I'd like to begin road riding, have some questions.



13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Hi there, as the title stated I'd like to begin road riding. I have some questions though. I hope yall will forgive me as I'm sure the answeres to my questions are already discused, but my phone is my only internet connection and spending a lot of time searching on it is a pain and quite expensive.

About me, I'm a 33 year old male, 6'1" and around 205 lbs. Over the course of several deployments while I was in the Army I realy messed up my lower back, right shoulder, and both knees. I have a hard time not being active, however most of my past hobbies are becoming increasingly difficult (hiking, mountain biking, kayaking) as my injuries progress.

I have never been a fan of road riding. Infact, I was one of those guys who constantly griped about riders on the road getting in the way. My views have changed quite a bit over the past few months however after taking my mountain bike on a few short (5 and 10 mile rides) rides on wide sholdered roads. I now understand what draws yall to it! My deepest appologies to those riders who I have speed past, cut off, honked at, yelled at, and been an all around jerk to while on the road. I hope karma will be nice to me......

I would like to begin looking at road bikes and hopefully be able to buy one soon. My budget wont allow for much other than a basic bottom of the line road bike, but I wonder what features I should look for that may make my rides a little less stressfull on my back and shoulder. From watching riders while I drive it seems the forward riding possition would put a lot of stress on my lower back and shoulder. Is this about right? What do other riders with similar injuries do to try and counter act this?

Advice and tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
 

Dave Cutter

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2012
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Originally Posted by 13MWZ .

...I'm a 33 year old male, 6'1" and around 205 lbs....... I realy messed up my lower back, right shoulder, and both knees. I have a hard time not being active, however most of my past hobbies are becoming increasingly difficult (hiking, mountain biking, kayaking) as my injuries progress.

.........I wonder what features I should look for that may make my rides a little less stressfull on my back and shoulder. From watching riders while I drive it seems the forward riding possition would put a lot of stress on my lower back and shoulder. Is this about right? What do other riders with similar injuries do to try and counter act this?
I am much older than you... but a lot of similarities other than age.

Progressing injuries? That sounds like arthritis or age...... or maybe just weight gain and bicycle fit. I know some people carry extra weight... seemingly effortlessly... I didn't. It could be that some [or even all] of your progressing problems could be solved by watching what you eat and/or maybe just adjusting your bicycle fit.

If your mountain bike has you sitting upright while you ride... your spine [and lower back] is taking most of the stress and jolts. That makes my back hurt... just thinking about it. My road bike leans me forward enough that some of the weight is moved to my [slightly bent] arms. Bending at the elbow saves the shoulders a lot of wear. I also lift my seat off my saddle... putting my weight on my feet and pedals when I expect a jolt.

If your saddle height [or the size of your mountain bike] isn't correct that can also cause stress on the knees. There are lots of bicycle fit videos at YouTube that could be helpful... if you can find a friend with a on-line connection. YouTube can keep me connected for hours on end.
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Thank you for the reply.

What I meant by "progressive injuries" was that I keep re injuring myself making things worse. I try to take it easy but I'm wired to GO. That is part of the reason I want to start road cycling. It is a way to keep active but with less impact that the other hobbies and sports I enjoy. My injuries to my back and shoulder were combat related, doc said my last xrays show arthritus and degenerative disc desease in addition to my actuall injuries. I have to keep going though, I cant sit still and get fat. Doc said my weight is just fine, I wouldnt mind if 10-15 lbs fell off though.

My current bike (the mountain bike I mentioned) has front and rear suspension, so riding on the road and shoulders isnt too bad. On my next ride I will try leaning forward some to see if it helps as you sugested. It's comforting to hear that changing to a road bike might actualy help, rather than hurt like I initialy though. Thank you for your help!
 

Radiati0n

New Member
Aug 16, 2012
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I actually just started road riding as well and purchased a new bike for such activities. It's a Trek 1.1, their 2013 model and is a very solid and nice looking/riding bike. The 1.1 is Trek's entry level 'beginner' road bike costing a mere 750$. I find that to be relatively cheap compared to a lot of other higher end bikes out there going into the thousands of dollars range. I've been riding it for a week or so and I absolutely love it and couldn't be happier. If you look at Trek's website it will give you more information but it's built in a way that won't keep you hunched down completely over yourself like some of the others you may see. Hope this helps, I'm still a newbie myself.
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Thank you. I looked at their website. Even though I dont know much about road bikes....or bikes in general, I like what I saw. I fount out there is a Trek dealer litteraly right down the street from me. I'm about to head down and take a look at them in person. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

jrschultz

Member
Jan 6, 2012
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I also like Trek. I ride a 2005 Trek 5000 for the road, and I have a Trek mountain bike as well. I have always liked the geometry of Trek road bikes. They are very comfortable.
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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What is meant by the 'geometry'? I heard that in another thread too. The poster didnt like the geometry of one bike (Trek) but liked it of another (Giant). I would assume it's just like it sounds and means the relationship of the seat to the handlebars to the pedels ect.....is that about right? Is there a lot of differance from one manufacture to another? I just always kinda figured a bike is a bike is a bike.......untill recently I never knew there were so many differances in them. It's a little confusing and overwhelming to a newbie.
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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Geometry is simply the angles the various tubes are to each other on the bike. There are seven main types of tube on a bike. The top tube is roughly horizontal at the top of the bike. The head tube is the short one above the forks. The downtube runs from the head tube to the bottom bracket (which is the tube parallel to the ground through which the two cranks connect). The seat tube goes from the back of the top down to the bottom bracket. The seat stays are smaller and run from the top of the seat tube to the rear dropout, where they connect with the chain stays (which connect to the bottom bracket on their other end).

A head tube that angles back toward the rider more at the top causes the front forks to stick out front more--making them more shock-absorbent. This is part of what's considered a "relaxed geometry", which will be more laid-back and more comfortable. It also means the bike is somewhat less maneuverable. The seat tube will also generally be angled back and the top tube will be nearly horizontal or even slope downwards a bit from the head tube to the seat tube.

Contrast that with a racing bike. You'll see the riders riding with their backs almost perfectly flat and parallel to the ground. The head tube will be nearly vertical and the top tube might even slope down from the seat tube to the head tube. These bikes will be more "twitchy" and take much more experience to keep in a straight line, especially in a peloton of 50 riders. Also, to keep weight and aerodynamics good, they may ride a somewhat smaller frame and use a longer seat post and stem. After all, ignoring the performance of the bike, the fit is essentially based on 5 points of contact that form a triangle when viewed from the side (2 hands, butt, 2 feet).
 

jrschultz

Member
Jan 6, 2012
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Originally Posted by jpr95 .

Geometry is simply the angles the various tubes are to each other on the bike. There are seven main types of tube on a bike. The top tube is roughly horizontal at the top of the bike. The head tube is the short one above the forks. The downtube runs from the head tube to the bottom bracket (which is the tube parallel to the ground through which the two cranks connect). The seat tube goes from the back of the top down to the bottom bracket. The seat stays are smaller and run from the top of the seat tube to the rear dropout, where they connect with the chain stays (which connect to the bottom bracket on their other end).

A head tube that angles back toward the rider more at the top causes the front forks to stick out front more--making them more shock-absorbent. This is part of what's considered a "relaxed geometry", which will be more laid-back and more comfortable. It also means the bike is somewhat less maneuverable. The seat tube will also generally be angled back and the top tube will be nearly horizontal or even slope downwards a bit from the head tube to the seat tube.

Contrast that with a racing bike. You'll see the riders riding with their backs almost perfectly flat and parallel to the ground. The head tube will be nearly vertical and the top tube might even slope down from the seat tube to the head tube. These bikes will be more "twitchy" and take much more experience to keep in a straight line, especially in a peloton of 50 riders. Also, to keep weight and aerodynamics good, they may ride a somewhat smaller frame and use a longer seat post and stem. After all, ignoring the performance of the bike, the fit is essentially based on 5 points of contact that form a triangle when viewed from the side (2 hands, butt, 2 feet).
Great way to explain it! Spot on. To the OP...I would go down to your local bike shop that has a few brands to choose from and go on some test rides. You will feel very quickly what type of bike frame will suit you for comfort. Pick the right bike for you, and you'll crave road riding.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Core strength and flexibility are key to staying comfortable on road bike. If you need to, and if you can, see an orthopedist about any outstanding issues, and get into a regimen of PT. Learn and practice some core building exercises. Lately I've found swinging a kettlebell to be more fun than crunches. And find a bike fitter who understands balance of the body over the bike.
 

Dave Cutter

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Jan 15, 2012
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Core strength and flexibility are key to staying comfortable on road bike. .......................
............ Lately I've found swinging a kettlebell to be more fun than crunches.
Excellent point! Core strength/fitness is extremely important to cycling.... yet cycling does little to promote those strengths. A core fitness routine separate and apart from just cycling is very important.... particularly for mature cyclist. I use small dumb-bells and planking (old fashioned leg-lifts) to try to stay toned.
 

Brian Wilson

New Member
Sep 9, 2012
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I am new to road riding as well and just got myself a Trek 1.5 this spring. I am very happy with it and the fit is good I always thought that the riding position was going to be bad but it is actually not. I ended up last weekend putting on 116 miles over the four days (25,25,25,41). Try them out and see what fits your budget for me it was worth it to go a little bit over budget from the 1.1 to get the better shifters and a compact crank, but that is up to you as the buyer. I would say to look at the Trek 1.1, 1.5, and if the budget would alow even the 2.1, this weekend I also went and looked at Specialized and as I don't know much about them to list off models I did like what I saw so I would check them out also.
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Thanks for all the replies yall. I went over to the bike shop that I get my mountain bike stuff from and looked at their road bikes. They had Giant and something that started with an F....I cant remember the name. The only one they had on the show room in what the guy estimated would be my size frame (58-60) was one of the 'F' bikes. I sat on it but that's it. It wasnt bad, but with out actually riding it's hard to say. I stoped at the other bike shop in town who carries Trek and some others. They were real busy so I didnt bother anybody, just looked around. I liked the looks of the Trek bikes better, hopefully soon I can actualy ride some of these and see what works best. Thanks again or all the replies.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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13MWZ said:
Thanks for all the replies yall. I went over to the bike shop that I get my mountain bike stuff from and looked at their road bikes. They had Giant and something that started with an F....I cant remember the name. The only one they had on the show room in what the guy estimated would be my size frame (58-60) was one of the 'F' bikes. I sat on it but that's it. It wasnt bad, but with out actually riding it's hard to say. I stoped at the other bike shop in town who carries Trek and some others. They were real busy so I didnt bother anybody, just looked around. I liked the looks of the Trek bikes better, hopefully soon I can actualy ride some of these and see what works best. Thanks again or all the replies.
The "F" bike is likely either a Felt or a Fuji. Both make good bikes. It's important that you test ride what interests you. Bother the staff. That's why they are there.
 

Monroe71

New Member
Sep 11, 2012
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First of all welcome to a sport and pastime that I think most of us here would agree is well worth the pursuit. Road riding for me has been an epiphany about what it means to be fit and understand your body. It is probably the perfect physical pursuit for you with your past injuries due to being no impact ( unless you crash of course : ) Swimming is the obvious other choice but there's something wonderfully simply about being able to clip in and hit the road.
Regarding bike choice i'd agree with many other posters here in that getting a good bike store to do a proper fit for you is the best way to go. When you're starting out this is what will make the difference, not what the frames is made of, not how light it is - but getting a bike that is built for your current fitness, flexibility and physiology. You can worry about aero dynamics and wieght in a few years once you're completely addicted.

Cheers
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Thank you all for the help and suggestions. After research and test rides I decided on a bike and brought it home last week. I got a 2013 Specialized Allez. I was torn between the Trek 1.1 and this bike. They both felt good and were set up similarly. It came down to me preferring the black/silver of the Allez over the white/blue of the 1.1

I've only ridden it twice so far. When I picked it up we did a "quickie fitting" to start off with, then after a couple weeks of riding I was told to come in for the actual fitting. I've already noticed a couple issues I'd like to bring up during the fitting. As for the bike itself, so far I freaking love it!

Thanks again for all the help!
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Good choice...
wink.png
I got about 2700km on mine and its one sweet bike for sure!
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gs12

New Member
Jul 30, 2013
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Hey,

I'm a bit late to the replys - but i just got into road biking in March. I bought a 2013 Trek 1.2. I absolutely love it. It's a great bike, very responsive. THe only thing i've changed is the saddle and stem. The key is to get fitted correctly. I also have a bad back, and fitting was really important for me. I originally had a fairly upright/hybrid setup - but as i got more distance under me, switch to a more forward position. Talk to your local bike shop, they will help you get started. The Trek 1.2 is highly recommended by me!


NEVERMIND _ I see you already got a bike -good choice!

Gene

Good luck. Btw - be careful over train tracks when it's wet, l learned the very hard and painful way.
 

13MWZ

New Member
Aug 31, 2012
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Thanks guys. Luckily for me there aren't too many track crossings in the area, but I'll keep an eye out for sure.

Well Volnix, since you started the picture thing, might as well show off mine!