Steel bikes and old age

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by cyclintom, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    The lightest superbikes now are around 14 lbs with water bottle and flat kit. My Pinarello or Basso are about 24 lbs and the Eddy Merckx about a lb heavier.

    What are the effects of that added 10 lbs? The bikes obviously climb more slowly. But how much of that is due to the extra weight and how much of it has to do with me being 73 I couldn't say.

    What I can say is that the ride is so much better on rotten California roads that I wouldn't go back for anything. Besides, after having three carbon forks fail including a Colnago Star Fork and having my brains bashed out by the ride of my Time Edge and various Colnagos I'd just as soon save my butt for sitting upon and not for holding in both hands all the time.

    For those unaware, one of my forks failed and I fell face first into the pavement and was knocked out for more than five minutes. This concussion was so severe that I lost all short term memory and was even forgetting to eat. I lost 42% of my body weight and was on the verge of dying from that. The brain damage also caused me to have diabetes-like seizures and no memory of these seizures ever happening. None of the local neurologists had any idea of how to treat this condition so I have no memory at all of the crash on Dec 18, 2009 until my cop friend and his nurse wife took me to the Palo Alto Medical Center where one of the Stanford professors keeps a small practice. His treatments, though requiring a great deal of adaptation to the medication brought me to, about mid 2011. In the previous year and a half I had seizures while driving and totaled four cars draining my savings account. Luckily only one included another car and the injuries were relatively minor.

    I say this to warn people of the possible cost of using a material that is not particularly reliable if built for lightness and not strength.

    In any case, there are several good climbs in the area. The highest peaks are Mt. Tamalpias on the Marin peninsula, Mt. Diablo in the northern end of the Livermore valley and Mt. Hamilton directly adjacent to Milpitas/San Jose in the eastern south bay.

    I have no problems with these climbs since the roads were initially built with horse or oxen drawn wagons and as such the grades are pretty much a regular 7%, draft animals being incapable of pulling steeper grades. The only problems I have with these climbs is their interminable length.

    There are other relatively shorter and steeper grades around that give even good climbers problems. I can make them usually to the top without stopping. But as slow as a snail. Is this the weight of the bike or the weight of age? Because of the concussion I can't remember.

    What I do know is that I can climb with the heavier, safer and better riding bike.
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I’m sorry to hear about your accidents.
    Bike weight matters a lot for how the bikes feel.
    A lighter bike feels more responsive, more lively.
    Climbing is more about total weight of bike + rider.
    WRT that, a few pounds off the bike isn’t a big deal.
    What often happens IMO is that lighter bikes subconsciously prompts the rider to ride harder, thereby becoming faster beyond what the weight reduction actually suggests.
    For steep climbs wheel weight can become important.
    The slower you go, the jerkier the pace becomes. There’ll be a clear acceleration phase every time a pedal passes through the power stroke.
    Lighter wheels respond better to that.
     
  3. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    I always assumed that since you were climbing and lifting the combined weight of yourself and your bike 10 lbs wouldn't matter much. But for some reason it makes a much larger difference than you would think.

    My Colnago C40 weighed in at 19 lbs ready to ride - 5 lbs different than my Pinarello. But MAN what a difference in climbing speed.
     
  4. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Well, part of it is physics, part of it man-machine interaction.
    And the unknow error from the ”all else being equal” assumption.
    Human reactions to the differences in bike characteristics are often not proportional to the size of change.
     
  5. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    What in the hell is wrong with this site - it won't allow me to enter a new thread anymore and it will only allow me to make comments to perhaps half of the threads - for the others it tells me I have to log in. Logging in doesn't change anything.
     
  6. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    My lightest steel lugged bike is a 84 Fuji Club that weighs 20.8 pounds.

    But with all this stuff about lighter and more aero bikes being built really haven't changed the average speed by more then 10% since the 1960's during the TDF!

    https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/7661/why-arent-tour-de-france-riders-going-any-faster

    Personally I think modern man is weaker then their counterparts 80 plus years ago...HUH you scream? Look the TDF use to be about 500 miles longer then it is today; in addition to that they had to ride mostly rutted gravel roads prior to WW2; then add on top of all of that, prior to 1937, the riders had to get off their bikes and flip their rear wheel around to take advantage of a second gear; then they had to carry their own spare tires looped around their bodies as they rode! I would really like to see the current peloton deal with all that the early TDF riders had to deal with and see how well they fare...hell the modern raod bikes they have today would fail after the first hour or two of rough rutted mountainous gravel roads. Now consider the road conditions they had to ride on and one can understand why their average speed was a lot lower in 1903 at 15 mph, but even in 1935 just before the multi speed rear deraileur came out the average speed with poor roads and an additional 500 miles to the race was still 20 mph...what's the average speed now? only 25.

    So after 80 plus years and all the supposedly improvements in training, food, medical, expensive bicycle technology, electronic tech, wind tunnel testing, paved roads, shorter total miles, etc, etc, etc, including illegal doping we are only 5 mph faster then we were in 1937. hmmmm, somewhere here there may lie a hint about the power of marketing. So when I hear someone claim they're 10 mph faster going from an older 80's era bike to a modern wiz bang CF bike they spent $8,000 to obtain...I laugh to myself.
     
  7. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    These small differences in speed are very easily answered. The speeds on climbs are limited by the weight of the bicycle. The speeds on the downhill are limited by the roads - you cannot go faster around a turn than the limit imposed by gravity and traction. And the speeds on the flats are limited by human output.

    You idea that man used to be stronger is not correct. The slower speeds of the Tour in the earlier days was pretty much due to the fact that the Tour was much more difficult because of road conditions and the additional length of the stages.

    I agree with you that professional riders have tried all sorts of doping since the earliest days of the grand tours. When they passed anti-doping rules in the Tour in 1969, Jacques Anquetil retired saying that it was impossible to do these torturous races "without help".
     
  8. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Your second paragraph I mentioned in my post, the tour was more difficult, if they duplicated those more difficult tours the modern pro rider on a modern bike would not fair as well as those did back then, I can "almost" guarantee that.

    As far as Jacques Anquetil's comments go...guess what? they have estimated that about 75% of the tour dopes now, so what he is saying is that modern racers also have so tough they can't win without help either? The doping thing is the same thing whether it happened in 1969 or 2017 just the drugs have actually gotten better since then which means some of the performance gains you see are due to the better drugs.

    To add to the debate if we could get Eddy Merckx to time travel to today with his old racing bike he used he could beat todays top riders on their modern bikes.

    Yeah I know, I'm crazy, but look at the stats of all the tour races and you will see that what I'm saying is true. And personally I think todays racers should be responsible for their own flat repairs, this isn't NASCAR. People don't want to look at the TDF historical facts because it will show them quite glaringly that we haven't gone far at all with all the modern crap at our disposal because that would tell the general public who goes out and buys the newest thing that it isn't all that great, people don't want to admit that, sales would just flatline, not something all the marketers want.
     
    #8 Froze, Jan 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  9. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    I certainly don't see where you get the idea that people were stronger "back then". They weren't. The training regimes used these days FAR outweigh the past's idea of simply putting in a lot of miles. Why do you believe that people live 20 years on the average more than they did in the early 40's? Better nutrition. More healthier lifestyles. Healthier foods and better health care. Anquetil couldn't have held a candle to Froome. Hell, Anquetil couldn't even climb. We all knew he was doped to the gills if he could keep up with mediocre climbers.

    As for a large part of the peloton still doping. BS. The blood passport covers the entire spectrum of performance. They are catching guys for using prescribed drugs for known medical problems SLIGHTLY more than the prescribed dose. Didn't we just see Chris Froome removed from a race because he was using more than the prescribed amount of asthma medication? This stuff is self medicated and when you're having trouble breathing you tend to overuse it without even realizing it. Are they trying to find ways around it? Sure - last tour didn't they expel two guys using electric motors? If you could avoid dope controls why would they try something that a 12 year old could spot?
     
  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Cycletom, I can't believe you can't see it! Those older bikes were heavier, less aero, had less gears; the roads were mostly gravel, they were steeper, the race was about 500 miles longer yet they only averaged 5 MPH less then we do today.

    Nutrition is NOT why we live longer unless you think fast food is better nutrition then what we had in the 30's! We are living longer due to modern medical technology from electronic equipment, medicines, a greater knowledge in the field, early detection of possible problems, that they didn't even remotely have in the 30's, and the future only holds more of the same: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-zhavoronkov/13-reasons-why-we-will-li_b_3519357.html But living longer doesn't necessarily mean we are living longer better, I don't equate wearing an oxygen mask a better life, or having severe health issues that would kill a person instead they take gobs of pills only to stretch out their life in misery for another a year or two, they're are a ton of examples of many people who would have been better off dead. What may surprise you is that todays nutrition is not as good as it was 80 years ago, take all the chemicals they put in food today, all the hormones in meat today, genetically modified food being fed to us and livestock, genetically modified meat were never fed to livestock, livestock raised on grass and outdoors instead of in tiny confined spaces that are unsanitary, we're eating unnatural food that was made using chemicals, and what's interesting is that livestock is pumped up with all sorts of crap which diminishes their nutrient absorption which in turn diminishes our nutrient absorption. So I disagree with our food being better, even the stuff us cyclists take in the name of improving our performance is laced with chemicals which is why I don't get to heavy into that crap. http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/food-then-and-now-how-nutrition-has-changed

    And the peloton getting caught is based on random spot checking, the UCI authorities do NOT check every single rider every time the race before or after a race, they can't afford it, but they should check everyone if they are serious about cleaning up the peloton and simply charge more annual fees to cover the costs. You are blind if you believe that they don't dope, read: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ot...ng-report-Drug-taking-remains-widespread.html
     
  11. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    I don't know how old you are but I am presently 73 and my riding friends are as old as 84. A speed record was just set by a 104 year old man. Last year I missed about 4 months of the best part of the riding season and yet still rode 4,000 miles and over 100,000 feet of climbing. More than three Mt. Everests.

    The weight and aerodynamics of a bike matters very little in the peleton. They simply rotate more so the average speed of the pack is the same regardless of bicycle type and weight. Apparently you do not know European roads - the Stelvio is STILL gravel on the top and they STILL top this in the Vuelta in the snow and sleet. The weight of the riders are the same as always save that modern riders are better trained. So the difference in weight from the 21 lb bikes and 135 lb climber then and the 15 lb bike and 135 lb climber now is less than 4%. The conditions of the stage are FAR more important than the slight weight differential.

    The fastest climbing speed in the tour EVER was Marco Pantani so high on drugs that he eventually died from them. Is that your idea of "stronger"?

    Your reference said that that 90% number came from a top rider. You know - the guy who always feels like everyone else is stronger than him and there must be a reason why? The drug tests have shown otherwise.

    I also see that that report cost $3 Million lbs. That is what is known in the trade as supplying an answer that the customer wants.

    I worked in medical instruments a lot. I'm an engineer and I know what they are capable of. My poison gas detector for the military could measure parts per million in open air. And that was the first cut in 2003.

    The idea that you couldn't detect most performance enhancing drugs with a breathalyzer and everything else with a blood test is preposterous. Unless you think that VooDoo is "doping".

    I am wondering where you're coming from. Have you EVER raced? What sort of bike do you ride? What average speeds do you ride at? I have done 40 miles with 2500 feet of climbing much of it over 9% and with an average speed of 14.5 mph. The next time I tried it I did it at 12.5 mph. And this with so little training this year that a professional rider wouldn't even consider it as riding. Let alone training.
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    First off that 104 year old mans record was a moot point since he was the only person ever to be listed for that record.

    For the record I'm 64 I rode about 6,000 miles last year but I don't mountains around where I live so you're technically doing better than me; congrats, and I mean that. I use to race and ride all over the mountains of S California and averaged 12,000 miles a year but I moved from that area so I could retire with income.

    According to studies that an aero bike does matter quite a bit, again I think you don't believe me, so read this: http://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/cycling-tech/how-much-faster-is-an-aero-bike-video Of course they rotate more in a peloton but everyone in the peloton would be using aero bikes thus the increase of the speed as noted in the above website would apply to the whole group.

    The weight of the bike is more important on climbs, again there is that unbelief vibe I get from you so read this: https://www.outsideonline.com/1959681/will-lighter-bike-make-me-faster

    When I was talking gravel roads it was plural, those guys raced on mostly gravel, about 95 percent of the race was on rutted gravel roads, I'm pretty sure todays TDF isn't racing on 95 percent gravel rutted roads, but since you live you Europe you can correct me...

    Yes I use to race, but I only got to the cat 3 level then I retired due to time constraints of racing and family so I choose family. I have 8 bikes, most are the older steel lugged stuff, my newest bike is the odd duck out in the matter of material and it's a 2013 Lynskey Peloton TI bike that weighs 17.5 pounds which is only 3.3 pounds lighter then my lightest steel lugged bike. Since I no longer live in mountain areas and since I'm no longer interested in going fast my average speed is about 19 mph unless I'm on my loaded touring bike then it's slower. I still have my two racing bikes, one is a 84 Trek 660 with Suntour Superbe friction components and that one has over 160,000 miles and still runs like a champ; the other one is a 87 Miyata Team with Dura Ace SIS, it has maybe 2,000 miles but afterall it was the backup bike in case I crashed the Trek which I never did. But I'm not sure what all this puffing out our gray haired chests have to do with what you said about nutrition and bike technology!

    This doping thing is real, and it's a real problem, you can google it yourself and learn about what I've said to be the truth...at least the truth that I know about it is more accurate then your 0%. Even in the days when I raced I was pressured to dope, I never did, maybe that's why I never got past Cat 3. I knew a lot of people in various sports that they all doped including at the time the number one female tennis player! And from her I learned most of them doped, as did boxers I knew, football players and baseball players I either knew about or had made the news about their doping, golfers, pro body builders which I also knew a couple of these that admitted to me they doped. I knew a retired 1968 olympic runner who told me that other runners were doping though he claimed he didn't. There is doping going on in almost all the major sports. I knew kids that played football in high school and there was pressure to dope coming from parents and coaches because they want their kid to get a ticket to college. There is all kinds of cheating going on in the world of sports, for example I own an apartment complex located in a school known to have the best football program around, and I get parents asking me to rent a place to them, so what you scream...they have no intentions on living in the place, they just want the address so they can claim they live in the district when technically they do not. I won't rent to them! I'm not going to contribute to their delequency. My brother inlaw was a big college football guy, he had people do his homework for him that the coaches arranged for, and he was given answers to tests! Not to mention he was given financial perks that as you know are against the rules for college players...heck there have been high school kids that got all that same stuff! I know this stuff for a fact because I was in involved in it and I married into it which means I (use to) run in the those circles, and I could have hooked up with the right people anytime I wanted to get the stuff I needed to win.

    The pressure was on me very heavily back in my racing days to dope, look man, you're racing, the competition juices are flowing but others are beating you because they're doping and your not, you want to beat these guys bad because you know you can if you dope to level the playing field and get you to the next level in your career, and as a cat 3 racer all the expenses are on you, there are no sponsors so you need to get to cat 4 so at least you get some sponsorships that may pay for at least a bicycle so you dope to get your expenses down, then you want to make it past that and go pro so you can actually make some money so you dope. With doping so prevalent in the world of sports you feel like you have to dope to level the playing field. So chosing not to dope is major pressure you can't imagine. Being that I lived in California I think the doping pressure was more, because I know a cat 3 guy here in Indiana and he says no one he knows dopes as far as he knew, but no one talks or hints about it like they did in California, so the area from where you live may play a part at least on the lower level of sports when it comes to doping of some sort, but I have heard that there were some football players in our high schools in the area that were doping.

    By the way when I say dope I'm using that generically to cover all aspects of drugs used whether for cardio or to build muscle etc.
     
  13. cyclintom

    cyclintom Active Member

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    Well, why would you think that a 104 year old who CAN ride 14 mph for an hour would be moot? You don't think that says something? Or perhaps you believe that in the 1930's that 104 year old's could have done that in a heartbeat?

    If you refer back to my statements it plainly said that WEIGHT makes a difference on climbs but since changing from an 17.5 lb C40 to my 22.5 lb Pinarello the real difference shows up on steep climbs and 7% is NOT a steep climb. Most climbers see 7% as a starting grade. I commonly do 12% though it sure as hell isn't comfortable. One if my common rides has a grade that starts at 9%, increases to 10% after a quarter mile then to 11% after another quarter and then in the last 50 ft to 12%

    There's one quarter mile route that is 16% until about the last 200 ft. when it goes down to 13%. I have done the 30 foot 20% at the top of Mt. Diablo and over 26% on an offroad course. I could do that on my full suspension bike since the weight of the front end would keep the bike on the ground but I have changed back to cyclocross bikes for that sort of riding and they are too light to climb something that steep so I'm forced to walk about 10 feet of it.

    There are two places near Novato that are over 19%. Me and a guy 10 years my jr. can ride up it though he is all hell and gone faster than me, but is wife zig-zags up it to reduce the grade. Her low gear was a 24/28 and mine 30/28.

    It takes almost 3/4ths again more power to climb a 12% grade as a 7%. This is why climbers are little guys. Human muscles are limited in power output and smaller people have a higher power to weight ratio.

    Again - there hasn't been any increases in speed down these mountains. They are NOT limited in speed by aerodynamics but by traction and tire traction hasn't improved significantly for 75 years.

    And please allow me to repeat that aerodynamics does NOT improve the speed of the peleton. Having less aerodymanic drag only means you have to spend less time on the front. And the peleton can sometimes be stringing 30 or more riders when they are trying to close on a breakaway. This means that you only have your 90% output for 1/20th or less of the time.

    So the improvement in speed of the grand tours is only from improved roads. And older roads also meant older mild steel bikes that rode even smoother than the chrome moly frames from the 70's up. This difference is staggering - my Eddy Merckx with SL tubing is a hair stiffer than my OS Pinarello with Deddiacia custom tubing. But the stiffest steel bikes I've ever ridden are 1/10th as stiff as my Time Edge. I can't even ride the Time anymore.

    As for doping: most of the gains are entirely psychological. They do not do this during races because it shows up in the tests. They do it in training. And so what? Do you think that training is the race proper? I can lose 5 lbs in a single ride and not as water loss but real weight loss. I have done this many times. I have to eat like a horse to prevent this in the late spring. I hear doctors saying all the time that this can't be and yet I've also heard them say many things that are cock and bull. When you see experienced nurses rolling their eyes that's a sign that they've heard all that before and know better.

    What do you think that doping does? Build larger, stronger muscles? So would weight training and you don't see weight lifters riding bikes. There are two manners of using dope successfully - increasing or rather retaining O2 uptake (this is what EPO and blood transfusions were supposed to do) and pain killers which several other drugs are designed to do. And they are all easily detectable via the blood passport.

    Don't believe crap from riders who are always on their very edge and ALWAYS think that the other guy is having an easier time of it. And most of those interviewed were from Armstrong's era when the entire front half of the peleton was using blood boosters. Did it improve speed? Only in the manner that you had better stamina. So now they have fewer breakaways by star riders and more pushing by the peleton.

    There is one very simple method of seeing how effective drugs are: since the blood passport the speeds of the grand tours have continued to rise at the same rate. This is due to two things: the team strategies are evolving and the peleton is spending more time at high speed and less at the lope. There was no reduction in speed after the big dope shake-up and that is not because it became more hidden but, rather. it really didn't do much of anything. ONLY on the hills and time trials did it have a measurable effect.

    Bicycling is not and never has been a strong man's sport. It's been a sport for men with the most stamina. Armstrong wasn't significantly improved by blood boosting. He showed that when he was mountain bike racing. Or perhaps you think that he was doping then as well for a penny-anty race just so he could beat weekend racers? The drugs themselves would have cost more than 10 times what he could win. He isn't stupid.

    Today's athletes are in general stronger than those past not because there has been any changes in the human body other than improved nutrition but from better training methods that allowed better training in the allotted time.

    There is a 7% hill coming back into Castro Valley. I ride up it in the big ring. Generally I'm doing 12 mph tops but three or four times in the last 5 years something has triggered me to catch someone and I've done this hill at 20 - 25 mph.

    Likewise we used to do a ride up Redwood Rd. (which has been closed for a year to repair a landslide). There are two or three riders that would always take off from the group and race to the top. On several occasions I've let them get a quarter mile lead and then run them down. These guys are FAST. Do you suppose I caught them because I dope? I'm taking anti-seizure medication that slows me down.

    Am I fast? I worked on a military project programming a poison gas detector to find those WMD that weren't there but were. I made a mistake and entered the test chamber before it was thoroughly pumped out and burned my lungs so that I'm slightly impaired.

    But these bursts are something that all human bodies are capable of doing and once in awhile I do them. The harder work people did before automation didn't make them stronger, it killed them faster.
     
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  14. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly some of the stuff I've been trying to pound into various forum readers for years that the TDF has not had a significant increase in speed since really 1937 which the huge increase in speed at that time was due to the introduction of derailleurs which took away the need of a flip flop hub, when you consider they were riding on a lot gravel roads even all the way up until the early or mid 60's which is why from the early to mid 60's till now there has only been about a 3 kph increase which is only 1.86 mph increase, and this after over 40 years of technological advances in all sorts of areas and all the better we've done is misely1.86 mph increase.

    And that's the beautiful and masterful job of marketing that has been done on cyclists to make them believe the new stuff is far superior to the stuff old school stuff and you need to buy the new school stuff and spend lot's of money getting it because you're going to be a much better rider. It's the same nonsense they did for years in golf, buy a $2,000 club with GeocousticTM technology, aerospace titanium head, carbon fiber shaft with super-high MOI, hosel-based loft adjustment capabilities, with Ridonkulong (yes they actually created this word), all of that snakeoil technology did nothing for the player except empty their pocketbooks of lots of cash; all of that fancy jargon is nothing but BS and the cycling industry has taken it's cues from the golfing industry and is applying it to their marketing to BS all of us into selling us crap with no proven benefit, or such a small benefit it's never felt or realized except for the loss of weight in our pocketbooks.
     
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