First 120km ride leads to many questions...

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by TDU Boy, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. TDU Boy

    TDU Boy New Member

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    So, I completed a 120km organised group ride yesterday on my 4-month-old flat-bar roadie. Perhaps a lazy day out for some of us, but for me a very big achievement -- it took about 6 3/4 hours (including a few stops). Apart from the sense of personal satisfaction, I made a number of observations:

    The Good: I made it; my legs are feeling fine today; I didn't get too much sunburn.

    The Bad: My bum is killing me today; my hands and wrists were very uncomfortable for most of the ride; I also had some pain at the rear of my shoulders and in my neck and lower back.

    As a result of all this, I'm really starting to think that I should have gone the 'whole hog' and bought a proper drop-bar road bike. I've definitely become far more serious about this whole cycling caper than I initially thought and, as many people have pointed out in various other threads, the drop-bars give you more potential hand positions, which logically leads to a more comfortable journey when you're riding such a long way. Alternatively, I might not be set-up correctly on my bike, which could then be the source of my discomforts.

    As for other issues... good legs today suggests to me that I did enough training beforehand, which is nice to know. Bum pain is probably just a matter of riding more and/or trying out a different saddle. And minor back/neck/shoulder pain is probably just a function of having been in the saddle for so long.

    So, what does everyone think? Should I trade in the flat-bar roadie after only 4 months and upgrade to a proper road bike? Or does it sound like I need to make some adjustments to the setup of my bike?

    I want to do more big rides! :D
     
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  2. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Not wrong there. I did my first 80km with a flat bar and decided never again. The wrists were killing me for days after. Converted right across to drop bar and never looked back again.
     
  3. daniels

    daniels New Member

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    Sea to Vines? I did it too, was a really nice route. Warm weather... but not too stinking hot!

    You could try making some adjustments to your bike. Your hand and wrist pain is almost certainly due to the flat bars. With your arms out at an angle, your wrists have to bend inwards and upwards to grip the bars properly. Bar end extensions might be a good start as well as those ergonomic grips that Specialized make. You can also try rotating your brake levers/shifters so that your wrist is straight when pulling on the brakes. A lot of flat bar bikes have the brakes rotated too far upwards, so that your wrist is bent up when operating them.

    As for bum pain... a new saddle might help. What are you running at present? Personally I think that the Specialized body geometry seats are a great place to start. You may also need a proper bike fit if you haven't had one done already.

    Back/neck/shoulder pain can just be due to lack of flexibility or being in the saddle longer than usual. Again though... the wide flat handlebars tend to cause your shoulders to roll inwards, which can cause this pain! Narrower bars may help here.

    If you are keen on doing longer rides then a well-fitted road bike might be the go! (it will also be a bit faster which means the long rides get easier!)
     
  4. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    The neck pain could be from the long ride as others have said, or because your bars are too low.

    If you are keen about road riding, and want to do longer and faster stuff, then by all means get a proper road bike with the drop handlebars. Do a bit of research first though.
     
  5. TDU Boy

    TDU Boy New Member

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    Thanks all.

    Yes, Sea To Vines it was. The weather was fantastic and I liked having the police escort and green lights all the way up Anzac Hwy and Cross Rd -- it was a nice way to start the day. :)

    Anyways, my bike is a Shogun Mach 2. I had bar-ends fitted when I bought it, and they certainly helped a bit for giving the hands and wrists some relief, but with such a hilly course I was changing gears a lot and so my hands probably spent a fair bit of time getting quite a workout on the flat bars. Apart from the bar-ends, I've made no adjustments to the bike, so the saddle is just the stock-standard, which is Tioga Comp.

    With all the punishment that course dished out to me on Sunday, you'd think I'd want a rest. But, go figure, I'm actually motivated to get stronger and fitter, and the thought of buying a proper road bike has been making me quite excited over the past 24 hours. Everyone's comments simply confirm my thoughts since the weekend that drop-bars are the way to go. Now that I understand more about bikes, I don't buy the argument about flat-bars giving a more relaxed riding position and better visibility, because there's no reason you can't just raise your drop-bars a bit if that's what you want.

    So, that brings me to another question... What's the best way to go about selling a bike? I'm sure the LBS would do me a trade-in, but no doubt a private sale would net a better price.
     
  6. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    There is no reason why you cannot do long rides on a flat barred bike if it is set up right. Occasionally I use my MTB to do organized centuries. It is fun to dress in MTB garb, use large knobbies, and smoke yuppies. I do use a narrow bar (Titec 118) with bar ends, which give another hand position.

    Neck, shoulder, and back aches are usually due to not being used to riding for so long. If you do a few long rides then they will probably go away.

    Saddle problems might be due to the saddle itself or not being used to riding on the saddle for so long. They can also be caused by putting too much weight on your rear. This happens if you are sitting too upright.

    You might try doing a few more long rides and try making small adjustments to your position.
     
  7. reub2000

    reub2000 New Member

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    If your using flat handlebars then definitly go with bar ends.
     
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