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Comfort / Recommendations

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Comfort / Recommendations

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Old 05-01-18, 02:22 PM
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Nightcap
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Comfort / Recommendations

Joining the chorus of “I’m Baa-aack.” I joined here as a fat fifties diabetic in 2007, started commuting to work on a bike and just riding for the sheer joy of it on my then-20-year-old Bianchi Boardwalk. Picked up a Specialized Roubaix in 2008 and headed off to enjoy long-distance (half-centuries and centuries) rides through the North Shore. In 2009, picked up a Dahon foldie as the main commuter bike, as taking the subway under the harbor was a lot safer than taking the long way ‘round on the cobbled and potholed truck routes.

And then I stopped. That hundred pounds I lost? Found ‘em again.

Now I’m an overweight-but-no-longer-obese sixties diabetic. The Bianchi is in tough shape - it’s gone from being a 21 speed to a 6 speed, and SunTour parts are no longer available. The Roubaix is still great, but it’s a little beyond me now - my feet are in terrible shape, my hands are also feeling the twinges of neuropathy, my neck gets cricked, and my doctor mutters darkly about “proprioception,” by which he means that my sense of balance isn’t what it used to be. I’ve gotten under the 105 kg weight limit, so I’ve been taking my Dahon out on the local bike paths (I now live within a stone’s throw of the Cape Cod Rail Trail). The only issue I’ve got is that the 20” wheels and the tall stem and seat post (looks like a child’s bike with a pituitary problem) of the Dahon doesn’t feel terribly stable.

I’ve been thinking about a comfort bike, something with swept handlebars, an upright posture, and a mattress saddle, preferably step-through. I’m hoping to work up to 25 mile runs on the trail, probably don’t need more than 8 gears as this is flat Cape Cod. Should I just stick with the Dahon and get used to it, or is there a comfort bike you’d recommend?


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Old 05-01-18, 03:35 PM
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I personally wouldn't spend a lot on a bike until I was back into good enough shape that I was meeting my goals and doing some reasonable miles per week regularly. You might find as you get in better shape, your goals might change significantly. Even a cheap cruiser might be adequate for the moment.
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Old 05-01-18, 03:42 PM
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I like my folding bike, though not a Dahon.. it is functionally like a step thru.

you can change a saddle and maybe pedals ,
stick some Ergon Grips on the bars .. their paddle shape is better than round ones
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Old 05-01-18, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I personally wouldn't spend a lot on a bike until I was back into good enough shape that I was meeting my goals and doing some reasonable miles per week regularly. You might find as you get in better shape, your goals might change significantly. Even a cheap cruiser might be adequate for the moment.
Goals? Shape? My goals are to hop on a bike and head off down the bike path crying “Wheeeeeee!” Anything else is pure gravy.

But you’re right, I may be premature. We’ll see how things go on the foldie.
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Old 05-01-18, 08:21 PM
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The Bianchi Boardwalk looks pretty close to being comfortable. I switched my 1990s Univega from a flat bar to a riser bar with 1 1/2" rise and slight back sweep. More comfortable for my neck, but a bit of wrist and hand discomfort on longer rides. I'm considering a curved arc bar with no rise to reduce the reach a bit, or possible an albatross or North Roads bar with only a little rise.

So it may not take much in the way of modifications to get the Bianchi where it suits you again. Same with the Specialized Roubaix. I've seen folks modify road bikes with the right stem, handlebar, levers/shifters and saddle to make them into remarkably good hybrids. And the sloping top tube of a compact frame bike might be easier to hoist a leg over.
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Old 05-01-18, 08:26 PM
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The Liv Flourish fits the bill for what you said you are looking for.
https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/bikes-flourish-fs
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Old 05-02-18, 09:46 AM
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In the shop, there are adults insecure about not being able to stop,
and not have a foot firmly on the ground.

Crank forward bikes make them OK with riding a bike ,
so that is a good pick for them.




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Old 05-02-18, 01:22 PM
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I don't know about a step through, I couldn't do that. But the Raleigh Port Townsend is a nice bike. $640 if you sign up for a corporate account.

https://www.raleighusa.com/port-townsend-46689

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Old 05-02-18, 04:49 PM
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Medical problems for me kept building. I was not giving up pedaling, so I switched to a recumbent trike. Balance problems are gone. I am getting in reasonable shape and I enjoy not having neck, wrist etc. problems. Do not ignore the trike until you have ridden one. You will not need a long test ride.
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Old 05-02-18, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The Bianchi Boardwalk looks pretty close to being comfortable. I switched my 1990s Univega from a flat bar to a riser bar with 1 1/2" rise and slight back sweep. More comfortable for my neck, but a bit of wrist and hand discomfort on longer rides. I'm considering a curved arc bar with no rise to reduce the reach a bit, or possible an albatross or North Roads bar with only a little rise.

So it may not take much in the way of modifications to get the Bianchi where it suits you again. Same with the Specialized Roubaix. I've seen folks modify road bikes with the right stem, handlebar, levers/shifters and saddle to make them into remarkably good hybrids. And the sloping top tube of a compact frame bike might be easier to hoist a leg over.
The trouble with the Bianchi is the derailleurs don’t work well, and they’re SunTour. I’ve just removed the toe clips (can’t use ‘em anymore due to podiatric problems) and will be sending it over to the LBS for a last attempt at repair before giving up. Replacing the flat bar with a slightly higher and swept bar sounds like a good idea and certainly worth trying.

The Roubaix, however, will remain intact as an aspirational vehicle. I did some serious miles on that bike, and hope to again.
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Old 05-02-18, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
Medical problems for me kept building. I was not giving up pedaling, so I switched to a recumbent trike. Balance problems are gone. I am getting in reasonable shape and I enjoy not having neck, wrist etc. problems. Do not ignore the trike until you have ridden one. You will not need a long test ride.
My wife has been doing a lot of research into recumbents for me, but I’m not quite ready to give up upright bikes. The deltas look interesting - high enough where you can still be seen over the hood of a Canyonero. What kind of ‘bent do you drive?
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Old 05-02-18, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightcap View Post


My wife has been doing a lot of research into recumbents for me, but I’m not quite ready to give up upright bikes. The deltas look interesting - high enough where you can still be seen over the hood of a Canyonero. What kind of ‘bent do you drive?
I am very much into the tadpole trikes. I now own two. I use a flag and lights to be seen. Only been riding 5 months, but no problems so far with several miles on the open road. I like the handling of the tadpole. Until last October I was a hardcore roadie. The pain became too much.
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Old 05-02-18, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
I am very much into the tadpole trikes. I now own two. I use a flag and lights to be seen. Only been riding 5 months, but no problems so far with several miles on the open road. I like the handling of the tadpole. Until last October I was a hardcore roadie. The pain became too much.
I liked the look of the tadpole. I live in the middle of an extended rail trail, but the downside is that it crosses a lot of streets. Technically you’re supposed to walk your bike across - something that won’t be any fun at all on a low-slung ‘bent. There are a couple of bike shops around here that both sell and rent ‘bents - we’re planning to visit them soon.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 05-03-18, 01:53 AM
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Step-throughs are okay if you can find one that doesn't weigh a ton. My comfort hybrid with sloping top tube weighs about 35 lbs with heavy duty tires, rear rack, etc. Not too bad. City rental bikes weigh over 40 lbs.

That Bianchi might make a good project for rebuilding if you know a local mechanic who does that kind of thing. A couple of friends are avid hobbyist mechanics and often buy project bikes to rebuild on decent frames, replacing most of the original components.
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Old 05-03-18, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Step-throughs are okay if you can find one that doesn't weigh a ton. My comfort hybrid with sloping top tube weighs about 35 lbs with heavy duty tires, rear rack, etc. Not too bad. City rental bikes weigh over 40 lbs.

That Bianchi might make a good project for rebuilding if you know a local mechanic who does that kind of thing. A couple of friends are avid hobbyist mechanics and often buy project bikes to rebuild on decent frames, replacing most of the original components.
All of the local bike shops are also bike rental shops - Cape Cod has some fantastic bike trails, and in high summer, they’re crowded with happy families pedaling along. But this also means that the stock of comfort bikes is pretty much the same as they rent: heavy duty and solid. (They also have beach cruisers with huge tires. Not sure how that works, since Massachusetts is one of those places where most beaches are private property, and the biggest public beach, Cape Cod National Seashore, does not allow bicycles on the sand.)

I’ll talk to my friend at the LBS about the Bianchi. Perhaps there’s something that can be done. Thanks for the idea!
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Old 05-03-18, 11:12 AM
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You do live in a great place for cycling. I would go there more often for a ride, except for that pesky cape traffic. Maybe this weekend, as the bridge repair work is supposed to be wrapped up, and the vaca traffic shouldn't be too bad.
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Old 05-03-18, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by NewATBikeComute View Post
You do live in a great place for cycling. I would go there more often for a ride, except for that pesky cape traffic. Maybe this weekend, as the bridge repair work is supposed to be wrapped up, and the vaca traffic shouldn't be too bad.
All lanes on the Sagamore Bridge are open, well ahead of schedule. Cape traffic is not yet a problem. Come on down!

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Old 05-26-18, 03:11 PM
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OK, I’ve been doing a fair amount of riding, and finally (after taking a spill on my wife’s Specialized Globe when my foot hit the front wheel) decided. The Roubaix could be retrofitted - extend the stem, replace the handlebars and saddle - but the skinny tires won’t cut it in the local state park. I just don’t feel stable on it. The Bianchi is OK, but uncomfortable - numb hands, sore back. The latter can be fixed (eventually) with weight-bearing exercise, but damnit, I don’t ride for fitness, I ride for fun. Fitness is a side effect. The Dahon Foldie is my favorite, mostly due to the more upright posture. But the small wheels and small wheelbase are not intrinsically stable.

I took a test drive today on a Specialized Roll. Wow! What a comfortable ride. Those big wheels are stable, the posture is upright, the gearing will get me through the rail trail as well as the hills in Nickerson State Park. It will be arriving next week.
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