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Stable, Secure, Safe, Sexy--Geriatric

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Stable, Secure, Safe, Sexy--Geriatric

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Old 12-25-17, 03:03 PM
  #26  
Planemaker
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, Planemaker. Titanium is tempting, but I think I'd be stretching my budget.
There are other Titanium bikes with similar geometry as the Litespeed (I just happen to have the Litespeed). If you look around you can get one for around $4K your top end.

Check out:
Why Cycles
Carver Bike
Lynskey (currently have the GR260 for $3,600)
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Old 12-25-17, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Thanks big john. I'll try to find out more about Gunnar. I admit I'd be nervous about risks on specifying custom geometry. My knowledge is rudimentary and I could imagine going off in some crazy ass tangent and lo! making a big, big mistake. I'd like to first ride what I'm going to ride later. I might well end up with something completely different that what I might have imagined in the abstract. That's one of the reasons I may need to travel--to test ride. Where I live, in the Canadian maritimes, choices can be few and far between. I was thinking of a trip to Boston or NYC or the US west coast.
It's the same people who make Waterford frames in Wisconsin. I bought an off the shelf Sport frame in 2006 and I am very impressed with it, even though I don't ride it much anymore. You can call there and sometimes talk to Richard Schwinn, at least you could a few years ago.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:00 PM
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Loose track of time, have ridden a Gunnar custom steel frame road bike for 5 or 6 years now. My body shape is odd, short legs and very long torso. Could not find a bike that fit optimally. Worked with a good LBS to get the fit I was looking, a road bike with touring bike geometry for by size. Gunnar had some questions about my riding habits and made some good suggestions. Developed a one off component package with LBS. 6 weeks later I had a perfect fitting bike that I can and do ride for hours at a time - it feels like a part of my body. My only regret is that I didn't go this route sooner. We are beginning to look at downsizing our stuff, have half a dozen bikes would like to pare that in half before we move - this is the first bike to keep.
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Old 12-25-17, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
As far as safety is concerned, I feel very stable on my Trek conversion with 38mm tires; I don't feel as if some irregularity in the road surface would throw me as it might on 23mm tires. Gyroscopic forces also play a part in stability. Smaller wheels need to be wider to be stable.

I don't claim any expertise, so what I'm saying here is what I remember from Bicycle Quarterly articles.

Modern or classic. There are knowledgeable builders who think that the French builders of the forties an fifties came close to the ideal design, and are building bikes inspired by René Herse and others of that time. But on the other hand, BQ favorably reviewed a Jones bike a few issues back.

I know an eighty five year old cyclist, You might have twenty years to look forward to.
Thanks Ironwood for steering this thread back to the main theme--ageing and safety in design. I'll do some digging based on your historical reference to Herse.

Thanks to all the other posters who weighed in with opinions, suggestions, and testimonials. It's help stimulate new thought on my part that otherwise would have escaped me. You (collectively) make BikeForums a great resource.

I leave with an perplexing tidbit I stumbled upon following someone's suggestion about the Marin Four Corners. Their stack measurement is illustrated as the distance from the front axle (not the BB!) to the top of the head tube. And reach is shown as simply the actual length of the top tube. Whoops. See:
https://www.marinbikes.com/ca/bikes/four-corners-blue

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Old 12-25-17, 10:58 PM
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I don't think either wheel size or tire width contribute to stability on pavement. Nor does raising bar height.

Wheel size because bottom bracket height is pretty much fixed by the safety necessity of the pedals clearing the ground while leaning in a corner. Thus saddle height off the ground will be the same for most bikes with the same crank length. That said, some bikes will have higher BBs than road bikes but none lower.

Tire width because the angle between the center of the tire contact patch and the saddle center isn't going to change much until you get up into 2" wide MTB tires.

Bar height because lower is more stable, not higher. Everyone should know that descending in the drops is more stable than descending on the hoods.

A lower position is also safer because, if you do fall over or go down, you have less distance in which to build up speed before hitting the ground. That's a big reason that little kids can fall with no damage while an adult will feel it.

All that said, I'm 72. My favorite bike is my carbon Trek, same frame Lance won his first TdF on, and running 23mm tires. I ride the hell out of it. I hope to still be riding in another 20 years.

One thing I did as I got older was I lost weight and increased muscle, bone strength, and flexibility. Yes, increased, simply by working at it. One of my standards is, "don't change your bike fit, get fit." Because getting fitter will make you more injury-free, longer lived, and happier, and much more so than some other bike.

As far as any particular bike type goes, I'd pick a carbon gravel bike, discs, maybe fender mounts, and standard drop bars, brifters, and road position.
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Old 12-26-17, 03:48 AM
  #31  
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I sort of agree in regard to smooth pavement, but in the frost belt, pavement doesn't stay smooth very long, and new pavement breaks and is full of potholes. Many trails are smoother than some roads. Wide tires feel more stable to me, and they are more comfortable because they absorb road shock.

Bottom bracket drop is an important consideration. My old Trek has a BB drop of 72mm, and I have 165mm cranks. I don't pedal around corners at speed.

For me, bar height is a matter of comfort, not safety or security. About eight or nine years ago I got a taller stem and really felt better. Strangley, now I find a lower position is better, at times.

I use my bike for transportation, shopping and just riding. I like lugged steel, Brooks saddles, rim brakes (even though discs might be better), fenders (an absolute must), drop or moustache bars and bar-end shifters.
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Old 12-26-17, 05:49 AM
  #32  
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I ain't of no help, I bought a Schwinn straightbar Red Hornet, DX ducktail fenders, a repro 9 hole DX rack and have a tank and Delta Rocket Ray coming...
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Old 12-26-17, 07:58 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
It's the same people who make Waterford frames in Wisconsin. I bought an off the shelf Sport frame in 2006 and I am very impressed with it, even though I don't ride it much anymore. You can call there and sometimes talk to Richard Schwinn, at least you could a few years ago.
Thanks for the tip, big john. I did visit his site. Very attractive inventory of frames.
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Old 12-26-17, 08:09 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I don't think either wheel size or tire width contribute to stability on pavement. Nor does raising bar height.

Wheel size because bottom bracket height is pretty much fixed by the safety necessity of the pedals clearing the ground while leaning in a corner. Thus saddle height off the ground will be the same for most bikes with the same crank length. That said, some bikes will have higher BBs than road bikes but none lower.

Tire width because the angle between the center of the tire contact patch and the saddle center isn't going to change much until you get up into 2" wide MTB tires.

Bar height because lower is more stable, not higher. Everyone should know that descending in the drops is more stable than descending on the hoods.

A lower position is also safer because, if you do fall over or go down, you have less distance in which to build up speed before hitting the ground. That's a big reason that little kids can fall with no damage while an adult will feel it.

All that said, I'm 72. My favorite bike is my carbon Trek, same frame Lance won his first TdF on, and running 23mm tires. I ride the hell out of it. I hope to still be riding in another 20 years.

One thing I did as I got older was I lost weight and increased muscle, bone strength, and flexibility. Yes, increased, simply by working at it. One of my standards is, "don't change your bike fit, get fit." Because getting fitter will make you more injury-free, longer lived, and happier, and much more so than some other bike.

As far as any particular bike type goes, I'd pick a carbon gravel bike, discs, maybe fender mounts, and standard drop bars, brifters, and road position.
Some keen observations on stability (and challenges!) from a 72 year-old cycling codger! Thanks Carbonfiberboy. Everything you're saying makes sense, including the practical advice to stay fit! We may part ways on choice of frame material and geometry, but that's a purely subjective/riding style preference. I've got a CF 2014 Specialized Roubaix and yes, it's a very nice ride, but my go-to bike remains my 1989 steel Mariposa randonneur.
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Old 12-26-17, 10:08 AM
  #35  
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I didn't see it mentioned yet, but have you considered converting one of your existing bicycles? Maybe the Mariposa (never heard of those myself) or the Shogun (is it a road bike?). I'm pretty sure the Miyata Terrarunner is a rigid MTB, so that would also be a good choice for conversion into a commuter/utility bicycle, too. I've got a 1995 Trek 8000 I use as a commuter/utility bicycle, it just needed some higher-rise handlebars, road tires, a rear rack, and a different seat. I could easily put fenders on it, but not much need for those in Southern California.
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Old 12-26-17, 12:10 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I didn't see it mentioned yet, but have you considered converting one of your existing bicycles? Maybe the Mariposa (never heard of those myself) or the Shogun (is it a road bike?). I'm pretty sure the Miyata Terrarunner is a rigid MTB, so that would also be a good choice for conversion into a commuter/utility bicycle, too. I've got a 1995 Trek 8000 I use as a commuter/utility bicycle, it just needed some higher-rise handlebars, road tires, a rear rack, and a different seat. I could easily put fenders on it, but not much need for those in Southern California.
Thanks Skidder, yeah, ironwood did mention earlier in this thread about his successes with 650B conversions of older road bikes. And yes, both the Mariposa and the Shogun could be potential candidates for this type of project. You're on the mark with the rigid Miyata, because it happens to be my daily commuter bike, fenders, snow tires, racks.
:
The Mariposa's have escalated in price since 1989 when I bought mine. The price to replace the $3K bike I had made is up over $5K now. Outside of my range now. Here's their site:
https://mariposabicycles.ca/
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Old 12-27-17, 02:26 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Loose track of time, have ridden a Gunnar custom steel frame road bike for 5 or 6 years now. My body shape is odd, short legs and very long torso. Could not find a bike that fit optimally. Worked with a good LBS to get the fit I was looking, a road bike with touring bike geometry for by size. Gunnar had some questions about my riding habits and made some good suggestions. Developed a one off component package with LBS. 6 weeks later I had a perfect fitting bike that I can and do ride for hours at a time - it feels like a part of my body. My only regret is that I didn't go this route sooner. We are beginning to look at downsizing our stuff, have half a dozen bikes would like to pare that in half before we move - this is the first bike to keep.
Martianone, we may share similar evolutionary ties with the great gorillas, i.e. short legs, long torso. Did you end up with a frame that was a size larger than an otherwise normally proportioned person? Did you have to muck around with stem length? A frame with a longer top tube? Any other fit quirks? Your personal experience may be helpful to a fellow gorilla.
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Old 12-27-17, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Martianone, we may share similar evolutionary ties with the great gorillas, i.e. short legs, long torso. Did you end up with a frame that was a size larger than an otherwise normally proportioned person? Did you have to muck around with stem length? A frame with a longer top tube? Any other fit quirks? Your personal experience may be helpful to a fellow gorilla.
Bashley, been a few years since I cycled in PEI. They were building the bridge at the time, circumnavigated clockwise with my family going ahead with a pop up camper - I would catch up in the late afternoon. Was a pleasant ride, but a little windy for my sail size torso.
Should have done the Gunnar several years earlier. Who knows about the frame size? If I were normal, something around 58 cm might fit. Compared to normal the head tube is taller. Based upon my body size, shape and riding position the LBS fitting proposed a stem length, Gunnar plugged that into their frame drawing. Gunnar asked a number of questions about my riding and made some suggestions. For example my shoe size is 49, use flat pedals and pedal through turns; what ever tweaks they did- I don't have any toe strike and don't bash pavement in corners. My mass ran around 100 kg, with a couple other maker's stock steel frame bikes I had ridden, I could torque the frame in bottom bracket area- so they compensated with a stiff bottom bracket area. Projected production was very close to actual delivery date, LBS had parts set aside, did the bike build and ready for my "final" fitting. Tried the projected stem, then one a little longer, back to projected - that was comfortable. Anything unusual about the bike ? No, perhaps the weight balance is a little more to rear. I had spec 25 mm tires, rear 25 clearly wore more than front, I now ride with a 25 in front and 28 in rear. The ride is a satisfying balance of stiffness and shock prevention. Hindsight- would have asked to have the down tube water bottle bosses raised up a few cm to make it easier to reach the water bottle. If something bad were to happen to the Gunnar, I would dig out the drawing and see about a direct realacement.
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Old 12-27-17, 05:59 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Bashley, been a few years since I cycled in PEI. They were building the bridge at the time, circumnavigated clockwise with my family going ahead with a pop up camper - I would catch up in the late afternoon. Was a pleasant ride, but a little windy for my sail size torso.
Should have done the Gunnar several years earlier. Who knows about the frame size? If I were normal, something around 58 cm might fit. Compared to normal the head tube is taller. Based upon my body size, shape and riding position the LBS fitting proposed a stem length, Gunnar plugged that into their frame drawing. Gunnar asked a number of questions about my riding and made some suggestions. For example my shoe size is 49, use flat pedals and pedal through turns; what ever tweaks they did- I don't have any toe strike and don't bash pavement in corners. My mass ran around 100 kg, with a couple other maker's stock steel frame bikes I had ridden, I could torque the frame in bottom bracket area- so they compensated with a stiff bottom bracket area. Projected production was very close to actual delivery date, LBS had parts set aside, did the bike build and ready for my "final" fitting. Tried the projected stem, then one a little longer, back to projected - that was comfortable. Anything unusual about the bike ? No, perhaps the weight balance is a little more to rear. I had spec 25 mm tires, rear 25 clearly wore more than front, I now ride with a 25 in front and 28 in rear. The ride is a satisfying balance of stiffness and shock prevention. Hindsight- would have asked to have the down tube water bottle bosses raised up a few cm to make it easier to reach the water bottle. If something bad were to happen to the Gunnar, I would dig out the drawing and see about a direct realacement.
Thanks for followup to my questions. You've nailed PEI with your comment about the wind. The windbag province. Your fitting tale is quite a saga with twists and turns. Certainly sounds, though, like it was worth the time, effort and expense. The tire selection looks a little quirky, I guess more so these days with the trend to wider rubber.
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Old 12-29-17, 09:00 PM
  #40  
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At 66 you should understand the wisdom of keeping many bikes that are specialized, each to their assigned task. My avatar bike is totally unsuited to commuting in business attire, but I'd hate to give it up in favor of some jack-of-all-trades bike. In fact, if I got rid of any of my bikes, the first one to go would be... my hybrid.
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Old 12-29-17, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Thanks Ironwood for steering this thread back to the main theme--ageing and safety in design.
Electra Townie Original 21D EQ. Not sexy enough? Electra Ticino 20D.

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Old 12-30-17, 05:25 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
At 66 you should understand the wisdom of keeping many bikes that are specialized, each to their assigned task. My avatar bike is totally unsuited to commuting in business attire, but I'd hate to give it up in favor of some jack-of-all-trades bike. In fact, if I got rid of any of my bikes, the first one to go would be... my hybrid.
And at 66 I'm coming to appreciate that collecting multiples of anything invokes needless suffering, the burden of material desire, which never ends. Going minimalist comes at a cost, yeah, no doubt... losing that ideal fit you describe between specialized tool and job to be done.

Like you, the first to be slaughtered in my factory farm will be the hybrid. Giant Cypress DX, a homely, clumsy, stupid creature, poor thing.
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Old 12-30-17, 05:28 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Yeah, irresistible, but probably way more than this rusty old nail could handle.
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Old 12-30-17, 07:43 AM
  #44  
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A few other thoughts about wider tires. The only real safety advantage they have is that they might be less likely to be caught in a crack or thrown by RR or streetcar tracks. Maybe being to ride on trails and dirt paths is safer if it keeps you out of traffic.

Low trail is another matter. I think low trail is a little more unstable, but that instability is off set by what some call the pneumatic trail of wider tires. Some people prefer the feel of high trail. I can't tell what you prefer.

You aren't old yet. "Geriatric" should refer only to nonagerians.

Maybe you can talk to the people at Mariposa about modifying your tourer.
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Old 01-01-18, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
I'm 66. 5'8", 185lbs, 31" inseam. I'm healthy. I've got a few bikes, all of them best suited to younger, fitter, more flexible riders. E.g. Mariposa touring (custom made for me in 1988), Specialized Roubaix, and 84 Miyata Terrarunner, a Shogun and a Terra Trike. Although the Roubaix is carbon, I favor steel. An old schooler giveaway is that I prefer friction shifting over indexed, just like I prefer cars with standard transmissions versus automatic.

I want a bike that fits the bill of an older rider. I still work and commute by bike in professional business attire (fenders a must!). Recreational light gravel roads/trail, urban pavement. 4-seasons rider. Now, thinking 'bout stuff that never concerned me in the past much--a stable ride, a secure cockpit, a safe ride. My drop bikes, I rarely use the drops anymore. Low speed stability would be more important so I'd compromise on high speed stability.

I gravitate to touring/adventure geometry, but almost all bikes designed for dropbars. Suspension doesn't do it for me. High stack, short reach probably a good thing, but nice to stretch when confronting a stiff headwind. (Lots of that in Prince Edward Island) where I live. No long distance touring in the cards, but yes to an occasional overnighter. I want to be able to haul stuff (change of clothes, groceries, tennis bag) so frame fittings a must.

The Jones Plus intrigues me, super long chainstays, the Jones H-Bar. The Salsa Fargo, too, with what I assume is very upright riding position, but the reach may be too, too, short for a Jones Bar or a trekking bar. Hybrids are kinda boring to me, the Dodge Aspens of the bike world?

Smaller, but wider wheels/tires for the safety bit? 26inch or 650B? A Thorn, maybe? My winter bike choice right now is my Miyata with Marathon studded winter tires (26"). Sitting low and centered, I feel more secure on snow or icy roads than any other bike.

Maybe I'm asking too much. I love the American frontier spirit bubbling in adventure bikes, but secretly admire the simple, utilitarian culture of urban, European bike riding. Going out on a limb, I'd venture North American emphasis on play versus European emphasis on work.

My burning questions related to senior citizen riding would be, "What type of all-round setup is best suited to riding safely and securely (but still with fun!) into my 70s, and beyond?"

I'm going to sell all of my bikes. Which new bike would you go for given my situation (predicament?). hehe

I'd peg my budget at between $2.5K to $4K tops. And I'll probably do a combo of vacation/bike buying trip to...well...anywhere.

Thanks!
Just so you know, Mariposa is back in the bike building business. Sounds like a custom build is what you really want, and that's a great place to get it.

https://mariposabicycles.ca/

EDIT: OK, reading further, I see you already know.
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Old 01-01-18, 08:46 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Just so you know, Mariposa is back in the bike building business. Sounds like a custom build is what you really want, and that's a great place to get it.

https://mariposabicycles.ca/

EDIT: OK, reading further, I see you already know.
Yeah, thanks Dan. As it happens, I have been in touch with them, not recently. They actually remembered the bike they build for me! Sadly, I'm afraid a custom build is now well beyond my financial means. I paid $3K for my Mariposa in 1989, but a similar build now would cripple me at $6,000 minimum, probably a lot more.

Truth be known? I get as much pleasure out of my much cheaper cinderella bikes, a Shogun ($125), a Miyata 610 ($100), and yes, even my aluminum Jake! I guess I'm not as big on the precious artisan thing anymore. At the time, it was a sublime seduction of a pure bred steed. Now? Well, the thrill is gone, as they say. Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, I still love the bike, but more like I love my sweet old grandma.

Last edited by bashley; 01-01-18 at 08:58 AM.
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