Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

mediumbird
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby mediumbird » 19 Sep 2019, 11:10pm

Ps Hand built wheels for extra strength. Need to check if I can put 28s on them

Carlton green
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby Carlton green » 20 Sep 2019, 9:04am

mediumbird wrote:Thanks slowster and Carlton green.
I have had the Giant bike for 12 years and it has done me well on many cycle touring trips. I got it from a bike shop near Hexham that came recommended. Basically it was an off the shelf frame and the owner put different gearing, handlebars etc to allow for light touring, so I don’t carry much in the panniers. I like the lighter weight of the bike against the really heavy touring bikes designed for big loads. I weigh about 68kg and have about 9-10kg in the bags.
I think I may need to go bike shopping......not sure how to convince my OH as regards that though :lol:
What about cyclocross type bikes? Any good for lightweight touring but better geometry, bigger tyres and don’t weigh a ton?
As regards tyres, I have used the marathon plus tyres on two of my long distance trips. Great for no punctures but I hate the ride of them even more on our rough roads, so ditched them!


I suggest that reviewing what you currently ride is your best way forward and anticipate that the outcome will be a different bike - dependant on choice and supplier that might be expensive or it might be not too bad on costs. Twelve years use out of your Giant isn’t at all bad, your OH wouldn’t expect a car to last that long so that comparison might ease the conversation - your looking towards a considered replacement for a worn item and have done well with what you originally bought. Folk on here ride loads of different things (there’s a thread about pictures of your bike), their use and needs might not match yours closely but it does give examples of what works for others. For your club rides I’d look closely at what your club mates use and talk to them, but be selective who you speak to. I’d seek out some long term riders who cover some miles yet aren’t physically strong and aren’t flush with money (definitely avoid flash athletic sorts with loads of dosh) - years ago one such club mate suffered a broken frame (fatigue failure due to years of use) and he went out and bought a raleigh randonneur, I don’t think that you can buy them now but it was certainly an informed choice. Quietly gather opinions and look at what they use, though what they use might be ideal or it might just be something that’s affordable for them and still works well enough, make notes.

If I were shopping for a brand new bike, that was intended for serious club use, then something like a Dawes Galaxy would be my start point. The 32mm wide tyres fitted as standard should still roll nicely and then give you a noticeably better ride than the 25’s that you currently use - personally I’m looking towards 35mm, but you are a lot lighter than me. It’s perhaps not obvious but frame fit, riding position and saddle are important to how you’ll enjoy riding in the longer term too.

Edit. With regard to wheels and tyres I have found that items that have the same nominal size often perform very differently and I have been able to use that variation to my advantage. At one point I was using Super Champion 27” rims (narrow) with narrow style but nominally 1&1/4” tyres, the bike shop thought they were grand (at about 1&1/8” inflated width) and I thought the ride somewhat firm and found that those narrow rims went out of true more readily than wider ones. Now I use the widest rims that I can find (19 mm IIRC) and the widest inflating tyres I can find (that used to be Michelin World Tour), the result is a much more comfortable ride on the same nominal sizes - for what it’s worth the tyres now inflate to be 34 mm wide and that 10 - 15% increase (undersized to oversized) has made an enormous difference to me.
I note your comment about having had stronger wheels built and wonder about that. I only use plain gauge spokes (cheap) but am told that double butted ones (not cheap) give a more comfortable ride, having a wheel rebuilt could be an expensive way of achieving a marginal gain but successive margin gains can result in a cumulative gain that’s sufficient to change matters - sometimes the gamble pays off and sometimes it’s a waste of money.
Last edited by Carlton green on 20 Sep 2019, 12:08pm, edited 8 times in total.

Vorpal
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Sep 2019, 9:26am

mediumbird wrote:Thanks vorpal. Not bruising but chafing. I’m off the age(56) that finds chamois cream helpful. I also have a gel saddle. I might try and see if a local bike fit guy can help....
Most of my riding is rough riding because of the road surfaces, but the thought of having to do more of that type of training to toughen up that area is not appealing....
When I get a chance I’ll look into the forum a bit more and Colin’s info on bike fitting. Not sure I can do it all myself...
It’s just weird how it’s become a new problem with nothing else changing in bike set up apart from the quality of the road surfaces. To be fair, even if I didn’t have this recent issue, I just loathe riding on poor UK roads(in my region anyway)

As we age our skin becomes less flexible and more dry. That may be more true for the delicate bits. I'm sure that has influenced the issues I've had (I'm 52). I'm certainly much more sensitive to saddle position & shape than when I was younger. That may also be why chamois cream helps you.

I got a new (used) touring bike a few years ago, and struggled a bit to find a good position / saddle combination on that. I ended up with a Serfas Rx saddle and an adjustable seatpost. I got it for the layback, but it also seems to have a bit more give than a normal seatpost.

I recently rode some very rough surfaces with it on 38 mm wide Maxxis touring tyres. My LBS recommended them, and I admit I was sceptical, not having used Maxxis before, but they were brilliant. They were comfortable on the rough stuff, yet rolled really well on the road.

Based on what you've said so far, my first change would be wider tyres. As wide as you can fit on the bike. It may also be worth borrowing a bike that takes much wider tyres, so you can see how much of a different it makes. You'd have to set it up like your bike, including your own saddle.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

slowster
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby slowster » 20 Sep 2019, 10:46am

mediumbird wrote:I like the lighter weight of the bike against the really heavy touring bikes designed for big loads.

That says to me you know what you like and what works for you as an experienced rider and cycle tourist. The problem is more that you don't know which bike(s) on the market will best meet your particular requirements and preferences, but given the opportunity of a test ride you would be able to say whether or not a bike was right for you. There is quite a range between the bike you have and the heavy duty load luggers like the Surly Long Haul Trucker, and I think you could get a bike which was more suited to your type of touring without being a heavy lump and/or a bit of a dead ride.

mediumbird wrote:What about cyclocross type bikes? Any good for lightweight touring but better geometry, bigger tyres and don’t weigh a ton?

The names used for different types or classes of bikes can be misleading and can mean different things to different people. Traditional cyclocross bikes are similar to road race bikes but with slightly lower gears (but not really low enough for touring), cantilever brakes and clearance for 32mm tyres and no wider, because the rules of cyclocross racing prohibit wider tyres to preserve the character of that type of racing. They have no mudguard or rack eyelets and are designed for relatively short duration races, so all day comfort is not a consideration. However, some people are now using the term cyclocross bikes to refer to bikes which may differ significantly from the traditional type. So the old rule still applies: 'a rose by any other name is still a rose' - never mind what the bike is called, be it 'touring', 'gravel', 'adventure', 'expedition', 'sportive' or whatever, what matters is the geometry/specification and how it rides.

You mention 'better geometry', but I would question what you mean by that. My take on the geometry aspect would be as follows:

- You have presumably got a position on your bike which you are happy with and which allows you to do multi-day long rides in comfort. So you probably want to be able to replicate that position on any new bike, by which I mean first the position of saddle relative to bottom bracket (height and saddle setback), and then saddle to bars (reach and drop).

- That leaves the related variables of wheelbase, chainstay length, head angle and fork offset. A short wheelbase with short chainstays and maybe a relatively steeper head angle might give more lively responsive handling, which contributes to the bike feeling fast. That liveliness is something that you might appreciate and enjoy for short fast rides, but which is undesirable in a bike after a long day's ride when you are tired and don't want to have to consciously steer the bike. Longer chainstays will improve pannier heel clearance and provide the clearance for wider tyres which would otherwise only be achievable by bending and crimping the chainstays. A slacker head angle and commensurate fork offset will provide more relaxed stable steering. These qualities aren't just valued for touring bikes - I have an italian road racing frame with a 70.5% head angle, and the brand has always been noted for the good handling of its frames, especially for high speed descending.

To sum up I would suggest you try to arrange test rides of as many bikes as you can to determine where the sweet spot is for you between your current bike and one of those really heavy touring bikes. I suspect that after several test rides you would have a very good idea of what you wanted. You might need to visit several shops over a period of months or even a year to undertake those test rides, but I presume you are not in a hurry. You might even end up concluding that on balance your personal sweet spot is your current bike with 28mm tyres.

If, however, you wanted to test several bikes over the course of a day, I would suggest you arrange a visit to Spa Cycles in Harrogate and test the following bikes of their own brand:

Steel Tourer (V brakes/cantilevers, so tyre clearance of around 35mm I think)
Titanium Tourer (like steel tourer and with steel fork, but a bit lighter)
Wayfarer (steel disc braked, tyre clearance of up to 47mm)
Elan (titanium, carbon fork, disc brakes - an 'adventure'/'gravel' bike, or in other words a lightweight touring bike with large tyre clearances).

Even if you did not buy one of those bikes, I think it would help you clarify in your own mind what bike you need and want.

Another option is to go to a top custom framebuilder like Dave Yates, and tell him what you want from the bike and how you will use it, and he will build a frame that fits those requirements, is made to fit you, and is the optimum balance of frame weight and stiffness for you and your riding (as opposed to an off the shelf frame like the Long Haul Trucker which by necessity has to be overbuilt/too heavy/too stiff for some riders in order to be able to cope with very heavy riders carrying very heavy loads and giving the bike a lot of abuse).

mediumbird
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby mediumbird » 20 Sep 2019, 1:47pm

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. That’s the problem with bikes, there are just soooo many out there and every company says theirs is the bee knees! Vorpal, my car is even older at 17 years!! I like to hang onto things if they still work... :P
Slowster-thanks for your info. I’ve looked at Spa cycles online before, and think I may make a trip to have a look. I’ve also looked at Thorn cycles though they are even further away from me. Shand cycles are a company local to me, so might have a look at them. I definitely don’t want a big heavy touring bike designed for big loads as I never intend to take a big load.
Had a thought last night. About 2 years ago I got a gift of one of those expensive RETUL bike fits which discovered I was riding with far too low a saddle(4.5cm) and therefore raised it, but couldn’t raise my bars anymore. Since then I get pins and needles in my hands after a while, so definitely think too much weight forward and therefore more forward pressure on my saddle.
Lots of research to do, and this forum is a mine of information (if sometimes confusing)!

slowster
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby slowster » 20 Sep 2019, 5:33pm

mediumbird wrote:I was riding with far too low a saddle(4.5cm) and therefore raised it, but couldn’t raise my bars anymore. Since then I get pins and needles in my hands after a while, so definitely think too much weight forward and therefore more forward pressure on my saddle

If at all possible, you should try to get your position sorted on your current bike before considering a new bike. Ideally you want to know before even arranging a test ride that the particular bike you are considering will definitely be capable of being set up to give you your desired position. If you haven't determined what is your ideal/required handlebar height, you risk buying a new bike and finding that it's not right.

In your shoes I would want to spend some time riding with the bars in the position suggested by the bike fit, and possibly then experiment by moving them a bit up or down to make sure that they were just where I wanted them. Only once I had nailed that down would I want to even begin to think about a new bike. Moreover, you might find with the bars raised and maybe 28mm tyres as well, that your problems with discomfort disappear, in which case you might not even want or need a new bike, at least not for a while.

It looks like you have the highest angled stem you could get on your bike, so I would fit a stem raiser like the Humpert Ahead Stem Raiser. Note that the technical instructions state that the stem raiser must not be used with carbon steerer forks, but I believe your carbon forks have an aluminium alloy steerer, so it should be suitable for your bike. An alternative product is the BBB steerer extender, which is inserted inside the steerer (so requires the star nut in it to be removed, but it gives more range of adjustment, whereas the Humpert will raise your stem by a minimum amount so you would only be able to get the bars lower than that amount by fitting a lower angled stem). I've never had to use one of them myself, but there is a discussion of the different merits of these products in this 2012 thread, and you could start a new thread in 'Bikes & Bits' to ask for people's recommendations and experience of these products.
Last edited by slowster on 20 Sep 2019, 7:23pm, edited 1 time in total.

mediumbird
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby mediumbird » 20 Sep 2019, 6:16pm

Thanks slowster for sound advice. I think I shall enlist the help of a friend that's a very good bike mechanic to try and get my bars set higher, but before that, I might get another bikefit by this person, as he gets good reviews. https://visualbikefit.com/vbf/
It's going to be a work in progress that's for sure! Will do anything to stop me falling out of love with the sport!

Carlton green
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby Carlton green » 21 Sep 2019, 9:07am

mediumbird wrote: I think I shall enlist the help of a friend that's a very good bike mechanic to try and get my bars set higher, but before that, I might get another bikefit by this person, as he gets good reviews. https://visualbikefit.com/vbf/
It's going to be a work in progress that's for sure! Will do anything to stop me falling out of love with the sport!


It might also be worthwhile having your bars checked for reach too, a slightly more upright position might suit you better now. As you have a friend who’s a good bike mechanic it would be worthwhile seeing, with them, what could be done about slightly fatter tyres, etc. They may well have a few spare tyres that can be fitted to your back wheel and trialed on your bike, perhaps there are others in your club that have a few spare tyres too. Bike fitters no doubt know their trade but be sure that they understand and accept your particular goal. I suggest that you’re looking for comfort ahead of optimal racing efficiency, but that target might or might not be either their expectation or ‘strongest’ skill.

I mentioned the cumulative benefit of small changes in an earlier post, let’s hope that you can do most of the small - and relatively inexpensive - changes proposed and avoid having to change your bike in the near future. It is getting worn out though, so if not sooner you will still deserve a new one later :wink:

slowster
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby slowster » 21 Sep 2019, 10:57am

mediumbird wrote:I think I shall enlist the help of a friend that's a very good bike mechanic to try and get my bars set higher, but before that, I might get another bikefit by this person, as he gets good reviews. https://visualbikefit.com/vbf/

I think that before going to a bike fitter it would be better to see if you can get the bars up, and then ride with them in that position for a while and possibly also experiment with moving them up a bit and down a bit, to see what feels best to you. If that and/or 28mm tyres fixes the discomfort you have been experiencing, then you won't waste time on that issue if and when you get another bike fit. If it doesn't fix the problem, then you will have eliminated it as a possible cause/potential solution when you discuss it with the bike fitter.

If you go to the bike fitter first, you run the risk that he will recommend raising the bars, only for you find afterwards when you finally do it that it does NOT cure the problem - result: £100+ bike fit largely wasted.

Moreover, given the lengths of the tours that you have been doing and the repeated daily mileages, with apparently no problems until now, I suspect that you probably must already have a good position. Either that or you are one of those people who pushes themselves and dismisses minor discomforts and pain that the rest of us would not put up with, but that doesn't sound like you. Given your comments about your riding preferences generally and e.g. how you hated the Marathon tyres, it sounds like you are quite highly attuned to how your bike feels and how you feel on the bike.

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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby sjs » 21 Sep 2019, 11:14am

mediumbird wrote:I’m riding on 25 Schwalbe Luganos, carrying rear panniers. I cycled 69 miles day one, 66 day two and then 54 today(worst road surface today). I’m using the same saddle and bike set up I did LEJOG, the Rhine cycle and St Malo to Nice, plus several shorter trips in Europe on their lovely cycle tracks. Ours are just atrocious. You look at them, and think, that should be ok, but they are god awful lumpy things. I like to be able to cover reasonable distances with my bike set up, will bigger tyres etc not compromise that?


For the purposes of post-work beer drinking with a road-fearing cyclist colleague I sometimes ride "NCN 12" from Stevenage northwards towards Letchworth. Absolutely execrable; a combination of tarmac with give-ways, end-of-cycle-lanes and curbs to hop at every trivial side turn (e.g. near Sainsburys) and rocks, brambles, sand and gravel in the section parallel to the A1. Could not be ridden in comfort or at any kind of speed on anything except an MTB. A shame considering the network of reasonable cycle ways inside Stevenage.

mediumbird
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby mediumbird » 21 Sep 2019, 12:35pm

slowster wrote:
mediumbird wrote:I think I shall enlist the help of a friend that's a very good bike mechanic to try and get my bars set higher, but before that, I might get another bikefit by this person, as he gets good reviews. https://visualbikefit.com/vbf/

I think that before going to a bike fitter it would be better to see if you can get the bars up, and then ride with them in that position for a while and possibly also experiment with moving them up a bit and down a bit, to see what feels best to you. If that and/or 28mm tyres fixes the discomfort you have been experiencing, then you won't waste time on that issue if and when you get another bike fit. If it doesn't fix the problem, then you will have eliminated it as a possible cause/potential solution when you discuss it with the bike fitter.

If you go to the bike fitter first, you run the risk that he will recommend raising the bars, only for you find afterwards when you finally do it that it does NOT cure the problem - result: £100+ bike fit largely wasted.

Moreover, given the lengths of the tours that you have been doing and the repeated daily mileages, with apparently no problems until now, I suspect that you probably must already have a good position. Either that or you are one of those people who pushes themselves and dismisses minor discomforts and pain that the rest of us would not put up with, but that doesn't sound like you. Given your comments about your riding preferences generally and e.g. how you hated the Marathon tyres, it sounds like you are quite highly attuned to how your bike feels and how you feel on the bike.

Yes, you are right. Ok will play about with raising the bar height and see how that goes. I’m not much of a mechanic beyond simple stuff, so may get my mechanic friend to help.
Maybe my tolerance for discomfort is diminishing as I get older :lol:

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531colin
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby 531colin » 29 Sep 2019, 10:08pm

"mediumbird"...I'm 16 years ahead of you, and I can confirm that if you want to carry on enjoying your cycling, then you need to work at getting a comfortable riding position.
I'll try to get my thoughts in order, although the thread is somewhat random....
I think the problems you have identified are sore "sensitive bits" from bashing by the saddle and pins and needles in your hands, which as you say suggests too much weight on your hands.. possibly rotating your pelvis too far forward as well.
Somebody said get your position sorted out before looking for a bike which will take wider tyres....best advice!
I think it says somewhere you are 68 kg? I'm much the same and I ride 32mm tyres at 45psi front and 55 rear....you need your 25's harder than that, but the harder your tyres, the more they bump.
There have always been poor road surfaces; maybe more now than previously, but you have always needed to know how to ride on poor surfaces without compromising comfort or speed too much. The answer is to "ride light" ….let the bike rock underneath you while you float above it...if you actually "sit" on the saddle, you will get a bashing. So, how?
Have the saddle low enough that you can pedal comfortably in contact with the saddle, but not actually with much weight on it. Standing right up on the pedals compromises your bike control and you don't want to do it for too long. Its possible that your problems started with the 45mm saddle raise from a "bike fit". Its the fashion to have the saddle as high as possible; it isn't a fashion I follow, and I don't understand the reason for it. But before you change anything, note it, measure it, photograph it, as in my DIY bike fit piece.
To take weight off your hands, the saddle needs to move back, and to compensate for this, you may need a shorter stem; but you may need that anyway. To raise the bars, you can use a high rise stem on any bike; with an alloy steerer you can use an external steerer extender, with a steel steerer you can also use an internal extender.
Do read my bike fitting piece; you say you aren't sure you can do it yourself, but you are the only person in the world who will always be there whenever you go for a ride. Any bike fitting company can only fit you up and turn you loose. Having said that, the bloke you linked has 2 illustrations of women with the first level fit, and they don't look bad, except that their elbows are locked out and the blonde woman is pedalling toe down.
Read Steve Hogg on saddle height https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/05/addendum-to-seat-height-how-hard-can-it-be-2/
"sensitive issues" https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/portfolio-item/sensitive-issues/ theres a second bit of that.
saddle setback https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/05/seat-set-back-for-road-bikes/
couple of things on "lovely bicycle"..https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/search?q=saddle+sore

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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby Vorpal » 30 Sep 2019, 9:26am

531colin wrote:Its possible that your problems started with the 45mm saddle raise from a "bike fit". Its the fashion to have the saddle as high as possible; it isn't a fashion I follow, and I don't understand the reason for it. But before you change anything, note it, measure it, photograph it, as in my DIY bike fit piece.
I wondered about the saddle height when I read about it being raised 45 mm, but I didn't know that it was a fashion to put it as high as possible. It is quite common for cyclists, especially setting up a bike without any prior knowledge to put the saddle too low, so it doesn't surprise me when I hear that bike fitters have raised it substantially.

531colin wrote:Do read my bike fitting piece; you say you aren't sure you can do it yourself, but you are the only person in the world who will always be there whenever you go for a ride.


This. If you aren't sure about making adjustments for yourself, get a friend to show you, or help. And if you don't have it, get a decent multi-tool. It's a good idea to carry one when out & about, anyway, in case things go wrong. But you can also use it to make adjustments as needed.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

mediumbird
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby mediumbird » 30 Sep 2019, 2:55pm

It's all very complicated....I've now read the articles and guides to fitting the bike correctly. Before I did though, I gave the visual bike fit guy a go. He moved my spd cleats back a lot! "Do you like riding on your toes?' he asks...."No wonder you have had numb toes".....He then raised my hoods up, messed about with my saddle height(just a few mm) and then interestingly dropped my bar height down a lot...
Been out for two 2 hour rides since then. Wow. My legs fatigue very quickly! I did a 29 mile ride yesterday and was gubbed! bear in mind I have done a 3 day 180 mile ride a couple of weeks ago with panniers. My quads tweak as soon as I start riding, but definitely feel a more stable platform on the pedals with the new cleat position..(my ability to power off from traffic light is less though...). My hamstrings now feel as though they are doing some work(been told previously I have weak hamstrings...), although I now feel tight in the hip flexor area.
My ulnar nerve pins and needles have gone, but have now got median nerve pins and needles in one hand only...
I did go through a "what on earth am I doing" moment-thought I should set my handlebar back to its original height to see if that helped, but he's asked I give it a few more rides in its current set up. Which I will do, but I now have a lot more knowledge from all good info on this site to be able to sort it myself if still uncomfortable. Need to give the new set up a go and not get too disheartened.I will get there...! :D

slowster
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Re: Is this issue peculiar to women, or is it me?

Postby slowster » 30 Sep 2019, 4:50pm

mediumbird wrote:He moved my spd cleats back a lot!...My legs fatigue very quickly!...My quads tweak as soon as I start riding, but definitely feel a more stable platform on the pedals with the new cleat position.

You might find this thread interesting/relevant to you.