Getting back into Cycling
I am just now getting back into cycling after a few years away. I was very active in the mid 80's then had a bad crash that sidelined me and I fell out of riding. Then, back in 2002, I once again realized I needed to do something about my 225 pound setpoint and bought a Marrin Attack Trail mountain bike while on an extended California work trip. I was able to go from 225 pounds to about 175 pounds in about 5 months of riding (about 100-125 miles per week).
Now, I'm back to my 225 pound setpoint and have been inactive for too long so to motivate me to work out I bough an 2009 Trex Madone 4.7 -- sweet! I had just started riding again and I finaly realized that mountain biking wasn't my thing so I opted to get a new road bike (last one was a Canondale). My first observation of riding a road bike after years of just mountain bikes and nearly 20 years without a road bike is that it sure is easier to ride a road bike fast than a mountain bike. Obvious I know but the difference is pretty amazing.
Now I've been using one Polar HRM or another since the mod 80's and still have a 725 but I decided to get the Garmin 705 with cadence and nav data. I like the ability to see upwards of 8 data fields at the same time -- a far cry from the 725. The Garmin software isn't anything to write home about and if I were a MAC guy I'd get Ascent in a heartbeat, but I'm not a MAC guy so what to do. I do hope they port Ascent to the PC.
OK, perhaps a couple questions are in order.
* First, I have a 6 year old NiteRider Firestorm that still gets about 3 hours on a charge but I had to replace the original mount with one that would handle the 31.8mm bars on the Trek -- so, if I decide to change to a new headlight how well do the high intensity LED lights work and how much lighter are they than a NiMH HID system like the Firestorm?
* I used to use Tubular tires on the Canondale and in 5000 miles of riding I never (NEVER) had a flat while the original wheel/tires that came on the Canondale had numerous flats (clincher) -- so, how much difference is there in modern clinchers versus sew-ups?
* For the Canondale I picked up a new set of wheels so as to have a spare but also to switch to sew-ups -- how may of you have a second (or third) set of wheels?
* SEAT ... OK, it has been a while since I rode and am now 52 years old and I guess I'm strugling a bit with my *ss. Common problem I know but what are the better seat/saddle choices out there? I should mention that they granny seat is not an option as I do ride hard and therefore need a seat that's more race oriented. The current seat on the Trek is a Bontrager Race and I may keep it if I get acclimated to it but would appreciate and ideas on a light, race type seat that is on the more comfortable side.
* On bike tools and spares: I have a Novara small bag that has a saddle rail clip and can be twisted on/off in a couple seconds and in it I have (spare tube, tube patch kit, CO2 refiller, 2 tire spoons, wallet with ID and my cell phone) -- What "kit" do others have? I've never used a CO2 refiller before and have no idea how well they work so any feedback here is desireable. I think I should pickup a tool with 3mm, 4mm and 5mm allens -- any other allens needed?
OK, that's it for now,
I'll try to comment on the seat problem...I've found I can tolerate most seats if they are the correct height and level (take into account that 18.5 miles is the most I ride at a time)...bike shorts make for a more comfortable ride also.
As far as tools/patch kit supplies I try to let need determine what I carry. For me its a cheap patch kit (with patches, tube of glue, and 2 or 3 plastic tire levers), a reusable (not CO2) pump, and an extra tube. So far exchanging tubes and fixing the damaged tube later at home has worked well (the glue and patches is for a possible second flat). I've never used CO2, others love it. I think the most important thing is to know how to use the flat repair equipment you have (maybe practice at home) and take into account the advantages and disadvantages of different options (like reusable vs. CO2). I like reusable because its less expensive and I don't have to think about keeping a stock of refills as I use them up. If I had more money/less time and/or more flats (I average about a flat every two months) I might be more open to CO2.
I have a 80's Schwinn that takes a very tiny allen wrench where the water bottle holder attaches. If you want to be safe you could check all possible sizes that your bike may require and make sure you have every allen wrench size that you might need on the road.