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Old 07-07-05, 09:35 PM   #1
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Beginner Issues...

15-20 years ago I was cycling and in good shape. I'm now 35 and getting back in with bad knees, stiff back, rotated hip, and on the verge of a double hernia. Somewhere along the way I picked up an extra lumbar and 2 extra ribs.

I am looking at purchasing a Cannondale RoadWarrior 1000, and hoping the LBS will order it so I can test ride it. If I like it I'll buy it but I know better than to buy it sight unseen. The compact geometry frame seems a smart pick since I'm not a racer and I've got skeletal nightmares. are some topics where I could use some input. My main concern is that I'm going to have a bad/painful experience on the bike and get discouraged, so I'm trying to prepare myself.

1) Anyone have any experience migrating from a traditional geometry to something like Cannondale's Sport Road frames?

2) Eventually I'm going to get silly and try to go fast. Is a compact frame like this really that prohibitive or is it just not COMPETITIVE? I don't care about being faster than John Doe, but I wanna get my groove on now and then.

3) After knee surgery eons ago, the doctor "put my leg back on wrong." I went into surgery with both my feet pointing forward, I came out with my right foot pointing about 20 degrees to the right. I'm thinking the clipless pedals are no good for me because I can't have that foot held straight without discomfort. Am I right? (I'd rather start off with the clips/straps anyway, but thought I'd ask)

4) What basic bike maintenance books would you recommend? I'd like to learn how to true my wheels, adjust brakes, and general stuff like that. Nothing overly heavy.

5) The Terry Liberator Y Gel Touring saddle seems the smart starting choice for me. Anyone like/dislike the Terry saddles?

6) The orthopedic docs don't forecast longevity for knees lacking cartilage. One day I may need knee replacement surgery. Questions: A) Anyone ever cycle after having a knee replaced? B) Anyone actually manage to strengthen/heal defective knees through cycling C) Anyone found knee problems get much worse with cycling?

I'm not trying to foreshadow doom and gloom, but I'm trying to keep my eyes wide open before I spend money, time, and energy in the hobby. I want to be realistic. Any replies are GREATLY appreciated.

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Old 07-07-05, 11:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MattWolf
Any replies are GREATLY appreciated.MW
--- The only useful reply I can think of is for you to consult the Fifty Plus (50+) Forum.
Yes, you're still under fifty, but the cyclists there exchange a LOT of advice about post-op and joint problems. Good Luck.
"The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well." Ivan Illich ('Energy and Equity')1974
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Old 07-08-05, 02:51 AM   #3
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As far as clipless pedals are concerned, you can get virtually unlimited float out of Speedplay X road pedals or their Frog mtn pedals. I went to Speedplay because of knee surgery and have been riding them since the early 90's w/o knee pain.
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Old 07-08-05, 03:30 AM   #4
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Cycling tends to be kind to knees as opposed to other activities in that the body weight is carried by the bike. It's a good idea to keep your knees warm as cold can affect the knees' capacity to lubricate themselves. Spin rather than push hard in a big gear and allow the knees time get to operating efficiency before pouring it on. As has been said pedals giving a generous amount of float is needed so that the knees can find their natural position when pedalling. Good luck.
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Old 07-08-05, 07:20 AM   #5
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Given some of your physical issues you might want to consider going with a recumbent. You certainly won't have to deal with the pain issues of lack of flexibility in some of your body parts. (Sore back, neck, hands, and butt) The knee thing should not be an issue on any bike as long as you don't overstress them (spin in an easy gear, don't mash). Some of the clipless pedal systems allow for "float" which should mitigate the foot alignment problems. You wanna go fast? Look at the RANS F-5 or Bachetta Aero. These are basically road bikes with the recumbent riding position. The Bachetta RAAM team was third overall this year in the four man team division riding Bachetta Aeros. These guys had an average age of 42 compared to the fair bit younger teams they were up against. So (some) 'bents can go fast. As long as you are not planning on doing any competition sanctioned by UCI or run under UCI rules a 'bent is legal. Incidentally RAAM was over 3000 miles and had 110,000 feet of climbing, and these guys averaged over 20MPH on that race. Just some food for thought here is all.
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