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Thread: Cycling for Beginners....

  1. #1
    Master spuds's Avatar
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    Cycling for Beginners....

    Hello Gents,

    As an overweight, desk-bound 51 year old with an arthritic hip I need to lose weight and get some exercise.

    I'm losing weight simply by cutting out alcohol and eating a 'healthy diet', and as advised by my physio/masseur/PT I've started a very basic strength-building kettlebell routine along with a daily stretching regime.

    I've also just started riding a bicycle again, (a Pashley Parabike, thanks again Jeremy!) and while I certainly don't intend riding across any mountains I believe the non-impact exercise will help with not only my general fitness but particularly with my hip and glutes too.

    So I'll be predominantly cycling along local bridleways and what have you, and I hope to gradually build up the duration as well as my general fitness, so my question Gents, is simply "any tips?"

    I'll be cycling alone and I'm also deaf, although I use a cochlear implant which I can still wear under my helmet so safety is a bit of an issue, and that's also partly the reason I won't be riding on any main roads until I've gained more confidence and experience; so I'll ensure that I have some kind of 'find me' app on my phone.

    Other than that does anyone recommend or advise anything please?

    Any particular tools I should carry or routines/distances to follow/aim for, or any particularly useful apps?

    Thanks in advance for your advice Gents....

  2. #2
    Keep comfortable so you can enjoy it. At this time of year make sure you have nice toasty gloves on and avoid the puddles.

    Listen to your body. If your joints hurt, especially your knees and hip then read up about bike fit. Most new riders have a cramped position that doesn't allow full leg extension which for me is important. Basically, if you don't almost straighten your knee on a down pedal your seat is probably set too low.

    Your bum will hurt. Nothing you can do other than wait for it to man up. Cushioned seats won't help, but a pair of cheap cycling shorts probably will.

    Do it as much as you enjoy it.

    Look at strava to log your miles and plan routes.

    Enjoy!

  3. #3
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    Just enjoy the ride; carry enough to fix a puncture and multi tool like this https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/...3/rp-prod15443

    That should cover most issues ...

    Good to hear you are addressing your health; you will no doubt benefit in your well being.

    Once you do more miles maybe upgrade the bike but probably not yet ... find out what you enjoy first.

  4. #4
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Well done for making the effort! If you don't already have them then some tyre levers and some puncture repair patches is a good place to start. Park levers and self adhesive patches work well, available here on Amazon and many other places. Some type of multi tool will be handy for any repairs needed on the road, obviously something that covers the sizes of components on your bike.

  5. #5
    I started cycling a couple months ago to get fitter. Things Iíve found handy are

    Make sure you take with you a spare inner tube and tyre levers and mini pump (relatively inexpensive kit)

    For a simple way to track distance time etc Strava is a useful app

    Itís worth spending as much money as budget allows on a decent set of lights and helmet.

    And most importantly of all just get out and ride itís amazing what it can do for the mind as well as the body.

  6. #6
    Master spuds's Avatar
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    Blimey!!

    Thanks ever so much for the quick and positive replies Gents, all I've had at work so far is the wotsit ripped out of me for being too fat/too old/the bike looks like a penny farthing/postman's bike/etc etc etc!!

    I know it sounds a bit weak and pathetic but your encouragement is genuinely appreciated: Thank you.

    (Lights and helmet already in hand and advice re: tool bits and Strava is heeded, thank you again.)

  7. #7
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention a pump. I use one of these, light, top quailty and it works very well.

  8. #8
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    All the above is great advice. I always carry a spare inner tube (x4 as usually with the family and all different size wheels!) I find it too fiddly messing with patches at the roadside, if I discover a puncture at home I will patch it as it's easier to find the hole with a bowl of water.

    I have a small rucksack (you could use a saddlebag or handlebar bag if you prefer) which contains the following:

    a small pump (some are terrible though, I use a lezyne pressure drive, as above post, which is a bit pricey but very good).
    spare inner tube
    puncture repair patches in case I am very unlucky (the ones that don't need glue, just stick on)
    Tyre levers
    multi tool
    1 pair disposable latex gloves (for keeping hands clean if chain comes off, puncture etc.
    Couple of zip ties (great for performing on the go bodges!)
    Sugary snack just in case
    Mobile phone
    Bank card/emergency £10 note
    Lightweight bike lock for cafe/toilet stops (not to be confused with proper, heavier bike lock, when leaving unattended for longer periods)
    Water bottle (in the frame mounted bottle cage)

    Oh and a bell on the handlebars to politely inform other bridleway users of your presence (for some reason I feel a bit rude using the bell but as a walker I prefer it when cyclists do ring their bell, go figure! I always then smile and say thanks when people do move out of the way for me.

    Have you considered third party liability insurance? Essential in this day and age in my opinion. Comes as standard with Cycling UK membership (£4 per month) amongst other benefits and supporting cycling campaigns for better facilities for all. https://www.cyclinguk.org/join

    Enjoy your cycling and all the benefits that come with it.
    Last edited by Craig; 18th January 2021 at 18:03.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuds View Post
    Blimey!!

    Thanks ever so much for the quick and positive replies Gents, all I've had at work so far is the wotsit ripped out of me for being too fat/too old/the bike looks like a penny farthing/postman's bike/etc etc etc!!

    I know it sounds a bit weak and pathetic but your encouragement is genuinely appreciated: Thank you.

    (Lights and helmet already in hand and advice re: tool bits and Strava is heeded, thank you again.)
    Those pulling your leg are those who probably do nothing and will pay the price in due course.

    Craig has given you a great list above; get that lot sorted and you are away.

    Age is meaningless; I'm older than you and I rack up plenty of miles; I ride with a guy who is 74 sometimes and he's knocking out 50 mile rides no problem.

    Ignore the idiots and enjoy your bike and it will give you improved health and many happy hours of outdoor exercise.

  10. #10
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    Nice to hear, hope it goes well.

    I think a mirror would be helpful to see what's coming behind you if you have hearing difficulties. I always use one, and like these ones:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/CatEye-BM-4.../dp/B011DLUBIK

    One thing I found helpful for motivation is keeping a spreadsheet with distances. A bike computer will obviously be helpful for this. I also use Strava to keep a record of rides, you don't need to do this of course but it's been part of the fun for me.

    As far as tools go: I always take Allen keys, a spare inner tube, a tyre lever. If you have a hip or joint problem, pay particular attention to the height of the saddle. Have fun! Take it easy and build up to longer distances as you gain fitness and lose a bit of weight. The distances are up to you, just what you feel happy with. When I started cycling in earnest in 2015 at the age of 54 I was doing 7-10 miles; by last year my usual ride was 40+ and I did a 200 miler in June. But keep it fun. It's all good.

  11. #11
    Master Matt London's Avatar
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    Have a look at Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, they are extremely puncture resistant. They are heavy, but you want be thinking about the weight if you end up changing the inner tube in a lightweight tyre in the cold and wet!


    Ignore the nay sayers. In my experience they are usually the ones who have spent their whole lives doing nothing. They are probably a bit jealous too!

  12. #12
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    My tip is to get a static excercise bike instead, skip breakfast, have a small basic meal about 12:00, half hour on the bike. small basic meal about 6:30, another 20 minutes odd on the bike before bed time. Eat loads of fruit when hungry inbetween. Repeat about 5 or 6 days a week.

    The weight falls off fast, i lost 15 KG and most of that was in the first 4 weeks and i kept it off for the last couple of years just by eating sensibly and cutting out junk, cakes, too many carbs etc...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogroover View Post

    As far as tools go: I always take Allen keys, a spare inner tube, a tyre lever.

    .. and a pump of course :)

  14. #14
    Great tips and the ''long'' list of things above is spot on. Exactly what I have apart from the lock as I never leave the bike unattended. The gloves are a must - can't stand when someones chain came off and they just go there with bare hands or normal gloves... then everything gets dirty!

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt London View Post
    Have a look at Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, they are extremely puncture resistant. They are heavy, but you want be thinking about the weight if you end up changing the inner tube in a lightweight tyre in the cold and wet!


    Ignore the nay sayers. In my experience they are usually the ones who have spent their whole lives doing nothing. They are probably a bit jealous too!
    One of the toughest tyres in the business. Last bike I had them on and did a longer trip (Caen, France - Burgos, Spain) with them, was just under 10000kms puncture free. And that is really not that great comparing to some other reviews. I then sold the bike, dude's still probably riding them Schwalbes!

    All the best and enjoy the ride. Doesn't matter how fast you're going - you're still faster than those on the couch (or at work being mean to you).

  15. #15
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Do you use (or intend to use) 'click' pedals? If so, I strongly advise you to use pedals and shoes that allow you to walk when needed. E.g. the type of shoes /pedals Tom Pidcock uses, not the Mike Cavendish type of shoes and pedals

  16. #16
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    Lots of good info already about what to carry so I wonít go over that. What I would say is if your not familiar with the process try and make time to understand how you remove the wheels and tires to deal with punchers and generally get a sense of how you adjust/tighten the seat post and bars etc, it might sound silly but better that, than getting caught out in the rain and having to mess around the first time.

    Also route planning try and plan a few routes in advance so you can get quieter spaces and start upping your distance.
    This link letís you see popular strava segments that are close to you, combine that with online os maps and local knowledge and you should be able to find some car free fun.

    https://www.doogal.co.uk/strava.php

  17. #17
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    I would get a good hi-vis cycle jacket as well as other kit mentioned.
    A good app if you get lost is 'What Three Words'. Emergency services recommend it.

  18. #18
    Master spuds's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the tips and encouragement Gents, genuinely much appreciated...

    I canít see me using click pedals for a while yet, but again, thanks for the tips and infoí.

  19. #19
    Have a look at the Garmin radar light too, gives vibration and visual alerts to vehicles behind you https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/p/698001

  20. #20
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eagletower View Post
    Have a look at the Garmin radar light too, gives vibration and visual alerts to vehicles behind you https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/p/698001
    Wow! Never seen that before. Not a big hit here I suppose, since 90% of all cycling here is done on separated (from the main roads) cycling paths. No kidding: I ride from the German border to Amsterdam and back, using different routes without having to 'mingle' with cars!

    M

  21. #21
    You might want to look at this guys video's for down to earth cycling information and maybe even throw him a question. He does read the comments & reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/leonardmlee

    Ditch the kettlebells. Absolute pish posh. If you need some professional advice have a look at Dave:

    https://before2after.com/

    But cycling is fab and a great way to start. Even just going out for a ride on your own in the spring or summer in our wonderful English countryside is great at blowing away cobwebs in the mind but bring sting/bite cream. Don't forget training/fitness is governed by the mind. You can train at home using chairs for triceps, chest (dips) etc. Don't forget to train your calves. They're often overlooked with cardio fitness. They're shaped like a heart for a reason.

    If you're feeling lazy look at this guy for inspiration (NSFW):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLKxdTmk-zc

    Remember- stay hard!
    Last edited by Tony-GB; 19th January 2021 at 01:35.

  22. #22
    Master PipPip's Avatar
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    I took up cycling in 2012 aged 42 and within 5 years had done some serious stuff (mountains, rides across Europe etc). For me cycling with others keeps me motivated and even now in Covid times I try to go out with a mate. We are all different but not sure I would have stuck with it on my own.

    The only other tip is watch lots of YouTube videos about bike maintenance and have a fettle with your bike. I am someone who hates DIY and I am bad at anything handy. However with the help of YouTube and getting stuck in I can now build a complete bike from scratch including installing and bleeding hydraulic brakes, which many people seem to fear. I know this as I built my wifeís cycloross bike completely starting with a frame. The only thing I canít do (yet) is build wheels. If I can do it anyone can. This massively adds to your confidence when out on the road. Also saves money in theory although not really as you catch upgrade-itis.

  23. #23
    Good on you spuds, youíve opened up a whole new world for yourself. There have been plenty of good tips already so all Iíll say is take it easy, build up the miles gradually and check out landmark locations to aim for. When I fancy a day of cycling, getting everything ready and aiming for a trig point somewhere on the downs is great stress relief. When Iím home and cleaning off my bike and putting my gear away, Iím often reminded of the joke, Ďhow can you tell a happy cyclist? They have flies embedded in their teeth.í

  24. #24
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Well done, spuds.

    Please come over to the exercise encouragement thread if you need any support.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt London View Post
    Have a look at Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, they are extremely puncture resistant. They are heavy, but you want be thinking about the weight if you end up changing the inner tube in a lightweight tyre in the cold and wet!
    ^ Yes

  26. #26
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    Good for you.
    I've doubled my weekly cycling mileage since March '20 and so far I'm keeping it up!

    Lots of good advice above (especially Schwalbe Marathons), and do invest in good gloves (and glove liners) in this weather because nothing saps the motivation like cold fingers.

    My last cycling purchase was one of these - extremely bright flashing rechargeable front light for absurdly little money - I use it at all times in flash mode with a constant generator-powered front light on as well. I find it makes a huge difference, for example to the behaviour of pushy motorists thinking of barging in front of you when the parked cars are on their side of the road: search on Amazon.co.uk for "Nestling USB Rechargeable LED Bike Light Set, 1200 Lumen Bicycle Headlight Cree XM-L2 LED Waterproof Bike Front Light Handheld Flashlight with 4400mAh Battery".

  27. #27
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Youíll need a new watch...

    Well done on getting on your bike. Mine saw little use last year. This year will be different!

    We soon wonít recognise you!

  28. #28
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    I moved over to tubeless a few months back as I regularly got punctures. Touch wood no punctures or if there has been some they have closed up with the sealant. The ride comfort is seriously improved ( lower tyre pressures) and always carry a pump and spare inner tube just in case. So far really please with the change.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Wow! Never seen that before. Not a big hit here I suppose, since 90% of all cycling here is done on separated (from the main roads) cycling paths. No kidding: I ride from the German border to Amsterdam and back, using different routes without having to 'mingle' with cars!

    M
    Envious. Since covid more roads are being split to have a dedicated cycle and bus lane which is welcome in my opinion.

    I prefer to stick to the country lanes over the busy London streets- far too many aggressive drivers.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by wotsthecrack View Post
    I moved over to tubeless a few months back as I regularly got punctures. Touch wood no punctures or if there has been some they have closed up with the sealant. The ride comfort is seriously improved ( lower tyre pressures) and always carry a pump and spare inner tube just in case. So far really please with the change.
    These things are apparently game changers for holes that don't seal: http://www.dynaplug.com/. No need for inner tubes or to remove the tyre from the rim.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bondurant View Post
    These things are apparently game changers for holes that don't seal: http://www.dynaplug.com/. No need for inner tubes or to remove the tyre from the rim.
    Cheers, I'll check these out

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bondurant View Post
    These things are apparently game changers for holes that don't seal: http://www.dynaplug.com/. No need for inner tubes or to remove the tyre from the rim.
    I use those; but they are not 100% so I'd always carry a tube just in case ...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    I use those; but they are not 100% so I'd always carry a tube just in case ...
    These are also v good and cheaper

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/35111250610...hoCDTwQAvD_BwE

  34. #34
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    Well done...just enjoy it and as other have said create a strava account to log miles.

    As you start to do longer rides a good pair of padded shorts are a must.

    All the best and have fun



    Sent from my SM-G981B using Tapatalk

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    Yeah; I have used them also ... ok for MTB but on road tyres they make the hole even bigger as the tool is bigger; the Dynaplug one is worth the extra if your on road tyres.

    These plugs *usually* work but I have had them not completely seal the tyre so always carry a tube.

    If I have a puncture that the sealant does not fix I will always try a plug first ...

  36. #36
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    If you’re a real beginner I’d spend half an hour in the garage and take the front wheel off, remove the inner tube and replace it, repeat with the rear wheel. You’ll be a lot more confident fixing a puncture in the middle of nowhere.

  37. #37
    Well done!

    For lighting I can strongly recommend these:

    https://www.flashaholics.co.uk/produ...cle-mount.html

    You can pick up a great, versatile torch with an 18650 battery and use it at home or on the bike.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuds View Post
    As an overweight, desk-bound 51 year old with an arthritic hip I need to lose weight and get some exercise.
    Five years ago I was an overweight, desk bound 51 year old with crocked knees.

    Then I took up cycling. Five years on I've lost 20kg, done Ride London, ridden up Ventoux, done cyclocross racing, done club time-trials, and recently just joined an online race team on Zwift.

    I'm not going to add to the advice above as there is plenty of good stuff there, but I wish you luck in your journey.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Yeah; I have used them also ... ok for MTB but on road tyres they make the hole even bigger as the tool is bigger; the Dynaplug one is worth the extra if your on road tyres.

    These plugs *usually* work but I have had them not completely seal the tyre so always carry a tube.

    If I have a puncture that the sealant does not fix I will always try a plug first ...
    Interesting my Pub road bike isnít tubeless so havenít tried them on one never had an issue with mtb or tourer tires, I wonder if itís pressure related?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    Interesting my Pub road bike isnít tubeless so havenít tried them on one never had an issue with mtb or tourer tires, I wonder if itís pressure related?
    Definitely pressure related, road tyres run at higher pressures making it harder for the sealant to block the gaps.

    That said Iím now running road tyres at 60psi, wasnít that long ago I was at double that.

  41. #41
    Master Matt London's Avatar
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    If you do get the Marathon Plus be aware that they can be a real pain to fit. They are definitely worth the effort and swearing though!

    Somebody will be along in a minute to say that you can slip them on easily with the right technique.

  42. #42
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    Good on you, I find cycling (apart from the obvious health benefits) really enjoyable and gives a sense of peace and calm, watching raptors, hares and other assorted wildlife is a nice side effect too. Whereabouts in Essex are you? There are some great routes like Dunmow to Braintree all on old (disused) railway lines. Cheers, John B4

  43. #43
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    You can slip them on easily with the right technique... albeit these are just Schwalbe Marathons however, smaller wheels are harder to re-tyre


  44. #44
    Master spuds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB4 View Post
    Good on you, I find cycling (apart from the obvious health benefits) really enjoyable and gives a sense of peace and calm, watching raptors, hares and other assorted wildlife is a nice side effect too. Whereabouts in Essex are you? There are some great routes like Dunmow to Braintree all on old (disused) railway lines. Cheers, John B4
    Hello John Iím in Rayleigh and the plan for my first Ďproperí ride is to see where exactly a bridleway goes to that I walk past often!

    I know it heads out towards Hullbridge (and the other end of it is Hockley) so I plan on going Hullbridge-bound first and see how that goes....

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt London View Post
    If you do get the Marathon Plus be aware that they can be a real pain to fit. They are definitely worth the effort and swearing though!

    Somebody will be along in a minute to say that you can slip them on easily with the right technique.
    Zip ties and swearing worked for me.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Mac View Post
    Zip ties and swearing worked for me.
    Over the years I've found Marathon 'Plus' covers to be somewhat harder to fit/remove than standard Marathons. They also deaden the feel of the bike more: not an issue for a commuter/runabout, but would be a shame on a sports machine where quick handling is part of the fun.
    In decades of use I've only ever had one puncture of a Marathon, caused by running over a large & very sharp shard of glass (plus the tyre was quite old at the time).

  47. #47
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Did we discuss saddles and saddle pain?

    Over the years, I've been lucky when it comes to saddle pain. Not too many problems. Until I talked to one of my (now former) colleague about buying a bike He's a seasoned mountain biker and travels 10K+ km/yr on his bespoke Santos. The sort of guy who gets in the train to Rome (here you can fill in nearly every big city in Europe) with his bike & bags and then rides home to the Netherlands. Every holiday another city.

    He told me about 'saddle fitting'. So when I bought a new bike last May, I went the shop where he'd bought his Santos. They offered me a free fitting: you sit on a pressure plate and the outcome tells the sales person about the position (width) of the ischium. He then picked the corresponding saddle from a rack and put it on my bike. I've never had a more comfortable saddle. Highly, highly recommended.

    The website: https://www.terry-comfort.de/en/saddle-selector.php

  48. #48
    Great advice above,

    I would save get proper shorts or mountain bike ones with padded liner, makes a huger difference.
    Use your tyre levers and pump to practice change an inner tube at home.
    I know a guy who cycled for over a year with a pump that wasn't capable of pumping up his tyres, he discovered this when dealing with a puncture 20 miles from home.

    I took up cycling at 40 after a ruptured achilles stopped me from playing football again. In the last few years I'll taken the bike to the top of the Taiwan KOM mountain twice - 3,275m. However I've done it from the west side 2,800m climb over 40km rather than the actual KOM route 3,400m of climb over 105km.

    When Covid is over I serious recommend all the cyclists here take a holiday to Taiwan and do the 9 day 900km round Taiwan route with Giant and take on the Taiwan KOM mountain.
    Last edited by eldrich; 23rd January 2021 at 16:12.

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