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Problems getting on & off bike, age 70.5 yrs young!

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Problems getting on & off bike, age 70.5 yrs young!

Old 05-31-20, 02:54 PM
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McMitchell
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Problems getting on & off bike, age 70.5 yrs young!

I have issues getting on & off my bike. My bike is a Focus Mares, CX, Cyclocross bike.

I have taken a few spills, as a result. Frequently when I am tired and just try to toss my foot over the seat. Yes, the seat seems to block my foots path. When I bought the bike. Focus did not make a medium frame, only small & large. The bike I bought is still closer to medium size than small.

My back may have “a few hitches in it’s get along!“ I just switched back to drop bars as a few “older“ people seem to think drop bars might actually help with back issues. I had been using to a riser bar. I was hoping more hand positions might help too. I do use a 110mm, 17 degree, extension tube, which I turned up vs down when I switched to the drops.

I am curious about Gravel bikes, many seem to have frames that follow MTB geometry more than road bikes. They may have lower top tubes. They also seem to have a more elongated frame. Might this help my issues getting on & off bike?

I ride paved/gravel roads. I live in a mountain community, with gravel on the pavement, which can be sandy/ pile up in areas. I also ride a real gravel road frequently. Lots of tight turns up & down Hills....

Last edited by McMitchell; 05-31-20 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 05-31-20, 03:14 PM
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How do you get on and off? Do you swing your leg over the rear wheel and get up on the saddle or do you try to go over the top tube with your leg?

I've always gone over the rear wheel with mine. For the larger frame I used to ride, I even leaned the bike toward me quite a bit.
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Old 05-31-20, 03:35 PM
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Getting on... not a problem.
Getting off again when tired, takes care and technique.

I stop and standover the frame, then hop my right leg to the right causing the frame to tilt right.
This will lower the saddle to the point where I don't face plant as I swing my left leg over the saddle.

I only have to do this when tired, and it does not work on my trainer. Ask me how I know!

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Old 05-31-20, 05:09 PM
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"Problems getting on & off bike, age 70.5 yrs young!"

Sounds like the brain is writing a check the body can't cash. My next birthday is in JULY and I will be 70 years OLD and proud of it. Been tilting the bike over for mount/dismount FOREVER.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Been tilting the bike over for mount/dismount FOREVER.
That was going to be my suggestion. Sometimes the leg just doesn't want to make that swing. In that case I just till the bike a little more than usual and that usually does it.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:12 PM
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I've had to lay the bike down flat and step over it after a really hard ride. Trying to put a leg over would cramp me right up. Ignore how it looks. You've earned some respect.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:31 PM
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I'd have to give up cycling if I didn't lay my bike over to get on since I was blessed with short legs and a long torso. Been doing it for as long as I can remember.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:02 PM
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Dropper post.
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Old 06-01-20, 03:17 AM
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I have to do core work for flexibility and strength, along with just riding. Due to various injuries I have a little trouble hoisting my right leg over the saddle to mount, and more trouble dismounting 30-50 miles later when I get home.

Tipping the bike more doesn't work so well when using clipless with old school Look Delta cleats -- those things can be slippery, and I use the bike itself for balance. I should switch completely to SPD-SL or Keo, for the grippy rubber walking pads.

At home, before and after rides, I do a little warmup copying (clumsily) some ballet and dance moves I learned from watching friends who are dancers. I use my wheeled desk chair for balance -- because if I lean too heavily the chair slips away. So it reinforces both balance and flexibility.

I hate planks but I'll do 'em for 30-60 seconds, and add some leg lifts, etc.
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Old 06-01-20, 05:59 AM
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I am in the same boat as August West. I have short legs and long torso and ride a large frame Quick or a medium frame Topstone and with both bikes I have to lean them over a lot. Getting off I used flat pedals with toe cages so there is a bit of a procedure I do that takes some thought but is now habit. It is what works for me and is pretty much how I have always ridden a bike.
Be safe, Frank.
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Old 06-01-20, 06:22 AM
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You've got a year on me, and I've had to start "the lean" getting on/off the bikes. You are not alone! So long as I can still get on/off, I'm happy!
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Old 06-01-20, 06:46 AM
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I'm "only" 58 but I think my next commuter will be a mixte with low step-over.
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Old 06-01-20, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I've had to lay the bike down flat and step over it after a really hard ride. Trying to put a leg over would cramp me right up. Ignore how it looks. You've earned some respect.
This for dismounting as I approach 72. I broke my hip a few years back and I can no longer do my standard cowboy starts and dismounts when I have the pack on my back rack. I can still eke them out without the pack. Getting off is the worst part. Usually, I can just tilt the bike toward me and swing my bent leg over the back. But when my hip cramps up I too drop the bike sideways to the ground and then step off. So far I can still mount the bike (even with the pack) by lifting the handlebars up over my head (so the bike is upright on the back wheel the way you would walk it through a tight area) and then swing it back down between my legs so the seat swings up behind my butt. It sounds goofy but actually looks elegant.
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Old 06-01-20, 07:47 AM
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Hmmm... never really thought about it. I'm 73 and short, and I scooter on and off. Been doing it this way for 60+ years.
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Old 06-01-20, 07:59 AM
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I think dropper posts work on MTBs & gravel bikes because the height of top bar is lower than on the bike above? The top bar of the bike above would prevent a dropper post from working, as the seat could not go lower than the top tube, unless I am missing something?

Last edited by McMitchell; 06-01-20 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-01-20, 08:00 AM
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The top bars are obviously lower on both of these Mountain Bikes. Which is why I have been thinking about a Gravel Bike, with a lower top bar, that may work with a dropper post! The bike on left has a dropper post. Unfortunately the geometry of the bike, prevents the seat from descending as far as I might like.

Last edited by McMitchell; 06-03-20 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 06-01-20, 08:45 AM
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Well now I'm confused. What is all the discussion from you about bar heights and such? That shouldn't be an issue for getting on and off the bike. Are you starting a new topic or is this somehow related??

However if the seat won't go low enough for you then the bike is the wrong size or you like having your knees hit you in the chin while pedaling and need a grossly undersized bike.
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Old 06-01-20, 09:02 AM
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You might consider a LWB bent or a trike.
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Old 06-03-20, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Well now I'm confused. What is all the discussion from you about bar heights and such? That shouldn't be an issue for getting on and off the bike. Are you starting a new topic or is this somehow related??

However if the seat won't go low enough for you then the bike is the wrong size or you like having your knees hit you in the chin while pedaling and need a grossly undersized bike.
I am confused about why you are confused?

Simple matter of geometry. Gravel & Mountain Bikes have slacker Geometry than Road Bikes. Included in these geometric designs are lower top tubes, certainly on Mountain Bikes, often on Gravel Bikes as well. Cyclocross Bikes designs are often more similar to Road Bikes.
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Old 06-03-20, 01:55 PM
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I don't see where is matters much. No part of a bike should interfere with getting on or off the bike unless you ride in a kilt and are just being modest by not slinging your leg over the back. Or perhaps you ride with oversized over stuffed bags on the back making a normal mount difficult.

I'm just having trouble understanding why you are having trouble. I've ridden 64 cm road bikes and smaller and never had an issue. I'm only 5' 11". Even the few times I've gotten on someones mountain bike, I didn't find any difficulty. I understand there are differences in geometry, BB drop and other things.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd explain what the issue is that causes you to have trouble. Simply saying bikes have different geometry doesn't go deep enough for me to even begin to understand. Maybe you have some bikes that have an extreme difference in BB height, but even two or three inches wouldn't be a bother unless I had my seats far higher than what is considered proper fit.
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Old 06-03-20, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by McMitchell View Post
I have issues getting on & off my bike ... when I am tired and just try to toss my foot over the seat. Yes, the seat seems to block my foots path.


While not frequently on gravel, I too am getting up there in age, and I've had more difficulty the last 10yrs with "swinging the leg" up and over the saddle. When younger and exceptionally fit, that swing wasn't a problem. Nowadays, with my "feeling" the old injuries more and more, it's tougher.

I'm penciling-out a new bike to order, and if I do it it'll be a step-through (or fairly low-TT) frame design. For exactly the reasons you mention. If done right, it'll still be modestly nimble and quick, but I'll get ease of getting my leg "through" the top tube area, without having to swing over the saddle; I'll get custom geometry; and I'll get full specification of the components. (For a price, of course.) Which is about the only way I can see of sidestepping the issue, since the one leg simply doesn't work the way it should anymore (and likely won't ever, given old injuries). Might be an option, if you're in the market.

Other than that, I don't have any further suggestions.
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Old 06-03-20, 03:07 PM
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Clyde1820 Now that's informative and tells me more. So I understand what the deal is for you. I expect that one day I'll be there too. I've pondered what to do if and when that happens. So far, I'm thinking that will be when I finally try a recumbent. Hope it can be a recumbent bicycle and not need to be a trike. Room to park or store them will be an issue currently.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:53 PM
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No part of a bike should interfere with getting on or off the bike unless you ride in a kilt and are just being modest by not slinging your leg over the back.
It's not any part of the bike that is a problem - it's gradual loss of flexibility. Even leaning my bike over, which I do more than ever, at 75 my leg just won't reliably swing high enough to clear my old rack trunk. I fell a few times getting on or off with the rack trunk on the rack. Faced with a choice between not riding and giving up the rack trunk, I gave up the carrying capacity.
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Old 06-04-20, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
It's not any part of the bike that is a problem - it's gradual loss of flexibility. Even leaning my bike over, which I do more than ever, at 75 my leg just won't reliably swing high enough to clear my old rack trunk.
^ This.

At least in my case, injuries from decades ago have conspired with older age to seize-up much of the original flexibility and range of motion I once had with the hips. I'm still very flexible, overall, at least with "static" stretching in various planes. But, when the leg's commanded to do it on its own, that particular up-and-over motion of going over the saddle just doesn't work anywhere near as well as it once used to.
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Old 06-04-20, 06:49 AM
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At 73, I have to tilt my road bike into me or I would never be able to get on or off. I'm fortunate that, at my age, I have a lot more flexibility than most of the other guys around my age but I still have to tilt the bike, It's one of those things that happens when you're in those "Golden Years" that you just can't avoid.
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