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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Found a better way.

Old 12-27-20, 02:48 PM
  #1  
Helderberg
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Found a better way.

I have been finding it difficult lately to feel comfortable on either of my bikes. Some saddle issues but mostly my knees, back and shoulders. At one point I have entertained possibly accepting my physical condition and sell the bikes and take up walking more, I do that anyway as the dog needs it. As a last attempt I saw a post on the Forum of a flat bar bike that had removed the handle bar in favor of a bar with rise and backward sweep so I ordered one. I realized that my dream of riding a full race bike was being crossed off the list of things to do and my gravel bike was as close as I was going to get to one. Tough pill to swallow but I still want to ride. Got the bar about four days ago and in my 35* garage I installed it. That night, not being able to wait any longer, I raised the garage door and took it on it's maiden voyage in this configuration. What a joy to be so comfortable on a bike again. Have to get used to the steering input response but that will come in time. Had it out again yesterday and it was not a fluke, it feels great. I will still walk the dog but riding is still in my present and future, at least in my immediate future. It ain't a race bike but it is mine and that is all that matters to me.
Be safe, Frank.

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Old 12-27-20, 03:18 PM
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Whatever it takes. One of the best technical mountain bikers I know has a similar bar on his mountain bike. It works for him.
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Old 12-27-20, 07:24 PM
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Good for you! It is possible to get it back. Getting it back involves regular: riding, strength training, and stretching for many months if not a year or two. It's worth it, whatever it takes. It only gets worse, you know. At least you have a bike you can ride now! My bike has long been my most useful piece of fitness equipment. My wife and I have been gym members since 1979, which streak ended in March. I bought dumbbells, not as good as a full gym but good enough for now.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:30 PM
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Glad you are still on the road. Good solution
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Old 12-28-20, 07:42 AM
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I have a friend who had to move to flat bars, exclusively. He had a specific back injury. With your multiple points of discomfort you may be suffering from the lack of flexibility that comes with age. You may want to explore yoga or similar before you give up on drop bars.
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Old 12-28-20, 09:27 PM
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Good to listen to your body! Too many one-size-fits-all solutions offered out there.
My own peculiar example: I can no longer ride flat bars. I've been riding mountain bikes with flat bars for over 35 years now but in the last few years have developed arthritis at the base of my thumbs. This makes pulling on flat bar brake levers painful. It also makes fast bumpy descents with flat bars painful, even more so when braking on rough downhills.

So an old friend built me this drop bar MTB a couple years ago. I don't have to give up the mountain bike after all!



Brent
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Old 12-28-20, 09:43 PM
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I'd ride that bike!
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Old 12-28-20, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
Good to listen to your body! Too many one-size-fits-all solutions offered out there.
My own peculiar example: I can no longer ride flat bars. I've been riding mountain bikes with flat bars for over 35 years now but in the last few years have developed arthritis at the base of my thumbs. This makes pulling on flat bar brake levers painful. It also makes fast bumpy descents with flat bars painful, even more so when braking on rough downhills.

So an old friend built me this drop bar MTB a couple years ago. I don't have to give up the mountain bike after all!



Brent
This is a cool looking bike. Ride and be safe. Thanks for the post.
Frank.
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Old 12-28-20, 10:10 PM
  #9  
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Some folks associate flat bars with rise and sweep with non-sporty bikes, the old single or 3-speed types we knew as kids. Yet the position is remarkably comfortable and more neutral than straight mountain bars because you don't need to medially rotate your arms to grasp the bars. I outfitted a 1971 Raleigh International (the next-to-top of the line at the time below the Professional) with those bars as a fast townie bike so I could enjoy an upright position on a 531 steel sporting frame. It's got an 8-speed hub with even higher top gear than my racing bike. And I can carry groceries with it. Don't fret not having drop bars, just keep riding in comfort.

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Old 12-28-20, 10:12 PM
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Thanks all for the posts and encouragement. I just put 15 miles on the bike on my trainer. My wrists did not hurt at all and I found I could move my hands around enough to have different grips areas. Tomorrow I hope to get out on the street and get some real miles on the bike.
Be safe all, Frank.
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Old 12-28-20, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ascherer View Post
Some folks associate flat bars with rise and sweep with non-sporty bikes, the old single or 3-speed types we knew as kids. Yet the position is remarkably comfortable and more neutral than straight mountain bars because you don't need to medially rotate your arms to grasp the bars. I outfitted a 1971 Raleigh International (the next-to-top of the line at the time below the Professional) with those bars as a fast townie bike so I could enjoy an upright position on a 531 steel sporting frame. It's got an 8-speed hub with even higher top gear than my racing bike. And I can carry groceries with it. Don't fret not having drop bars, just keep riding in comfort.

Nice looking bike. Could I ask what the purpose of the frame wrap?
Be safe, Ride on, Frank.
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Old 12-28-20, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
Nice looking bike. Could I ask what the purpose of the frame wrap?
Be safe, Ride on, Frank.
The original motivation was to replace a Raleigh 3-speed that I commuted on in Manhattan. It gets locked up so it's wrapped to protect the frame from getting scratched up. Of course, I commuted to my office exactly once before we switched to work from home...but I do get our groceries weekly.
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Old 12-30-20, 03:09 PM
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There is an answer for your problems at your local recumbent/trike store.

Remember on a trike you can ride as slow or fast as you want too, and you can just stop and rest with your own lawn chair.

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Old 01-01-21, 07:42 AM
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Yeah, there's a reason (or reasons) that nearly everyone of every age outside of the U.S. rides Dutch geometry city bikes.

More: City Bikes | LocalMile

Glad you found a setup that works for you. I've talked to a lot of orthopedists about bicycling after age 50 and wrist/hand pain is one of the top issues - because of the unnatural hand positions of most U.S. bikes and people leaning forward when they're not producing enough watts (or have enough strength) to carry some of their body weight through their core and so it all rests on their wrists/hands. And I think every one of these orthopedists has told me that it's over about age 35-40 that the problems begin developing, not 50. :-)

My time gets split between the U.S. and Europe (and a bit elsewhere) and I've always been amazed at how many older folks are always riding bicycles, especially in The Netherlands. It's like a giant old folks home!

ascherer , nice bike! What rear hub? Have you thought about a chain guard or case? I raced for Raleigh in the 70's and they gave me an International for a training bike. A bit more comfortable than the Pro's we raced on.

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Old 01-01-21, 08:42 AM
  #15  
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Great thread. If the bike fits, ride it. If it doesn't, either adapt it until it does or replace it with one that does fit you.

When I first bought my mountain bike, I really missed the variety of hand positions afforded by drop bars, particularly the hands-vertical, neutral axial forearm rotation positions. My solution has been bolt-on extensions perpendicular to the bars. With my 4-finger Shimano motorcycle-style brake levers, I can even brake pretty decently from the extensions.
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Old 01-01-21, 09:28 AM
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Desire finds a way. Good job, keep riding!
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Old 01-01-21, 01:20 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by ascherer View Post
Some folks associate flat bars with rise and sweep with non-sporty bikes, the old single or 3-speed types we knew as kids. Yet the position is remarkably comfortable and more neutral than straight mountain bars because you don't need to medially rotate your arms to grasp the bars. I outfitted a 1971 Raleigh International (the next-to-top of the line at the time below the Professional) with those bars as a fast townie bike so I could enjoy an upright position on a 531 steel sporting frame. It's got an 8-speed hub with even higher top gear than my racing bike. And I can carry groceries with it. Don't fret not having drop bars, just keep riding in comfort.

I'm just curious, do you and others consider those flat bars? I've always consider flat bars essentially a straight piece of pipe with no curves what so ever. And riser flat bars only curve in one plane to allow for the rise.

The bars on that bike I'd consider somewhat a cruiser style bar and what I'd probably use if I was going to something other than drops. Pretty much what the OP showed in his first pic aren't they? Or am I delirious from my isolation?

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Old 01-01-21, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'm just curious, do you and others consider those flat bars? I've always consider flat bars essentially a straight piece of pipe with no curves what so ever. And riser flat bars only curve in one plane to allow for the rise.

The bars on that bike I'd consider somewhat a cruiser style bar and what I'd probably use if I was going to something other than drops. Pretty much what the OP showed in his first pic aren't they? Or am I delirious from my isolation?
I used the term here just to divide the world of bars into drop and non-drop. Your definition is more precise, a flat bar would have little to no angles of any sort. Once you start diving into bar taxonomies it gets dizzying, the number of variants are endless. If you havenít seen it, whatbars.com is an interesting source for more than youíll ever need to know about handlebars. The OPís bars seem to have some rise and a bit of sweep. Hard to say but they look like what were called all-rounders, meant to allow semi-upright posture with a bit of forward lean in the upper body. The bars on mine are a North Road pattern which has a bigger sweep angle, and they reach farther back towards the rider.
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Old 01-01-21, 04:53 PM
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This is what I had, stock not counting the uprights or the stem, that came on the bike.



This is what I have now.
Thanks for all the responses.
Be safe, Frank.

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Old 01-02-21, 02:10 AM
  #20  
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Yup, my favorite hybrid, an early '90s steel frame Univega, has been through the original "flat" (actually slightly arced) handlebar, then riser bars with a bit of back sweep, to fully swept albatross bars. I prefer the albatross bars, although I might trim a bit off the ends to clear my knees for better handling on slow speed turns.

Or I might switch back to riser bars with a bit of sweep if I can find a lightweight heat treated aluminum bar. I'm spoiled by the Nitto albatross bar, excellent quality and very light. My original flat and riser bars were steel, very heavy. I'm surprised how noticeable it was, but when I first switched to the aluminum albatross bars, I'd often wheelie unintentionally from a stop on the slightest uphill. But if I switch back to riser bars I'll need to replace the bar-end shifters I'm using now.

My other bikes are standard drop bar road bikes but I still come back to that hybrid often when I want a more relaxed ride. It's my favorite for casual group rides, especially in traffic. It sits up high and I have better peripheral vision.
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Old 01-02-21, 08:35 AM
  #21  
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My Rivendell Appaloosa . Wrist issues including multiple surgeries. This bike rides like a Cadillac. Geared to climb if you have the legs.
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Old 01-02-21, 08:39 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post


This is what I had, stock not counting the uprights or the stem, that came on the bike.

...
That is similar to what I have and like, except that my risers are on the ends of the straight bars, and padded.
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Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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