I biked into work for several years... now I walk. Does that count?
As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood. -- Douglas Coupland
Cycling is another issue completely.
Although I exer-cycle (YCCH), I would love to go on the road, but the back & neck strain is enough to frighten me. Have things changed in the last ten years (when I last checked) to the point where I can entertain going back on the road with a good custom (yet reasonably priced) bicycle?
Anyway, to answer your question, this time of year, sandals, size 12. I change into real shoes at work.
As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood. -- Douglas Coupland
hurleyfor3, you da man on walking. I spend much of my professional life working in a closely related field, and I applaud you for making good choices to lead a low-pollution lifestyle. I use a combination of walking and rail transit to get to work, though I occasionally drive if there are unusual circumstances. I think I posted in another thread once how I can go from my house in DC to a meeting in New York and back without having to get in a car of any kind. (That said, I do have a thing for nice cars, so I'm not too uppity about it.)
Lavabe, this is probably old news given your enthusiasm for the sport, but you should check out Leonard Zinn for a good "tall guy" bike: http://www.zinncycles.com/default.aspx.
arydolphin, I'll send you a PM about what I know re cycling tour companies and so forth. It also happens that I grew up in Asheville and will be happy to share what I know about that.
What would I look for in a road bike if I wanted to do some 'real riding'
(my 5-10 miles a couple of times a week on the walmart special with the dogs attached to it doesn't count - but when 2 of 3 are powerful enough to bend or snap a frame you go for the cheapo).
I'm in Florida so there is nothing that resembles a real hill for hundreds of miles. Lots of good paved roads and bike paths in the area.
I guess I'd be looking for a bike that was good enough that if I got really serious would still be OK...I'd don't necessarily want to run out and have to buy a better one next year if the bike bug bites!
I've been riding 'boys' bikes my entire life. Is there a compelling reason to switch to a ladies version?
I'd appreciate any advice.
The old-style ladies' versions are to be avoided. They are less stable and were originally built to accommodate riding in a skirt! There is a newer breed of bike that is much more relevant, called WSD (women's-specific-design) that is designed to accommodate women's typically shorter torsos, smaller hands, and so forth. The experience seems to be that they are especially beneficial to shorter women, say 5'4" and under; taller women seem to have no trouble fitting onto a standard "men's" frame, with stem adjustments and so forth.
Do you want a road bike, with drop handlebars? (Your answer should be yes if you're serious about "real riding.") If so, the key is to look for one equipped with Shimano 105 components (or, more rarely, Campagnolo Centaur or Veloce). Those are your basic entry-level "serious" bikes, and tend to be durable, suited for all-round use, and affordable. (Spending more money basically gives you increments of reduced weight and more precision.)
You can definitely "grow" on a 105-equipped bike if you like, since they can be raced on as well as used for recreational riding. Beyond that, the key is to try two or three models out and get the one that feels best. You may want to start by rummaging the web sites of manufacturers like Trek, Cannondale, Bianchi, and Specialized. Most of the frames in that group will be made of aluminum, some of steel, maybe one or two of aluminum/carbon combination, which is what my wife rides and loves (but those are generally a step up in price). It's all about what feels best.
If you're looking for more of a hybrid than a road bike, those same web sites have plenty to browse from in those models as well. And they all offer WSD models in road bikes if that's what you're looking for.
Last edited by mapei; 07-29-2007 at 08:13 PM. Reason: afterthought
Mapei, thanks for the information via PM, it's very much appreciated!
Just got back from RAGBRAI now that is an interesting week of cycling. Some people do it every year, not for me but I think every serious cyclist should experience at least once. There is really nothing else like it 15,000 to 20,000 cyclists on the road in rural Iowa. Lance was there and says he will be back next year. One of my favorite aspects is homemade pie is a big thing. Energy bars are for people whos taste buds have died. This said RAGBRAI is actually quite a hard endeavor and would not recommend it for everyone.
Backroads is a very popular company as is Vermont Cycling and I have heard excellent things about them. One question for arydolphin is how good is your bike maintainence skills? Would you be willing to do a trip on your own? There are pluses and minuses on the plus side is it is cheaper and you will interact more with the local people and you can go at your own pace. The minus side is it is more work. I hope to put together my own trip to China next spring....a world away from RAGBRAI.
BTW, Cleveland's can have their lie reshaped. If the rest of your clubs are custom, you might want to have your wedge's done to. Any decent clubmaker will do it for you.
Late August on is an excellent time to buy, and looking for older models that are discounted can be well worth your time. Some dealers make their bones selling two year old models at discount prices all the time--Big Wheel Bikes in DC, (web, call Fairfax store and ask for Mike Sendar (owner)and hang onto your wallet), and Bike and Hike, in Brock Island Illinois, are two I know of. Can save quite a bit of money. They are dealers that buy out others going out of business or take old stock off manufacturer's hands; pass as much of savings as you can wring out of them on.
In addition, bigger chains, i.e., Performance Bikes often pick up dated models at end of season and sell them way off price. The past two years Performance has done really well with some women's entry level (105 chromolly steel) bikes. An outdoor chain in the DC area, Hudson Trail Outfitters, had a drop dead price last August-October on a titanium/carbon forked bike with better than 105 componentry, something like $1400. I'm not sure that they make a point of advertising these deals, btw.
Good hunting out there
grey "I shop everything that I buy to death" beard
Last edited by greybeard; 07-30-2007 at 02:37 PM.
Tec, congratulations on RAGBRAI - I've never done it, but I know scores of people who have, and every one has had a blast.
First, thanks Mapei for all the good advice.
I have some friends who do triathalons and the recommened a good bike shop so I stopped. I definitely am more comfortable on the men's version. I'm 5'7" and my arms and legs are long compared to my torso....the women's bikes just felt to cramped. I tried several bikes - they had a 2005 Trek 1500 which I really liked.. It is used...visually it is in excellent condition and they will guarantee the mechanical condition as they have checked it stem to stern...the previous owner, says it has 300-400 hundred miles on it. They tell me that isn't much for a road bike. They are going to let me 'borrow' it for the weekend (for a nominal fee which would apply to the purchase of any of their bikes). Of course I asked 457 questions about the differences between bikes and what makes that one better than this one etc. After I rode the 1500 the owner said he'd let me see the difference between a good decent road bike and a top of line one and put my on a new Trek Madone. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. So now I want a bike that cost more than my first (used) car. This is not good. I will not be spending that much money on a bike unless I get very very serious!
Does anyone have an experience with the Trek 1500? Considering this is my 'entry' bike I'm thinking a used one will be fine...is there a compelling reason for a new one?
I do have some advice for cyclists out there with children consider a tandem or even a triplet. I bought a triplet about 7 years ago figuring I could do some cycling and "quality time" with the kids and maybe get a workout. I was wrong about the workout it is hard work kind of like using a weighted bat or ankle weights. But it is real "quality time" with your kids you are in a bubble removed from all other distractions using teamwork to accomplish your goal and zooming along or suffering along together.
Windsor, I rode a Trek 5500 frame (the carbon precursor to the Madone) for 14 years and loved it. Lots and lots of people ride Treks and are happy with them.
The 1500 is exactly the kind of bike I was recommending to you, and 400 miles is definitely low; my bikes get 1500+ miles each annually.
I just picked up a 2007 Trek 1500 on Monday here in DC (Revolution Cycles in Clarendon). They had it discounted from $1149 to $899 (if that helps to give you a price perspective on the used one). It's an aluminum frame with a carbon fork and seatpost (but not carbon seat stays), with full 105 components.
I bought the bike to commute from our house in Vienna to classes at Georgetown. In preparation for that, and to save money on parking and gas, I'm commuting into my DC office for the next two weeks. 17 miles each way, which takes me a little under an hour, including all the stops at crossings on the W&OD trail. This bike is fast!
So far I've got three days of commuting under my belt in 90+ degree weather, which is HOT! I'm looking forward to October! I can practically feel the weight falling off at this pace...
A good buddy and former officemate is a sponsored Ironman Triathlete. He races in Hawaii every year and places, I want to say, in the top 100 out of maybe 800? He manages to train while still holding down a full-time job as a consultant (recently got his PhD in economics).
I'm thinking about training for a sprint triathlon, which was one of the reasons I went for the 1500 over a more commuter-friendly steel bike.
Anyway, I'm very happy with the 1500.
Thanks everyone on feedback on the 1500 - I pick it up this afternoon for my 'test' weekend. Considering the kind of bikes I've ridden up to now (cheap, solid and suitable for doing roadwork with dogs) I suspect that the worst bike in my bike shop is orders of magnitude better than anything I've ridden before. The look of horror on the sales guys face when I said I rode with my dog leash looped around the frame was priceless....needless to say I won't being THAT wit this bike.
I have thus far been very impressed with the customer service at the bike shop....prior to taking the bike one of the staff will take me on a 30 minutes 'training ride' since I'm not familiar with this caliber of bike (I expect they are motivated by wanting it back in one piece if I don't purchase it!)
In terms of equipment what do I really need...I have an excellent well fitting helmet - the bike has road pedals with clips and I picked up a inexpensive pair of shoes that will work (who knew they made so many kinds of freakin' pedals - good grief). I'm thinking gloves would be a good idea but beyond that initally what should I really have....is it necessary to ride looking like I got plucked out of the Peleton in the Tour de France?
They have so much beyond the basic bike - I want to get what I need for comfort and safety (hmmmm...perhaps my roller blading knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards will be a good idea ) without buying a bunch of stuff that isn't necssarily right away...any ideas?
Greybeard - I laughed at your dancer's body reference...once upon a time I was built like a ballet dance...I'm afraid with the passage of time I am less suitable for ballet and more suitable for a Polka. Hopefully this bike will help with that.
gloves are a requirement beyond that you need some sort of bag to go on the bike....wedgie bag and a basic repair kit with spare tube, multipurpose tool, levers to take tire off when changing tire and if you ride much some spare calories in case of bonking is not a bad ideal I also carry a patch kit in case I am unlucky enough to flat twice in one ride.
a water bottle and cage and some sort of pump. One can forego the pump and use an inflater and cartridges but I don't recommend this....the weight savings is minimal they are harder to use and this is a more expensive option, there are also a lot of different pumps out there