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Adapting to getting older

Old 02-29-24, 11:10 PM
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This is what I rode at the track tonight - age 74. I have been riding this set up for years.

If you need to raise the bars...raise them.
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Old 03-01-24, 08:22 AM
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Thoughts:

1) We could make better suggestions if you elaborate on the challenges you are having now.

2) Raising the bars is quite possible, but I recommend thinking about how you want to change your torso angle/shoulder position and then think of the optimal hand positions that go with that.

3) Consider both the height and reach. Keeping the arm angled down reduces the tendency for you to pull yourself forward off the saddle on the occasions when you have to pedal hard.

4) Consider getting a tall quill stem adapter like the Nitto. That allows you to shop all the modern stems rather than being limited to tall vintage stems.

5) If you move away from drop bars, donít overlook the touring bar option. These have a sweep angle that many prefer over a straight bar and offer a wide range of front to back hand positions that suit different riding work.

6) Also worth considering is raising the bar with a tall stem adapter and switching to a modern drop bar with shorter reach and drop.

Lots of ways to keep this great bike working. 😊

Otto
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Old 03-01-24, 08:50 AM
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might be easier just to buy a flat bar bike..lots of good ones out there
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Old 03-01-24, 12:18 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ofajen
3) Consider both the height and reach. Keeping the arm angled down reduces the tendency for you to pull yourself forward off the saddle on the occasions when you have to pedal hard.
I don't understand this statement. When pedaling hard, the tendency is for your butt to slide off the back of the saddle. This effect is more pronounced when pedaling up a steep grade. Pulling forward on the bars counteracts the force pushing your butt off the back.
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Old 03-01-24, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen
Thoughts:

1) We could make better suggestions if you elaborate on the challenges you are having now.

2) Raising the bars is quite possible, but I recommend thinking about how you want to change your torso angle/shoulder position and then think of the optimal hand positions that go with that.

3) Consider both the height and reach. Keeping the arm angled down reduces the tendency for you to pull yourself forward off the saddle on the occasions when you have to pedal hard.

4) Consider getting a tall quill stem adapter like the Nitto. That allows you to shop all the modern stems rather than being limited to tall vintage stems.

5) If you move away from drop bars, donít overlook the touring bar option. These have a sweep angle that many prefer over a straight bar and offer a wide range of front to back hand positions that suit different riding work.

6) Also worth considering is raising the bar with a tall stem adapter and switching to a modern drop bar with shorter reach and drop.

Lots of ways to keep this great bike working. 😊

Otto
I put a quill stem adapter on my bike many years ago for this reason. I really had to do something, because the original equipment quill stem broke, luckily as I was going over some tracks on the flat and not during the 45 mph winding descent I'd just finished. I am a lucky SOB. I wrote to Trek about it, got no reply. Sometimes feeling like you could rip the bars off the bike is a real thing. Let's hear it for forged alloy stems! I have a little box of stems from my experimentation with reach and bar height. They're amazingly cheap. I've also switched to a "compact" bar as you advise. I'm more comfortable with lots of reach, but everyone's different.
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Old 03-01-24, 04:26 PM
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About 20 years ago I bought a new road bike and it came with the combo brake and gear shifters. That did a great deal for my riding comfort in not having to lean down and use the levers on the downtube of the bike. I started making shifts a lot more often as it was easy to do without interrupting my cadence. It is the best bike tech advance in the past 60 years.

Consider also a taller stem to raise the bars on the bike. A bike shop can help to determine how much you can raise them. I have swapped out the factory stem on most of my bikes to get the bars where they would be most comfortable for me.
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Old 03-01-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams
... (I'm 67 now) I find straight bars cause me pain in my wrists. I love mountain biking, but I definitely couldn't do the hours in the saddle that I do on my road bike. I think the suggestions about raising the bars with a suitable stem are a good place to start.
Me too. I find straight bars to be less comfortable than properly adjusted drop bars.
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Old 03-01-24, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Wjulaxer13
I have gotten older, near 70, and can no longer handle the drop down bars on my roadbike. It is a bridgestone rb2 from around 1992 and i would hate to get rid of it if i could find a way to keep it. I would have to adapt it to straight mountain/rec bars to continue riding it but dont know if it possible or worth it. Any thoughts?
As many have mentioned, you can raise the bars and/or get differently shaped ones. If the bars are as old as the bike, they may have even more extreme reach and drop than even bars 10 years newer. I'm 66, and in the last few years replaced bars on some of my bikes that had 80mm reach and 145mm drop with newer bars that have 70-75mm reach and 130mm drop. That made a big difference! I now use the drops and the hoods a lot more than previously.

As far as saddle-bar drop, I found that just reducing the reach to the bar by a cm made such a difference I didn't need to raise the bars. But you can get a taller stem, or a riser stem, and keep the drop bars.

The other thing about flat bars is your wrists. Riding on the hoods or in the drops, your wrists will generally be in a neutral position, not pronated as they would be with a straight bar, AND you have a number of other positions.
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Old 03-01-24, 09:07 PM
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I'm certainly not opposed to people configuring their bikes any way they want, but I do wonder about the connection between giving up the drop bars and aging. I'm 73 and own two bikes, both with drop bars, and I'm down on the drops the majority of the time on my rides. At the moment, I don't see any reason why, as I get older, I might want to give up the drop bars... but who knows what Father Time will bring? Right now, I'm very comfortable on the drops.
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Old 03-02-24, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11
I'm certainly not opposed to people configuring their bikes any way they want, but I do wonder about the connection between giving up the drop bars and aging. I'm 73 and own two bikes, both with drop bars, and I'm down on the drops the majority of the time on my rides. At the moment, I don't see any reason why, as I get older, I might want to give up the drop bars... but who knows what Father Time will bring? Right now, I'm very comfortable on the drops.
I can state the reasons for me to stop riding traditionally shaped drop bars are physical: chronic spinal and shoulder issues. I can ride those types of handlebars, but not for long, or without a combination of pain in neck and shoulders; and numbness in hands and fingers. Going to shallow drop, short reach and flare allows me to ride in comfort for long rides. I have never been a fan of the aesthetics of really long steer tubes and/or steep rising stems, but I have gotten over that bias. My Lemond Tourmalet is the most drastic of those. I recently installed a new fork with a longer steer tube and clearance for bigger 700c tires. I love riding this bike but was not using it much. Yesterday, I put 30 comfortable miles on it, no neck pain and no numbness, it's like connecting with an old friend that you are immediately comfortable with. IMO, the less than sporting look is a small sacrifice for comfort.

Just struck me, I have another reason, prostate bladder issues, no need for details.

Angle makes bars look higher than they actually are.
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Old 03-02-24, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
I can state the reasons for me to stop riding traditionally shaped drop bars are physical: chronic spinal and shoulder issues. I can ride those types of handlebars, but not for long, or without a combination of pain in neck and shoulders; and numbness in hands and fingers. Going to shallow drop, short reach and flare allows me to ride in comfort for long rides. I have never been a fan of the aesthetics of really long steer tubes and/or steep rising stems, but I have gotten over that bias. My Lemond Tourmalet is the most drastic of those. I recently installed a new fork with a longer steer tube and clearance for bigger 700c tires. I love riding this bike but was not using it much. Yesterday, I put 30 comfortable miles on it, no neck pain and no numbness, it's like connecting with an old friend that you are immediately comfortable with. IMO, the less than sporting look is a small sacrifice for comfort.

Just struck me, I have another reason, prostate bladder issues, no need for details.

Angle makes bars look higher than they actually are.
Is that a carbon steerer?
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Old 03-02-24, 06:19 AM
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It is an aluminum steer tube, the drop outs have fender/rack eyelets, room for 32 mm tires, all reasons for the purchase. It also eliminates the toe overlap the bike had with the previous fork. I am going to be taking another a .5 to full inch off the tube. Also, the crown race is 27 mm, which limits headset availability. Iíd like to have it resized to 26.4 to allow the use of a better quality than the cheap one that is now there.
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Old 03-02-24, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo
Me too. I find straight bars to be less comfortable than properly adjusted drop bars.
I keep a straight bar around in case I need a bit more leverage on a hex wrench. Horrible for my hands when riding long distances.

Drop bars and swept touring bars are much better. I have two bikes, one with each type and enjoy the variety.

I tried drop bars on the old MTB, but it didnít handle well. The head tube angle doesnít lend itself to that. Plus itís fun to have the touring bars. You can easily get your weight way back when you need to. And the forward bends are a good grip when standing. Also, on the trails, being more upright means I can work hard and still be going an appropriate speed around other folks on the trail.

Otto
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Old 03-02-24, 12:43 PM
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The nice thing about a 1” (22.2mm) quill stem extension adapter to 1-1/8” threadless stem is it allows you to do anything you want to try.

If you can mount the bike on a trainer, you can try and do a rough mock-up of about where you want the bars.

There is merit in just raising your drop bars, or using a higher compact and/or flared bars.

John
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Old 03-02-24, 08:45 PM
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I just refuse to get old! When I'm on my bike I feel like I'm just 37. I guess I'll just stay at that age for a few more years as the past 7-8 have been pretty good!
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Old 03-02-24, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
I just refuse to get old! When I'm on my bike I feel like I'm just 37. I guess I'll just stay at that age for a few more years as the past 7-8 have been pretty good!
I feel the same way. I don't see why I won't want to ride my drop bar bikes forever. When I think about it realistically, I know that at my age, forever might not be that long. I suppose that part of my attitude might be denial of the realities of aging, but I don't see it yet.

I thought about this when I bought my Caledonia at age 71. How many more years would I want to ride a bike like that? So far, so good, and the vast majority of my riding is on the drops.

Edited to add: I'll also mention that I pay close attention to the posts of riders older than I am to get some indication of what my future on the bike might be like.

Last edited by Random11; 03-02-24 at 09:32 PM. Reason: Another thought...
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Old 03-03-24, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
I just refuse to get old! When I'm on my bike I feel like I'm just 37. I guess I'll just stay at that age for a few more years as the past 7-8 have been pretty good!
Everyone knows that 70 is the new 37!
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Old 03-03-24, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
About 20 years ago I bought a new road bike and it came with the combo brake and gear shifters. That did a great deal for my riding comfort in not having to lean down and use the levers on the downtube of the bike. I started making shifts a lot more often as it was easy to do without interrupting my cadence. It is the best bike tech advance in the past 60 years.

Consider also a taller stem to raise the bars on the bike. A bike shop can help to determine how much you can raise them. I have swapped out the factory stem on most of my bikes to get the bars where they would be most comfortable for me.
Heresy!! An abomination!! Proclaim the down tube shifter contingent! May you suffer in an upright ergonomically friendly position for the rest of your days!
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Old 03-04-24, 01:24 PM
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I quickly found the advantage of drop bars for pedaling up hills as a teenager. Half a century later I still want the ability to use my back and torso muscles when pedaling up grades and the only way to achieve this is with drop bars.

I have always needed to stand up at times to unbunch my neck and shoulder muscles. I have to consciously loosen those muscles or I will end up in pain. I have at times also made use of the services of a professional masseuse who would do active pressure release.
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Old 03-04-24, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
I quickly found the advantage of drop bars for pedaling up hills as a teenager. Half a century later I still want the ability to use my back and torso muscles when pedaling up grades and the only way to achieve this is with drop bars.
Interesting. Can you describe how you use drop bars to engage your back and torso muscles when climbing?

I do most of my climbing in the tops, or the hoods when out of the saddle. I donít use the drops at all uphill.
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Old 03-04-24, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Interesting. Can you describe how you use drop bars to engage your back and torso muscles when climbing?

I do most of my climbing in the tops, or the hoods when out of the saddle. I donít use the drops at all uphill.
When climbing it is more efficient to have your body's weight supported by the bike. Sitting in the saddle I can reach down and pull up on the drops for more power. With a straight bar that pulling up is not possible.

I stand up in the saddle only to stretch out my neck and shoulders and the rest of the time I sit down and put more energy into pedaling. In the saddle I can maintain a faster cadence than if standing on the pedals. When standing on the pedals and out of the saddle the rider needs to try to offset the lower cadence by using a much taller gear.

Standing in the pedals also increases the frontal area and increase the effect of any head wind. There was a very steep grade on Hwy 101 in California that faced directly into the wind coming off the ocean. Even big rigs had difficulty getting over the grade. On a bike I knew if I stood up in the saddle it was all over as I could not overcome the wind. At that point I would be walking up the remainder of the hill. The Division of Highways (now CALTRANS) cut down hundreds of redwoods to re-route the highway to the east so the truckers would not need to slow down.
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Old 03-04-24, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

I do most of my climbing in the tops, or the hoods when out of the saddle. I donít use the drops at all uphill.
Same here. The only top pro rider Iíve noticed who regularly uses his drops while climbing is Roglic. Obviously works well for him, but the rest are on the hoods or tops.
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Old 03-04-24, 07:50 PM
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I didn't realize it was such a rare move, I always go to the drops when I'm out of the saddle. Of course, I spend 90% of my time in the drops. It's much more comfortable to me.
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Old 03-04-24, 08:32 PM
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I only use the drops when climbing if there is headwind.

As for standing, some people can stand on the pedals for much longer than others. I climbed a 9 mile canyon with a friend and he stood the entire way.
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Old 03-04-24, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I do most of my climbing in the tops, or the hoods when out of the saddle. I donít use the drops at all uphill.
Like several others who commented on this, I feel more comfortable on the drops when I'm out of the saddle.
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