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1,800km completed in 1st year – please comment on my plans for next year

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1,800km completed in 1st year – please comment on my plans for next year

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Old 11-04-14, 02:37 PM
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FamilyMan007
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1,800km completed in 1st year – please comment on my plans for next year

I can now recognize that my cycling knowledge is very limited relative to many contributors posting on this forum. So I would appreciate advice on changes to position myself to successfully meet my 2015 Goals:

Pedals - I am not wanting clipless at the moment (nor even combo platform/clipless) partly because of stop/start cycling on bikepaths shared with other users and partly cost (my 25-year-old ‘Specialised’ shoes for platform pedals still operational). My current pedals have no facility to add a toe clip.
(i) relatively inexpensive - change pedal to one allowing for installation of toe-clip; or
(ii) More expensive - Ergon PC-2 ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS

Hand position on handlebars The bar extensions that came with the bike have been much used but are quite short.
(i) Relatively inexpensive - longer curved extensions;
(ii) More expensive - Aero-bars Profile Design T1+ Alum Aerobar Black - Modern Bike

Any input appreciated as to whether Pedals / hand positions are worthwhile changes to make; and if so, comments on implementation.

Background:
At risk of making the post too long (and turn people off) I set out below some background on my thinking
Took advantage of relative warmth (10 Centigrade up in Canada) yesterday to complete a 55km ride. Three observations: (i) pushes me over a milestone (1,600 km = 1,000 miles) in 2014, and 1800km in the 13 months months since I bought the bike (with 1400km completed since mid-July); (ii) temperatures definitely dropping, and on basis I am not really wanting to cycle in cold / wet conditions may be limited opportunity for cycling until Spring 2015; (iii) time to set some goals for next year – I may be largely retired but business influence still present.

While I love my Cannondale Quick SL-1 2012 model (I have not yet changed any of the original equipment), once I have put some 6,000kms on the bike (likely during 2016) I will allow myself to start looking at an endurance / cyclocross drop-handle-bar bike.

Until then, this 67 year-old retiree from a desk-bound working environment these past 48 years (successfully lost 30 lbs in 2013, and kept them off in 2014 ) has set the following goals for 2015 (riding season some 7 months – frequent visits to the gym planned for the next 5 months!):
~ complete a further 2,000km by this time next year:
~ complete my first full century ride (rather than the ‘metric-century’ completed this year).

My cycling this last three months suggests to me that my progress is being somewhat impeded by the degree of ‘uprightness’ in my riding position. (This reflected my original 'set-up' request to the LBS to raise the handlebars to the maximum extent.) I will now ask the LBS to remove all three spacers and also check whether the seat should be raised by 0.25 – 0.5 inches.


Regards, Peter
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Old 11-04-14, 04:10 PM
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Your position on the bike should really depend on your flexibility and how the bike fits you. Nothing wrong with up-right if it fits.

I think toe clips would be more cumbersome than just taking the plunge and going clipless, but that's me and not you.

Good luck fitting a century into a seven month only season however century distance is more a matter of your body being accustomed to riding for along period of time than strength to do so. Enjoy the journey where ever it takes you.
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Old 11-04-14, 05:09 PM
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Congratulations on the mileage and weight loss!!!
Contrary to the posting above, would suggest pedals with toeclips rather than clipless.
Clipless involves many more $$ for pedals and special shoes. A cheap set of pedals and toeclips (and no special shoes needed) you can get by for little money. The Ergons look a bit gimmickry.
You can avoid the feeling of feet being 'trapped in' by not using toestrap at all or by cutting the plastic toeclip down for easier entry-egress and no need for toestraps. There are also 'half-clips' on the market.
Find a shop/store that sells used bicycles and equipment and buy your needs there for le$$. Or look for end-of-year clearance sales on line or bike shops.
Riding a trainer or stationary bike indoors for the inclement/winter weather is an option to stay in shape for spring cycling. Again such equipment can be purchased USED.
Yes, you'll eventually be able to ride longer distances by early summer.
Retired and age 67?
Heck I'm age 81 and still ride 100+ miles a week year round, but I do live in sunny/warmer Arizona now. Been cycling (including Ontario!) since the early 1970s on both single bikes and tandems.
Did live in Michigan (similar weather to Toronto) and used to ride when it was dry and 20 degrees (F). You do not need to buy cycling specific clothing. A warm sweater and nylon jacket, one/two pair of warm gloves and sweatpants (over your riding shorts) + heavy socks will do fine as you will work up some body heat riding.
Wear a wool cap/hat cover the ears under your helmet. If face gets cold, wear a scarf over lower half of face or a balaclava.
Have the LBS do a quick fit on the bike for you to change your position a bit . . . possibly removing 1 or 2 or all 3 spacers and adjusting saddle height and position. Also check out if your stem length should be increased instead of buying areo bars.
You've got the right attitude!
Pedal on!
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Old 11-05-14, 10:22 PM
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Thanks for the input, specifically:

Black walnut:
Nothing wrong with up-right if it fits.
'Fit is all-important' is the message I am taking from your comment.
I completed a 'metric century' with no real difficulty, so I am tending to assume (and yes, I know what it spells) that 'fit' is acceptable. It is just that when I bought the Cannondale I envisaged most time being spent with my riding with my wife (who rides a comfort-orientated bike), whereas in reality I am enjoying the bike so much that I am spending many extra hours on faster/longer rides (when occasionally head-winds seem to be detrimental to my progress).
So I am working on basis that I am ready for a somewhat less upright stance - which will hopefully be beneficial re lowering wind resistance - but not so low that I am uncomfortable.

zonatandem:
The Ergons look a bit gimmickry.
I tend to agree - unless anyone who has actually used them has a contrary view I will cross them off as an option.
As for toe-clips, I used them a little on my old Bianchi - apart from one 'learning experience' I seemed to manage. If/when I move on to a drop-handlebar bike I will re-assess clipless (at that stage cost will be minor relative to a new bike).

Riding a trainer or stationary bike indoors for the inclement/winter weather is an option to stay in shape for spring cycling.
Not sure I will get my own equipment as I have access to a well-equipped gym. Plan is to workout regularly over next 5 months - I intend to ask them to prepare routines to include a focus on my cycling goals. I envisage routines will combine both stationery biking with other aerobics (eg rowing) and also general strength / flexibility exercises.
Are you aware of any special exercises I should be doing other than working on the stationary bike?

used to ride when it was dry and 20 degrees (F).
I am impressed with your hardiness
I take your points about no need for special cycling clothes - I have used my x-country ski clothing on the cooler days and seems to work fine (except for feet).
May try a few more rides when it is nice and sunny (I met someone at a club-ride who is keen to continue riding), but instinct is that more time will be in the gym for the next five months.

Have the LBS do a quick fit on the bike for you to change your position a bit . . .
Good idea - rather than go in to the LBS with a specific change I should raise the general 'fit' issue and see what changes they come up with. I had not thought of changing the stem length (and I guess one can also consider an 'adjustable-angle' stem as well).

Once again, thanks for input - and still open for more.

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Old 11-06-14, 06:34 AM
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The important thing in all biking is what makes YOU happy. Personally I like slow endurance riding and I'm sitting upright
most of the time. If you want to move beyond just platforms you might try "half-clips" that you don't strap into. Instead they just provide a place for your toes to snuggle into; easy in/out no restraint.

Charlie
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Old 11-07-14, 12:52 AM
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In spite of your admonitions I'm going to suggest clipless. Cost can be limited by finding some used pedals on craigslist or ebay. Shoes are more problematical but in terms of furthering your health/endurance/cycling distance I think clipless would be a big improvement. I think your concern regarding bikepaths is unfounded. Plenty of cyclists including myself ride on bike paths and start/stop frequently and there is no problem with that after a very short learning curve. The benefits of clipless are well documented. You will gain another entire set of muscles to allow you to ride further faster and longer. Toe clips can work somewhat similarly but if you are well connected with toe clips then getting out of them is much less straight forward than with clipless pedals. Serious cyclists use clipless for a reason. You would be well advised to follow that lead when you can afford to do so. I'm 63 with 5 heart stents and live in the far north and rolled 4000mi thus far this year and I'm can only speak from my personal experience but I'm confident I would not have rolled nearly as many miles if I didn't have the benefit of all of the "rest" of my leg muscles that clipless pedals let me engage. BTW, congrats on your mileage thus far and best of luck in the future.
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Old 11-07-14, 01:04 AM
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Just to add an idea for you. Call it a thought experiment.

Why clipless or clips? I know they are popular, and sort of the standard paradigm. I have a ridden them for years, but lately I've been transitioning all my bikes, minus the fixed one, to platform BMX-style pedals. I know that isn't the "coolest" option, but I really enjoy riding them (especially my 45 North pedals -- don't remember the model number off the top of my head).

This, and every so often an article pops up (one that passes my science-guy muster) that shows how little power one gains by going clipless. This, plus my perception as I'm trying to achieve that perfect circle while pedaling, led me to try something different -- the BMX-style platform pedal with healthy knobs on it. I don't think I've lost much by going this route, and in-fact, think I've gained a lot in convenience as I can ride in any pair of shoes I happen to be wearing.
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Old 11-07-14, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Black wallnut View Post
Your position on the bike should really depend on your flexibility and how the bike fits you. Nothing wrong with up-right if it fits.

I think toe clips would be more cumbersome than just taking the plunge and going clipless, but that's me and not you.

Good luck fitting a century into a seven month only season however century distance is more a matter of your body being accustomed to riding for along period of time than strength to do so. Enjoy the journey where ever it takes you.
I was a die hard rat trapper myself.

But went with crank brothers for the float and easy in/out, both better for a blown knee which does not like twisting at all...

Didn't take long to get used to them.

For me, power gain is not a consideration, I waste far more elsewhere's... But it's WAY more comfortable.
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Old 11-07-14, 06:54 AM
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I ride a flat bar hybrid that has been optimized for on road use. I added a set of aero bars about a month ago. I figured they would help with those long, straight, into the wind sections of my rides. Oh my God!! I have no idea how i ever got along without them. I use them way more often then i thought i would.

There are compromises in seat adjustment with Areo / flat bar combos. What works down in the aeros doesn't work when sitting up and vice versa. I actually had to change seats to get to a happy medium.

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Old 11-07-14, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ursa Minor View Post
The important thing in all biking is what makes YOU happy...
Sounds good advice to me - I started out wanting to be very upright - now thinking of lowering it a little.

Thanks for your input
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Old 11-07-14, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
In spite of your admonitions I'm going to suggest clipless. Cost can be limited by finding some used pedals on craigslist or ebay. Shoes are more problematical but in terms of furthering your health/endurance/cycling distance I think clipless would be a big improvement.
Perhaps I should clarify the aspect of 'cost' - I am in fortunate position of not being unduly constrained by my better half in pursuing my hobby.
On reflection the issue is also my (strange? old-fashioned?) reluctance to throw away a perfectly usable pair of platform-based cycling shoes which I have become comfortable with (like a favourite pair of jeans?) and which are not yet in 'throw-away' condition! Blame my upbringing I guess.

If I move onto a drop-bar bike I can certainly envisage clipless at that time for the reasons you indicate.

Thanks for the input
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Old 11-07-14, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
I was a die hard rat trapper myself.... But went with crank brothers for the float and easy in/out... it's WAY more comfortable.
Not familiar with 'crank brothers' but the internet search engine readily identified them as a brand of clipless

Interesting that you focus on the 'comfort' aspect - my impression had previously been that it was all about power/efficiency.

Thanks for the input
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Old 11-07-14, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Congrats on this years goals being met, and you got them done this early, too. Have a great weekend, stay warm and stay safe. Good luck on next years goals. Bill
Thanks Bill
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Old 11-07-14, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
I ride a flat bar hybrid that has been optimized for on road use. I added a set of aero bars about a month ago. I figured they would help with those long, straight, into the wind sections of my rides. Oh my God!! I have no idea how i ever got along without them. I use them way more often then i thought i would.
There are compromises in seat adjustment with Areo / flat bar combos. What works down in the aeros doesn't work when sitting up and vice versa. I actually had to change seats to get to a happy medium.
Thanks for input on aero-bars - I find it interesting that you are using them more than expected.
Did you find 'control' to be a challenge initially?


I had never thought about there being an impact on the seat - but on reflection your warning makes a lot of sense.

I am assuming the potential problem is that when 'upright' the sit bones are more pronounced than when leaning forward and this increases potential for pressure on delicate soft tissue.

I have two follow-up questions:
(a) Did you find that changing the angle of the saddle (front pointing a little 'down' rather than 'flat') was part of the solution?

(b) What were the characteristics of the new saddle that most helped?
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Old 11-07-14, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jwarner View Post
Just to add an idea for you... Why clipless or clips? ... lately I've been transitioning all my bikes, minus the fixed one, to platform BMX-style pedals.... every so often an article pops up (one that passes my science-guy muster) that shows how little power one gains by going clipless. This, plus my perception as I'm trying to achieve that perfect circle while pedaling, led me to try something different -- the BMX-style platform pedal with healthy knobs on it...
I had taken it as a given that clipless was more efficient for transmitting power - it is amazing how 'research' can challenge long held views (same in tire widths / pressures I believe).

Having no 'science-guy' credentials myself, are you able to provide any links or would you prefer I search myself?
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Old 11-07-14, 01:17 PM
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I'll second Charlie's suggestion for half clips. I used them on my road bike until I eventually got clipless, and still use them on my hybrid. They give you about 75% of the advantages of clipless (i.e., keep your foot properly placed on pedal, allow you to off-weight during upstroke) at a fraction of the price (i.e., $5 from REI, plus the cost of pedals to accommodate them if your stock pedals won't).

As for additional hand positions, I think it depends on how far you ride in a given session. My hybrid has ergo grips (without extensions) and I'm good for 40-50 miles with them. Further than that, I'm REALLY missing the drop bars of my road bike.

The main thing, of course, is to mod your bike in ways that keeps riding fun for you.
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Old 11-07-14, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by FamilyMan007 View Post
I had taken it as a given that clipless was more efficient for transmitting power - it is amazing how 'research' can challenge long held views (same in tire widths / pressures I believe).

Having no 'science-guy' credentials myself, are you able to provide any links or would you prefer I search myself?

Not exactly scientifically valid research by any means, but here is one that popped up on my radar this week. What Is The Most Efficient Pedalling Style? Testing Flat Vs. Clipless Pedals - iceman2058 - Mountain Biking Videos - Vital MTB, which is what made me think of my response.

I believe David Wilson goes into the mechanics of the matter in his book Bicycling Science, which may be more than you want to read on this quest.

I've read a few peer-reviewed sports physiology-type papers over the years related to this as they pop up. It isn't my field, just an interest, so I can't cite any off the top of my head. In summation from memory, I think the general consensus is, good inertia and cadence provide more tangible benefits than pulling up on the downstroke until you start looking at elite cyclists. Even then, I remember their upstroke power output to be pretty low at a greater physiological cost.

I hate just saying "give it a Google" but I don't have time dig for it today... so sorry, but Give it A Google.
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Old 11-07-14, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jwarner View Post
Not exactly scientifically valid research by any means, but here is one that popped up on my radar this week. What Is The Most Efficient Pedalling Style? Testing Flat Vs. Clipless Pedals - iceman2058 - Mountain Biking Videos - Vital MTB, which is what made me think of my response.

I believe David Wilson goes into the mechanics of the matter in his book Bicycling Science, which may be more than you want to read on this quest.

I've read a few peer-reviewed sports physiology-type papers over the years related to this as they pop up. It isn't my field, just an interest, so I can't cite any off the top of my head. In summation from memory, I think the general consensus is, good inertia and cadence provide more tangible benefits than pulling up on the downstroke until you start looking at elite cyclists. Even then, I remember their upstroke power output to be pretty low at a greater physiological cost.

I hate just saying "give it a Google" but I don't have time dig for it today... so sorry, but Give it A Google.
The advantages of clipless are not what many people suppose. The greatest are comfort, relaxation of unnecessary muscles, and endurance:
http://www.radlabor.de/fileadmin/PDF...MSS_-_2011.pdf

Gains are actually much greater than shown in this very brief study, which did not allow time for the new muscles involved to be strengthened nor for full neuromuscular coordination to be established. These take a year or more of practice.
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Old 11-07-14, 02:42 PM
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^^^ I'm sure your right, but I still like riding them better than my clipless about 90% of the time, and don't feel like they detract from my pedaling. Of course, although I probably pedal more than many, I have no desire to progress any farther than the occasional CAT 6 racing.
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Old 11-07-14, 03:07 PM
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I can't quote any studies but I do recall the upshot of some recent research into clipless pedaling. When pulling up, our muscles have nothing close to the strength that they have pushing down. No big surprise. Therefore it's also no surprise to learn that even pros are not pulling up with any significant force as they spin. They (and most people) are simply unweighting with a small lifting component. They are, however, pulling back and pushing forward with a bit more force and when they (we) hit hills or need to sprint then that power is available. Pulling up and truly spinning in circles with power throughout the circle can't be maintained for long. It's not an efficient way to ride, but being able to unweight the pedal on a consistent basis and having the ability to efficiently push/pull and the top/bottom along with hard pulling up when needed make clipless a much more efficient way to ride. If you spin at an easy 80rpm you are making 4800 circles per hour. Over a three hour ride you spin over 15,000 times. Even a small increase in efficiency and power on each pedal stroke translates to a big freaking deal. I would not like to attempt a 5mi hill climb with 8-12% grades without clipless pedals. There is nothing wrong with eschewing clipless but if you want to be able to ride further, faster, longer and reap the benefits of all that entails then going clipless has, without question, a place. Just compare all the tour de france racers and the Race Across America riders that that are not riding clipless with those that are...oh...never mind.
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Old 11-07-14, 05:48 PM
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As for cipless being 'better' . . .
Won 4 gold medals a few years back at local Senior Olympics races with . . toeclips . . . and riding my older Cannondale. Would I have done better with clipless???
Was told at the start line by one competitor on a glitzy aero bike "you wont win anything on that piece of sh-t you are riding"; my reply "I'm gonna beat you" and I did.
So much for trying to use psychology!
Been cycling since the early 70s and have logged over 300,000 miles so far between single bikes and tandems.
Now at age 81 I ride about half as fast and half as far as I did a dozen years ago.
No more centuries and double centuries but am out there about 6 days a week getting in my +/- 20 miles.
Growin' old is not for sissies!
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Old 11-08-14, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by FamilyMan007 View Post
Thanks for input on aero-bars - I find it interesting that you are using them more than expected.
Did you find 'control' to be a challenge initially?


I had never thought about there being an impact on the seat - but on reflection your warning makes a lot of sense.

I am assuming the potential problem is that when 'upright' the sit bones are more pronounced than when leaning forward and this increases potential for pressure on delicate soft tissue.

I have two follow-up questions:
(a) Did you find that changing the angle of the saddle (front pointing a little 'down' rather than 'flat') was part of the solution?

(b) What were the characteristics of the new saddle that most helped?
I would say it took about 50 miles to get used to the Areo bars... or basically 2 rides. There are some changes to the way Bessie handles with my weight so far forward. Nothing crazy or dangerous, just different.

I did try every adjustment available to try and get my wide comfy seat to work. Ultimately i had to switch to a narrower road bike sort of seat. It's less comfy for cruising, but doesn't rub my inner thighs raw when tucked in.

I should also add that i am not 50+, more like 30+. I'm not picky about what forum a topic is in. If i think i can help, i post.
I've included some pics of my set up on Bessie.
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Old 11-08-14, 07:40 AM
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Congrats on your mileage. BTW, age has little to do with it. Time and opportunity to ride are the key factors! For a point of reference, I'm 64 (not in zona's stratosphere yet ), and I've ridden over 5000 miles (8000km) this year. Most of that was commuting 30-32 mile round trip, most of the rest was on a tandem, and some was riding solo whenever my sweetie would agree.

I'd say go toe clips because you can use any shoes. You needn't tighten the straps down especially tight, but unless you are wearing cleats or running shoes with deep slots you won't have any trouble pulling your feet out in a panic scenario. Many people argue that they don't offer the power potential of clipless, which is perhaps true. But depending on how you use your gears your limit for speed or climbing over moderate distances will be your aerobic capacity, and over longer distances will be how you eat. Power per se may let you accelerate a little faster but if you aren't racing anyone that doesn't matter.

I'd also say go to a drop (road) bar. Not so much because it lowers your wind resistance (though it does a little) but because it offers more and better hand positions and it changes your weight distribution on the bike. There are reasons the drop bar evolved as it did. For most people having the palms face inward is more natural than having them face downward. Leaning forward a little gives you more power. And moving the weight of your arms ahead of the steering axis gives you better stability.

All my bikes are vintage steel road bikes. I have no discomfort riding them in urban settings. I spend most of my time riding the hoods, and have no trouble braking. They even have friction downtube shifters. I know I wouldn't like clipless pedals or index shifting or carbon fiber frames or brifters. I've never eaten some foods so I just know they won't taste good. Bike components are the same way.

Take all this with a grain of salt, of course.
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Old 11-08-14, 07:51 AM
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I'm pleased to see that it isn't just me with reservations over clipless. I'm in my first season riding and decided to buy the shoes and pedals a few weeks ago, because that's what people were advising me to do.
On the few occasions I've ridden with them I've really come away with mixed feelings. I want them to work, since I bought expensive shoes (on sale). But do they? Well so far, not so much. I find they lock my feet into position and, just like the affect of flat bars on the hands, my feet go to sleep. When my feet start to get numb and cold and uncomfortable then I naturally start thinking about cutting my ride short and heading home. Plus the locked foot position doesn't allow me to relieve the strain on certain muscle areas. I feel like I'd like to slide forward towards the heel to move to another part of the leg muscle. And yeah, the slow fall-over isn't good, specially with old fragile bones.

Sure, there are some pros too, and other folks have mentioned them.

The jury is out for me on switching from flat bars to a bike with drops. I almost pulled the trigger on a new cross bike a few weeks ago, but decided to procrastinate for a while longer and wait until at least spring before deciding. I'm reluctant 'cos I know I'll rarely use the drop position, so why not stay with a setup that's optimized for the majority of what I do? I believe there are lightweight flat bar setups with comfortable riding geometry, slightly wider tires, etc, that sacrifice little to full-on road setups in speed and performance. I don't have the fitness or even the desire to release the full performance of a road bike, so why sacrifice comfort?

Plus, I've ridden 2 centuries on a mountain bike this year and it was nowhere near as big a deal as I thought it might be going into the rides.

I guess I just have my own 'unique' take on things
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Old 11-08-14, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
I'm reluctant 'cos I know I'll rarely use the drop position...
For general clarification's sake - Most of us who have ridden drop bars for decades (I'm into my 5th now) don't use the drop portion very much either. That portion is not what they are all about. Yes they do offer a power position and a lower-wind-drag position, but that ain't it. You ride 99.9% of the time on the brake hoods or the "ramps" or the forward bend or the tops. You could cut off the drops (indeed there are bars like that) but it would save you only a few ounces (or grams) and deprive you of that riding position for the 0.1% of the time you'd want it.

I spend most of my time on the hoods, a position I find comfortable. For a change in hand position on a long ride I'll shift back to the bends, and for a back rest I'll ride the tops. But invariably I end up on the hoods again without even thinking about it.

All of which is to say don't let the drops be the deciding factor. They look cool and offer one more position but mostly you don't use them.
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