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Older Road Bike Riders?

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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.

Older Road Bike Riders?

Old 10-31-21, 09:33 AM
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I am 75, never very athletic, average speeds in the 12–15 mph range. I ride about 1,000 miles a year. I switch back and forth from the hoods to the drops. My speed always is better on the drops, but I have less pain on the hoods, and also feel safer on them when I am around cars and intersections. Shifting is painful for my hand and fingers when I am on the drops, so I am still figuring that out. But I like the power and speed of the drops. I wear street shoes, having fallen several times when wearing clipless.
All three of my bikes have been Giant, starting off with a Defy, alloy frame, 19 pounds, and 25mm tires, then going to a Toughroad gravel alloy, 24 pounds, with 38mm tires, and 1x11 gearing. This fall I finally switched to a Defy Advanced carbon, 19 pounds, with 32mm tires, and back to 2x11 gears.
The 32mm tires may disqualify my carbon Defy as a road bike, but I feel they are necessary for safety on our New England roads that are full of winter damage, and funky shoulders.
I enjoyed the versatility and safety of the 24-pound alloy gravel bike, but I really missed the lightweight road bike. I had not expected the five-pound difference to affect my ride so much. Since I wanted both the safety of wider tires, and light weight, that pushed me over the edge to buy the carbon with 32mm tires, whose 19 pounds matched my original road bike. It is perfect for the kind of non-competitive, fitness riding I enjoy.
One other point regarding age is that I have shrunk two inches, from 5-feet 11.5 inches to 5-feet 9.5 inches. My M/L gravel bike is too large for my current, diminished height, which was another reason for buying a new bike in size M.
I have a very rare, and extremely painful, neurological disorder (1 in 10,000 people) called trigeminal neuralgia, or TN. On two Facebook support groups I have learned that those of us who cycle require far less medication and surgery than those who don't exercise. For me, cycling gives me control over treating an extremely debilitating disease. Buying a $2,600 carbon bike seemed worth every penny, considering its importance to my well-being, and keeping me away from the brain surgeon's knife and saw. My frugal wife agreed. Here is the gallery—

This is my first road bike, the Defy aluminum alloy, 25mm tires, 19 pounds, size M/L.


Below is my Giant Toughroad alloy gravel bike, 24 pounds, 38mm tires, 1x11, size M/L.


My current bike the Giant Defy Advanced carbon, 19 pounds, 32mm tires, 2x11, size M.


And here I am with the carbon bike, at my favorite spot, an old marsh of native wild rice along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts.

Last edited by Merrimac; 10-31-21 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 10-31-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Merrimac
I am 75, never very athletic, average speeds in the 12–15 mph range. I ride about 1,000 miles a year. I switch back and forth from the hoods to the drops. My speed always is better on the drops, but I have less pain on the hoods, and also feel safer on them when I am around cars and intersections. Shifting is painful for my hand and fingers when I am on the drops, so I am still figuring that out. But I like the power and speed of the drops. I wear street shoes, having fallen several times when wearing clipless.
All three of my bikes have been Giant, starting off with a Defy, alloy frame, 19 pounds, and 25mm tires, then going to a Toughroad gravel alloy, 24 pounds, with 38mm tires, and 1x11 gearing. This fall I finally switched to a Defy Advanced carbon, 19 pounds, with 32mm tires, and back to 2x11 gears.
The 32mm tires may disqualify my carbon Defy as a road bike, but I feel they are necessary for safety on our New England roads that are full of winter damage, and funky shoulders.
I enjoyed the versatility and safety of the 24-pound alloy gravel bike, but I really missed the lightweight road bike. I had not expected the five-pound difference to affect my ride so much. Since I wanted both the safety of wider tires, and light weight, that pushed me over the edge to buy the carbon with 32mm tires, whose 19 pounds matched my original road bike. It is perfect for the kind of non-competitive, fitness riding I enjoy.
One other point regarding age is that I have shrunk two inches, from 5-feet 11.5 inches to 5-feet 9.5 inches. My M/L gravel bike is too large for my current, diminished height, which was another reason for buying a new bike in size M.
I have a very rare, and extremely painful, neurological disorder (1 in 10,000 people) called trigeminal neuralgia, or TN. On two Facebook support groups I have learned that those of us who cycle require far less medication and surgery than those who don't exercise. For me, cycling gives me control over treating an extremely debilitating disease. Buying a $2,600 carbon bike seemed worth every penny, considering its importance to my well-being, and keeping me away from the brain surgeon's knife and saw. My frugal wife agreed. Here is the gallery—

This is my first road bike, the Defy aluminum alloy, 25mm tires, 19 pounds, size M/L.


Below is my Giant Toughroad alloy gravel bike, 24 pounds, 38mm tires, 1x11, size M/L.


My current bike the Giant Defy Advanced carbon, 19 pounds, 32mm tires, 2x11, size M.


And here I am with the carbon bike, at my favorite spot, an old marsh of native wild rice along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts.
I am a fellow trigeminal Neuralgia sufferer.

I'll be 82 in November have gone through a microvascular decompression and two gamma knife procedures. Currently off meds, but I feel a few tingles now and then. For those who don't know TN it's generally severe and debilitating electric shocks in your facial area, described as the most painful condition known to human kind. It also is called the suicide disease. I don't believe bicycling has affected my condition one way or the other, except that it always pays to be in good physical condition. Like others I have also shrunk, from 6 ft to a little over 5 ft 10 in.

Last edited by gobicycling; 10-31-21 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 10-31-21, 05:51 PM
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I have almost always ridden my Fuji on neither the 'drops', 'hoods', or the 'tops', but rather on the shoulders of the bars where the tops transition forward. I put my palms on the bends with my fingers facing forward. I've been riding with my hands that way for 45+ years. Easy to transition to tops or drops. Especially when one considers that I use bar-con shifters. Both positions are a quick re-position from either tops or drops for braking or shifting My brake levers are NOT positioned for hood-riding!
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Old 11-03-21, 12:39 PM
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I still use drops on the road bikes, but spend much more time on the hoods than before. I have rotated/tilted the bars, pointing the bottom portion a bit more downward, so that the brake levers are a bit higher and more comfortable.

I put a lot of road miles on my mountain bike, and I spend most of my time on the extensions unless I need full braking power or maneuvering
Independence Day parade a couple of years ago in my elder son's neighborhood. Some bikes don't need no 4th of July decoration!
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Old 11-05-21, 02:09 PM
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Will be 65 in a few months and just bought a new steel drop bar endurance bike. Not having any problems so far. Will ride it till I can't ride no more...

Humm... thinking ahead here maybe I should keep my early '90s flat bar hybrid around for awhile. Been thinking of selling it...
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Old 11-05-21, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad
Will be 65 in a few months and just bought a new steel drop bar endurance bike. Not having any problems so far. Will ride it till I can't ride no more...

Humm... thinking ahead here maybe I should keep my early '90s flat bar hybrid around for awhile. Been thinking of selling it...
when I was 65 I had a custom steel sport touring frame built and outfitted it with drop bars and SRAM Force drive train. A couple of years ago I put in Shmano GRX to ease my aching bones. Then a year ago I learned I have Parkinson’s Disease. At 73 I am still enjoying the custom bike but I am following ebike developments with an eye to the future. My biggest dilemma will be step thru vs flat bar with a flat or sloped top tube.

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Old 11-06-21, 02:02 AM
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I'm only 53 but when I get older I'll probably be on something like this.

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Old 11-06-21, 06:09 AM
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My wife turns 70 today and has over 5,000 miles for the year so far. She's in her 40th season of road cycling as an adult.
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Old 11-06-21, 08:00 AM
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71 with historic back issues I have raised bars with tall quills and stems, gone to 28s , and with staying out of the drops has helped a lot. Riding 20+ miles every other day has worked out well as has staying under 40 miles. Only real issue is I can not bear to make changes to my Italians so they will have to go, I just can't put a Nitto Technomic on a Tommasini.
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Old 11-07-21, 09:18 PM
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Posted by Gobicycling—
I am a fellow trigeminal Neuralgia sufferer.

I'll be 82 in November have gone through a microvascular decompression and two gamma knife procedures. Currently off meds, but I feel a few tingles now and then. For those who don't know TN it's generally severe and debilitating electric shocks in your facial area, described as the most painful condition known to human kind. It also is called the suicide disease. I don't believe bicycling has affected my condition one way or the other, except that it always pays to be in good physical condition. Like others I have also shrunk, from 6 ft to a little over 5 ft 10 in.
Finding another TN brother on this forum is a surprise. Good to hear that the surgery and gamma knife procedures were successful. I suppose they will be in my future too. Keep it up!
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Old 11-07-21, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Merrimac
Posted by Gobicycling—


Finding another TN brother on this forum is a surprise. Good to hear that the surgery and gamma knife procedures were successful. I suppose they will be in my future too. Keep it up!
Well here's another one for you, Dendriform Pulmonary Ossification. That's 10 times or maybe 100 or 1,000 times more rare than trigeminal neuralgia. It's called an orphan disease and only a few hundred people in the world seem to have it or at least have been diagnosed, which occurs mostly in autopsies. Anyway that's another thing that I have fun with!
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Old 11-08-21, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gobicycling
Well here's another one for you, Dendriform Pulmonary Ossification. That's 10 times or maybe 100 or 1,000 times more rare than trigeminal neuralgia. It's called an orphan disease and only a few hundred people in the world seem to have it or at least have been diagnosed, which occurs mostly in autopsies. Anyway that's another thing that I have fun with!
You are one lucky guy! Yikes!
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Old 11-08-21, 04:30 PM
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Still riding my Lemond Zurich - at age 72. I'm a bit slower nowadays and a lot more careful, but that's okay. Still having fun.
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Old 11-12-21, 06:58 AM
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Here is a different twist. I am 72 and have spinal and foraminal stenosis (lumbar region) and the associated symptoms (hip and lower leg pain in my case). Riding either of my road bikes with traditional setup provide me significant relief from the discomfort that I feel. So in my case the position of a road bike is a solution to a problem and not a problem to be overcome. I have been dealing with the symptoms for a bit under a year, so I don't know the long term outlook here.

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Old 11-12-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11
Two months ago I bought a Cervelo Caledonia. I'm very happy with the bike, which fits well and is a good match for my regular rides. But one thing I briefly considered before buying is how much longer I'd want to ride a bike like that, or even be able to ride a bike like that. I'm 71, and curious about older riders' experience with road bikes. Are you older than I am and still riding a drop-bar road bike? Did you give up riding a road bike for some reason and turn to something else? I know as I'm asking that everyone's experiences are different and I should just keep riding the bike as long as it suits me. But I'm wondering if I'll still want to ride that bike in 10 years. How about 20 years? How about 30 years, when I'm 101? One thing about buying a bike when you're older is that you really can think that the bike will last you the rest of your life.
Back in about 1987 I bought what I thot was going to be my last bike. Now, 3 bikes and 1 trike later, Im not sure I wont buy something new, even tho I am 83.
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Old 11-12-21, 02:24 PM
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68 here. All my bikes are drop bar road bikes. (60% fix gears.) I set my bikes up to be all day comfortable in the drops. How far I can reach depends on how much I've been riding. I love the old quill stems because raising and lowering them is so easy. (Well greased and done often.) Also ride (roughly in descending order) the hoods, right behind the hoods, the tops and the curves. Well, one of my fix gears has pista drops and the hoods set very low. I use the hoods only for out of the saddle climbing and behind them more.

I plan to keep on doing this as long as I can; just raising the bars, maybe a new stem or three. Figure I can go to a full upright position when they figure out this wind thing but as long as I have to deal with it, I'll stick to drop bars.
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Old 11-12-21, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Back in about 1987 I bought what I thot was going to be my last bike. Now, 3 bikes and 1 trike later, Im not sure I wont buy something new, even tho I am 83.
Just do it.
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Old 11-12-21, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Back in about 1987 I bought what I thot was going to be my last bike. Now, 3 bikes and 1 trike later, Im not sure I wont buy something new, even tho I am 83.
That would make a great story at my funeral - "He just bought a new bike two weeks ago... to add to his collection and the one he bought two years ago". With much head nodding and "that's Scott all right".
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Old 11-13-21, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I love the old quill stems because raising and lowering them is so easy. (Well greased and done often.) Also ride (roughly in descending order) the hoods, right behind the hoods, the tops and the curves….

…I plan to keep on doing this as long as I can; just raising the bars, maybe a new stem or three. Figure I can go to a full upright position when they figure out this wind thing but as long as I have to deal with it, I'll stick to drop bars.
It is easier to adapt a quill stem bike to a variety of stems and bars and change the bar height and reach. Perhaps almost to a fault, as I have tinkered a fair bit over the years trying different bars and stems.

With a Technomic stem, for example, there is about a four inch range of height adjustment available with a 6 mm hex wrench and all of five seconds.

Threadless fork road bikes tend to be more limited because they don’t usually make head tubes as tall as they might to compensate for modern, higher BBs.

The good news is that there are now a lot of new handlebar options that are still a drop bar but have considerable rise from the stem clamp (and typically a shallow drop), if you find you want higher bars.

Also, if you eventually decide you don’t really want or need drops, there are ways to set up touring bars that allow a good forward to back range of positions (more even than drop bars) so that you aren’t stuck in a full upright position all the time.

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Old 11-13-21, 09:28 AM
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My plan is that at the age of 102 they will find me pulled off to the side of the bike trail on my trike, with a smile on my face assuming room temp. A great way to go.
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Old 11-13-21, 03:18 PM
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I'm eighty and ride every day. A friend used to ride his age in miles until he was 83, then little things slowed him down.

Dr. Paul Dudley White rode into his mid eighties, but suffered a stroke at 87.
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Old 11-14-21, 08:46 PM
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I’m 70 and have ridden 7000 miles or so in 2021. I ride a road bike and still love pushing it. Alas, the future is somewhat ordained but I’ll push it as long as I’m having as much fun as I am. Best to all.


The top of mile’s climb with a moment or so of 21% grade.
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Old 11-15-21, 05:32 AM
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I ride on the hoods most of the time anyway. I use the drops mainly for stability on steep descents and the odd sprint. I'm only 53, but I can't see myself ever moving to a flat bar setup on my road bike. I find it more comfortable riding on the hoods and tops of drop bars. Flat bars are only my preference for mountain biking. I expect the only thing that will change with age is the stack height on my road bike.
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Old 11-15-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
I'm only 53 but when I get older I'll probably be on something like this.

That will work. I'm thinking of starting a support group, with virtual meetings, for those of us who prefer the Bars of Shame: "Hi, I'm Badger; I'm 70, and I'm a flat-earth bar road cyclist."

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Old 11-15-21, 01:41 PM
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There are a couple of things that help me keep on riding at 80. Compact doubles : I have a 44-30 in front, and am thinking of going to 42-28. Another is the availability of wide, supple 650B x42mm tires. They are fast enough on smooth pavement, and great on dirt roads or paths or our crappy roads. The comfort and cushioning effect of wide tires is really helpful. I still ride drop bars, Nitto Noodles for the most part, but now I'm beginning to like the Randonneur bend on one of my bikes.
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