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stapfam 07-18-11 12:41 PM

How has your riding evolved as you gained experience?
I have just sold my first road bike to a neighbour. 5 years ago and that bike was good enough to get me started on the "Dark Side" and at the end of that year got me up a Mountain. Couple of changes and first was a high rise stem to me over back pain from riding with my head betwen my knees. (Which incidentally helped a bit but never got rid of it) 6 months in and the bike was not pleasing me very much and the LBS suggested wheels. They transformed the bike. But just on one year after getting that bike- I felt that my capabilities were greater than the bike I had. Went a bit over the top and got a custon build on a lighweight aluminium race geometry frame and haven't looked back since.

Can't grumble about the OCR3 though. It was cheap- had everything I needed as a newbie and it taught me a lot. Mainly about how to ride a road bike- that you don't need expensive bikes to get and enjoy riding and that you find different aches between MTB's and rtoad bikes

Reason for starting this thread is that I rode the OCR last Sunday for the first time in years when I was out with the neighbour. I know I am 4 years and a couple of Good bikes later- but I am glad I sold that bike. It works OK goes uphills- Gears and Brakes work better than I remembered but it feels cramped- has no acceleration- fast downhills feel iffy- and it gave me back ache in 5 miles.

So how has your riding and equipment evolved over the years?

on the path 07-18-11 01:51 PM

July 2009 – I purchased a hybrid, my first bike in decades. At the time I lived virtually on top of a state park with miles and miles of dirt to ride. I built up some strength and endurance, and even ventured out onto paved roads occasionally, all while completely enjoying myself.

August 2010 – I had changed locations and was doing most of my riding on a beautifully scenic bike path which is located about 3 miles from my house. There are about 20 mostly uninterrupted miles on this path accessible from my start point. I wanted to get a new bike and get into a different kind of riding. I was at that point doing all of my riding on pavement with few hills, and became intrigued by the single gear concept, so I ended up getting a single-speed roadie. This brought me to a different level of biking. After an adjustment period, I was able to go faster and farther due to higher pressure tires and improved aerodynamics, not to mention the increasing strength and refining technique I was experiencing.

Fast forward to now, and I'm spending most of my riding time on the roads. I have some beautiful, sparsely traveled loops that I'm riding on a daily basis, starting from my own home. I've refined my technique and riding position even more so, and am constantly increasing my average speed and ability to climb.

I'm thinking about my next bike, though I don't expect take the plunge this year. I'd like to do a century ride at some point, and I'd like to get a mid priced, higher quality geared bike to help me facilitate that, and also just to see what kind of additional performance I can get out of a bike and myself.

I read today in another thread that unless one is racing, cycling is not competitive. I disagree. I usually ride alone, but I'm always competing with the guy who yesterday was a day younger than I am today.

irwin7638 07-18-11 02:08 PM

Boy, that could be the subject of a book! I think the greatest transformation is moving from a competitive mindset and riding style and focusing on comfort, fun and the variety of experience cycling can provide.It's been easy for me, I've always been interested in touring which provides a limitless amount of experience. The equipment is adapted to fit new objectives.


bigbadwullf 07-18-11 02:23 PM

Actual riding(controlling the bike), very little/ any.
Controlling me, a LOT!

Biggest thing for me to learn is caloric intake for longer rides. I seem to run low pretty quickly. I've ALWAYS been like this. I HAD to eat before pitching a game or I'd lose energy by the third inning. My brother would get sick if he ate before pitching. Then again he's a left-hander ;)

alanknm 07-18-11 02:28 PM

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I went from a cheap hybrid to full carbon road bike in two years. Doing that was the best thing I'd ever done.

I went from panting and being totally out of gas after 10km to 60-70k with lots in the tank and wanting to do more in about 10 months. It was time to go back to a road bike.

Once I got back onto a racing saddle and into the drops it was like coming home after a long absence. As a concession to my age though, I got a Roubaix instead of a Tarmac because I wanted the better vibration damping and the shallow drop bars were a bonus although I think I'll have my LBS lower flip the stem and take out some spacers to lower them later this month.

I've been thinking about getting a second bike like a used Allez or equivalent to use as a rain bike but I'll wait until the fall for that.

Since my wife and I have taken up kayaking (she's been paddling a canoe since she was 10), I've been working on the other half of my body in this:

My riding has been faster, more efficient, my HR has gone down, my recovery time is faster and I've been enjoying every minute of it. I wish I had more time.

What have I learned ?

I've learned that I really need to do a couple of miles of cool down after my workout and that cooling down is just as important as warming up.

I've learned that I've got to stay away from just water for anything longer than an hour, Gatorade has too much sugar in it for my liking and that Endurolytes or Nuuns work like a charm for me to keep me hydrated no matter if it's xs-skiing, cycling or kayaking. No cramps, less muscle soreness.

I'm probably in better shape at 57 than I was at 25.

What's next ? When I think about how much $$ my wife and I have spent on the two boats (we also have two other kayaks + canoe) as well as the cost of the sessions to get our certifications I could have bought..... well, maybe ....
Since my wife has shoulder problems she went out and got a lovely $400 carbon fiber paddle that you lift with your little finger... so you can see where the $$ can go..
On second thought... I remember when I told here how much the Roubaix cost + pedals + road shoes + other junk .. she said "Is that all ?"

As for N+1 ? I'd like a rain bike.. or was it a crit bike ? The owner of the LBS is quite keen to sell me a crit bike. I have this nagging feeling that he knows something about me that I'm not aware of myself.

Aww... I'll figure it out one of these days.

AzTallRider 07-18-11 02:36 PM

I'm able to hang with bigger and bigger dogs on group rides: faster, more endurance, etc. My bike handling has also improved significantly.

As for bikes, I went from a hybrid (year 1) to a 68cm custom steel road bike (year 2), to a off the rack 64cm racing bike (2 months and counting). My improving fitness has enabled me to handle more and more saddle-to-bar drop, and the 64cm may become needlessly large at some point.

stapfam 07-18-11 02:43 PM


Originally Posted by alanknm (Post 12947028)
cramps, less muscle soreness.

I'm probably in better shape at 57 than I was at 25.

As for N+1 ? I'd like a rain bike.. or was it a crit bike ? The owner of the LBS is quite keen to sell me a crit bike. I have this nagging feeling that he knows something about me that I'm not aware of myself.

Aww... I'll figure it out one of these days.

I was far fitter at 25-Even 35 than I am now or 20 years ago when I started cycling.

BUT- that N+1--- When I got the L/W bike after a year of the OCR- I thought I'll keep the OCR as a rain bike. 5 months later and down to the LBS in the rain and wind. That was hard work so I walked into the LBS hating that bike in comparison to Bike No. 1. LBS owner said he had a Mountain bike for me at a good price and right parts. I said that If I was going to get another bike it was going to be a road bike. 2 weeks later and I bought home the Giant TCR-C.

Those LBS owners know their customers better than they know themselves.

alanknm 07-18-11 02:57 PM


Originally Posted by stapfam (Post 12947122)

Those LBS owners know their customers better than they know themselves.

It's scary.. I walked in the door and he came up and said "How do you like the Roubaix ?... Hey I've got just the bike for you in your size !! "

Like that except with 105 and without the $3000 zipps.

he then proceeded to show me this:

except with Campy and with different wheels. Only $6800 CDN All kidding aside, what he had there was a really really good deal. I didn't know whether to drool or gag.

But then again.. he's got $12000 Pinarello's in the store as well.

sarals 07-18-11 03:14 PM

What a great question!

Okay - me, I am far, far fitter than I've EVER been in my life. I am continually amazed by what I can do, and how I look (younger than I did five years ago).

What else? I can ride much, much, MUCH further than I could two years ago (fifty miles doesn't even warrant a thought), I can climb better (although still not very well), and I am overall faster, can hit higher speeds in a sprint, can descend like a wanton mad woman, and laugh more than ever! I'm a better bike handler, by far, and I'm a happier person - by far!

My first bike (other than the 26 inch Sears whatever that was that I had as a child) was my Cannondale M500. I rode that thing on the street for a year and half until I bought my first road bike, a Felt F85. Now, that was a culture shock! The Felt was far more refined than the Cannondale, lighter, much faster, more comfortable, better brakes, more stable, and shifted reliably. I loved that bike - that is, until I bought my Look 566 exactly one year ago. That wonderful machine is a whole other level of refinement. It's Ultegra vs. 105 (on the Felt), it's a carbon frame vs. an aluminum frame (not a supple aluminum frame), it's smoother, more responsive, more reliable, accelerates better, brakes better, and climbs better than the Felt did. It's an all day ride, where the Felt would beat me up in about two hours. I never suspected there could be so much difference between two seemingly identical bicycles (I mean, a bicycle is a bicycle is a bicycle - right? Wrong!).

You know, three years ago I could NOT have explained the difference between the three bicycles I've owned and loved - I guess that says about as much as what I've learned as anything!

jdon 07-18-11 03:16 PM

I was a pretty avid class 3 racer into my 30's and my kids are now grown so I think my cycling evolution can be line charted..

<<<<<<< race of my bikes>>>>>>

Sculptor7 07-18-11 03:54 PM

Two years ago when I first resumed riding I bought a "comfort bike". Just rode it today after a few thousand miles on my Trek road bike and can't believe how uncomfortable it was (is).

Of course for years I rode to work on a 10 speed Centurion LeMans road bike but still, when I bought the hybrid comfort bike I thought it would be the only bike I would ever need. Now that I am riding a bike 18 pounds lighter in a fairly aerodynamic posture and a saddle like a small piece of slate it seems so natural. The large seat on the hybrid absorbs the shock but chafes and hinders good cadence. And the shock absorber on the fork I find disconcerting. It does handle uneven ground and small ruts and debris better but I really like the "song" of the skinny tires on the road.

alanknm 07-18-11 04:15 PM

The comfort bike is still comfortable for me for short rides. It's the upright position that gets to my hands plus I hate riding into to the wind with it. I always knew that it was going to be an interim thing... once a roadie ... always a roadie.

[email protected] 07-18-11 04:19 PM

My riding has evolved a lot . . . and gone off on some strange tangents. My first "real" bike, a Peugeot PX-10, back in '68 was my first experience with sew-up tires, cleated shoes and chamois shorts, a whole new world for me.

The next was a Mercian Strada Speciale, 74 deg. parallel, back in '78. Very fast. Then I got into racing BMX cruisers; that was different (Champion w/26" tires), then mountain bikes came along, my first an '88 GT Tequesta. So I raced mountain bikes for several years.

Then I got hooked on long distance riding. Did my first double century in '84, my first triple century in '85, then many brevets and finally Paris-Brest-Paris in '91 (on another Mercian, this one a touring Vincitore). After that it was racing on the velodrome with St. Louis Cycling Club, so club races (basically crits) . . . and now:

Back to long distance, after moving to CA in '95. Now I've done 51 CA double centuries, plus I ride fixed gear again, and do a bit of mountain biking (though not racing). All kinds of fun, a lot of evolving with the occasional tangent.

Also, since moving to CA I've gotten into road cycling in the mountains, so like to climb thousands of feet of elevation every weekend, plus done Breathless Agony, the Death Ride, Ride Around the Bear, Mt. Shasta double metric (with 16,500 feet of climbing). So much still to do!

Rick / OCRR

rydabent 07-18-11 04:50 PM

Of course as a kid I rode my bike everywhere. When the weather allowed I always had to ride to school. Thru midlife I still rode some. Then when my sons got old enough I started riding in ernst with them. It gave me time with them, and got them out of my wifes hair. Two of the three raced some, and we went to bike races like the Coors Classic to watch pro racers. It was at this time I got a better light weight bike and joined the local bike club. After joining the club, I have ridden pretty steady since the middle 80s.

Then in 2005 I bought my first recumbent, a Rans Tailwind. That was followed by a Rans Stratus I bought in 2008 when I retired. With the bents my riding increased. I now ride faster and farther. Many people think we bent riders are too pushey about bents, but remember 99%+ bent riders rode DF bikes for years and know where of we speak. Bents really are that good. We get too soon old and too late smart.

fietsbob 07-18-11 05:32 PM

bars move upward and closer, basically, have to knock the dust off the drop bar bikes ,
. as a clean up, as I don't use them much ..

Mostly local miles , are on My Rohloff hub bike and the Sturmey AW3 +2 speed crank, on the Brompton.

Off to have a couple .. :beer:

OGR8 07-18-11 06:48 PM

I think Greg Lemond said, "It never gets easier, you just get faster". I have stopped worrying about getting faster, and while it isn't getting any easier, it is getting more enjoyable. I find myself liking roads with more deer than cars, looking for places to stop and look for fish in a stream, and not worrying at all about my cadence, or average speed. To paraphrase another TDF winner, "It's not about the bike", well maybe. I can now afford the bike I want, and while it is not the newest, or lightest, it sure does make me smile.

bykemike 07-19-11 04:28 AM


Originally Posted by irwin7638 (Post 12946900)
Boy, that could be the subject of a book! I think the greatest transformation is moving from a competitive mindset and riding style and focusing on comfort, fun and the variety of experience cycling can provide.It's been easy for me, I've always been interested in touring which provides a limitless amount of experience. The equipment is adapted to fit new objectives.


+1 , less tech, no more bike shoes, more luggage, better time all around for me.

NOS88 07-19-11 05:48 AM

I know more about the kind of riding I do and the kind I'll not likely do (i.e., I don't ride off road because I prefer the pace of walking/hiking when off road and I'll not likely race). My equipment is now a better match for the physical changes I've experienced over the years and allows more miles with less discomfort. With both sons through college I've just a bit more disposable income than before. So, my equipment is also more aesthetically pleasing to me.

The specific shifts from the time I re-entered the sport are:

1. Started with a touring bike thinking it would be just fine (touring was a very big part of riding 30 years ago)
2. Got bored with the sluggish response of the touring bike and jumped into a full blown crit bike.
3. Found the crit bike too twitchy for all but the most flat out hammer down rides.
4. Rebuilt vintage steel with a three chain ring front.
5. Moved to carbon with a "comfort" road frame.
6. Went through (broke) three carbon frames in very short order.
7. Went to a compact front
8. Went to my first titanium bike (but it was just a bit too large for me)
9. Had a custom Indy Fab Crown Jewel built and am very happy with it.

As a side note, like many I've gone through more different seats than I care to count, before finding a few that work for me. Explored numerous different tire and wheel combinations. Even played with way too many different seatposts and stems.

Currently I own seven bikes, six of which get regular miles. But the Indy Fab gets more miles than all the others combined, because it was build to fit me and deliver the kind of ride appropriate for the kind of riding I do.

DnvrFox 07-19-11 06:24 AM

Let's see

Started when I was 58
1998 - Mountain bike guaranteed by the LBS to be "the bike" to ride on several hundred miles of Colorado passes on a large group ride - RTR. I wasn't, so
1999 - Road bike for another go at those mtn passes
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 - several centuries, group rides and the like.
about 2003 - decided I did not like centuries, group rides and the like, started rding with only three folks: me, myself and I
about 2003 bought a "utility road bike" - started riding at night occasionally, equipped with lights, etc. Continued riding, using bike for errands
2011 - age 71 trying out a recumbent.

Currently - me:
1999 Lemond BA
2003 or so - Windsor Leeds
2010 Spec Rock Hopper
about 2002 or so Sun EZ-1
Old mtn bike as a trainer in basement
Broken Spec Hard Rock hanging in the garage
70's Peugeot UO8 hanging in garage
Trek hybrid - her regular bike
Spec HR hanging in garage - we use it when traveling
3 wheel Worksman in garage

Actually pretty boring!!

bruce19 07-19-11 09:28 AM

The biggest thing for me has been my own attitude. As a former college scholarship football player I spent years stuck in the attitude that every ride has to be faster than the last ride. The past couple years I've been able to change my outlook and have different rides on different days. Some days I work on my spinning...some on climbing, some riding with my gf and some on riding my TT. The variation and the lack of self-imposed pressure has made riding so much better.

bruce19 07-19-11 09:34 AM

Oh, and my introduction to cycling? I was about 40 years old and my bro-in-law had this idea to ride a Century. Bob had been riding that summer and was a 100 yd. dash champion in Boston in his youth. He was a runner and had run the Boston Marathon a year before. I, on the other hand, was an inert ex-college football player who wasn't doing much of anything. The last time I'd been on a bicycle was when I was about 14 yrs. old. But, I did have a Panasonic DX2000. One Sunday Bob showed up at my house and we did a 20 mi. ride. "See", he said, "That was easy. All you have to do is THAT five times." So, we went. We rode a Century called "Vernon (VT) to Vernon (CT)." I finished in pain and couldn't walk for two days. Literally. But, I was determined to learn about cycling and I have.

LAriverRat 07-19-11 10:55 AM

I started riding a 40 pound fully suspended mountain bike in 2009 to lose weight for upcoming surgery. Could not get to the end of the block before i started to hurt,everywhere. After a couple of months decided I like riding. After surgery found a gas pipe 34 pound Free Spirit cheap and picked up a $25.00 1989 Bianchi Super Sport with tri color in my size at a yard sale on my way home. Started to put in more miles and was told it would be about 2 years before your riding legs would really develop. Thats where i am at now, it will be 2 years next month that I started riding road bikes. So you might say i went from no interest to riding 51 miles in one trip without much thought. Started riding in the mountains last year and liked that as well. I am more fit after two years, sleep better, with more energy. Ride on.

SaiKaiTai 07-19-11 11:56 PM

How has it evolved? How *hasn't* it evolved?

If I met myself, now, then, I wouldn't have known who I was ;)

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