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Fitting question(s)

Old 05-30-07, 12:07 PM
  #1  
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Fitting question(s)

I've noticed that, when I return from a ride, my upper body & arms feel like they got a heck of a workout (ache-y/sore) and I'm damned tired. Add to that thighs that feel like rubber bands, and I need to ask the following questions: Are those feelings normal? Does the seat (a Selle Stratus) need to be lowered? Raised? It's not comfortable when I sit towards the front of the seat, more-comfortable when I sit back on it. What other adjustments (if any) need to be made?

Thank you.

P. S. Specs for my bike say it has a front suspension. When I was test-riding bikes, they were mountain bikes, and I could feel the front suspension working. I can't feel that on my Raleigh SC30.
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Old 05-30-07, 12:33 PM
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Riding with a slight bend on the elbow will reduce shoulder and arm sore.

The Brooks leather saddle is the best in my opinion. You wouldn't believe it until you try it. It's rock hard, but it feels very comfortable.
 
Old 05-30-07, 05:14 PM
  #3  
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you'll probably do better with raised handlebars for upper body woes. i suffer similarly because i'm not in fit condition. but i notice improvement with each ride. i don't know if you ride a lot or not. constant bending elbows really wipes out my arms because my muscles suck.

i'm not sure what you mean by 'rubber bands' but if riding is hard on your thighs, again, could just be out of shape.. saddle may need to be raised to make pedaling easier and more efficient.. that means you would *really* have to raise your handlebars.

hope some of this helped.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:41 PM
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You are likely lacking both strength and flexibility to use the aero-bars.

I've had good luck with the "fix the back, stay in the drops" exercises on cyclo-zen (though I use it just to get into the drops rather than aero bars).
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Old 05-30-07, 09:00 PM
  #5  
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How much have your ridden?
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Old 05-31-07, 08:08 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by electricaltape
you'll probably do better with raised handlebars for upper body woes. i suffer similarly because i'm not in fit condition. but i notice improvement with each ride. i don't know if you ride a lot or not. constant bending elbows really wipes out my arms because my muscles suck.

i'm not sure what you mean by 'rubber bands' but if riding is hard on your thighs, again, could just be out of shape.. saddle may need to be raised to make pedaling easier and more efficient.. that means you would *really* have to raise your handlebars.

hope some of this helped.
You & I seem to be quite alike, as far as being out-of-shape. How high should the seat be? Also, I'm not at all sure how I'd raise the handlebars.

Update: I just now raised the seat by one inch, putting it about 10, maybe 10.5 inches above the top tube. I might go riding later today if the weather holds up.

Last edited by Mountain_Owl; 05-31-07 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 05-31-07, 08:11 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Portis
How much have your ridden?
Two rides so far: one, between 2.5 & 2.8 miles; the other, a solid 7 miles. (People in cars aren't fond of people on bikes in my area.)

Also, Portis, for now, I'm sticking with the tires I have.

Last edited by Mountain_Owl; 05-31-07 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:03 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
You & I seem to be quite alike, as far as being out-of-shape. How high should the seat be? Also, I'm not at all sure how I'd raise the handlebars.

Update: I just now raised the seat by one inch, putting it about 10, maybe 10.5 inches above the top tube. I might go riding later today if the weather holds up.
Your saddle should be set high enough that there is a slight bend to your knee when you hit the bottom of the pedal stroke. You shouldn't be rocking your hips to reach the pedal either. Don't try to set the height in huge jumps but use smaller adjustments...around 1/4" at a time. Also be aware that when you pedal, most people tend to pedal with their toes down. This means that the saddle needs to be slightly higher than you might think.

I'm assuming that you are riding pedals without cleats or toe clips (you being a newbie and all ). If so, that's one of the reasons that your thighs are so rubbery. You are working the tops of you legs but not the backs. With pedals that allow you to attach your feet to the pedals, you get your butt muscles and the backs of the thighs into the action and don't over stress your quads.

Plus, you just need to ride. It really helps. Today, you think that a 7 mile ride will kill you. Tomorrow, you'll wonder why it was so difficult. Keep plugging at it. It gets better...says the guy who hasn't been off a bike for any significant time since 1982
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Old 05-31-07, 09:36 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Your saddle should be set high enough that there is a slight bend to your knee when you hit the bottom of the pedal stroke. You shouldn't be rocking your hips to reach the pedal either. Don't try to set the height in huge jumps but use smaller adjustments...around 1/4" at a time. Also be aware that when you pedal, most people tend to pedal with their toes down. This means that the saddle needs to be slightly higher than you might think.
OK...definitely headed in that direction with the +1 inch seat height adjustment I made.

I'm assuming that you are riding pedals without cleats or toe clips (you being a newbie and all ). If so, that's one of the reasons that your thighs are so rubbery.
Correct, and, point taken.

You are working the tops of you legs but not the backs. With pedals that allow you to attach your feet to the pedals, you get your butt muscles and the backs of the thighs into the action and don't over stress your quads.

Plus, you just need to ride. It really helps. Today, you think that a 7 mile ride will kill you. Tomorrow, you'll wonder why it was so difficult. Keep plugging at it. It gets better...says the guy who hasn't been off a bike for any significant time since 1982
Yeah. I know I sound like I'm complaining about the 'pain,' but after every ride, I know that at least I'm finally getting some exercise again, so it's all good.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:39 PM
  #10  
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I found that the slightest adjustments made a world of difference in my riding. I used to battle the knee pain issues (top front) or behind the knee. Also had the numb hands, etc. Read a lot on this site and others and make the adjustments in small increments. You will get there. It takes some time to get a bike properly dialed in.

I recall riding 5 miles and hurting, then being able to go 30+ and wonder if I could do a century.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:52 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ericgu
You are likely lacking both strength and flexibility to use the aero-bars.

I've had good luck with the "fix the back, stay in the drops" exercises on cyclo-zen (though I use it just to get into the drops rather than aero bars).
x2

Aero bars are not all that nice as shifting your position more often.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:35 PM
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I can't comment on the technical stuff, MO, but for me the first rides I experienced the same sensations - rubbery legs (out of shape), achey arms, wrists - out of shape plus wrong positioning. I'd kept my arms locked (big mistake) which didn't give my body any "flex" and took the full pounding.

I made several changes: bike more, slight bend in the elbows (takes some getting used to), hold in the abs (makes a huge difference - but is hard at first), cushioned my grips and made a point of changing my grip frequently.

for the cushioning of the grips, you can purchase really kewl biking gloves -- but it was more money than I wanted to spend, so I just stuck some soft-cushy winter mitts on the handle bars by sticking the finger parts inside the mitt and then the mitt just sleeved onto the handles easily -- stays in place and when one wrist needs more softening than the other I just double it up.

I know .. quite freddy of moi

I've read in these forums that a good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by only 10% per week... just keep that in mind too.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:56 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Mirysien
I can't comment on the technical stuff, MO, but for me the first rides I experienced the same sensations - rubbery legs (out of shape), achey arms, wrists - out of shape plus wrong positioning. I'd kept my arms locked (big mistake) which didn't give my body any "flex" and took the full pounding.

I made several changes: bike more, slight bend in the elbows (takes some getting used to), hold in the abs (makes a huge difference - but is hard at first), cushioned my grips and made a point of changing my grip frequently.

for the cushioning of the grips, you can purchase really kewl biking gloves -- but it was more money than I wanted to spend, so I just stuck some soft-cushy winter mitts on the handle bars by sticking the finger parts inside the mitt and then the mitt just sleeved onto the handles easily -- stays in place and when one wrist needs more softening than the other I just double it up.

I know .. quite freddy of moi

I've read in these forums that a good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by only 10% per week... just keep that in mind too.
'freddy?' (Yeah, I know, I'm behind on the biking jargon, so I have to ask the stupid questions.)
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Old 05-31-07, 04:59 PM
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Don't push so hard. Pick easier gears and spin your legs like hamsters. Your upper-body is sore because it has to combat the rocking motion of your upper-body due to the heavy pushing from the legs that throws you back and forth. By pushing lighter on the pedals and spinning faster, you won't need to counteract the leg forces as much with your arms & shoulders. You shouldn't ever feel any force on the pedals at all, rather your legs should feel like you're a hamster on one of those spinning wheels; about to fall off...
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Old 05-31-07, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Don't push so hard. Pick easier gears and spin your legs like hamsters. Your upper-body is sore because it has to combat the rocking motion of your upper-body due to the heavy pushing from the legs that throws you back and forth. By pushing lighter on the pedals and spinning faster, you won't need to counteract the leg forces as much with your arms & shoulders. You shouldn't ever feel any force on the pedals at all, rather your legs should feel like you're a hamster on one of those spinning wheels; about to fall off...
One of the problems I'm having with gears is figuring out which ones are the 'hamster' gears, numerically and in terms of chainring/derailleur combination on my 21-speed.
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Old 05-31-07, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Don't push so hard. Pick easier gears and spin your legs like hamsters. Your upper-body is sore because it has to combat the rocking motion of your upper-body due to the heavy pushing from the legs that throws you back and forth. By pushing lighter on the pedals and spinning faster, you won't need to counteract the leg forces as much with your arms & shoulders. You shouldn't ever feel any force on the pedals at all, rather your legs should feel like you're a hamster on one of those spinning wheels; about to fall off...
One of the problems I'm having with gears is figuring out which gears are the 'hamster' gears on my 21-speed. Another is staying balanced on the bike when I find what feels like a hamster gear.
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Old 06-01-07, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
'freddy?' (Yeah, I know, I'm behind on the biking jargon, so I have to ask the stupid questions.)
first off, no question is stupid

Freddy - to my understanding (and I'm more'n willing to be corrected) - refers to someone who is simply wanting to bike ... will wear whatever, do whatever, drive whatever to bike. As opposed to a "poser" who is mainly interested in how they look .. and needs to wear the best, newest, kewlest gear .. to whom it is more important to LOOK like a biker than to be out there doing it.

I'm picking up the lingo by browsing the threads (more or less)
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Old 06-01-07, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Mirysien
first off, no question is stupid

Freddy - to my understanding (and I'm more'n willing to be corrected) - refers to someone who is simply wanting to bike ... will wear whatever, do whatever, drive whatever to bike. As opposed to a "poser" who is mainly interested in how they look .. and needs to wear the best, newest, kewlest gear .. to whom it is more important to LOOK like a biker than to be out there doing it.

I'm picking up the lingo by browsing the threads (more or less)
Thanks, Mirysien. If what you say is accurate, thwn I'm very 'freddy.' I don't give a good gorramn (to use a word from the 'Firefly' sci-fi series/'Serenity' movie that was acceptable to the censors of both) what my bike looks like. As long as I can ride safely & comfortably, that's all that matters.
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