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Old 07-02-06, 03:19 AM
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SeattleNancy
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newbie question

Hello,

I hope it is ok to ask relatively dumb newbie questions here. I own a 400 series Trek from the mid-80's ('85, I think). I am trying to get back into riding and would like some advice about whether I should replace the Trek or not.

My bike was wonderful for many years but got less use as I had kids who needed to be toted around with their stuff, etc. Then several years ago, I developed an autoimmune arthritis that limited my physical abilities so that all I could to to stay in shape was swimming---until the last year or so, when I went on some new treatments. I feel much better and really want to ride again, but thought I could not manage the low handlebars and slender tires of my beloved Trek. I am not that old but stiffness from the arthritis is a problem . I thought I might get a more stable mountain bike.

Then I did some searching on the web and found that some people are actually looking for older Treks. I so loved riding mine and thought maybe it could be modified for my current "challenged" existence, or if there are other advantages to getting a newer bike related to changes in design and/or engineering, etc? I would greatly appreciate opinions.

Thanks for your patience

Nancy
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Old 07-02-06, 06:49 AM
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I have two discs fused and have limited mobility in my neck. So I can somewhat identify with your situation. I have Fuji and Cannondale road bikes that are my favorites. In order to ride them any distance, I recognized I had to modify them. I just changed the stem on my Cannondale to a shorter, adjustable stem allowing the bars to be raised and pulled back. I'm planning the same for the Fuji. Additionally, you can add cyclobrakes to the bars (my next modification to the Cannondale), effectively putting your brake levers on the top bar. With downtube shifters, like yours, the cyclobrakes make sense.
To maintain maximum control, some will recommend going to a flat bar handlebar. That would, in effect, make your Trek what my LBS calls a 'High Performance Hybrid', narrow tires, light weight bike with a more upright riding position. My guess is you can make most if not all of these changes for less than or the same as selling your bike and buying a hybrid or mountain bike.
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Old 07-02-06, 09:31 AM
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jimmythefly
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Specific short answer:
Your bike may be able to be modified. Yes there are improvements in new bikes, mostly in ease of shifting without having to move your hands from the handlebars(not positive how your Trek is set up). Brakes are also improved, you may or may not notice this.

Go test ride stuff at bike shops, there's a huge variety of styles and riding positions available. Though you love your old Trek, it's the feeling of riding you love most, not necessarily that exact bike. So, go test ride new stuff, and figure out what works best for you. Then, you can figure out how much it would take to change your Trek into your ideal bike, and then decide if it makes more sense to just get a new bike or not. Whatever you do, get yourself a bike that will be 95% right for you right now. That way you will ride it.

I worke a bit in bike sales, and a typical situation is something like this:
Yes, one day you may need a lightweight racer, but unless your are racing 95% of the time (now, not in some perhaps future), then don't get a racer. It's too easy to fall into the trap of "well, I may want to go extreme mountain biking once every two years, so I should get a bike that could do that, in case I ever want to". For a couple of times a year mountain biking, just rent an appropriate bike for that, but right now get a bike that you will be happy commuting to work on, because that's what your'e doing 95% of the time anyway, and you'll be much happier for that 95% of your life. I'm all for a bit of versatility in our bikes, just be sure to get a bike that makes you feel excited about biking every time you look at it, because then you'll ride it waaay more often, and have more fun when you do. And if you really get back into riding and need a lightweight racer or big-drop mountain bike then get one then.
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Old 07-02-06, 09:58 AM
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Take your current bike for a few easy spins first. See how it feels. Maybe a friend can make a few adjustments for you in the handlebars, mostly raising them a bit. Also using brake levers that have a shorter travel (designed for women's or smaller hands) might make it easier for you. Extra padding in the handlebars makes it more comfy not only for your hands, but reduces the shock and vibration that goes into the rest of your body through your arms.

I like to see bike-knowledgable friends help each other with adjustments, rather than bike shops. Bike shops will charge you, and of course will try to sell you something new. That brand spankin' new bike with the mortgage payment price tag probably won't be any better for you.

Just remember that when you start riding again after a long time, you'll experience a lot of soreness, tightness and stiffness. it might be related to you medical issues, it might just be getting back on the bike again after a long time.

Have fun and don't forget to listen to Happy Music!
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Old 07-02-06, 06:44 PM
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SeattleNancy
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thanks for replies

Thanks very much for the suggestions. Yes, I can identify with neck mobility issues. That was probably the main reason I stopped riding. I did ride for a few years after my diagnosis but later on, my neck became variably stiff. I would choose flat routes and try not to have to shift because I was never sure my neck would obey my commands when I bent down to shift . It is also a good point that I should buy a bike or modify the existing bike so that I am able to ride now, in my current state, not some hopeful future existence. I do live near a bike club headquarters in a city with lots of cyclists (Seattle), so there are good sources of help. thanks again for your patience with a "challenged" newbie.

Nancy
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