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Old 08-26-15, 08:30 PM   #1
princess
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Need some advice for moving my bike around, keep earning bruises!

Hi, this post will no doubt be a bit of a laugh for some of you. I have just begun cycling in an urban environment after 15 years of not biking. I've been cycling a few times a week for a month or so now. I don't trust my bike won't be stolen if I keep it locked up outside on a bike rack, and I also want to keep it out of the weather, so I keep it in the storage unit for my apartment.

Biking around the city has been wonderful, the biggest drawback so far has been getting my bike in and out of my apartment building. To get my bike back in after a ride, I need to go up two flights of stairs, get it through 2 glass pull doors, into a tiny elevator from the 40s (no automatic door there either), out again, through a series of tight-cornered, narrow hallways in the basement, through two more locking doors, and into my storage locker. Reverse the process for leaving.

I usually wind up with at least one or two bruises on my legs as a result of manipulating my bike through all these annoying passages, stairs, and doorways. At one point I had over twenty bruises on both my legs, and I decided to take a break from cycling for a week or two to let them heal, but am right back to collecting them again as soon as I started back up. It seems to be the pedals that smack into me the most, but sometimes it's a wheel or the frame, especially when hoisting it up or down stairs. I may be the clumsiest person in the entire world, or maybe I just need some tips about how to move my bike around in tight spaces without bashing it into myself at every opportunity. I don't have a great deal of upper body strength and am a real wimp strength wise, though I am not overweight and don't take up an unreasonable amount of space (5'6" 125lbs).

I'm feeling rather discouraged and down on myself after a really bad bruise yesterday. I love biking, but I'm wondering if this nonstop personal injury is worth it. Maybe it's just part of the learning process, or maybe I'll be stuck with bruising myself every day for the rest of my biking life.

Thanks for any tips!
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Old 08-26-15, 09:08 PM   #2
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Old 08-26-15, 11:53 PM   #3
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Old 08-27-15, 12:35 AM   #4
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Hi, this post will no doubt be a bit of a laugh for some of you. I have just begun cycling in an urban environment after 15 years of not biking. I've been cycling a few times a week for a month or so now. I don't trust my bike won't be stolen if I keep it locked up outside on a bike rack, and I also want to keep it out of the weather, so I keep it in the storage unit for my apartment.

Biking around the city has been wonderful, the biggest drawback so far has been getting my bike in and out of my apartment building. To get my bike back in after a ride, I need to go up two flights of stairs, get it through 2 glass pull doors, into a tiny elevator from the 40s (no automatic door there either), out again, through a series of tight-cornered, narrow hallways in the basement, through two more locking doors, and into my storage locker. Reverse the process for leaving.

I usually wind up with at least one or two bruises on my legs as a result of manipulating my bike through all these annoying passages, stairs, and doorways. At one point I had over twenty bruises on both my legs, and I decided to take a break from cycling for a week or two to let them heal, but am right back to collecting them again as soon as I started back up. It seems to be the pedals that smack into me the most, but sometimes it's a wheel or the frame, especially when hoisting it up or down stairs. I may be the clumsiest person in the entire world, or maybe I just need some tips about how to move my bike around in tight spaces without bashing it into myself at every opportunity. I don't have a great deal of upper body strength and am a real wimp strength wise, though I am not overweight and don't take up an unreasonable amount of space (5'6" 125lbs).

I'm feeling rather discouraged and down on myself after a really bad bruise yesterday. I love biking, but I'm wondering if this nonstop personal injury is worth it. Maybe it's just part of the learning process, or maybe I'll be stuck with bruising myself every day for the rest of my biking life.

Thanks for any tips!
Have you tried carrying the bike like a cyclocross racer does, with your shoulder inside the diamond frame?

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Old 08-27-15, 01:13 AM   #5
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No, I've never seen that carry. I will give it a go. I carry it on my shoulder sometimes but its..., well, it doesn't look like that! I don't think that hold will work when I have a milk crate of groceries on the back, but it looks more stable and out of the way than my current attempts.

I saw this in my research on how to lug a bike around. Does anyone have experience with a device like it? I may try to rig a DIY version.

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Old 08-27-15, 01:55 AM   #6
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Make sure you have a lightweight bike, no heavier than it needs to be.
I use a CX carry for apartment staircases. If you like this carry, chose a bike with suitable cable routing. Cables underneath the top-tube can interfere. CX carry needs a man's style top-tube. Horizonal ones are easier to shoulder than modern-style, sloped (compact) ones. If you have a step-through woman's frame, I can see the need for a handle, but you have to support all the weight by hand. Can you use a sling between saddle and bars?
Never carry your bike transmission side towards you !.
Smaller wheels can make a bike more manageable. using MTB 26" rather than 700c can help in tight spots. 24" is a really useful size but sadly ignored. 20" BMX wheels are used on some urban mini-bikes.

If metal pedals are hurting, fit some high grade plastic, eg BMX ones.

Last edited by MichaelW; 08-27-15 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 08-27-15, 01:57 AM   #7
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That one looks good, princess, but only if you have room for it with the twists and turns it sounds like you have to make on the way up. The cyclocross method might work, too.
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Old 08-27-15, 03:50 AM   #8
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This might work for you. When moving around the cars in my garage I'll stand my bike up with the front wheel straight up and roll it along on the rear wheel being sure to have my hand on the rear brake lever. It makes tight spaced turns much easier. To easily get the front wheel up, just hold the rear brake and pull it backward by the handlebars, to lower it, do the opposite, hold the rear brake and walk forward.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:02 AM   #9
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I recommend you purchase a folding bike. That will solve the problem.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:16 AM   #10
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I recommend you purchase a folding bike. That will solve the problem.
+100
Had a similar challenge with limited space, multiple flights of narrow stairs and concerns about theft.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:16 AM   #11
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Sound like you live in a prison! They don't have a utility shed or something they'll give you access to? I have one door to navigate & it's still a PITA. I can't imagine...
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Old 08-27-15, 05:24 AM   #12
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Have you thought about folding pedals like those many folding bikes have? That would get them mostly out of your way and may make the bike a bit easier to store.

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Old 08-27-15, 06:35 AM   #13
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The expense of moving would certainly be more than buying a folding bike, so probably not the right solution. The other suggestions were pretty good. Getting the lightest bike possible, standing the bike up vertically (works better if you don't have fenders), folding pedals or folding bike.

My own retrieval for my bike is not is involved as yours but a pain in the rear end due mostly to security devices I have to protect my investment. When I just don't want to go through all this, I just grab my Brompton inside my condo and off I go.

With that said you will eventually get better at bike maneuvering with practice. Good luck.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:25 AM   #14
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They have frame bags that brovide a shoulder cushion for that cyclocross carry. I have bought a couple for my road bike. Not so much to carry it, but to carry small incidentals.
Bontrager Shoulder Holder Bag - Bird Legs Bicycles | Freedom on Wheels | Tallahassee Jacksonville Florida
I have bought less expensive models, but you get what you pay for and the cheap ones always tear around the zipper. The current one was about this price and has lasted longer, but I no longer ride the road bike as much.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:57 AM   #15
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That sounds like a pretty challenging problem. I'm thinking that each doorway and corner presents its own unique opportunity to "do it smarter" within the limits of your strength and the space available.

Have there been times when you've navigated through parts without bruises and bumps? What did you do successfully? Can this be learned and repeated? Is there a particularly tough spot that always results in a bruise? Then, that one needs to be re-thought. Maybe a sling carry can help in some areas, but not others.

As you get stronger and learn by doing, maybe it'll improve? Good luck.
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Old 08-27-15, 12:45 PM   #16
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Wow, thanks for all these great tips! This is really helpful.

I don't live in a prison! Just a very old building. I would love to move but it's not in the cards for me right now. Neither is buying a new bike (both are money related issues), though both of these suggestions would indeed solve my problem. I'm starting to think that this bike is just too big for me. My husband's bike, which has a smaller frame but the same sized wheels, is easier to move around the hallways and fits more neatly in the small elevator. However, it is also heavier and harder for me to hoist to my shoulder, and I also just don't enjoy riding it.

I will try some of these techniques - standing the bike up by holding the brake is an especially good tip. I didn't know how to do that! I think I need to start having daily practice sessions where I stand the bike up and walk it about, and hoist it to my shoulder in different ways.

My bike is a Schwinn Frontier 1999. It has been modded with a rear rack/milk crate for grocery carrying, which does add a bit to the overall weight of the bike. I'm beginning to think I should put some kind of foam bumpers on the corners of the pedals. I also replaced the quick release tires with anti theft skewers, or I'd consider removing the tires and making two trips into the building.
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Old 08-27-15, 01:00 PM   #17
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This might work for you. When moving around the cars in my garage I'll stand my bike up with the front wheel straight up and roll it along on the rear wheel being sure to have my hand on the rear brake lever. It makes tight spaced turns much easier. To easily get the front wheel up, just hold the rear brake and pull it backward by the handlebars, to lower it, do the opposite, hold the rear brake and walk forward.
This. That's how to manoevre a road bike through tight spaces.
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Old 08-27-15, 01:48 PM   #18
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I agree with what @RobertL said, it is how I move my bikes around in tight spaces. Saw a gent at an bike shop doing that years ago and found it easier to move up and down the stairs as well.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:50 PM   #19
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This might work for you. When moving around the cars in my garage I'll stand my bike up with the front wheel straight up and roll it along on the rear wheel being sure to have my hand on the rear brake lever. It makes tight spaced turns much easier. To easily get the front wheel up, just hold the rear brake and pull it backward by the handlebars, to lower it, do the opposite, hold the rear brake and walk forward.
I do this to take my bike downstairs.

Going up the stairs, I grab the seat tube with my arm going over the top tube or seat.

GH
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Old 08-27-15, 05:22 PM   #20
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This might work for you. When moving around the cars in my garage I'll stand my bike up with the front wheel straight up and roll it along on the rear wheel being sure to have my hand on the rear brake lever. It makes tight spaced turns much easier. To easily get the front wheel up, just hold the rear brake and pull it backward by the handlebars, to lower it, do the opposite, hold the rear brake and walk forward.
I vote for this solution. Simple, work-able, and cheap.
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