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  1. #1
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    5 Week Report on Townie

    I bought a Townie 21 700c in early January and have ridden it four out of the past five weekends. So, I figured it was time for a status report. I am strictly a recreational rider with no aspirations to go any further. My goal is to get off my ample behind and go riding around 4 times a week and maybe lose 10-15 lbs.

    For me, the Townie has turned out to be almost perfect. Since I had never owned a bike with more than 3 speeds, I was a little wary of 21 speeds. But, I find myself using the middle 7 speeds a lot and really like having them. I seldom use the top or bottom 7 speeds, but I probably will as I ride more. It didn't take very long to get used to the crank forward configuration on the Townie. I still have trouble standing up on the pedals. but with the amount of oomph I can get from the seat, I really don't have any need to stand up on the pedals. The upright riding position is perfect for my persnickety neck condition (2 cervical disc fusions). I have not had any sore necks from riding, and that was certainly not the case with my old Schwinn.

    The only thing I have added to the bike so far is a gel pad for the seat and two bottle cages. I'm going to have a bike computer put on shortly, so I can track my mileage. So far, I've only tracked time riding and am curious as to how far I am going in my 1 hour of riding.

    I find myself looking forward to being able to ride on the Townie. I can only ride on weekends until the days get longer. It's a pleasure to ride a bike that fits me so well and is fun to ride. No problems have cropped up on the bike so far. I need to learn how to do simple maintenance, so I can keep it in good shape. I'm going to take it back to the LBS I bought it from for a 60 day checkup/adjustment and to have the computer installed.

    The 700c wheels make a pretty big difference, I think. I rode a normal Townie 21 at one LBS and really wasn't impressed. I then rode this 21 with 700c wheels at another LBS and it just felt right. Maybe it was my imagination, but this one felt like it was smoother and faster.

    So, all is good for me. I even bought a couple of pair of big man bike underliners to wear under my baggy shorts (from aerotech). I can't wait to get them.

    Sorry for the longish post. Thanks to everyone for their support.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  2. #2
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Sounds good.

    Don't be surprised if your "top" 7 speeds or your "bottom" 7 speeds don't actually have a lot of overlap with the middle 7 speeds. In any event, you just use what works.

    I've had a speedometer on my bikes for a while now and really like it. I noticed one spot on my local ride seemed like it was uphill both ways. Got my speedometer on and found out that due to some open road there, I was actually going faster there than I do elsewhere, although it didn't seem like it. And I try to beat my best average speed on one of my routes as a measure of how or if I've improved.

    What part of TX are you in, by the way? Dallas area here.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  3. #3
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    "What part of TX are you in, by the way? Dallas area here."

    Hi Stephen,

    I'm in Allen. Right now, I mostly ride on the streets in my subdivision, since I'm not confident enough to get on the major roads, and the MUP trails are pretty crowded. How about you?

    Thanks for the info on speedometers. I'm anxious to get one on my bike.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  4. #4
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bean27
    I still have trouble standing up on the pedals.
    It wasn't designed for standing. That's done with a real bike (road bike).
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    In the evenings, I ride partly on local streets, partly on the Duck Creek Greenbelt in Garland (where I live, btw). I've been going over to the White Rock Creek trail up by 635 and riding down to and around White Rock Lake on weekends.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    It wasn't designed for standing. That's done with a real bike (road bike).
    I often stand up on the pedals of any bike I own, MTBs, Hybrids, cruisers, "muscle bike," a.k.a. '71 Schwinn Fair Lady and road bikes if I am trying to get an extra burst of power and speed, especially on hills and, I think all of my bikes are quite real.
    Last edited by DynamicD74; 02-13-08 at 11:22 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bean27 View Post
    I bought a Townie 21 700c in early January <SNIP>

    But, I find myself using the middle 7 speeds a lot and really like having them. I seldom use the top or bottom 7 speeds, but I probably will as I ride more.
    <SNIP>
    The only thing I have added to the bike so far is a gel pad for the seat and two bottle cages. I'm going to have a bike computer put on shortly, so I can track my mileage. So far, I've only tracked time riding and am curious as to how far I am going in my 1 hour of riding.
    <SNIP>
    Sorry for the longish post. Thanks to everyone for their support.
    Don't worry about using mostly the middle range, that is completely normal. You will appreciate the lower gears when you have a windy day and you have to head straight into 20 MPH wind. You may be able to plan riding on flat terrain, but sooner or later you'll be caught by some wind. Who cares how slow you end up going, all that matter is that you make progress. You won't have to push harder than your body can handle. I had some wicked 20 MPH solid wind with gusts up to 35 MPH a few weeks, there were sections of my ride where I was barely going 8 MPH and it shure took a while to get to my destination. The good thing was that the wind was at my back on the way back. I was able to use my high gears and crank at up to 31 MPH... I felt like Lance Armstrong flying down the road.

    Do watch your posterior. Most cyclists realy don't like the gel pads and for good reason. The pads tend to move around and can cause quite a bit more friction on your bottom then needed. You also need to ensure that your ischial tuberosities (sits bones) are properly supported. saddles are an extreamly person choice. If your saddle is not comfortable go to a chop that lets you try them for a bit. Going too wide is just as much of a problem as going to narrow, so don't assume that mega-wide is good either.

    I love having a computer on my bike. From a quality perspective I have a Sigma that is very nicely made, simple, and inexpensive. I also have a Planet Bike Protegé 9. The BP unit isn't quite as nice quality wise as the Sigma, but I like the temp guage and the large screen. Look for specials at either your LBS or on-line. I paid about $20 for the Sigma and around $30 for the PB unit. Just last week I broke the 200 mile mark. I've been riding daily since April 2007 and only ride about 10 miles per day... amazing how that all adds up.

    Enjoy your rides!
    André

  8. #8
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrelam View Post
    Don't worry about using mostly the middle range, that is completely normal. You will appreciate the lower gears when you have a windy day and you have to head straight into 20 MPH wind. You may be able to plan riding on flat terrain, but sooner or later you'll be caught by some wind. Who cares how slow you end up going, all that matter is that you make progress. You won't have to push harder than your body can handle. I had some wicked 20 MPH solid wind with gusts up to 35 MPH a few weeks, there were sections of my ride where I was barely going 8 MPH and it shure took a while to get to my destination. The good thing was that the wind was at my back on the way back. I was able to use my high gears and crank at up to 31 MPH... I felt like Lance Armstrong flying down the road.

    Do watch your posterior. Most cyclists realy don't like the gel pads and for good reason. The pads tend to move around and can cause quite a bit more friction on your bottom then needed. You also need to ensure that your ischial tuberosities (sits bones) are properly supported. saddles are an extreamly person choice. If your saddle is not comfortable go to a chop that lets you try them for a bit. Going too wide is just as much of a problem as going to narrow, so don't assume that mega-wide is good either.

    I love having a computer on my bike. From a quality perspective I have a Sigma that is very nicely made, simple, and inexpensive. I also have a Planet Bike Protegé 9. The BP unit isn't quite as nice quality wise as the Sigma, but I like the temp guage and the large screen. Look for specials at either your LBS or on-line. I paid about $20 for the Sigma and around $30 for the PB unit. Just last week I broke the 200 mile mark. I've been riding daily since April 2007 and only ride about 10 miles per day... amazing how that all adds up.

    Enjoy your rides!
    André
    Thanks André! I really appreciate the input. So far, the gel pad is doing it's job, but I'm not spending over an hour in the saddle. If I start to have some discomfort, I will explore other options. Good input on the bike computer also.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  9. #9
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    In the evenings, I ride partly on local streets, partly on the Duck Creek Greenbelt in Garland (where I live, btw). I've been going over to the White Rock Creek trail up by 635 and riding down to and around White Rock Lake on weekends.
    Hi Stephen. I've thought about trying the WRC trail, but will probably wait until I get more miles and confidence.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  10. #10
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    If you can stand up on the townie 21, you are a better cyclist than I. Of course the townie 21 has such a big grannie gear, I can't imagine needing to stand up on the thing.

  11. #11
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bean27 View Post
    "What part of TX are you in, by the way? Dallas area here."

    Hi Stephen,

    I'm in Allen. Right now, I mostly ride on the streets in my subdivision, since I'm not confident enough to get on the major roads, and the MUP trails are pretty crowded. How about you?

    Thanks for the info on speedometers. I'm anxious to get one on my bike.

    I live in Allen too! Eastside over by Story Elementary. We were looking at the Townie today in REI. Took them for a spin. Actually the wife was looking at the Townie 8 and I was riding the Rat Rod. Townie beats it hands down. We're also looking at the Trek version of this bike (can't remember what they call theirs).
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  12. #12
    Spandex free since 1963! HauntedMyst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
    If you can stand up on the townie 21, you are a better cyclist than I. Of course the townie 21 has such a big grannie gear, I can't imagine needing to stand up on the thing.

    If you ever had one as a kid, you'll find standing & pedalling on the townie isn't that much different then standing & pedalling on a Schwinn Stringray. It actually made me smile the first time I did it because it reminded me of being 10 again.

  13. #13
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggus View Post
    I live in Allen too! Eastside over by Story Elementary. We were looking at the Townie today in REI. Took them for a spin. Actually the wife was looking at the Townie 8 and I was riding the Rat Rod. Townie beats it hands down. We're also looking at the Trek version of this bike (can't remember what they call theirs).
    Small world, huh? I don't think you could go wrong with either the Trek or the Townie. I got my Townie at Richardson Bike Mart and they were very good to deal with.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  14. #14
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    Yep

    Just though I'd chime in. I'm new here.

    I recently bought the Townie 21 -- the one with the 26" wheels. Got it at Plano Cycling. The black one -- waaay punk rock!

    I found the bike while looking for a bike I thought my wife would enjoy. Test rode the Townie and dug it. Super fun ride. I have been riding a 1996 Giant mountain bike for, well, since 1996. I'm not good, but I do ride.

    OK -- I rode from my house in Richardson down to the Whiterock Creek trailhead at Valley View park, down to the lake, and back to my house yesterday. On the Townie.

    23.3 miles. 2 hours 13 minutes. Not a super fast ride, clearly, but I wasn't in a hurry and it was really nice to sit up and actually see my environment while I was riding. I found the bike pretty good for a 23 mile, leisurely ride. There was a lot of mud-slop on parts of the trail -- very slippery. The fat tires handled those spots quite well. I think I'm going to add some fenders.

    I discovered on my first ride that standing up for extra power on the Townie doesn't work. Tried it climbing a hill. First, you are too far forward. 2nd, you get a pogo stick effect from the front shock. Sit down, shift into the granny great, and use your legs. If you stand up you will be defeated.

    Now, I think about 25 miles is the farthest I'd want to ride my Townie. Great bike, but obviously it isn't designed for efficient fast distance travel. It is for recreation, riding to a friends house, going to the store, and riding to work. On a previous ride of 13 miles it was great. I didn't really start to feel the inefficiency until I hit 17 miles yesterday.

    We have the female version of the bike on order for my wife, who test rode mine before I bought it and had a mile-wide grin on her face.

    Sorry for the long first-real post. Just wanted to talk.

    Edit -- one thing to add. Traveling wih the Townie. Due to the Townie's frame geometry (and the fact that is is kind of a long bike), it may hang really weird on a trunk rack. In fact, mine hangs so that one tire is right in front of my exhaust pipe, so I have to remove the that wheel to prevent the hot exhaust from damaging it. This makes it heavier on one side, making it tweek my rack a bit. So I just take the wheel off and put it inside my hatchback -- and it barely fits. A roof rack will probably be purchased next month.
    Last edited by electrafreak; 02-18-08 at 10:54 AM.
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    My wife has one

    I bought my wife a small road bike and she hated it. I bought her a wonderful trek 7300 that she loved, but her hands went numb after only a couple miles. So I bought her a 700c 21sp Townie last summer, and she absolutely loves it. Her hand numbness is gone, and she enjoys riding with the family. (whew... was getting expensive)

    Anyway I *upgraded* her bike this winter. It now has hand built fairly light but strong road wheels built with Ultegra hubs and mavic rims. We still have the balloon tires in case we need them, but mounted lightweight 32mm tires for our railtrail. It didn't shift well into that megagear thingy, so it now has an SRAM 9 speed cassette, sram x.9 dérailleurs, x.7 trigger shifters and it shifts into all gears very well with good spacing.

    Ooops, accidentally doubled the price of her bike! But we plan some long rides this summer. Currently were arguing over riding across OK (freewheel), or doing the Katy Trail again. The bike may look slow, but rides moderately fast. It is so enjoyable to ride, I'm looking for either a Rans crank forward, or may build myself one of these for our local railtrail that we ride several times a week with our kids.

  16. #16
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    Bean, I see you sliding slowly into the abyss; adding this, replacing that, upping goals, slimming down, and finally, getting a serious crank forward bike. You like being 'aired out' and are ulikely to quit. So get with it, and then go for it. bk

  17. #17
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
    Bean, I see you sliding slowly into the abyss; adding this, replacing that, upping goals, slimming down, and finally, getting a serious crank forward bike. You like being 'aired out' and are ulikely to quit. So get with it, and then go for it. bk
    LOL! How did you know I just got a Brooks B-33 seat for the Townie (yes, I drank the purple kool-aid!)? I'm afraid you're correct - it's a slippery slope. I can't wait until this afternoon when I can put the Brooks on and go for a spin.

    (Must not look at Rans Fusion, Must not look at Rans Fusion)
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

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