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Old 10-15-07, 11:36 AM   #1
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Making the hybrid->road bike transition

I blew my budget yesterday and came home with a Fuji Touring. My previous bike was a Fuji Crosstown that I liked for what it was, but I was really ready to get a touring bike.

1) This is my first time riding with toe clips. I spent a lot of time in the parking lot either hopping around trying to get both feet in the toe clips at once, or mashing down my left foot on top of the toe clip because I couldn't get it inside the clip. Is there a trick to this?

2) This is also my first time riding with drop bars. They felt good while I was riding, but I woke up with a nasty ache down one side of my neck. Is this a problem with the fit or positioning, or something that I will get used to? I seem to have a problem keeping my back straight instead of curved.
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Old 10-15-07, 12:39 PM   #2
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Toe clips suck. Just my opinion, and in 5 minutes a toe clip lover will pile on I'm certain. However, for my bikes it's either clipless or platforms.

You may be scrunching your shoulders, or resting your weight funny on one arm. Does your helmet sit low and forward causing you to over-extend your neck to view traffic? Are your handlebars the right width? Is the reach correct? I'm pretty sure my back curves forward ever so slightly riding my bike, and that helps soak up road bumps.

Congrats on your purchase!
Good night...and good luck
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Old 10-15-07, 12:43 PM   #3
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I think you're referring to 'clipless' pedals. Toe clips are those formed plastic wedges that can be fitted with some webbing to hold your foot in place on the pedal. Clipless pedals on the other hand cannot, due to their nature, accomodate such 'clips.' Confusing? Yes, it gets a lot of people confused including me. As for getting used to them, it'll come with practise.

On the sore neck issue, having already owned a bike, are you in in reasonable shape with no joint or skeletal issues? I have a friend with stenosis. It causes some nerve sensation down his left arm at times. He's okay for 20km rides but anything longer can cause those symptoms to show.

Hope it all works out.
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Old 10-15-07, 12:46 PM   #4
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I changed from a Mountain bike to Drop handlebars last year. I did experience some neck and sghoulder discomfort initially and that was without getting into the drops. Took a couple of weeks for the body to adjust but Find the road bike more comfortable now. So much in fact that I am lowering the bars on the MTB.
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Old 10-15-07, 02:19 PM   #5
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If you're talking about actual toe clips, you stick your foot into one first, and don't even try to get into the second one till you're moving. Once you're in motion, just the tip of your toe on the edge of the pedal will generally flip them around so you can insert.

As to "drop" bars; I see all sorts of people riding around with their hands glued into the "drops"; the lowest part of the bar. It's as if they think that's the normal riding position...It isn't.

Your normal position should be with your hands on "the Hoods", that is, the brake/shifter hoods. If the bike is fitted properly, you should have a nice, comfortable straight-backed position with your hands there.

If this is not the case, you may need a different stem; one shorter, longer, or at a different angle.

The "drops" are used by recreational riders as a wind-cheating position, or maybe to gain a little aero advantage going downhill. Advanced riders use them for sprinting.

The top of the bar is normally used for climbing. Allows you to shift back on the saddle for max leg extension, and to maintain an "open chest" position for deep breathing.
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Old 10-15-07, 02:31 PM   #6
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I think there are different bike positions. One is the curved back like a tuck position. You will see riders in the drops with this curved back position. The other position is where the rider has a flat back.

In a flat back, the rider's head is up and the breathing is better than the tuck because the diaphram under the lungs are able to stretch out, giving the lungs more ability to take in air. The flat back also is suppose to give the back muscles some relaxation compared with the tuck position. Also the neck is more relaxed.

If you're not racing, I think the flat back has a lot of advantages. But its less aero and it's not as pretty. But if your neck is hurting, I would give it a try. Ask your bike coach about this, or somebody who knows about it. You might have to get on a trainer and allow the coach to show you how its done. I remember and old rider who always told me to "seek comfort". I think his screen name was Bikeboy on AOL a while back.
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Old 10-15-07, 08:05 PM   #7
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Thank you for the helpful replies.

Just to add a couple clarifications: yes, I really did mean toe clips. I am extremely uncoordinated.

And when I said this was the first bike I'd ridden with drop handlebars--well, really I was only in the drops about 10% of the time, just to get a feel for them; but even on the hoods, it wasn't as much an upright position as I was used to on a hybrid.

I think I need to just take a couple of spins around the parking lot and see what it is about my position that's making me scrunch up my shoulders...
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