Hello from suburban Columbus, Ohio
I suppose I'll sing a familiar song. I had fallen completely away from exercizing at 48, and was fat and out of shape. I was/am being treated for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I saw an article in USA Today about comfort bikes, and decided to buy the highest-rated one (a GT Jetstream). I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, but also by how much I didn't enjoy being on the road around cars. I'd better not express my real opinion about how much the behavior of ordinary drivers has detereorated in the past 20 years, since I just signed a civility pledge to get registered on this board!
I discovered some local bike trails, and gradually found myself going further. Unfortunately, I couldn't safely reach a trail over 1 1/2 miles long without carrying my bike on a car, and after using a strap-on (which scratched the paint fairly badly), I had roof racks added to my station wagon.
The first year I had my comfort bike, I thought 10 miles was a long bike ride. The second year, after I discovered bike shorts, I thought 30 miles was a long ride. I began to sign up for a few local tours run by Columbus Outdoors Pursuits, and got ambitious. I set a goal for myself of half TOSRV last year. (TOSRV, the Tour of the Scioto River Valley, is an annual ride from Columbus to Portsmouth, 105 miles each way, over Mother's Day Weekend. Half TOSRV starts in Chillicothe, and so is about 50 miles each way). I had a great time and found I could ride that far, but also found that the, er, place where my body comes into contact with the bicycle, was stressed past it's comfort limit on the second day. My legs could take riding that far, but that nearby anatomical structure couldn't
If I was to go farther, it wasn't going to be on a comfort bike. So I did what any self-respecting obese AARP member would do - I got a long wheelbase recumbent! A RANS Stratus.
(And, yes, bike fanatics, I have given them nicknames. They're Dorothy and Lillian. Drop me a line if you get it.)
My goal for this year was to do 3/4 TOSRV - ride to Waverly (70 miles from Columbus), where hotel reservations aren't quite heritible estates the way they are in Portsmouth the night before Mother's Day. Despite pretty bad weather (thunderstorms Saturday, an ugly crosswind Sunday) I had a wonderful time. I even got my senior citizen discount using my AARP card when I checked in after the first day of the ride, which I think is a marvelous joke!
I already have a room reserved in Waverly for the evening of May 8, 2004. I even have hopes my wife may join me, perhaps by driving part of the way.
I have found some difficulty finding bicyclists to ride with. Generally, the good ones go a great deal faster than I. I have had to learn things from the web, and on my own. I have joined the local recumbent club, which is dedicated to riding the local railtrails at a speed with which I am also comfortable, so that works well at least once a month. Most of the rest of the time, on weekends, I follow a 30 mile route on the longest local trail, the Olentangy, which runs north & south through the center of Columbus and the Ohio State campus.
And now to my question. I still ride on plain pedals, and am beginning to notice a little knee pain. My local bike shop would't sell me clipless pedals because I'm so duckfooted that they couldn't adjust the cleats enough. I did have them put old-fashioned toe clips on my diamond-framed bike, but the one day I tried them I just fooled around the neighborhood slowly for about 6 miles learning to get in and out, and then found I had a quite tender right knee for several days thereafter. I then took the clips back off. Is there anyone else with this problem and experience to impart? I do plan to add pedal extenders.
Pauncho, Welcome to Bike Forums! Although I can't help you with the pedals, I just wanted to congratulate you on your TOSRV experience. I rode TOSRV when I was 16 years old and worked at American Youth Hostels and didn't ride it again until 2001. I talked my husband and two college-aged daughters to participate as a mothers's day gift to me. With only 100 miles between all of us, we completed day 1. I haven't been able to get the girls on a bike since, but my husband will ocassionaly ride. When I first started riding, it was difficult to keep up with the other club riders. If the ride was 30 miles long, I would start 30 minutes ahead and try to ride with them for 5 miles. It took a year, but I got my speed up. Our club is trying to have a beginners ride once a week. If you can ride in the rain and the 20-30 mph crosswind, and back-to-back days of 75 miles, you are doing excellent.