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What has improved in cycling?

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What has improved in cycling?

Old 12-13-20, 07:55 PM
  #51  
dmarkun
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I did that once when it was raining and the trip proved harder than I expected. She said no!
Same experience here. But for me it was midnight and snowing. To be fair, I had earlier refused her offer to pick me up from work.

1. Phone/camera/GPS
2. Bright LED lights
3. Socks
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Old 12-13-20, 09:04 PM
  #52  
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All of the above.

And motorists who are generally less murderous toward cyclists in the US now.

Back in the 1970s while in the Navy I bike commuted, mostly in Southern California but also a bit in Washington DC when I was stationed there for a year. Mostly no problem.

But within a couple of months of returning to Texas in 1981 I gave up cycling and didn't return until 2015. Too many drivers literally trying to kill me for fun. I recognized one pickup that tried to run me off the road -- a guy I went to school with. When I saw him in the post office I told him that was me. He said "Oh, if I'd known it was you I wouldn't have done that."

Like that made any damn sense. He thought it was okay to nearly murder a stranger for fun.

That kind of thing is more much rare now, even in Texas which still has a pretty bad record for pedestrian and cycling safety.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:38 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
The beer is generally better.

I am a converted “lighting” guy. To be seen, mostly.

Pedal systems.

Chain and drivetrain reliability.

Sort and shallow bars. Like me.

Saddles. The old ones didn’t work for me.

Internet as a hard drive. “Seek and ye shall find;” a world market to participate in, on an individual scale.
The beer joints are definitely better.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:31 AM
  #54  
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Infrastructure, niche items (like 12sp thumbies and quill stems with removable faces), and saddles with cutouts.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:34 AM
  #55  
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Cyclists are most definitely more respected now than in the 1980’s.
I was riding in North Ga in those days, heart of Dixie and home of the KK*.
Cyclist were viewed as either queer of communist, certainly strange and scary to them. Things haven’t changed all that much but I was brave and not so smart in those days.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:59 PM
  #56  
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lights, bearings, handling, tires, clipless

1) lights, both front for vision and IMPORTANTLY bright rear strobes for being seen and waking up drivers, and all being very long-lasting
2) bearings - crank, wheel, pedal, and I'd say most importantly headset. Notched headset bearings long past now. Front-end wobble too. Hours spent cleaning and adjusting crank and wheel and headset bearings now long gone. A truly teensy bit of additional resistance in sealed bearings has been a worthwhile price to pay. Yes, there was beauty to a really smooth Campy or Shimano wheel bearing, but the lower maintenance is also worth that connoisseur's loss.
3) handling - I had some great SLX and similar bikes, but none ever matched the handling that I've had on several carbon bikes of the past 20 years. There is nothing like being able to throw yourself into a fast descent with a bike that is totally secure and really wants to hold whatever line you choose. Front-end wobble was way too common on old bikes, as was poorer handling. Obviously some of the older bikes did handle very well, but overall the average good bike from back then did not handle as well as recent good bikes.
4) di2 electronic shifting is a big improvement - never missing front or rear shifts, much lower maintenance (like cable replacements and adjusting and things like frayed and breaking cables), and with the Ultegra version at only a modestly higher price
5) tires - more durable choices now
6) clipless pedals - yes, they're nice.

One really questionable "improvement" that holds a significant safety risk: very low spoke-count wheels. Yes, they're lighter. BUT. When a spoke broke one time for no good reason on a Dura-Ace rear wheel while I was just cruising along on a country road my rear wheel almost completely froze, and I barely saved that moment from a bad crash. At the wrong time, with so few spokes, a broken spoke can mean disaster. With a 36 or 32 or maybe even 28 spoke wheel no such severe threat is involved at all.
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Old 12-14-20, 01:08 PM
  #57  
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Everything except aluminum frames.
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Old 12-14-20, 01:54 PM
  #58  
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For mountain bikes - the one chainring drivetrain. It has allowed for the creation the descent suspension bikes. This is a hard concept for most people to understand.

For road bikes - maps. Silly, I know but I personally love them.

For both, tires are dramatically better on both sides.
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Old 12-14-20, 02:39 PM
  #59  
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I am surprised that no one has mention internal-gear hubs. In the old days there were only three speeds and kludgy five speeds. They worked well in some circumstances, but had real limitations with hilly terrain and/or aging legs. We can now choose 3, 5, 7, 11, or 14 speeds as appropriate to our needs.
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Old 12-14-20, 02:47 PM
  #60  
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Now that 1x drivetrains are getting popular, isn't it time to bring back the chainguard?
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Old 12-14-20, 03:27 PM
  #61  
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Having toured back in the 80's, I think the cell phone has made a huge difference. It's now harder to get lost, easier to get help, and it's made it easier to change plans on the fly.

tires are less flat prone and faster

This may be the most controversial item here: the modern e-bike has gotten lots of people back into cycling by reducing fear of hills.
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Old 12-14-20, 04:03 PM
  #62  
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in the book Daniel Rebour: Bicycle Drawings there is a pencil line drawing of a bike set up
for the 1945 Paris Cycle Show with shifters attached to the front of brake levers on a road bike.
So the idea of "brifters" is not very new I used some 8-sp. Campy Ergo shifters in the early 90s
and I surprised myself by liking them, the down side was shifting much more often than I needed to.
I've now moved on to flat bar ( the old race bike is now a gentleman's model) with thumb shifters
in friction mode which works great!
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Old 12-14-20, 04:26 PM
  #63  
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There are a lot of things that have improved cycling over the years. Here's my partial list in no particular order.

1) Integrated shift & brake levers. I believe the word for them now is "brifters"
2) Chainrings & cassettes giving riders of all abilities a wider range of gearing to use. Really helps on hills.
3) Frame material especially carbon fiber.
4) Carbon wheel sets.

As for the internet, it has made it easier for cyclists to gather together for common causes such as advocating for bicycle lanes and legislation.
Mobile phones and especially smart phones. Can call for assistance when needed or if there is an accident or to report unsafe drivers.
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Old 12-14-20, 05:12 PM
  #64  
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The things that have improved cycling when riding a vintage bike that doesn't lose its character as a vintage bike? Tires!

Decent clinchers, like Michelin and Continental in the later 80s and since, have made riding a good bike much more accessible and affordable.
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Old 12-14-20, 05:44 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
I am surprised that no one has mention internal-gear hubs. In the old days there were only three speeds and kludgy five speeds. They worked well in some circumstances, but had real limitations with hilly terrain and/or aging legs. We can now choose 3, 5, 7, 11, or 14 speeds as appropriate to our needs.
Beltdrive too, but neither seem to too popular.
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Old 12-14-20, 05:51 PM
  #66  
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The IGHs and belt drives are technological improvements but have high dollar and weight costs, so they are useful for niche markets. The same is true of the NuVinci continuously variable ratio hub. They use it on many Citi Bike bikes in NYC. I guess they're durable but they're super heavy and not all that efficient. It's OK though, because being able to micro-shift is nice for me, as the 3-speed models have gears that are too widely spaced, effectively making them 2-speeds for me.
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Old 12-14-20, 06:46 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The same is true of the NuVinci continuously variable ratio hub.
Have you ridden one?

One of my house mates has one, its a neat novelty, but all in all its fairly pointless and somewhat annoying IMO. I suppose you could slowly twist the grip as you accelerate to keep your cadence steady, but the reality is that you'll pedal till your cadence gets to 85 or so, then rotate the shifter a bit to bring your cadence down to 70, then pedal for a bit till your cadence gets back up to 85, then rotate the shifter a bit till your cadence comes down to 70. So while you can select "any gear ratio" the reality is that you still end up using only 8 "gears" or so. I used to be totally intrigued by them, but it only took a ride of a few miles on it to wear off ALL the luster, for me at least.
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Old 12-14-20, 07:50 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by jackbombay View Post
Have you ridden one?

One of my house mates has one, its a neat novelty, but all in all its fairly pointless and somewhat annoying IMO. I suppose you could slowly twist the grip as you accelerate to keep your cadence steady, but the reality is that you'll pedal till your cadence gets to 85 or so, then rotate the shifter a bit to bring your cadence down to 70, then pedal for a bit till your cadence gets back up to 85, then rotate the shifter a bit till your cadence comes down to 70. So while you can select "any gear ratio" the reality is that you still end up using only 8 "gears" or so. I used to be totally intrigued by them, but it only took a ride of a few miles on it to wear off ALL the luster, for me at least.
Yes, and I described my experience with them. I like them moderately. But you raise a good point. I wonder why Citi Bike chose the NuVinci instead of a Shimano or Sturmey Archer 7- or 8-speed hub. That would be better. I don't know what you mean about my cadence going up and down. I keep it steady on the NuVinci. The NuVinci is quite expensive. I wonder if the rationale is that it's more durable than the IGHs out there. But I don't like the 3-speeds much.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:26 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
I actually have done Grant's thing of wearing sleeved cotton shirts for hot dry weather. Works better than you'd intuitively expect. (there's a reason you see people like landscapers and roofers doing the same thing in the summer) Not touching wool shorts, though.
I’ve never been in the tropical jungle, but I can tell you I’ve seen Bedouins- they’re always covered- no shorts and tank tops for them.

Mogli wore briefs, was naked in the book- so humidity changes things.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:30 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Y I don't know what you mean about my cadence going up and down. I keep it steady on the NuVinci.
The nuvinci is certainly capable of keeping your cadence consistent, but to constantly think about your cadence and be perpetually adjusting the shifter to keep your cadence at 75 (or wherever you want it) becomes annoying, IMO, I want to click a gear and leave it, till my cadence becomes faster, or slower than I desire, then change one gear, where to maintain a steady cadence with the Nuvinci you can never let "your shifter" out of your mind and it requires constant tinkering/attention, it detracts from the simplicity of riding a bike, for me.

Ultimately, its just not for me, and I have no problem admitting that I'm not really the target market for much of anything modern in the bicycle world.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:47 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
Cyclists are most definitely more respected now than in the 1980’s.
I was riding in North Ga in those days, heart of Dixie and home of the KK*.
Cyclist were viewed as either queer of communist, certainly strange and scary to them. Things haven’t changed all that much but I was brave and not so smart in those days.
Try fighting it out at a NC rural crossroads store with the rednecks who ran you off the road a mile or two earlier.
We actually would have been OK, but the Canadian with us just had to mention the Civil War.
Delta cleats have terrible traction, but will split a cheek open like nobody’s business. One must improvise.
My feet hurt for days from the gravel parking lot through my socks. But I still smile at Billy Bob scrambling to his truck.
A couple of months later, we crossed paths at a wedding, and put a truce in place without exchanging a word.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:54 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Try fighting it out at a NC rural crossroads store with the rednecks who ran you off the road a mile or two earlier.
Bear spray?
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Old 12-14-20, 09:55 PM
  #73  
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Wait, you actually kicked a guy's ass with your cleat?
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Old 12-15-20, 04:58 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by chancelucky View Post
Having toured back in the 80's, I think the cell phone has made a huge difference. It's now harder to get lost, easier to get help, and it's made it easier to change plans on the fly.

tires are less flat prone and faster

This may be the most controversial item here: the modern e-bike has gotten lots of people back into cycling by reducing fear of hills.
I like to think that the "e" in "e-bicycles" should truly mean "enabling." These bikes have allowed many people to get back into shape and reducing strain o their aging or impaired bodies.

The advent of the e-bike is fantastic and only purist snobs are the ones to look down on them. When talking to these fellas, I often I think to myself, "Sorry buddy, but my 80 year old grandpa doesn't have the knees of a 40 year old anymore."
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Old 12-15-20, 12:06 PM
  #75  
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My no. 1 improvement in modern biking is the YouTube how-to video. I can’t tell you how many maintenance conundrums I have solved with a video of how to do it.
No. 2 is SPD pedals... I feel naked if I am not clipped in when I ride.
No. 3, especially for unaccompanied touring, is the Garmin GPS along with downloaded bike routes.
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