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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:16 am
Posts: 799
Location: Camden, London
good questions, very timely and not too long in my view.

Same exists in classic car world some people keep, go to fields look at and chat, others use a lot but less interested in shows, and some enjoy the tinkering and fettling at home. I'm currently rebuilding an old ex mil landy that seems to be taking years (partly as easier doing bikes in house than cold garage) but the one on the road not been used much recently as needs small job doing - get the similarity.

Since finding this site have acquired 3 mtb frames/bikes to make up to something can ride and ss project as well as carlton frame in nostalgia. BUT as per op not enough time riding. Frames that fit 20 years ago seem a bit big now and too stretched out (per my very first post see sig) and am just not very fit. Also seem to struggle with saddles not being comfortable.......am still hoping just a case of getting stronger but it does take perseverence. Used to ride a fixed at college and use on the 10 mile circuit at home (which was a bit hilly) - those days are long long ago and just need at accept the legs need a lot of training and pre and post STRETCHING. It is hard to get motivated in January.

Will be reading others thoughts with interest.............


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:17 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:18 pm
Posts: 3798
Location: Staffordshire
OK here we go. Last Easter I visited my parents and old haunts down in S Devon. I met someone I hadn't seen in around twenty years. I have changed a lot in that time. My hair has gone and possibly I even speak slightly differently too. What he said though, was that I was now a fat bugger.

Looking at myself, I could only agree so, I decided to do something about it and turned as ever to my road bike. Tractors aren't as good as their skinny tyre cousins so road riding it was.

Before I started I measured my stomach with a piece of string. I cut the string to length and labeled it with date.

The first ride was bad. A wheezing fifteen miles or so at under 15 mph. The second wasn't a lot better. Keeping at it is the key. I have a very full time job but all summer I tried to do three rides a week including a longer one at the weekend. I have routes of 20, 30 and 40 miles and just choose one to match available time. I don't think I have neglected my family.

Two months later I measured myself with string again. I compared new with old and the new piece was nearly three inches shorter. It is a lot harder in a UK winter so I do the odd roller session and try to ride at the weekend. If I can't I don't berate myself too badly. There will always be quicker riders. The distances I do will never keep me on Ededwards' wheel for long but thanks to a tractor crash on Cannock a decade ago I can't ride for too long anyway so why worry about it?

I have now built (sort of) a new retro bike as a winter steed and I hope to use it to lose more weight and possibly regain some lost climbing ability. Must be realistic though, I'll never have a 28" waist again or be the university hill climb champ I once was!

Small steps and measurable, realistic targets is what I would recommend. Finally don't let the "All car drivers are knobs" brigade put you off. I drive as do most here so we can't all be can we? I don't recognise any of the scenarios of road Armageddon as a regular occurrence. Choose your routes to avoid cities and busy dual carriageways and keep your eyes open.

Cycling can occasionally be a bit dangerous but probably not as dangerous to long term health as NOT riding and staying in polishing bits to build a bike that will be too nice to ride!

Bit of a long answer but it was a long question.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:29 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 8:20 am
Posts: 20
Location: Sheffield
Interesting post Richard. I probably fit into the rider/builder category. My bike is far from shiny and has the scrapes of it's past etched into it's paintwork, but I keep it mechanically sound, and have made sure that all the components are true to it's build year.

I bought it because after a 15 year layoff concentrating on riding motorcycles I missed the fitness and waistline I had when I was doing 500 miles a week round London as a cycle courier in my late twenties :) Don't know what it's like in Northern Ireland but here in Sheffield traffic conditions are pretty similar to London in the early 80's, and the hills mean that I couldn't get by on your bike's gearing.

Dealing with traffic, and trying to get familiar with riding and your leg muscles back is a big ask. One thing at a time, and I think the idea of getting a cheap mountain bike and doing some off road/trail riding so that the bike becomes instinctive is a really good idea. Trainers are not a good idea, the static nature does not give you a feel for the bike, or the reaction times needed for road riding.

Once you have done this, you will find that a decent rider can out-accelerate most traffic for the essential 10 yards it takes to get stable from a standstill. Other than that, the key to safe riding, as NeilM pointed out, is the same for a bike as it is for a motorbike. 100% awareness of whats going on around you, and a focal point of about 10seconds ahead should enable you to be prepared for what is coming up. So many riders and drivers focus on the car ahead. this is too close, and will not enable you to position yourself for the approaching sideroad turner/people exiting cars/petrol stations etc. Make sure you move the bike from side to side, it is harder to see a bike travelling in a straight line than one weaving. Position yourself so that cars can't squeeze you on narrow roads, and consider using daytime lights. Oh, and keep momentum up on the straight. Drivers are less likely to be aggressive if you are pedaling hard, if you are coasting and holding them up they get wound up.

Hope this is of some help.

John


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:57 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:38 pm
Posts: 1466
Location: The Lovely Lincolnshire Wolds and by the sea in Sussex
Interesting discussion, I try not to confuse fitness with health though. Good point about bikes that fitted nicely when you were young (younger) and are perhaps a little big now - that is brought home vividly to me because most of my bikes I have had from new (e.g my 1986 SBDU, and the older"vintage"ones I've had a long time).

I am a little overweight, but fortunately fit and healthy, but nonetheless carrying too much weight - which I am having to deal with as I've set myself a goal to ride a stage of the 1984 Tour de France next year.

I am lucky to live in a virtually traffic free world (here in the Lincolnshire Wolds), you still have to watch out for vehicles but I can spend an afternoon riding down narrow lanes - with grass growing in the middle - for an hour and not see a car.

In terms of returning to cycling and building some fitness and health (look at diet and not just for weight loss). I suggest that moderation is the key, intially keep distances lowish. Spin gears, don't ride gears that are to big, stretching excercises before a ride and a warm down afterwards. Wear appropriate clothing, ensure your bike is well maintained (learn to do basic repairs that you may need roadside - example, don't wait until you get a puncture before finding out how the wheels and tyres are removed!).

I think most of the above should make it (more) enjoyable - whih it should be.

Apologies for stating the obvious in some cases.

Roadking.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:30 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:40 am
Posts: 2996
I "only" have 4 bikes built up and running right now, and to be honest there are only two of them that I ride regularly (to put that into perspective, "regularly" has been once a month on average, over the last 3 years and 6 months!)

They're all special though, and the retro ones have great sentimental value, so I'd rather keep them built and unridden, than part with them.

I love bikes and bike parts just as much as I do riding them, but have to admit to being a bit lazy, especially over the last year, not taking advantage of the times when I would have been able to ride... I used to ride 95% of the time and tinker 5%, but over the last few years that ratio has been reversed! I made a new years resolution to myself though, that I would try and ride more as I need to find some fitness again, and I'm just not myself if I don't ride my bike. So this week I've managed 4 rides of at least an hour each. I can't remember the last time I rode my bike 4 times in a single week!

I now need to work out how to configure my bryton GPS to set myself weekly and monthly targets for distance and time - that'll give me something to aim at and maybe give me some more motivation. My aim is to get back to my previous fitness (or at least something similar) and be able to ride with my club again,

I think the best thing is to try and strike a balance between riding and tinkering... as for starting riding again, well I'd just start little by little, set yourself realistic targets, starting small and slowly advancing. Don't worry about speed or distance too much, concentrate on the time you spend riding. Speed and/or distance will improve as you go. Try and ride for 30 mins, an hour, or whatever time you're comfortable with, and do it regularly. Gradually increase the time, and away you go! If there's a club or group near you then when you get a bit of fitness, maybe you could ride with them - you might find it harder to start with, but it's a great way to get fitter, probably more than you could on your own.

Try and find quiet roads at first, or even ride off road to avoid traffic as much as possible. Off road doesn't have to be pure mountain biking either - you might have some easy lanes or trails that could be done on a road bike (maybe with fatter tyres fitted) with no problem at all.

Just start little by little, and let us know how you get on!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:16 pm
Posts: 1568
Location: NOTTINGHAM
I like this question, it opens up the different views on why people own / build / cherish bicycles. I rode for miles in my teens on a Bianchi Sprint that I got for a birthday - the evolution of my youth, I could go pretty much anywhere I wanted and that's a great choice to have. After 15 years amateur football and some seriously worn out knees, hanging up the boots meant I needed something else to get into. A bike would perhaps take me back to those halcyon days of my youth? It sure did, loved it so now riding gives me the chance to get out of the city and take some work stress out on the pedals and also see some glorious countryside, that's got to be a good deal.

After buying an aluminium Trek I kind of grew out of it in terms of it didnt feel like my old Binachi, something was missing. So I laid out serious cash on a carbon bike but I kept seeing other riders on gloriously maintained steel machines and knew I had to have one (or two or three). And that's where RB came in, learning and reading / seeing all those fantastic bikes that people build or restore is just brilliant, so now I have a few bikes, all get ridden. I've started to dabble in buying retro parts etc and then building bikes (even with virtually zero knowledge) - its a perfect winter hobby in my eyes but as soon as the days get longer i'll be out before & after work / weekends. Let's face it, as the years go by it's more important to keep in shape and cycling offers results in spades.

So to the original post, my advice would be to search for local places that you've wanted to see or visit and make a day of it - it's not just the ride, you get to discover places as well. Use google maps to plan / measure routes by using the bike symbol and then get out there, once you see countryside it's easy street - not much traffic and far more enjoyable. Load the pockets with food stuffs, drink plenty and own the roads - cant think of better ways to spend a few hours. Love it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Posts: 962
Location: Montpellier, France
A good thread, this.

I also got back into cycling after 20 years of motorbikes. I'm lucky in that there are very nice and quiet roads about 30 seconds from where I live, so I hear cars coming before they even see me.

I was unfit by the time I got back into it and I have no intention of competing. As an ex-soldier though I find it's not hard to work out a training programme and recognise my fitness level coming back up. As others have said, taking notes and being serious about targets and effort is the only way. On the other hand, as a lazy git it's also nice to look at a map, work out where I want to ride, and go there. I have a bad knee from years back so I take it steady. There's nothing wrong with low gearing, although I heard a young "salesman" in a local bike shop scoffing at compact and triple chainsets not long after I got my old Specialized going again. I didn't go back to that shop.

I spend as much time fettling in the garage as riding, as that's what I enjoy. Lastly, I agree that this is the friendliest, least caustic and most helpful Internet forum I've yet seen, on any subject.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:42 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:22 pm
Posts: 1994
Location: North Ayrshire
slam an old 1980s tour de france vhs tape into that dusty recorder in the attic and get inspired !

don't worry about cadence, miles etc - just get out and enjoy it and pretend that you're riding against hinault, lemond et al once again!!

8)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:56 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6836
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
If you want some inspiration, take 45 minutes to watch this:

http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2012/12/h ... cial-film/

I would love to be able to ride this sportive :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:43 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3363
Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
bikenut2010 wrote:
Just to add again ( great thread btw! ), the other side of the coin is turning up for a group ride with a lovely restored retro bike amidst a herd of Spesh, Giants, Boardmans et al is that very few riders in my experience actually care about what you ( or they ) are riding; I'll qualify that by saying they do a lot of 'how light are those zips?' and 'I prefer Titanium to carbon', but rarely a 'lovely lug work mate' or 'how can you ride with a biggest back sprocket of 19 teeth?'


I usually get a double-take or favourable comment when I roll up to a club TT start line on the Ribble; most riders are on the same old alloy/carbon identikit machines so a steel one of any sort is guaranteed to raise an eyebrow. Plus mine doesn't have any TT-specific fitments; I gave up on tri-bars 'cause I rarely used them and they were too much of a faff to keep fitting/removing just for time trials, so now it's just me, on an ordinary road bike, doing battle against gravity and aerodynamics. Probably better preparation for my main branch of the sport (CX) in any case, where no-nonsense drop-bar machines are de rigeur.

David


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