Author Topic: Buy another bicycle?  (Read 5912 times)

skunkfunk

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Oklahoma City
Buy another bicycle?
« on: February 18, 2014, 09:29:08 AM »
So I biked to work on my old mountain bike for the first time today. It was awful - 50 minutes to go 5 miles. I rode it home from work Saturday and it took 30 minutes that way. My tush just does not feel right this morning, though. I told myself if I could do it for four days this week, I'd buy another bicycle, but I'm not sure I can do that.

Will getting a different bike make it more comfortable, or will I just be wasting my money if I hate it on the current bicycle?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 09:48:38 AM by skunkfunk »

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2908
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 09:36:13 AM »
You may just need a new seat. Get a gender specific seat and make sure it's adjusted properly. The seat should be level to the ground, so the nose neither points up or down.

You could also try getting road slicks put on. These are tires that are smooth, rather than deeply treaded like regular mountain bike tires. They'll allow the bike to go faster with less effort.


train_writer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
  • Location: Brussels
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 12:47:04 PM »
Congratulations at first for trying!

If it was the first time to commute by bicycle, 5 miles might feel very hard? I hope you adjust to it, but if not, be reasonable to yourself and take small steps. Do you enjoy riding your bicycle on the weekend?

- What is the size of your wheels? (inches) Bigger wheels (26-28), if the frame allows, is far more comfortable than smaller ones! (22-24)
- Check your seat. For women, a shorter and broader one is more comfortable, depending on your body shape.
- Check the spring under your seat, is it still flexible?
- Check the adjustables on your bicycle, sitting a bit more upright may be slower, but more comfortable (lower the seat, bring the handle bar a bit up)

That said, I have never owned a comfortable mountain bike, now owning a crappy but self-adjusted 3-gear bicycle and taking 12% elevation twice a day.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 01:21:58 PM by train_writer »

somepissedoffman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Mountain View
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 01:56:49 PM »
Is it just your tush?  If "anything" other than your sit bones is sore, I'd check and make sure your saddle fore/aft and height are adjusted properly before doing anything else.  Could definitely be a saddle problem as others said.

A new bike will be just as uncomfortable if it's not fit right, or if the saddle isn't good for you.

Good luck!

skunkfunk

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Oklahoma City
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 01:58:28 PM »
Is it just your tush?  If "anything" other than your sit bones is sore, I'd check and make sure your saddle fore/aft and height are adjusted properly before doing anything else.  Could definitely be a saddle problem as others said.

A new bike will be just as uncomfortable if it's not fit right, or if the saddle isn't good for you.

Good luck!

The neck/shoulder area is a bit uncomfortable, but I think it's from leaning over and looking up for 50 minutes.

wizlem

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 02:02:35 PM »
Before saturday, when was the last time you rode a bike? You can expect to feel soreness if you ride much distance at all without having ridden much in a long time.

When wondering about anything bicycle related, always consult Sheldon Brown's website.

http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

windawake

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 02:06:43 PM »
One time I had this bicycle that had been sitting out in the snow all winter for the second year in a row. Come spring, I decided I wanted to try biking about 5 miles. It took forever! I was so tired and it totally sucked.

When I got there, this girl who biked a lot took a look at my bike, she said she was surprised the chain hadn't broken because of how rusty it was. I got the bike fixed up and voila, it was way easier to ride and my life got so much better.

Moral of the story: Go get your bike tuned-up. Maybe you have some major issue which is causing you to be so slow. If you're generally in shape, regardless of how long it's been since you've biked, it shouldn't take you 10 minutes to go 1 mile.

the fixer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 02:11:14 PM »
The neck/shoulder area is a bit uncomfortable, but I think it's from leaning over and looking up for 50 minutes.

Try keeping your shoulders back and your spine flexed evenly. I think a lot of discomfort in the back/shoulder/neck area is probably due to people having extremely crooked posture. Don't try to hunch forward to reach the handlebars while simultaneously cranking your neck back, that's just painful. Instead, arch your whole spine back, including your neck, enough that you can see ahead, and imagine trying to pinch a pencil in between your shoulder blades. Keep your core tight to stabilize your back and prevent chronic injury.

That said, mountain bikes don't always allow for a long-distance comfortable ride, and the posture I outlined above may just not be practical on your bike.

If you can make the bike ride comfortable, it might be possible to use it for your commute. The important parts are tires and shocks. If your bike has front and rear shocks, it's probably not going to work. If it only has a front shock, especially if it's adjustable, it should work fine. If the bike has super fat or knobby tires, they can be replaced with more commuter-friendly ones at much less cost than another bike.

Jomar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 02:49:38 PM »
As the old joke goes, the correct number of bicycles to own equals x+1, where x is equal to the current number of bicycles you own (also very anti-mustachian! Don't worry I only own 2 bikes). But seriously, the advice above is great. Get a tune-up, perhaps replace knobby tires with slicks, adjust seat height and position, possibly swap your stem/handlebars etc. If you take your bike in to a shop for a tune up, ask the mechanic to take a look at your riding position, he/she might be able to make some recommendations. Many bike shops also offer bike fitting sessions, though these normally have a cost unless you're buying a bike from them. For a more mustachian solution, check to see if there is a community bike shop in your area. These are (generally) free shops where you do the work yourself with the help of volunteers. You'll have access to people/tools who can help you tune your bike and likely show you how to fit it for you too. Plus, you'll learn a new skill and likely make a few friends!

theSchmett

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 02:52:51 PM »
I'd recommend the pro tuneup if you aren't mechanically inclined, and see if they will throw in a fitting. Or DIY based on youtube and the internet advice.

ALSO - and this is KEY - don't run with knobby tires on the streets. Its exhausting. Get street tires. That's how I roll.

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 02:53:58 PM »
A road bike (what you want for commuting) generally has a longer wheelbase than a mountain bike with its more vertical head tube.  This makes the roadbike easier to track in a straight line - hence fewer constant corrections.  Road tires with a less aggressive tread than a mountain bike's makes the ride less squirmy.  A properly fitted seat/saddle so you're riding on your "sitz bones" really helps.  Many ride with padded biker shorts, and change clothes upon arrival
  Do you ride fairly upright or really leaned over?  The choice will decide the fore-aft position of the seat, as well as the length of the handlebar stem.

m8547

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 10:23:26 PM »
Set your tire pressure to the maximum on the sidewall, and slick tires help a lot. Make sure the seat is high enough; if it's too low you will tire out quickly.

skunkfunk

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Oklahoma City
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 06:14:28 AM »
The ride back home last evening was much easier. I checked the altitude, apparently my home is 100 feet lower than the office. Who would have thought 100 feet makes such a difference?

I've found a coworker who will let me borrow their road bike for a bit. I'll try that and see if it helps.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13599
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 07:59:23 AM »
It never gets easier . . . you just go faster.


That said, some things to consider:

- High tire pressure makes you go faster, but can make the bumps more jarring
- Seat height/handlebar height change how much weight you put on your hands, and butt.  It's a good idea to play around with these to find a more comfortable position.  Most people put their seat far too low for comfortable riding.
- Smooth tires go faster and are more comfortable than knobby ones
- Soft/wide bike saddles tend to be less comfortable in the long run than harder, narrow ones
- Always a good idea to get your bike tuned . . . especially if you're going to be depending on it for transportation

yyc-phil

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1013
  • Location: Yellowknife NWT
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 09:05:32 AM »
The saddle may be your main problem, but also your fitness level. Don't rush to the local bike shop and buy an expensive saddle too quickly, as these can set you back a hundred bucks or more, just wait a little, build your strength and start learning proper biking technique and position. Your saddle in itself may or may not be the problem, so try to adjust its angle and height. Many newbies make the same mistake when they start biking cold turkey: their commute is too long, they don't have the proper technique and position, put all their weight on the butt, the bike components (saddle, handlebar, etc.) are not properly adjusted to the height and weight of the cyclist, and the bicycle has not been thoroughly maintained. Once you've checked your bike and did a good cleaning/maintenance, you can think about upgrading the tires immediately, but wait a bit to replace the other essential accessories for city commuting: a more comfortable saddle (forget about gel pads, they are useless), higher handlebars (a trekking handlebar is the best for commuting/touring). As a mustachian cyclist, I recommend to stay away from bike shops for maintenance or to buy parts and accessories. If your city has a community bike shop, that's the best place to look for cheap parts and help, and to learn about maintaining your bicycle yourself.

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 12:56:57 PM »
I like the moustache handlebar

StarryC

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 08:53:18 PM »
You can do it! You'll be surprised how quickly your body adjusts to the seat and the activity. 

I would try to ride every day / every other day for at least 20 minutes and see how your butt feels after 2 weeks.  Also, play around, usually you can tip the seat forward or back, slide it forward or back by an inch or more, etc.  If the problem is in your more "sensitive" parts this might help.  Also, think about your pants/ undergarments.  Are they all bunchy-seamy-rough?  If on biking days you can wear "smoother" things, that might help. 

5 miles in 50 minutes does not sound crazy, especially at a slight uphill when you are starting.  My first time, uphill but not much, it took me 40 minutes to do 3 miles, and I had to walk it twice!  Yes, to experienced, fit, road bike havers it is slow. It will be slow for you in a month or two.  But for now, that sounds OK.

Also it is definitely worth it to get a tune up.  I paid $80 for mine (including replacing a faulty "headest").  They would probably be willing to make sure it "fits" you too. 

TreeTired

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 449
  • Age: 135
  • Location: North Carolina
  • I think we can make it
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 09:20:51 PM »
Quote
I've found a coworker who will let me borrow their road bike for a bit. I'll try that and see if it helps.

great idea!   Exactly what I was going to suggest.

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1129
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 10:19:18 PM »
I turned my mountain bike into a commuter for less than a hundred dollars.   Here's what I did.

Tires, I bought http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_560321_-1___202472 these and they're great.    A lot faster than what's probably on your bike, buy some new tubes while you're at it.   I like presta valves for skinnier tires.

Get a new set of handlebars.   I hate flat bars for commuting.   Your heads down so you can't see the road and it always puts a lot of stress on my shoulders.    I bought a set of good old north road bars off of amazon for about 20 bucks.   They get your head up and put you in a comfortable upright position.  You might also want to buy a new stem that raises the height of the handlebars.

Take the rest of the money and buy some flashers, a cheap rack and some panniers eventually (saddle bags).   A heavy backpack and a sweaty back gets old.

Emg03063

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 06:13:50 AM »
Lot of good advice given.  Saddle soreness tends to go away pretty quickly with training in my experience--your body learns to adjust somehow, but if you don't have fundamental fit issues or feel like springing for a new saddle, you might try a gel seat cover.  They're pretty inexpensive ($10-$20), and can be very comfy (if somewhat performance hindering-they can be a little energy absorbing).  Just make sure you secure it to the seat well.

skunkfunk

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Oklahoma City
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2014, 06:38:49 AM »
It went a little faster this morning, despite the 25 mph headwind. Unfortunately it has become clear that there is no flexibility in the budget this month to buy another bicycle or upgrade the current one, as I'm still working on getting rid of my debt. Thanks for the suggestions!

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Buy another bicycle?
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2014, 04:01:39 PM »
The detail is a bit overkill at your level, but the best article about bike fitting I've read is this one:

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

Most important thing is saddle height. With your foot parallel to ground, you want your leg almost completely extended. Once actively riding, you'll still have enough kneebend to avoid hyperextension, but you develop a lot more power that way. Smoother tires will help, but 5 miles isn't that long after a week or two.

Upper body will get stronger. I have pinched nerves in my neck. When I first got back into cycling, my hand would go to sleep within ten minutes. I'm now strong enough to bike several hours with little discomfort.

I switched to a hybrid from a MTB and it's a huge improvement, BUT there are many tweaks you can make to the MTB that will make it better for much less $ (and plenty for free, by adjusting saddle, handlebar, etc). Also, a lot of it will go away as your fitness increases. 5 miles isn't that long.