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  1. #1
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    Advice - New Bike, First Trip - London to Paris

    Hi Guys

    I've not cycled for a long time and have been wanting to get back into it for a while.
    An opportunity came up to do a charity ride from London to Paris, it's roughly 70 miles a day for 3 days with support vehicle's and after agreeing to do it I now have the following question's.

    1. Would a touring bike be best in terms of comfort and what would be a good choice in the 300 - 500 bracket? Is the main difference from a road bike (apart from speed difference) the more comfortable seating position e.g. sitting more upright? I sometimes suffer from mid back pain so comfort is an important factor for me.

    2. Would cycling shoes make that much of a difference?

    3. The trip is in May, is there any specific advice you would give in terms of training - currently I cycle for about 40 minutes at the gym which I obviously need to up substantially. What is a good way to work towards being able to cover the distance without suffering too much afterwards?

    From what I've read so far the distance doesn't seem too far compared to what a lot of you guys do but at the same time it still seems a hell of a distance for me at my current fitness level!!!

    Any other general advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Darren

  2. #2
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    I would favor a road bike for this kind of ride. Will the support vehicles carry your stuff? If yes, then road definitly.
    With your budget check the under $700 road bike or look for used. As for the cleated shoes, yes, they will make a huge difference. Don't forget a pair of good cycling shorts, jerseys, a light raingear you can fold in your pocket and a helmet of course.

    Get the bike asap so you can train with it, get used to it and maybe ugrade things like... the saddle for example

    Sounds like a fun ride. Will you be taking the ferry or train?

  3. #3
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    Yes the support vehicles will carry my stuff.

    In terms of shoes I have seen a pair of Nike one's half price in my size however I can't see the bottom of them and I'm not sure if these are for clipless only????

    The description:

    *Integrated heel cup, strap and buckle insure every movement goes directly to the pedal.
    *Carbon fibre sole provides maximum stiffness while keeping the foot only 8mm above the pedal.
    *Accepts Look and SPD-SL 3-bolt style cleats


    Ferry over to France and then Eurostar back to London.

  4. #4
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    Bike shoes make a huge difference. You'll, never know how much till you try them.

    3 days isn't so much. INcrease your daily mileage now, and you 'll be all set come show time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz777777
    I have seen a pair of Nike one's half price in my size however I can't see the bottom of them and I'm not sure if these are for clipless only????

    The description:

    *Integrated heel cup, strap and buckle insure every movement goes directly to the pedal.
    *Carbon fibre sole provides maximum stiffness while keeping the foot only 8mm above the pedal.
    *Accepts Look and SPD-SL 3-bolt style cleats.
    These can take cleats (Look and SPD are two most common systems). Then remember that you will need to buy pedals with cleats. Carbon fibre soles are great. I'd recommend you get them from a shop where you can try them instead of on-line. You don't need to buy expensive ones but you will shell at least $150 for the set.
    I rode for a long time with Look pp-247 pedals and a pair of Exus shoes, I loved them and they were less than $100 for the set. Of course, I prefer the ones I ride with today but they are >$300.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz777777
    Hi Guys

    I've not cycled for a long time and have been wanting to get back into it for a while.
    An opportunity came up to do a charity ride from London to Paris, it's roughly 70 miles a day for 3 days with support vehicle's and after agreeing to do it I now have the following question's.

    1. Would a touring bike be best in terms of comfort and what would be a good choice in the 300 - 500 bracket? Is the main difference from a road bike (apart from speed difference) the more comfortable seating position e.g. sitting more upright? I sometimes suffer from mid back pain so comfort is an important factor for me.

    2. Would cycling shoes make that much of a difference?

    3. The trip is in May, is there any specific advice you would give in terms of training - currently I cycle for about 40 minutes at the gym which I obviously need to up substantially. What is a good way to work towards being able to cover the distance without suffering too much afterwards?

    From what I've read so far the distance doesn't seem too far compared to what a lot of you guys do but at the same time it still seems a hell of a distance for me at my current fitness level!!!

    Any other general advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Darren
    Get out of the gym and get on a real bike as soon as you can and as often as you can. Cycling requires more than just pushing on the pedals, you need to develop the motor skills and balance to stay upright, maneuver around obstacles, remain upright on rough surfaces, and cope with motor vehicle traffic.

    Exercises to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles will greatly reduce back pain, unless you have some kind of injury/disability like a herniated disc.

    Cycling shoes typically have stiff soles to keep the pedals from making your feet sore and provide improved energy transfer from your feet to the pedals. The ones you describe in a later post are indeed intended for clipless pedals, and if they fit properly they should serve you quite well. Try them on before you buy them.

    Get your bike from a real bike shop, not online or through a discount store like Halford's. A good bike shop will take the time to find a bike that fits you properly. A touring bike is nice for carrying your own gear and can usually be fitted with fenders/mudguards, which are a wonderful thing in rainy climates. Road racing bicycles are nice and lightweight and very responsive, but frequently will only accept very narrow tires, and usually can only be fitted with fenders and racks with a fair bit of difficulty, if at all. Audax or randonee bicycles are a good middle ground between touring and road bikes. They are typically lighter than touring bikes, but will accept wider tires than a road bike and can easily be fitted with racks and fenders/mudguards. Audax/randonee bicycles are used for long distance cycling events in which the cyclist carries all of his/her own gear, usually for one to four very long days of riding (100 to 1200 kilometers).

  7. #7
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    Where are you based?

    If it's in London, check out the London Cycling Campaign website (http://www.lcc.org.uk). There are a bunch of groups in London's boroughs that organise regular rides at various distances that you would be welcome to join for training. Specifically I would reccomend my old group Southwark Cyclists (http://www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk). The people are friendly and helpful and the rides stay together so there is no chance of getting dropped.

    If you're outside of London then find a local social cycling group to get out with. CTC and Sustrans should be able to help you locate one if you need help.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your comments.

    I'm based in Teesside which in the North East of England.

    A bike is definitely my priority, Cycliste mentioned to definitely go for a road bike - will this offer the same level of comfort - can you actually raise the handle bars as I read a piece that said most road bike's are stuck in that one position now.

    In terms of training is it a case of increasing my distance by 5 or 10 miles every week to build up or is there a better way to build myself up?

    Cheers

    Darren

  9. #9
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    An Audax style bike is specially designed for long distance, non-competative rides such as yours. Having clearance and fittings for mudguards and a light rack, they are much more practical for everyday training and commuting than race bikes.
    Dawes and Saracen make entry-level audax bikes.

  10. #10
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Hey Daz, what kind of bike have you already got?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz777777
    Cycliste mentioned to definitely go for a road bike - will this offer the same level of comfort - can you actually raise the handle bars as I read a piece that said most road bike's are stuck in that one position now.
    In terms of training is it a case of increasing my distance by 5 or 10 miles every week to build up or is there a better way to build myself up?
    Don't get stuck with my recommendation, others are valid too.

    However I must say charity rides of this kind are better ridden on a road bike. IMO racks and panniers will be added weight if support cars are there to carry your stuff.

    Comfort on a road bike depends on fit and not necessarily on high bars and cushy saddles (avoid these), and yes the bars are adjustable in height and position. In fact many roadies play with their bar position a few times per year. If drop bars seem uncomfortable to you, check flat bar road bikes, a lot of good brands offer excellent light road bikes with flat bars that may fit your budget.

    Your choice will also depend on what you will be doing with your bike after the ride, if recreational and more charity rides, then I would consider a road bike. If touring and or commuting, then a tourer may be a better investment.

    For this distance, I would rule out a hybrid or mtb if you ever considered.

    Have you hooked up with other ride participants, they may tell you what to get.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Cycliste and everyone else that has left feedback, it really is appreciated.

    After the ride my plan is recreational and hopefully some more charity rides.

    I'll let you know what I get as soon as I make my puchase.

    Darren

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