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  1. #1
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    Maybe it really is about the bike

    Today I took my usual 26 mile ride along the coast and was pretty much enjoying myself with a tail wind cruising along at 20 mph when a guy I have seen before went whizzing past while giving a jolly wave. He was helmetless and I could not help notice that his rather rotund physique and outward splayed knees had no trouble moving his newer, thinner bike along miles faster than myself.

    This was a considerable blow to my newly developed biking ego but I consoled myself that he was probably 10-15 years younger than myself. I did have the satisfaction on the way home of passing a woman half my age who was also riding a better bike than mine. Think one reason I am holding off on buying a better bike is that there is the possibility that Lance was right. Even on a newer lighter bike with brake/shifters and skinnier tires I may still end up being 75.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

  2. #2
    Senior Member hshearer's Avatar
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    I doubt he was going for a 26 mile ride, like you were. Anyone can be fast for a few minutes. The important thing is that you enjoy your bike, enjoy riding it, and feel good while you keep your fitness up.

    Of course, you could always test ride a few bikes from your LBS over the course of a few days or weeks, and pair each ride with an identical ride on your current bike (same day, same route, same effort). Average the differences in your speed/time, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what a difference a new bike would make. You might also have a new bike using this method, though.

  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hshearer View Post
    I doubt he was going for a 26 mile ride, like you were. Anyone can be fast for a few minutes.
    Rule #1 in cycling, don't assume the others aren't just plain ol fast! I've seen plenty of cyclist that don't fit the mold hauling hiney!

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Its alright for these youngsters to use up all their enegy on a 26 mile ride- but could they do a Century ride and still be able to give you a jolly Wave????

    He probably could-but some of your problem is down to you. You class yourself as an older rider- you have to respect your knees and as the eysesight is failing (Just a bit)- you keep the pace down so you can view the scenery. Then on top of that you ride an old bike that should have been serviced quite a few miles ago and it does not have the latest lightweight parts fitted to the Carbon fibre frame that everyone seems to be using nowadays.

    So get down the LBS and sort out that N+1. It may not make you faster- but you can potter along and enjoy the ride even more on the latest go- faster bike in the colour of your choice.
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  5. #5
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    It's better to ride a bike that is known to be slow, such as a touring bike or mountain bike then when someone passes you there is a handy reason why, much less damaging to the ego this way. An alternative is to carry a rack pack or pannier then the reason is evident to everyone. Seriously if you ride alone does speed really matter just enjoy the ride.

    Allen

  6. #6
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    i think the equipment is always a factor but you cant put any slug on a nice bike and have him perform well. This guy might have been fresh or maybe just gave it a little extra so he didnt look weak.

    my father in law is in far better overall condition than I am. He is 60 and retired, he has time to ride daily. I on the other hand, not so lucky. My bike might be a little nicer than his, or maybe not but my youth helps me keep up. When we ride together, we usually alternate leading... he is easy to overtake when climbing but I do 90% of my riding on hills, he does maybe 20%. There are so many more variables than just age, or size, or equipment. there are a lot of fatties out there that are in better shape than they look, and a lot of guys who appear young and strong but cant hang.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    In my experience, the bike can make a BIG difference.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Rule #1 in cycling, don't assume the others aren't just plain ol fast! I've seen plenty of cyclist that don't fit the mold hauling hiney!
    +1 I was going to say I saw the same guy passing me on his hybrid with black socks and dress shoes! Regardless of his cycling attire, his legs were moving him quite well with what seemed to this middle-aged lady to be very little effort! It made me smile in admiration!
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  9. #9
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    If you look at the elite level of riders, all are using modern lightweight racers... some are 15 lbs and some are 17 lbs, but nothing about any one bike gives anyone a distinct advantage. Nothing you can do to a lightweight racing bike will make it much faster than another lightweight racing bike.

    However, a lightweight racing bike is faster than a hybrid or old touring bike with wide tires.
    The bike does make a difference, but when everyone has a similar bike, it's not about the bike.

    Another way to look at it: The bike can not make win the race, but it sure can make you lose it!

    One very important thing to remember - tires are the biggest factor in a properly maintained bike's potential - wide soft tires are slower than narrow hard tires, and tires with aggressive tread are slower than slicks, and no matter how much you spend on tires, your bike will feel slow if you don't keep them properly inflated.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    there are a lot of fatties out there that are in better shape than they look, and a lot of guys who appear young and strong but cant hang.
    This reminds me of a solo century I was on when some dude on a sweet Italian racing machine jumped on the road behind me and started what he thought was a race. He sprinted around then faded several times within a 5 mile section of the road. Once again I caught up without much effort. The guy said, "You're a strong rider" then asked how far up the road I was headed. I told the guy that I was on a solo century and was just hitting mile 95 of the 100. "WHAT! you easily caught up to me!" he said. Then he asked if I had done much cycling., Well I did 7300 miles that year, he was shocked. He asked my time on the century that day and I responded that I'd complete it within 5:45 like I had several other times.

    Then he said 7300 miles, but you're still so fat!...I thought I was thin at 220 lbs

    So yeah ,there are some fatties that can ride!

    Then I said, " yeah but I easily caught you after doing 95 miles" . He just said, "I guess I shlould be ashamed of myself" then faded back!


    Fat me at 220 lbs on the Alpine Challenge (62 miles 6,700ft of climbing)

  11. #11
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Then he said 7300 miles, but you're still so fat!...I thought I was thin at 220 lbs
    ...
    Fat me at 220 lbs on the Alpine Challenge (62 miles 6,700ft of climbing)
    I wish I was fat like you in that picture. Here I thought I needed to lose about 10# of winter weight. Now it looks more like 20#.

  12. #12
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Riding an older/lower-end bike not only preserves your ego when higher-end/carbon bikes pass you, it is also that much more gratifying when you pass those kinds of bikes.
    OR you can just enjoy your ride and keep your ego out of it. (And please PM me if you can find a way to do this; after nearly 3 decades of riding, I still don't know how.)
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
    Well, if you are gonna carry a snapped frame all the way home. It might as well be light weight carbon fiber.

  13. #13
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Lighter bike does make difference but does it matter for you? If you want ride fast and race others then get a lighter bike. I prefer slower pace so I can look around and always like to carry some stuff with me and I don't care if others pass me on faster bikes. Fast ride is not fun for me as I need to focus more on the road ahead and have less opportunity to check things out around me. It's not about the ego either, it's about enjoying the ride.

    Adam

  14. #14
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    I'm a utility cyclist, and I started getting serious about five years ago. I remember the awesome feeling of switching from knobbies to slicks.

    Now I'm riding with some fat 85 PSI slicks, and it's awesomeness all over again.

    So yeah, the equipment matters, I think. But is the purpose of riding bicycles to go fast? (If you aren't being timed for money?) Or is the purpose to get onto a machine that suits you and go as fast as it allows you to? I think the latter makes more sense for the amateur racer.

    Of course, as a utility rider, my purpose for cycling is to haul absurd things around. But to each their own.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  15. #15
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Lighter bike does make difference but does it matter for you? If you want ride fast and race others then get a lighter bike. I prefer slower pace so I can look around and always like to carry some stuff with me and I don't care if other pass me on faster bikes. Fast ride is not fun for me as I need to focus more on the road ahead and have less opportunity to check things out around me.

    Adam

    I agree 110%. I am much too nosey to care about speed while enjoying a ride. If I worried about speed, I would not notice all of the dropped money on the ground
    Two Wheels One Love

  16. #16
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, basically one of the many reasons I like to ride a bike is that you get a different perspective on the world, you see more things than you see while driving a car or riding a bus. I'm sure folks in the Touring forum would agree But even when commuting through city streets I find it interesting to look around: you see interesting people, you see interesting buildings that you never knew they were there, I look at airplanes and choppers, check out new streets and detours, contemplate the bridge before riding over it, or find money, cell phones So for me, speed really doesn't matter. I cruise to work, I'm out to enjoy the ride and the world around me, not to race. On a nice day I stop by a park and relax for a bit. Racing to work is cagers' thing, not mine. When you realize that then your ego should take a backseat.

  17. #17
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    All good advice. Actually when I first posted on this forum I talked about how my first few rides were just wonderful easy opportunities to enjoy my surroundings. Don't know what happened. Maybe I am going through a mid life crisis at age 75. Or maybe I have been looking at too many of those racing videos my son-in-law lent me, or maybe I am really more competitive than I thought. In any case I do enjoy cycling since having taken it up again after some years off. And when I was working I did just enjoy the freedom and easy enjoyment of getting to or from work with a good relaxed feeling afterward. In any case if I buy a better bike I may be a little faster but I will have to give up the excuse of just having an old bike. Probably will test drive a few in the next month or so.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

  18. #18
    Hills hurt.. Couches kill RacerOne's Avatar
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    A lighter bike really won't make a difference until you can at least see your abs.

  19. #19
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerOne View Post
    A lighter bike really won't make a difference until you can at least see your abs.
    That's not happening any time soon, so I guess I'll stick to my heavy bike

    A.

  20. #20
    (this space for rent) Gavush's Avatar
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    first, I'd say I'm an average rider. Definitely not what I'd call "a fast guy" - I've caught up with, chatted a bit with, and passed several folks on nice fancy road bikes while on my mtb w/ skinny tires. I've also had one guy on a nice road bike come huffing and puffing up from behind say "Man! I've been trying to catch you forever! Wait, what is that, a hybrid??" I did the local MS150 on my mtb in '08, and my road bike in '09 and suffered a 2mph average loss having ridden half the training miles I did the previous year, So for me, nah, not always about the bike.

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Depends on the riding- My average speed on rides round here is about 14 to 15 mph. plenty of hills and miles. My bikes are pretty good and are light But last year I did a 21mph average ride on a bike on a completey flat course. Also had a bit of a disadvantage as I had a bit of weight to the bike aswell.

    I found that acceleration at the 3 hairpins was slow but once up to speed- I just did not slow down.
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  22. #22
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    I had a 2006 Specialized Allez triple. I now have a 2009 Specialized Sirrus. The Allez was smoking hot compared to the Sirrus. The sirrus isnt slow, but because of the mountain gearing there are gaps in the cassette that cause cadence problems. Once I get my legs back into cycling shape, I think I might buy a different cassette, maybe a 11-28 instead of the 11-32 that is on there now. 28x28 should get me up most any hill I need to climb. That would help me speed up my rides. But I am not too concerned with speed... It would be nice to have less gear gap on the rear cluster though.

    The Allez was lighter (by a few pounds) and much more aero. But I enjoy riding the Sirrus more, it doesnt seem like work, untill I face a headwind that is! I could never get used to the drop bars, crappy brakes or brifters of the Allez.

    Dont worry about speed. Heck when I ride with my girlfriend (a bit slower pace...) I can ride 3x as long. Unless you are racing, for money, Speed is over rated. But, this is from somone who drives a Dodge Neon... Hehe

    Sometimes it IS the bike. I could never ride my Allez slow. It begged to be pushed. But I now see stuff i missed, and I like that!

  23. #23
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Funny, yesterday on my way home (extended route due to nice weather) a guy on a road bike in full outfit was trying to race me (me: MTB with front and rear panniers and 2.1 tires) for some weird reason, maybe he thought I was an easy target. I was crusing at around 15mph minding my own business. I didn't even bother with him until I realized he wanted to pass me (traffic), so I let him pass me, he gave my that "Ha ha!" look. So I was like WTF? I picked up to around 25mph. He was obviously out of shape and unskilled with navigating in traffic so I left him way behind me quickly. Few lights later he caught up, stayed behind didn't pull up, I looked back, he looked like he was about to spit his lungs out while I was breathing normally. He avoided eye contact and was obviously mad/embarrassed. Why do people do this?

  24. #24
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
    ... one reason I am holding off on buying a better bike is that there is the possibility that Lance was right. Even on a newer lighter bike with brake/shifters and skinnier tires I may still end up being 75.
    The title to Lance's book was It's not About the Bike but it's often taken out of that context to mean that all bikes are the same. Bikes are different; otherwise there'd be a much smaller market for new bikes.

  25. #25
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    Plays in traffic tsl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    In my experience, the bike can make a BIG difference.
    Yeah, but you're the only 'bent rider I've met who doesn't just noodle along at barely over wobble speed. I think you'd be a fast cyclist on anything you chose to ride.
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