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Preparing for 172 mile bike ride...New to biking(8 posts)

Preparing for 172 mile bike ride...New to bikingAvren
Apr 29, 2003 6:57 AM
Hello, I'm new to biking and am planning to go on the courage classic in Washington, Aug 9-11. It's a 3 day ride with some steep hills, but all gear is being taken care of so it will be me my bike and some water. I have been reading the forums and posts and would like some info on training, what would be the best bike to purchase and any other information anyone could offer. I'm 5'9" 210 lbs but am bulky rather than obese. I have been looking at K2's, Biachi's, Jamis's, Trek's, Fuji's, and Novara's. I have been fitted at REI at either a 51-55? Which sort of confused me?
re: Preparing for 172 mile bike ride...New to bikingjtolleson
Apr 29, 2003 7:06 AM
You've got plenty of time; you'll do great. Besides, you get food and beverages every 10-15 miles, so "segmenting" a charity ride into manageable bites is pretty easy.

All of the brands you have mentioned (well, maybe not K2) have good reputations and a solid base of support among the roadie crowd. I tend to encourage recreational riders to give a hard look at steel options instead of aluminum (which would include offerings from Bianchi, Jamis, and Fuji).

It is true that you can ride a different size from a different manufacturer, but a range from 51-55 is kind of odd. Frankly for a rider 5'9" I would think a 51 would be out of the question, no matter what the manufacturer. I ride 52-54 and I'm a little under 5'7". No offense to REI, but do you have a good road oriented local bike shop where you can go to doublecheck the fit advice you are getting?

For training, take the next 6 weeks and just ride base miles. Don't worry about how many hills you are tackling, and don't worry too much about speed. Just get to where you are comfortable spending 40-50 miles a day in the saddle and can ride back-to-back days. Later in June you can find some hillier routes to work on that.

Club rides and other organized events are a great way to push yourself safely.
Nothing wrong with K2...Matno
Apr 29, 2003 7:30 AM
I've been riding their mountain bikes for years, and they are great quality (plus they're covered by good warranty service). Though their road bikes are not considered "high end" they are far from low end (smack dab in the middle, I'd say), and generally speaking, one of the best "bang for the buck" out there. The reviews of their ride quality are generally very good. Probably the only reason they don't get a ton of attention from the "roadie crowd" is because they generally aren't sold in normal bike shops. Usually they're easier to find in "nice" department stores or sporting goods stores. You may not get expert service, but that's a lot of why they tend to be cheaper.

For 5'9" I'd recommend that you stick closer to 54cm frames. Of course, all manufacturers don't size the same way, so that may be part of the confusion. If you can do some test rides, just go with what feels the best for you.

I'm no training expert, but I can say that when you're actually doing the ride, you'll want to eat a lot. (And even if you don't, do it anyway!) This is a good thing. Also, like jt said, if you can do 40-50 miles on a couple of weekend rides, you should be fine (you don't need to ride that much EVERY day, but a good long ride once a week is a good idea). Most of the guys I ride with (including myself) have no problem with a 60 mile ride. (That's a problem when we're doing a century!) 60 miles is usually where I hit the wall.

My only other recommendation is that you "toughen" your butt. Use the same saddle you're going to do the ride on, and ride on it consistently. I've found that for me, even 20 minutes of riding every day does much more for eliminating soreness on long rides than doing long rides only once or twice a week.

Good luck! You're going to have a great time!
more REIFez
Apr 29, 2003 7:35 AM
For the purposes of this thread, I'll assume you were fit properly. For your own sake, get fitted again for a 2nd opinion.

Regarding REI Novara brand bikes, I notice the sizes are a little off as compared to other companies, so you probably will need a different size Novara than you would if comparing another brand. Keep in mind they are sized C-C, and the tall seat collar adds a whopping 4.5cm on top of that.

I won't generalize and say they run large or small, because that all depends on what you are comparing it to. But when comparing, look at the top tube, standover and seat angles.

My body proportions are quite "normal" but if I go by top tube, then the standover will be tighter than what I am used to. If I size down and get enough standover, then I need a longer stem than I usually use. Overall they are not the best fit for me, but YMMV.

They look like decent bikes and are a good value, however.
go with the best bike shop(s) rather than a specific brand...ukiahb
Apr 29, 2003 7:48 AM
I'd ask around and see which of your local shops has the best reputation as warranty problems are not unusual on bikes, and getting them fixed can be a nightmare at the wrong shop. Also, a really good shop will only carry decent bikes and will make sure you are fitted and the bike is set up for you. At 210 you will need strong wheels, so be sure to ask about the wheels on specific can be a real pain having to true them constantly if they aren't strong enough. I'd budget a little extra for changes you might want to make on the bike after awhile...people often change the original seat, tires, bars, BB, etc. as these are items that the manufacturers tend to economize on.
I hope this helpscoonass
Apr 29, 2003 7:55 AM
The geometry of your 'perfect' frame is relative to the geometry of your body. The seat tube dimension is only the beginning of getting you into a properly sized bike....I'm 5'8"; 175#, but after about 20yrs of 'uncomfortable' riding, I finally got fitted for a 54.5cm w/55cm top tube (Custom Waterfords from excellent LBS) and it's been like riding in Heaven ever since. I would recommend that you ask arouund for the most respected LBS in your area; especially for a good 'Fitter'...(not to put REI down, but you're taking a chance on the advice [the advisor may have been in the Shoe or Canoe dept and is just helping out.]). As far as training, nutrition, etc., here is a site that will help you some:
Info on fitting:

Bon Chance!
re: Preparing for 172 mile bike ride...New to bikingAvren
Apr 29, 2003 9:57 AM
Great information from everyone! ;-) Thanks! I have made some appointments at some local shops and once I get a bike definitely take all of the training advice to heart. I appreciate all your replies. The links had some excellent information that was very useful. Thanks again for all your help! There is so much information on cycling and I have learned a great deal from this site all ready.

re: Preparing for 172 mile bike ride...New to bikingTWD
Apr 29, 2003 5:40 PM
In addition to what was already mentioned, get yourself some good biking shorts if you don't already have them. You'll end up with some pretty painfull saddle sores on a three day ride if you don't wear the right equipment. For that matter, you should have a couple pair, so that you can change into a clean dry pair of shorts each day.

Oh, and in case no-one has pointed it out, don't wear underwear under your bike shorts. The seams are in all the wrong places and will end up chafing quite a bit (not to mention soaking up moisture and being really uncomfortable). If you're not into the spandex thing, look at some of the mountain bike style baggy shorts which have a chamios but look like regular shorts on the outside. I don't think they are quite as comfortable, and you will look more like a mountainbiker than a roadie, but who cares, do whatever you are comfortable with.

As for training, as mentioned earlier, try to do some longer weekend rides to prepare your body for the distance. Also, the biggest secret to riding long distances is to hydrate properly and eat lots during the ride. If you wait until your thirsty or hungry, it's too late. Some people are just fine eating and drinking while riding, and others systems don't take to it as easily. Do some experiments with eating before and during longer rides to see what works for you and what doesn't. Try different foods etc...

Most of all, good luck and have fun.