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Tell me what you think: riding comfortably and safely beyond 50

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Tell me what you think: riding comfortably and safely beyond 50

Old 01-27-21, 08:24 AM
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justrhines
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Tell me what you think: riding comfortably and safely beyond 50

Howdy All,

Avid mountain biker and bike commuter here. Also a researcher at a Purdue University, leading a team studying bicycle developments for improved ergonomics, comfort, and safety. Specifically, we're working for a customer on a bike design that will ultimately increase safety and comfort, especially as we get a little less limber... This is near and dear to me as well, having taken a couple of (preventable) spills over the years.

I'd really appreciate if I could take 20 seconds of your time to see what kind of bikes everyone here rides (recumbent, normal upright, etc), as well as a few other quick questions regarding your experiences and discomforts with biking! Here is the link to the Google Survey:

https://forms.gle/9VPadt6jnAshvHAi8

If you're curious, I'd be happy to share a little more about this project, and the product underway. As a cyclist I'm very excited about this, and I think you will be too.

Cheers!
Justin

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Old 01-27-21, 09:17 AM
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Here's your survey section. https://www.bikeforums.net/manufactu...umer-feedback/
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Old 01-27-21, 09:50 AM
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Thanks Shelby! I will throw it in there, but really would like to get the opinion of this group specifically if I can! Of course, don't want to ruffle any feathers.

Justin
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Old 01-27-21, 11:00 AM
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What's comfortable sometimes for a person used to doing 4 hour rides at a high effort and what a person only doing a leisurely 30 minute ride can be two entirely different things.

A person that is used to doing 4 hour plus rides might find their saddle and other aspects of their fit completely comfortable for 30 minutes rides. However a person that has only done 30 minute rides might find their saddle, clothing and other aspects of their fit to the bike completely wrong when they attempt long ride of 3 or more hours. Though at the time, they don't realize the real reason why they have pain and saddle sores.

And size of things that give us a different fit matter too. While I fully imagine there might be a time that I'll be on a recumbent bike, which probably gives more accommodation for fit, I don't have one yet, because I am not willing to deal with my perceived disadvantage of them for taking up more storage space, being harder to transport on a vehicle, and simply being heavier to lift and move around. But admittedly, if I become limited physically as I age, those disadvantages might be outweighed. Or perhaps everyone else gets one and I just want to be part of their crowd. So your study of fit and comfort needs to take that into consideration as well, IMO.

As for me, I'm 62, 170 to 175 lbs normally and 71". My current bike is a Tarmac and I very much like the slightly aggressive endurance/race fit for a road bike it gives.

My apologies though, I don't like surveys. So if you need any info, you'll have to ask or glean it from other comments I've made.

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Old 01-27-21, 04:42 PM
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.Accidentally deleted my response (don't ask) but still riding on and off-road, and at 70, still fairly limber. The only thing I could think of so far as bike design would be to allow a little more steerer stem above the headset. So could arrange spacers to adjust the fit. See many bikes now where the steerer is cut so low that the stem is almost sitting on the headset, with no way to raise the stem, other than adding a stem extender, which I'd rather not do. When I put a new stem on my mtn bike, I left the steerer just a little long, to allow me to raise the stem if wanted.
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Old 01-27-21, 05:30 PM
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The final question makes it appear to be a push poll intended to yield responses that prove some new "ergonomic" bike, presumably with something other than a classic diamond frame, is necessary for older riders.

There's nothing I find uncomfortable. So the survey doesn't really seem to want my answer. Because the survey wants a high percentage of respondents reporting discomfort. The survey comes across as a marketing device, not academic research.
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Old 01-27-21, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by justrhines View Post
As a cyclist I'm very excited about this, and I think you will be too.

Nah, not the least bit excited. Age is just a number.
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Old 01-27-21, 05:53 PM
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^^^ I agree. I marked "other" because I don't experience any of the discomforts. The questionnaire does seem very unsophisticated, I'm surprised it has an academic origin.
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Old 01-27-21, 06:07 PM
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I also marked "other" because the discomforts listed don't match up with any issue I'm having. A high-end race machine with a slammed stem still feels very good to my body.

My discomfort is the hit to my ego when I get reminded that I will never regain the fitness I had 20 years ago.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:10 PM
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Thanks all, I understand the lack of sophistication as I really wanted your own words, hence the "other" fields. And you all have been providing some great responses- especially Eric!

Witty or otherwise, these responses are all a great help and just gives us just a little more "real information" as to what we deal with as lifelong cyclists.

Justin
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Old 01-27-21, 08:51 PM
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I'm guessing that most people who frequent these forums don't have any problems riding their bikes. We're certainly not a random sample of the population. I'm 70, been riding for three years (after I had to quit running because of knee problems) and am riding a Specialized Diverge. I don't find it any more challenging than what I remember about riding my bike when I was in high school. People who had problems riding would probably give it up... and not visit the bike forums.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:45 PM
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What's important as we pass 70 is to enjoy it enough to keep doing it daily, make that regularly.
For some that means traditional bikes.
As in vintage.
Which if operated responsibly are safe, like any other bike.
And if you have much experience should be plenty comfortable.



Roll on.



edit: survey done. did not answer last question as there was no option for = no problems riding a regular bike.

when you design your better bike, put in some nostalgia features to keep it fun for oldsters. i want downtube shifters, tubular tires, and narrow drop handlebars.

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Old 01-28-21, 08:28 AM
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OP, what academic department are you in? Have you done enough research about the history of bicycle development to realize that everything you will invent has previously been invented?
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Old 01-28-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
I'm guessing that most people who frequent these forums don't have any problems riding their bikes. We're certainly not a random sample of the population. I'm 70, been riding for three years (after I had to quit running because of knee problems) and am riding a Specialized Diverge. I don't find it any more challenging than what I remember about riding my bike when I was in high school. People who had problems riding would probably give it up... and not visit the bike forums.
AS Random11 said, you've got a real sampling bias problem in this crowd. Vast majority of anyone with more than 100 posts around here likely hasn't got a problem to solve in the categories you're probing.. Your questionnaire probably needs to qualify respondents with obstacles, not us bikegeeks that are doing metric pooploads of monthly miles. Frankly, I'd be surveying salepeople in every bike store I could walk into - "what obstacles are keeping Seniors from buying and enjoying bicycles?" Those folks have money in the game.
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Old 01-28-21, 01:40 PM
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There are basically 2 ways to go: city bike i.e. transportation bike, and sport bike either road or mountain. Sport cycling is about having fun, city cycling is about transportation. In both cases, these modes have been developing for over 120 years, with a lot of very smart people involved, yes, including the Wright Brothers. Even limiting it to upright bikes, there are a zillion possibilities.

I think the biggest obstacle lying between the average over-50 American and cycling is fear of traffic. Second is probably how incredibly out-of-shape and obese Americans are w/r to other countries, although other countries are working on catching up to us in those categories. Third is probably simply the huge step of learning to ride a bike as an adult. There's a bike for everyone, perfectly tuned to each tiny segment of the market. I agree with unterhausen. A new bicycle wheel is invented about every week.
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Old 01-28-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
AS Random11 said, you've got a real sampling bias problem in this crowd. Vast majority of anyone with more than 100 posts around here likely hasn't got a problem to solve in the categories you're probing.. Your questionnaire probably needs to qualify respondents with obstacles, not us bikegeeks that are doing metric pooploads of monthly miles. Frankly, I'd be surveying salepeople in every bike store I could walk into - "what obstacles are keeping Seniors from buying and enjoying bicycles?" Those folks have money in the game.
I don't think that going to bike stores will be particularly fruitful. Anyway, I wouldn't want to waste the bike store's time. Maybe 'bent specialty stores. The truth is that any new invention just needs to be different enough from existing pedaled bikes to convince people through advertising that it will be more comfortable. My cynical side says then either they will think it's comfortable due to confirmation bias, or they won't ride it and it will end up in the landfill. Either way, the company doesn't care since they have the money.

I think if there are mobility challenges that a step-through electric assist tricycle would be pretty awesome. There is probably space in that market for new companies, but supply is an issue for the next couple of years.
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Old 01-28-21, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
There are basically 2 ways to go: city bike i.e. transportation bike, and sport bike either road or mountain. Sport cycling is about having fun, city cycling is about transportation. In both cases, these modes have been developing for over 120 years, with a lot of very smart people involved, yes, including the Wright Brothers. Even limiting it to upright bikes, there are a zillion possibilities. ...
False dichotomy. I ride a 30-year-old sport/competition mountain bike for loaded transportation. I also have sports touring road bikes that serve nicely for light transportation.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
False dichotomy. I ride a 30-year-old sport/competition mountain bike for loaded transportation. I also have sports touring road bikes that serve nicely for light transportation.
Yes, my point exactly!
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Old 01-29-21, 07:12 AM
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Hi Justin -- don't know if this helps, but thought I'd mention it (I've filled out the survey). I used to ride a Trek Emonda, but the racing position wasn't great for my aging (56-year-old) back. After more than a couple hours in the saddle, I'd get very uncomfortable. So late last year I bought a Domane, which is more upright and much more comfortable on long trips. It's made a big difference for me.
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Old 01-29-21, 08:30 AM
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Others have mentioned the obvious issue of riding position. This is why so many of us consider top tube length to be more important than seat tube length when we select a frame. My 1980 Peugeot PKN-10 was one size (2cm) too tall for me, but the much bigger issue was that it was also about 3-4 cm too long for me. I swapped in a close-coupled stem, which helped, but I could never really get comfortable. Happy ending -- I lent it temporarily, and then permanently, to my elder son, who uses it to pull his boys in the Burley trailer.

"We bet Daddy is glad Grandpa put the granny gear on the bike."
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Old 01-29-21, 04:52 PM
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What's a 'two-wheeled upright bicycle'? 'Bicycle' means 2 wheeled - why use both terms? What does upright mean? You start with 'two-wheeled upright' and then throw in recombent and trike - that doesn't make sense to me.

I don't ride upright; I ride bent at the hip....

Something like 'road bike' should be an option.

You don't define 'difficulty'. I've had to deal with perineal numbness and a saddle sore. Do you want to hear about that? I couldn't get used to clipped pedals (SPDs). Do you want to hear about that?

Who mounts and dismounts at stops? Etc., etc., etc.
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Old 01-29-21, 05:16 PM
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gosh, I thought I was snarky about not liking surveys. You guys take the cake! Nor did I know there were so many experts here on analytics.
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Old 01-29-21, 07:26 PM
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These days $=>"academic" research.
OP is researching for a cu$tomer.
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Old 01-29-21, 09:36 PM
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Hi All,

Sorry for the sporadic replies! Totally agree on the true statistical value of this survey- this group is definitely more active and likely healthier than the "average" biker of the same age category. But I feel the breadth of experience is also wider here, just to gauge what you all are dealing with. Also, I definitely hear you on the fact that "everything that can be invented, has." To give a little hint as to what we are moving towards designing, it will give an opportunity to remain seated and not require mounting or dismounting at stops. Again, for a very niche group but of value to our sponsors (and hopefully a few riders too).

Obviously, we all want to ride unassisted on our non step-throughs up through our 90's, but for some this just isn't the case. This is the audience we are serving.

More importantly, love the pics Wildwood and John E !! I'm super appreciative of the responses so far, and am grateful for you all giving your thoughts, despite this being another one of them "gosh darn surveys". I'm guilty of hating on surveys cluttering my forums as well, so I hear you.

Justin
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Old 01-30-21, 09:48 AM
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Sixteen years ago I had a road bike and a mountain bike. I bought a 2 wheel recumbent, and neither the road bike or mountain bike turned a wheel again. Then 10 years ago, I added a tadpole trike. The LWB recumbent bike goes out of town with the bike club. The trike is ridden in town because of the ease of stop and go traffic. You dont have to unclip when you stop. After to stop you just start pedaling again, no fussing around clipping in or wobbling around. I feel I have the right tool for the job at hand.
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