New to more serious cycling - a few questions

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Hopworks, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Hopworks

    Hopworks New Member

    Feb 2, 2010
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    First off, I'm not going after competitive riding like marathons or anything, just going after riding instead of driving a lot more.

    I bought a new Schwinn Varsity 700c so I can ride casually on my days off and commute back and forth to work. It's all part of getting back into better shape and losing weight. A new year resolution. =)

    Anyway, after riding it a couple hundred miles, I have a few questions.

    SEAT!!! (or saddle as you pros refer to it as) - My rear end is absolutely HATING me right now because I haven't replaced the stock seat with something more comfortable. I went after this model of bike for it's weight, sturdiness, and speed (although the gears don't go high enough to keep up with some of the speeds I would like). I didn't want a cruiser with all that suspension, weight, tire size and resistance. As far as performing, the bike does that well for me, but the ride is rough and it seems my tail end feels every little imperfection on the road. There HAS to be a good saddle solution for that. Right now, that is my biggest issue.

    BRAKES - I'll admit. I searched extensively on the above aforementioned issue, but didn't yet on this problem. I just wanted to include it since it is my next problem. I moved the handle bars up so I could sit up a little more which helps my back a little. The positioning is perfect BUT now my brakes are acting weird. I'm assuming that is because of the change in cable tension caused by the rotation of the handle bar, and has caused a need for adjustment but not sure how to go about that. My front brake is very weak and when I deploy the rear brake while stationary, I noticed that the pads don't retract and stay against the rim. I read that moving the handle bar position AND adjusting the brakes is a chore on this model for the novice so that is why I am asking. Obviously I need braking, but don't want any brake resistance after deploying the rear brake. Not sure what would cause it to deploy and then not retract.

    Everything else with the bike is cool. The derailleurs work very well and I haven't had any issues. I haven't tried riding without hands on the handle bars yet, as I did so often as a kid. They say that once you learn to ride that you never forget, but I can't help but think the wheel is just going to veer off to the left or right, sending me helplessly into traffic. hehehe Maybe it is the design, but I just don't feel that gyro effect or confidence that the steering will react to leaning side to side. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

    I'm working on a few embedded projects for my ride and will post them when I come up with something tangible. Right now my Droid and all it's wonderful apps are doing all the GPS, speed, ETA, and riding pattern recording for me. It's just not very accessible when I'm going all out riding.

    Sorry for the novel. I like to include as much information as possible to help respondents understand my questions. The effect is a long read though. Please forgive me.

    Thank you for your time!


  2. tafi

    tafi Member

    Jul 31, 2003
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    Saddle - there probably is no such thing as a "comforatable" saddle. As long as you're not getting sores then your rear will probably adapt after a while. Saddle choice is personal anyway and what works for anyone else may not work for you.

    Brakes - I'm not looking at the bike but I can tell you that rotating the bars may pull the brake cables. This is probably separate from the problem you have with the rear brake. You should really ask someone to show you how to set up caliper brakes and adjust the all important cable tension. As for braking power, you will proably find this is improved once the cable tension is adjusted properly.
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2006
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    Did you purchase this bike at your local bike shop (LBS) or from a big box store like Wal-Mart? If you bought it at your LBS, take it back to them and have them adjust your brakes and show you how to do it. While you are there, talk to them about the saddle. No two back sides are the same, and the only way to find a comfortable saddle is to get fitted and then start trying them. Most bike shops have a saddle trial program where they sell you a saddle and if it doesn't work for you after a couple of rides they will exchange it for another one, +/- the cost difference until you find one you like. These are things that a responsible LBS should have done to start.

    If you bought your bike at a big box store, still do the above, but expect to pay a fee for the brake adjustment and the fitting.