt, and your arms/hands. Using an upright position will put almost all the weight on your butt, leading to sores and chafing and tiredness of that area.

    2. The most important fit item is the length of the top tube, so that your reach is appropriate to your upper body length. ALso important, as you stated, is seat height, seat angle, bar height, etc. Fit is a personal thing and should be done by a pro.

    3. A big fat seat exposes your butt to a whole big area for chafing and rubbing. You do not notice this on 20 mile rides, but you do on longer rides. The purpose of the small seats is to have your weight supported by your Ischeal(sp) Tuberosities - your so-called "sit bones" which is really quite comfortable ince you get used to it.

    But, fit also is highly personal and dependent upon your riding goals and individual preferences.

    My wife also like a more upright riding position, but the longest rides she does is about 25 miles, and she still supports some weight on her arms.

    At 65, I ride a traditinal road bike in a traditional pose, and do just fine. The one compromise Ihave made is that I do have my bars raised a bit to relieve some pressure on my neck.

    Anyway, whatever works and gets folks riding is the very best fit.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-25-04 at 08:06 AM.

  3. #28
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Thanks all for your advice. I had to scale back last week. I was going to try three ride, but was sore after 2 rides and so dropped the third one this weekend.

    I am so out of shape, I am riding mostly upright, with hands on top of handle bars instead of inside curved bars. I don't know what that is called in bike jargon. I have tried dropping and at this point I am breathing too hard to make it comfortable. Later I would like to learn to ride in the leaning forward position, but not yet.

    Luckily the problem is not the saddle, but the upper thighs. Bike was fitted by LBS and it seems good to me.

    So goal this week is 2 thirty minute rides and one longer ride at a slower pace but no longer than 60 minutes.

    Huff

  4. #29
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huffypuffy

    I am riding mostly upright, with hands on top of handle bars instead of inside curved bars. I don't know what that is called in bike jargon.
    If you have a road bike, it is called simply "riding the bars" and is where a whole lot of us ride most of the time.

    Putting your hand resting on the hoods, where you can reach the brakes, is called, appropriately, "riding the hoods" which is where almost everyone else rides or switches between. Putting your hands on the lower portion of the curved part is called "riding in the drops" and very few ride there all the time. It is used for descents and lowering wind resistance, and mostly by flexible young people!

  5. #30
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Thanks for the jargon lesson. I've been learning a bad habit. I usually ride the hoods, but forget to brake with those levels and use the ones parallel to handle bars instead.

    Thanks for a good reason not to ride the drops. I have only done that a couple of times going downhill. It is too hard when pedaling.

    Looks like you may be feeling better.

    Huff

  6. #31
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    If the drop bar isn't confortable you could probably swap it for a straight hybrid type bar. I have a straight bar on my Sirrus which is slightly lower than the seat. Not as aerodynamic as drop bars but you can easily reach the breaks and your weight is fairly well distributed.

    Then of you decide you prefer drop bars you could always switch back.

    Stacy

  7. #32
    cut my gas use in half Jessica's Avatar
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    I used to ride (commute) pushing myself all the way. this time,when I decided Iwanted to bike commute,I had to go for endurance, It is 16 miles one way. i started out doing 10 min. on a stationary bike. then 5 more every day, then up to 60 minutes, all on lowest resistance. when I finally tried the real thing, it was very doable,especially since I had trained myself to have a quicker cadence than before and schooled myself to be patient with the ride. Stop, smell the roses, watch the squirrels, just keep on keepin' on. (took me 2 & 1/2 hours the first time!) I do the full 16 miles at least once a week, and a week ago did 35 miles in one day (pretty good for a fat, 51 year old!) Getting skinnier, getting fitter, Love the bike and love not paying for gasoline to get to work and the store.
    And I am sure there are other choices I haven't thought of, yet...

  8. #33
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    Jessica

    Great work. But, how do you deal with the traffic? I ride for pleasure, but I drive to the starting point to avoid city traffic. I even rode 300 miles through the Adirondacks this summer.

    I am also 51, and started triathlon competitions this summer, pushing myself quite a bit. I think both approaches are valid. I've only been active for a couple of years, but I have made an amazing transformation. But, I don't think I've made any savings on gas, in fact I probably used more.

    Duane

  9. #34
    cut my gas use in half Jessica's Avatar
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    My ride is chosen for comfort, for my safety... I could use the local bike trail along the river, but it is 3 miles longer. I choose the main road from my home to town, which has a bike lane, but I avoid the shortest route in town because the roads frequently have glass on them (bad part of town). The bike lane is okay for me, cars whizzing by at 55 mph don't hit me, so I am okay. The few areas where there is not bike lane space, I chose from the sidewalk (if empty, which it usually is) and 'taking the lane', which causes many honks but no aggressive driving so far. The honks make me want to chose the sidewalk if I can.
    I have biked for transport several years of my adult life, and usually just stay out of cars' way. I obey the law at stop lights, but have to admit, if no one is coming I zoom thru stop signs. If there is traffic at a stop sign, I wait until it is either 1)completely clear or 2)possible to go alongside a car.
    I also wear lots of blinkies, bright color and reflective tape. The local constabulary always waves happily, because they see I am careful, and teach my grandchildren to be careful.
    And *always* a HELMET.
    keep on spinning,
    And I am sure there are other choices I haven't thought of, yet...

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by huffypuffy
    What a great idea, measure success by saddle time and not distance. Hey I like that. Probably be safer on the old bod.
    . . .

    Huff

    I guess I have been doing this also, measuring by saddle time. I went out the other day and told myself I would go slowly and - pulled an hour and went just a little over 6 miles. I did have fun though, I looked at stuff, said Hi to everyone I met watched animals, talked to horses and enjoyed myself...

    Always make time to relax on your bike and enjoy what you are doing. Schedule slow rides as well as fast, short as well as long. Maybe you can break my "record" above and ride even less mileage in about an hour?

    Sometimes it is good to go slow up a hill at a slower cadence (be careful of your knees though!). Sometimes I like to see how slow I can go up a hill and still be steady, rolling straight and true. 2.5 mph is my slowest so far.
    I . . can . . . doooo . . . it

  11. #36
    Senior Member GeezerGeek's Avatar
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    Since your family has a history of heart problems, you should see a doctor to find out how hard you can safely work out. Afterwards, you should start slow and work your way up. If you don't want a sore bottom, you may want to try a recumbent or a recumbent trike. After I started using a recumbent my headaches from stiff necks, sore back, numb hands, tired arms, and sore bottom problems all went away.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huffypuffy
    Dean,

    thanks. My hope of getting in shape a bit in one month sounds too aggressive, I'll rescale to 2 months+.

    With winter coming it will be challenging to keep on keeping on.

    Yes, I do have a treadmill scheduled for next week, just to be safe.

    Huff
    You don't need to worry about getting in shape as much as you think. Have the Doc give you the once over, plus all the expensive lab tests they love, and he/she will let you know your status. I have yet to meet someone that couldn't get on a bike and ride 10 miles. Most people that say they can't have no idea what 10 miles really is, and most are over estimating. The other thing most don't realize is how easy it is to just cruise along on a good bike at 10+ mph. That Giant touring bike you're getting will go VERY easily at 10-13 mph, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to ride that 10 miles.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    If the drop bar isn't confortable you could probably swap it for a straight hybrid type bar. I have a straight bar on my Sirrus which is slightly lower than the seat. Not as aerodynamic as drop bars but you can easily reach the breaks and your weight is fairly well distributed.

    Then of you decide you prefer drop bars you could always switch back.

    Stacy
    They don't need to be the straight bars either. Some bikes have the handlebars that "rise", where the part you grip is a bit higher than where it's gripped by the stem. One of the guys in my club walked out of the LBS with a brand new Trek 5200 with those bars on them. He has MTB shifters to go with the bars, also. The upright position can be much easier on the backs of we that have tight back muscles. For more hand positions the "bar ends" can be installed.

  14. #39
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Again thank you all for advice.

    I actually made it commuting 3 times so far this month. Today is a rain day for the PM commute so I decided to chicken out and drive in. Distance by bike was only 5 miles. It is a nice commute. My speeds range from 6 up two steep hills to 25 downhill. Average on the flats without pushing it is about 15 mph. Very cool and satisfying.

    I am quite curious to see what it will feel like this next May.

    Oh, handlebars are fine. They are narrow and tilted up by local LBS so there is not hardly any difference in feel between mtb bars and road bike bars. Almost all of the time I am on top of the bars and rarely in the drops.

    Oh, passed the treadmill, so just doing it as much as weather permits. I don't have protection for legs or feet from rain yet, so passing on rain/snow days. I biked in yesterday and forecast is to clear Thursday night, so expect to bike in Friday also.

    Huff

  15. #40
    chicharron
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    just do it. By the way, what kind of bicycle do you ride?

  16. #41
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicharron
    just do it. By the way, what kind of bicycle do you ride?
    One hill is a killer and I'm between 5.5 and 6.0 mph on it. Luckily it's short. We still have snow and ice near the roadways so top speed is closer to 22. There really aren't many flat parts of the ride, average speed is about 12mph. whoopie. Looking into ways of increasing average. Slowing trying to increase cadence. Right now only turning about 65..70 rpm's. i figure the best way to increase speed is to work up to getting a cadence of about 90. My muscles are too weak to do that right now.

    Oh, bike. It's a Giant OCR touring. I swapped out the std 11-32 cassette for a 12-23 cassette so I would have 6 sweet gears in Low/med/high. That part works like a charm. The only problem is my granny is only 35gi and that is a bit high for easy riding.

    I've set up a spreadsheet to track attire with wind chill and getting better about estimating what to wear so ride is comfortable.

    Besides finding 35gi is too high, the biggest surprise is how long the ice/snow remain on the edges of the roadways, especially the north side. Amazing how things you never noticed before are suddenly important.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  17. #42
    chicharron
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    You are a lot more hi-tech and into the technology than I am. I ride a Fuji Cambridge,21 speed comfort bicycle. Not very glamorous, and is more of a bike for a modest budget. I just ride, man. The important thing is that you just ride. I'm glad to see that you are riding in the winter.

  18. #43
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    I had to. Muscles are much weaker than before. Only part that is fun is in going at least 15 mph. That is not yet possible. I sat out 2 weeks for "weather" excuses, but trying to stay the course and ride some thru the winter months. The hardest will be in Feb and March. We'll see.

    I was burned on my previous bike, an old Schwinn Varsity 10-speed. It was too hard to shift between 7th and 8th, 8th and 9th, and especially 9th and 10th. My legs definitely cann't do that anymore. So I got a good bike. I figure after 22 months of commuting, I would have paid for the bike. It actually may be sooner, as I just learned I can save on auto insurance by having it rerated for lower annual mileage.

    Funny you have a Fuji. I had a garage sale Fuji xyz. I rode it once or twice and then just parted it. It was not fun so riding did not hum. Doctor said I needed a lifestyle change so I decided to use biking as my exercise method. Since the bargain garage sale bikes didn't work and I had bought and resold three of those; we decided to get me a new bike so I would be more motivated to keep on pedalling. It's amazing how you can so easily rationalize, I don't have to ride, it's only a $20/$30/$40 garage sale bike. But when it's a one grand bike, suddenly, you have to ride. Kind of like forced motivation. It's not set up really for speed, but it's like a cross between a Hybrid comfort bike and an endurance road bike.

    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. You should be able to ride many days now also. Your snow days probably last longer than ours. The main roads are clear now, it's just the edges that have been inshadows that have to be careful in riding.

    As you said, budget doesn't matter. Doing it does. That is why I started this thread as "huffy puffy". When I started I was really really huffing and puffing to do anything. Now I just notice the leg muscles have not returned fully yet. I still feel them. I expect to not even feel them by the end of Spring. That will be a great milestone for me.

    Anyway, too verbose. have fun biking.....
    Hi 'o Silver away

  19. #44
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    One hill is a killer and I'm between 5.5 and 6.0 mph on it. Luckily it's short.
    What hill is that?

  20. #45
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    It's just a short hill, but steep for me. It's from the bike underpass near 287 under 36 from Hunter Douglas to Interlocken East park by the Omni Hotel.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  21. #46
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    It's just a short hill, but steep for me. It's from the bike underpass near 287 under 36 from Hunter Douglas to Interlocken East park by the Omni Hotel.
    Okay. Thanks. Know where you mean.

  22. #47
    chicharron
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    I thought you would have a lot more snowy days out there in Colorado than we do here in Kansas City. We don't get a lot of snow here in Kansas City, but a lot of ice in January and Febuary. If the temp is above 0 deg.F, and its not raining or snowing or icing, I intend to keep riding.
    Do you do a lot of road trips, or mostly urban commuting? I found that the "posi-shift" gear shiftters on the handle bars like on the hybrids and comfort bikes are less problematic that the friction style on the road racers. Just keep riding. The more you ride, the easier it becomes, and then you become addicted.

  23. #48
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    are less problematic that the friction style on the road racers.
    We no longer use "friction shifters" on road bikes - not for several years now. We now use an indexed system called STI which is hidden in the brake lever.

    Eastern Colorado only gets about 14=15 inches of water per year. Denver has more "sunshine days" than San Diego.

  24. #49
    chicharron
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    Well, there you go. I have a lot to learn about the geography of Colorado, and the current technology of modern road bikes. However, I am really sold on the posi-shift gear shifters on the hybrids. Do you prefer road bikes, or have you considered a hybrid-commuter type bike? Do you take a lot of road trips? If you are in eastern Colorado, I assume that its pretty flat where you live.
    We get a lot of nasty weather here, though. Not a lot of snow. but wet, mean cold, and a lot of ice storms. Also, humid in the summer.

  25. #50
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicharron
    Well, there you go. I have a lot to learn about the geography of Colorado, and the current technology of modern road bikes. However, I am really sold on the posi-shift gear shifters on the hybrids.
    The STI shifts are very nice. You can shift a bunch of gears and drop say from H1 to H9 in one motion. You don't have to step thru the inbetween gears.

    Do you prefer road bikes, or have you considered a hybrid-commuter type bike?
    Yes, yes. It depends on your purpose. Like I mentioned, mine is a cross between a hybrid and a road bike. The next runner up was a hybrid, the Jamis Coda Elite. I really wanted disk brakes but not the full weight and slowness of a mtn bike.

    Do you take a lot of road trips?
    Some do, I don't, at least not yet. I just returned to biking last month.

    If you are in eastern Colorado, I assume that its pretty flat where you live.
    The high plains are very flat. Denver Fox is from southern part of Denver metro area, and I'm where it's a little more hilly. Still not in the mountains, just hills.

    We get a lot of nasty weather here, though. Not a lot of snow. but wet, mean cold, and a lot of ice storms. Also, humid in the summer.
    Interesting, I thought your winter might be more like Iowa. Not a huge amount of snow, but cold temps so the snow would linger and linger. Usually here the snow is gone in 2..3 days. This last one is still around after 5 days, and that is very unusual.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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