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Old newbie, first ride, need help

Old 05-01-21, 02:15 PM
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MarkMCO
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Old newbie, first ride, need help

Hello,
57 year old guy here. Haven’t rode in almost 30 years. Both big and tall at 6’3” and 340. Just bought a Worksman newsboy for riding around a flat, paved 1/4 oval. Shouldn’t be a difficult challenge on bike as I walk it.

The bike came about 98% done. I attached handle bars, seat, peddles and reflectors.

Just took it out and noticed how incredibly difficult it is to peddle. I made it about 500’ and couldn’t peddle up the 1 degree paved driveway. I lubed the chain. Just about fell off because the big saddle spring seat goes from side to side.

Thought the stiffness may loosen up but it may kill me first. I was a little wobbly but really think it’s because I didn’t have enough strength to peddle.

I have tightened and re-tightened the seat and post. I used a good wrench and went as tight as strength allows, but it still sways.

Any ideas are really appreciated. Thank you!


Mark
Lakeland FL
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Old 05-01-21, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
Hello,
57 year old guy here. Haven’t rode in almost 30 years. Both big and tall at 6’3” and 340. Just bought a Worksman newsboy for riding around a flat, paved 1/4 oval. Shouldn’t be a difficult challenge on bike as I walk it.

The bike came about 98% done. I attached handle bars, seat, peddles and reflectors.

Just took it out and noticed how incredibly difficult it is to peddle. I made it about 500’ and couldn’t peddle up the 1 degree paved driveway. I lubed the chain. Just about fell off because the big saddle spring seat goes from side to side.

Thought the stiffness may loosen up but it may kill me first. I was a little wobbly but really think it’s because I didn’t have enough strength to peddle.

I have tightened and re-tightened the seat and post. I used a good wrench and went as tight as strength allows, but it still sways.

Any ideas are really appreciated. Thank you!


Mark
Lakeland FL
Well, it is a single speed, right? It is possible the gearing is too high for you. You might need to switch out to a smaller chainring.
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Old 05-01-21, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Well, it is a single speed, right? It is possible the gearing is too high for you. You might need to switch out to a smaller chainring.
It is a single speed. Thought a single would be fine since it’s Florida and everything I will ride is flat, but maybe a 3 speed would be better.

But, I think something is wrong. Just rolling the bike down the sidewalk is very stiff. It has a drum brake on front. Maybe needs adjusting?
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Old 05-01-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
It is a single speed. Thought a single would be fine since it’s Florida and everything I will ride is flat, but maybe a 3 speed would be better.

But, I think something is wrong. Just rolling the bike down the sidewalk is very stiff. It has a drum brake on front. Maybe needs adjusting?
When you pick the bike up, do the wheels spin freely? When coasting downhill, is pedaling any easier?
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Old 05-01-21, 03:23 PM
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I sounds like something is binding. Agree that you should try to see if both wheels spin freely.
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Old 05-01-21, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
When you pick the bike up, do the wheels spin freely? When coasting downhill, is pedaling any easier?
Thank you for that! I picked it up and the front wheel was almost locked. The front drum brake was partially activated. I adjusted it and now front wheel rolls freely. Found light machine oil and put some on the chains. Now the bike rolls freely.

Now, I am working on the seat. I just took off the saddle and solid post. Hopefully, I can tighten it down harder.
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Old 05-01-21, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
Thank you for that! I picked it up and the front wheel was almost locked. The front drum brake was partially activated. I adjusted it and now front wheel rolls freely. Found light machine oil and put some on the chains. Now the bike rolls freely.

Now, I am working on the seat. I just took off the saddle and solid post. Hopefully, I can tighten it down harder.
Don't over oil the chain. Too much lube picks up grit which can cause wear. Very light lube and wipe off the excess. Clean from time to time with degreaser, then re lube with chain lube. I use Finish Line Dry in late spring and summer and Finish Line Wet in fall.
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Old 05-01-21, 04:49 PM
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That makes sense with the chain. Just did my first ride in almost 30 years!

Seat is better but still moves. Might need a different clamp?

Think I could benefit from a few extra gears. Feels like there’s still some drag but it is pulling me around. Doesn’t coast much?. Maybe a break in period for me and the bike.

But I am really happy to be out there again. Feels a little like being a kid again. Thank you for pointing me in the right directions. Sure I will have more newbie questions.
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Old 05-02-21, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
That makes sense with the chain. Just did my first ride in almost 30 years!

Seat is better but still moves. Might need a different clamp?

Think I could benefit from a few extra gears. Feels like there’s still some drag but it is pulling me around. Doesn’t coast much?. Maybe a break in period for me and the bike.

But I am really happy to be out there again. Feels a little like being a kid again. Thank you for pointing me in the right directions. Sure I will have more newbie questions.
The gearing might be too tall for your current ability. You could swap the chainring for a smaller one. I ride geared bikes, but if I were looking at a 1 speed, I would probably go with something like a 34 or 36 tooth chainring. Better on the knees.
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Old 05-02-21, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
Now, I am working on the seat. I just took off the saddle and solid post. Hopefully, I can tighten it down harder.
Be careful with that. I've snapped more saddle clamp bolts than I care to admit. But a better clamp could be your best bet so I think you're on the right track.

You might still have some brake dragging (you'll figure it out) but there's also this: at first even short flat rides were difficult for me when I started. Just stick with it and don't worry about how fast or how far until your legs and cardio begin to see improvement.
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Old 05-02-21, 08:51 AM
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MRT2 is correct suggesting that you check the wheels for being able to turn them freely. The chain is unlikely to cause that much grief. It would jump on the gears if there was a stiff joint somewhere in the chainline.


The two most likely sources for binding are binding brakes and badly adjusted tension at the cones/bearings on either whee . Since you have a coaster brake on the rear that isn't likely there but the adjustment on the front brake might. Just lift the front wheel and spin it by hand. If it is not binding it should spin freely and eventually stop with the valve at the lowest point. If it binds, first check for a binding drum brake. Is there an adjustment knob either at the brake lever or at the center of the wheel for adjusting the tension on the brake cable? If so, try releasing a little more cable and seeing if it frees up the front wheel. If there is binding due to either the front or rear wheel badly adjusted (cones too tight) so there is too much pressure on the bearings, you might take it to a bike shop and have them adjust the bearing tension. It's a simple job but one that works best if you have a set of cone wrenches and know what is a good setting. I responded to a post by someone who was having trouble climbing even modest hills on their recumbent bike. Turned out the brakes were dragging on the bike and once fixed the owner no longer wanted or needed to change gearing.

If you can't get the seat to stay in place, I'd suggest dumping the spring seat and going with a regular unsprung seat. You can probably get one at a bike shop or at a mass merchandisers like WalMart. Buy one that will fit your current seatpost.
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Old 05-02-21, 09:44 AM
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Excellent information. I probably should have ordered with the Shimano 3 speed but overall, very happy to be getting out there again. I am terribly out of shape and work from home. No family or wife to remind me about exercise or activity.

The seat is a little concerning. It’s mostly stabile now, but creaks a little. Afraid of it just snapping off or maybe it will break in.

The bike is 75 pounds, so added with my weight puts a lot of pressure on those tires. The front wheel spins relatively free after loosening the pressure on the drum brake. The valve will not float to the bottom when spun. Not sure there’s anything else I can do to make it ‘spin’ more freely, but I may try the cone adjustment after understanding it a bit more. Cycle techs are really backed up here.

A last thought on lack of ‘coasting’. Am I flattening the tires? Not sure about recommended air pressure. They’re pretty beefy kevlar lined and puncture resistant.

Thank you all for the thoughtful help! Very much appreciated.


Mark
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Old 05-02-21, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkMCO View Post
The seat is a little concerning. It’s mostly stabile now, but creaks a little. Afraid of it just snapping off or maybe it will break in.

The bike is 75 pounds, so added with my weight puts a lot of pressure on those tires.
That is a beefy bike. I doubt they'd put a flimsy saddle on an industrial frame like that, so maybe you got something in wrong - anybody familiar with bikes should be able to just look at it and tell. The seatpost probably wouldn't snap, but it might slip or bend and cause you to crash.

I doubt they'd put flimsy tires on such a bike either - but if you don't have them at the right pressure they'll flex and give a funny ride feel and they'll roll slow.
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Old 05-02-21, 01:45 PM
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It looks like the brand of tire may be one that Workman has made for themselves. I haven't seen a modern bike tire that doesn't specify a maximum pressure or pressure range embossed into the tire sidewall. It might be the same color as the sidewall so a bit hard to see unless you look closely, If you ride the bike with too low a tire pressure you can get pinch flats going over a bump. At the upper end of the pressure range it can give a harsh ride but that's a trade off between comfort and efficiency. It's harder to pedal a bike with really soft tires. There is a safety factor built in so you should be able to ride the bike at the maximum given on the sidewall without blowing a tire.
There are lots of tutorials like this one
on how to adjust the tension on the bearings. Really good wheels will oscillate back and forth with the valve coming to a stop at the bottom but who knows what the quality Workman uses. It is still worth your while to check the adjustment,
I wondered about the bike weight. 75 pounds is a lot to pedal under any circumstances but Workman built the bike to withstand heavy riders. You might check out the Clydesdales and Athenas subforum here for hints on what other heavier riders experienced https://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdal...-200-lb-91-kg/
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Old 05-05-21, 09:03 AM
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You are likely way out of physical condition as I was when begining to cycle at age 72 or so. Don't worry about that. Whether it is riding a bike of playing the piano, the more you do it the bet you get. Eventually it gets to be fun.
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Old 05-05-21, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
You are likely way out of physical condition as I was when begining to cycle at age 72 or so. Don't worry about that. Whether it is riding a bike of playing the piano, the more you do it the bet you get. Eventually it gets to be fun.
A big yes on being out-of-shape. Taking baby steps. And yes, I am having a blast while hopefully getting in better shape.

I made a few small tweaks to the Newsboy over the last few days. The biggest improvement (besides unlocking the brake) was seat height. It was far too low. After raising it, I can now coast a bit and average 2 small laps around my neighborhood.

A huge thank you to those that helped me get started and back in the saddle again!


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Old 05-05-21, 04:30 PM
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Are you sure it's 75 pounds? Seems like a lot to me, I didn't think it was possible for a bike to be that heavy.

Most of us like the seat height so the leg is just slightly bent at the bottom of the stroke. You don't want your knee to be at less than 90 degrees at the top.
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Old 05-05-21, 06:05 PM
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You are at the beginning of a long journey. I'd suggest you just ride as much as you can and not worry about anything else right now. Make sure your bike fits, listen to people who have experience cycling and be patient A year from now you will have a better idea of what you want and what you need.
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Old 05-08-21, 05:55 PM
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Hang in there. Don't over-exert early on in your journey. But do gradually increase your efforts.
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