>Cross Training>Advice on a beginner bike.
In that case I reccomend Tom Boonen's bike.
In that case I reccomend Tom Boonen's bike.
I'd probably skip the cobbles, though.
Needs more cowbell!
That's what it looks like when my DH tries to ride my bike...like the time in the middle of a CX race when something totally FUBARd on his bike, so he grabbed mine from the parking lot (since I had raced the previous race and wasn't using it). He didn't attempt to raise the saddle or anything...and he's nearly a foot taller than me with legs that are 4-5" longer than mine.
Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"
• 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1
• 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)
My belly against my thighs might be an issue.
From End of Summer into the Fall is an excellent time to buy a bicycle. Local bike shops (LBS) are looking to move out old inventory and to improve their cash situation so they can make it through the slower winter period (at least in the northern tier states).
If you are mechanically inclined and have experience with small tools, some really great deals abound on the internet. Some of the internet bicycle websites are bonafide manufacturer's representatives and have received over a thousand consumer reviews and rank in the 4.5-4.7 out of 5 category...superior to the majority of LBS.
I was kicking around a bike shop last week and came across a 2006 Specialized Transition Multi Sport: a serious sport bike set up like a Triatholon bike with excellent specs. List was $1,200 but no one had bitten in part because serious triathlon competitors always went for the full blown tri bike. Turns out that Roadbikereviews.com gave the unit a 4.67 out of 5. It compares very favorably with a Trek 2.1 but the emphasis is on speed, handling and aero positioning. It was marked down to $599 !!!!! And, it was a 56cm and I'm 5' 9+" so I took it out for a test drive which took 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Fast, fast, fast...and very very stiff. Couldn't flex the frame at all no matter how hard I pushed down and pulled up on the bars. I been looking for a good training bike that didn't compromise the bike in order to make it more "comfortable". Got a stationary bike that's plenty comfortable, gel seat and all and I never use it unless its raining or there is snow on the ground.
Well, I bought the bike. Its been one week and I've logged 85 miles. It has a carbon fork and carbon wrapped seatpost. The 125psi tires and frame transmit every pebble but I wear Pearl Izumi and UnderArmor with leather gloves and don't feel much of it. Very responsive steering so its easy to avoid stuff. It gains speed amazingly on slight declines in tucked aero position with no pedaling at all. In my area, the three sprocket crank is an advantage, particularly when starting out. I cannot leave my house without going either down or up 400 ft in elevation in the first half mile. The Transition Multi Sport's Sugino crank of 30/42/52 and Shimano 12-25 9-speed cassette can climb really steep inclines and gives up next to nothing on straightways and downhills. It has Shimano 105 shifting which is very cool. I love the bike and with some adjustments (for my big size 12 feet for example) it fits me just right. Here is a pic.
So, last point, this is the time of year to drop by the local LBS and check out the pricing. They have to make some decisions to get in new inventory and I walked in within a few days of the dramatic markdown just above their cost. Yup...the markup on road bikes is about 100%. If they sell a bike for $3000, there's a lot of wiggle room if you can negotiate and wait.
Regarding fitting, its important to learn all you can about it because there are some not so good fitters working in bike shops too. Here is a link to the best advice I've found to date regarding fitting. He's the first guy that said that larger that typical feet usually dictates a larger frame and crank size. Being able to "standover' a bike's top tube is not any indication that the bike will fit you correctly when you adjust and ride it. You have to get on the saddle with feet on the pedals and hands on the handlebars and then everything has to be adjusted...its the only way to get it right.
Bike fitting: http://www.coachcarl.com/training_articles/bike_fit.htm
and furthermore: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/h/option/bikesizeguide/#Correct
After you read these, you won't find bike fitting all that mysterious. Coach Carl's approach makes perfect sense: its all about the seat position (height and fore/aft), pedals and handlebars and how your legs are bent at certain crank positions. You have to start out with close to the right frame size and adjust from there. Usually there is a range...my range was from 52cm to 57cm. I got a 56cm with a compact 55.5 top tube...almost dead center, and I got a 172.5mm crank length which I anticipated I would need because of the size 12 feet on a 5" 9" frame. I ran a lot, my feet just kept getting bigger and bigger!
As far as flexibility and comfort is concerned, if you buy a bike to get fit, then comfort should be secondary and you should work hard to become more flexible so you will be more comfortable. One way to do that is to tolerate a bike that's a little uncomfortable in the beginning and start doing the exercises on the living room floor while watching the news or a movie and recovering from your workout. That is why I came to the decision to seek out a serious training bike rather than an endurance/touring bike. Rigidity becomes a real problem as we get older and its just as important as caring for your ticker if you want to be active!
Walk, Run, Bike, Yoga and Free Weights. Rain and shine, indoors and outdoors. All four seasons. Shovel snow by hand in the winter...the snow thrower is there in case its gets ridiculously bad and I'm sick or injured.