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View Full Version : 46 mile bike ride on the Western Maryland Rail Trail...


Slugo
08-26-2009, 09:05 PM
coming back from a meeting in Pittsburgh, my friend Charlie and I diverted to the Maryland border and ripped off a 46 mile bike ride along the Potomac River C&O Canal. Beautiful day and most of the trail was tree covered. Found a little graveyard from the early 1800's along the way. Got home a little bit ago and I'm bushed...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2641/3860975018_d8e3d25e75_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2425/3860190509_9292d0971d_b.jpg

here's what the bridge looks like now...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2607/3860175705_5186f9ac2c_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2535/3860184101_64e7f62461_b.jpg

my old business partner lobbyist Charlie...
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3491/3860959826_fa5c0c292c_b.jpg

old asshole himself!
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2470/3860962628_845bcaa8b6_b.jpg

kv
08-26-2009, 11:29 PM
and 46 miles sounds like a substantial amount of biking. "to rest is to rust" exercise is key.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 06:38 AM
46 miles on a bicycle? What'd you spend, a week? ;)

Slugo
08-27-2009, 08:04 AM
Steve, it felt like a month. I have to get a better seat, pure and simple. The stock seats that come with most bikes are a joke. God bless my hemorrhoid!

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 08:06 AM
I'm discovering I need to get some bicycle shorts with the gel pad in the seat area. Should be good on long motorcycle rides under my gear too.

Sushi
08-27-2009, 09:50 AM
Nice place to have a bike ride :)

Slugo
08-27-2009, 11:01 AM
Steve, my buddy Charlie had a pair on yesterday. He swears by them. He also installed a premium leather Brooks seat on his ride. Says the combo makes all the difference in the world. I didn't do the complete 46 miles yesterday, the pain of the seat did not allow me to. Physically I felt terrific. My nuts and upper thighs were numb. I'm going to try the riding shorts first...

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 11:08 AM
I was looking at some of the $40 ones at like Dick's and REI. Then I was at the bike shop where I got my bike last Saturday to check out a bike for Nancy, and I was looking at the $150 ones they had. They practically had another gel seat inside them!

Slugo
08-27-2009, 11:35 AM
Steve, my buddy Charlie bought two pair off the net from a bike site. I don't have the URL right now, but I'll call and get it from him, then post it. He told me they had very good prices...

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 01:33 PM
Looks like a nice place to ride 'Unc.

On the subject of seats....the big padded ones are not the way to go. Yes, they're comfortable for short rides but they don't provide the support you need on a longer ride. You want the weight supported by your sitbones rather than by your skin/muscles. The best analogy I can think of is comparing a big soft chair that you sink in to a lightly padded chair. The soft one feels great at first but if you spend a couple of hours in it you'll find it's not as supportive as the lightly padded one. The Brooks your buddy is using has zero padding...it's a piece of leather. Brooks are very popular with the touring crowd and they've been making saddles for years....so that 'no-padding' thing does work. They do take some time to break in but they mold themselves to your body.

Shorts....skip the ones with gel pads. The gel gets compressed over time and doesn't work well. You want one with a good chamois but no gel. I'm fond of Giordana shorts and they can be found for a reasonable price. A couple of places you guys might want to look at are www.nashbar.com and www.performancebike.com

One other thing 'Unc. It's hard to tell from the pics but it looks like most of the weight is on your butt. If you lower the bars a little you'd transfer some of that to your arms which will help.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the tip Scott.. How do these look?

http://www.bikebling.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=PearlIzumi-SliceUltrasensor

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the tip Scott.. How do these look?

http://www.bikebling.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=PearlIzumi-SliceUltrasensor

Pearl Izumi makes good gear....no problem with those. I've never heard of that place though that doesn't mean anything.

One other thing...the number of panels is an indicator of quality, 8 panels being better than 6. Personally I prefer bib shorts as I find them a lot more comfortable....there's no waistband to dig in.

Also, you might check out Exce (http://www.excelsports.com)l....they've been around a long time and I've bought lots of stuff from them. They have PI Attack shorts for $70. The Excel house brand isn't bad either, I have a couple pair of their bibs. They also have some inexpensive Castelli and that's another good brand. You can pretty much figure anything Excel carries is good quality.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 02:26 PM
I'd probably get them at Amazon anyway. ;)

The reviews I've been reading say these are more comfortable than the Attack, unless you're riding over 50 miles at a stretch.

wallymann
08-27-2009, 02:29 PM
get a reasonably wide gel-padded seat with a "cut-out"...minimizes pressure points and reduces likelihood of the dreaded "numb-nutts".

Spudsbud
08-27-2009, 02:33 PM
my wife has the removeable pad thing. I just bought a new seat that day I told you I was in the bike shop. 3" of gel 12" wide :D
yes, $39.00.

wallymann
08-27-2009, 02:35 PM
scott - i'm finding that i'm of an age where a little gel in the chamois is necessary for extended rides. with a normal padded chamois, i'm good for long rides with a racing saddle to about 6-7 hours, at which point i get a really sore spot right at pressure point under my sit-bones. so i've added a santini "twist-gel" chamois to my kit for long-mileage rides.

for slugo's fat ass, he might be well advised to retrofit an actual lay-z-boy to his bike! ;-)

seriously, well done slugo...proper padded cycling shorts are de-rigeur for extended time ont he saddle. and you oughta work up to long rides, so your backside can toughen up and adapt.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 02:37 PM
This looks like a good short too....

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?page=8&description=Aero%2DX+Short&vendorCode=DESCENTE&major=4&minor=14

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 02:42 PM
I tried gel shorts several years ago and I wasn't a fan but maybe they've improved since then. We both know nothing works better than spending more hours in the saddle...which I hate to admit I'm lacking at. :o

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 02:54 PM
This looks like a good short too....

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?page=8&description=Aero%2DX+Short&vendorCode=DESCENTE&major=4&minor=14

Those look good....Descente makes quality stuff as well.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 03:21 PM
For a $9 difference in price, which do you think are better? Those or the Pearl Izumi Slice UltraSensor Short?

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 03:30 PM
For a $9 difference in price, which do you think are better? Those or the Pearl Izumi Slice UltraSensor Short?

It's hard to say and price isn't always an indicator. Assos shorts are very expensive and many people love them....but I bought a pair a few years ago and wasn't impressed. If I had to choose I'd probably pick the PI ones mainly because I know several people that love their PI shorts.

Slugo
08-27-2009, 06:09 PM
Scott and Wally, thanks so much. Your advice is oh so valuable. Physical pain can totally ruin what would be a memorable experience. Maybe I'll stop by a few local better bike shops and feel the actual difference in both products. I'll leave the stock seat alone for time being and concentrate of the shorts. BTW Scott, I adjusted the seat up and the bars lower as you suggest. Took a brief ride around the neighborhood this afternoon and it made a significant difference. I could feel immediate pressure relief.

Thanks again for your help guys...

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 06:31 PM
Scott and Wally, thanks so much. Your advice is oh so valuable. Physical pain can totally ruin what would be a memorable experience. Maybe I'll stop by a few local better bike shops and feel the actual difference in both products. I'll leave the stock seat alone for time being and concentrate of the shorts. BTW Scott, I adjusted the seat up and the bars lower as you suggest. Took a brief ride around the neighborhood this afternoon and it made a significant difference. I could feel immediate pressure relief.

Thanks again for your help guys...

You're welcome 'Unc....glad I can help. Sometimes a little tweak in position makes a big difference. The bars on all of my bikes are below the seat height, the closest one being about an inch below.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 06:34 PM
Slugo, take your bike to one of those better bike shops and have them set the bike up for you. It really makes a difference to have it done right by guys that know what they're doing instead of trial and error. You'll probably be a lot more comfortable (eventually). ;)

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 07:13 PM
Slugo, take your bike to one of those better bike shops and have them set the bike up for you. It really makes a difference to have it done right by guys that know what they're doing instead of trial and error. You'll probably be a lot more comfortable (eventually). ;)

I don't disagree but a fit or set up by a shop is only the start, it's not an end-all. Each person is different and what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. It's a good starting point but it's almost certain you'll have to make minor changes afterwards to get things perfect.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 07:30 PM
Yeah, I need to raise my bars a touch. ;)

I have to bring mine in to be adjusted now that I've been riding a bit. I discovered yesterday in 8th gear with the front on the middle sprocket, the chain is intermittently rubbing the inside of the front derailleur.

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 07:46 PM
Yeah, I need to raise my bars a touch. ;)

I have to bring mine in to be adjusted now that I've been riding a bit. I discovered yesterday in 8th gear with the front on the middle sprocket, the chain is intermittently rubbing the inside of the front derailleur.

That's easy to adjust yourself. You might be able to turn the barrel adjuster (I'm guessing there's one where the cable enters the shifter but if not then it's on the downtube) in just a hair....like 1/4 turn...and get away with that. That would make the cable a little shorter and allow the derailleur spring to pull the cage towards the bike.

However, running that gear combo is duplicating something in the big chainring territory. You'd be better to move to the large chainring and shift the back to larger cogs than run the middle/small combo if you can avoid it.

Slugo
08-27-2009, 07:51 PM
I raised the seat 2 inches plus and what a difference, really. Pending weather conditions tomorrow, I'm doing a 20 miler around the Hershey area. Lots of hills on this one though! The Maryland trail was no more than 2-3 degree grade, up or down...

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 08:26 PM
I raised the seat 2 inches plus and what a difference, really. Pending weather conditions tomorrow, I'm doing a 20 miler around the Hershey area. Lots of hills on this one though! The Maryland trail was no more than 2-3 degree grade, up or down...

Wow....2 inches is a lot. :eek:

There are several theories on proper saddle height, you might want to read this (http://www.ecovelo.info/2008/10/16/more-on-saddle-height/) to get a better idea. In all cases you need to measure your pubic bone height (http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit/pbh_and_how_to_measure_it).

Slugo
08-27-2009, 08:42 PM
Scott, you were right a couple of weeks ago. It was way too low. Now it feels perfect. And thanks for the articles. Nice to have two fitness coaches like you and Wally, you guys are great! :)

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 08:55 PM
When they set up my bike, they used a protractor like the one my physical therapist and Doc used when I broke my leg. He wanted a 35 degree angle at my knee when the ball of my foot was on the pedal at it's lowest point, and adjusted the seat height accordingly.

Slugo
08-27-2009, 08:59 PM
35 degrees is too much for me. I know that's where they set them, but I decreased that angle to around 20 degrees for myself. World of difference at least for me. Now for my ass-bone! ;)

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 09:16 PM
35 seems like a lot to me too....at least going by looking at my position on the bike. I don't have a protractor so it might be that much but it sure doesn't look like it.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 09:18 PM
Hmmm, now that you mention it, it might be when the pedal is at the top. LOLOLOL

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 09:25 PM
Hmmm, now that you mention it, it might be when the pedal is at the top. LOLOLOL

That can't be it either....I'm well over 90 there.

Slugo
08-27-2009, 09:39 PM
Scott, it's like you said, there is no magic formula. I just needed a very slight break in the knee at the down location and it was like a 100% improvement. We're all built different. I was all out of whack on the height ratio of the bars to seat differential. Now I'm good to go. God I hate that saying...

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 09:49 PM
I must have been right the first time then. He did mention if you don't have the seat height correct, you risk knee pain.

Pistolero
08-27-2009, 09:50 PM
I still think it's a good idea to get a professional set up as a starting point and then minor tweaks for comfort.

Which IIRC, was the advice Scott gave me when I was shopping. ;)

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 10:05 PM
Once you guys get things all figured out we'll discuss the merits of clipless pedals...:D

Slugo
08-27-2009, 10:07 PM
next time I'm in for a tune-up. Will soon need to tighten up all the cables, they do stretch over time. Plus a proper lube job for the drive components. BTW, I use Remington dry lube spray on my chain. Attracts no dirt and stays relatively clean...

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 10:17 PM
next time I'm in for a tune-up. Will soon need to tighten up all the cables, they do stretch over time. Plus a proper lube job for the drive components. BTW, I use Remington dry lube spray on my chain. Attracts no dirt and stays relatively clean...

It's easy to do yourself 'Unc....it doesn't take much time. Just loosen the bolt where they attach to the derailleur and pull it tighter. Really the only thing that needs lubed is the chain. Maybe the cables too but that's pretty rare. Instead of spending the money for the bike shop to do it buy this (http://www.amazon.com/Zinn-Art-Mountain-Bike-Maintenance/dp/193138259X) instead.

Slugo
08-27-2009, 10:20 PM
why do they call them clipless when they have clips on them!?! I used clipless pedals on my old Schwinn LeTour. Great help on the up-stroke!

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 10:23 PM
Because these are known as 'toe clips'....

http://www.ukbikestore.co.uk/product_images/Medium/SEX398%3BWarehouse%3BWarehouse.jpg

Slugo
08-27-2009, 10:30 PM
Scott, I can do that if that's all it takes! Thanks again!!

Slugo
08-27-2009, 10:33 PM
I figured that! I have grassed trails behind my house, about 5 miles worth. Wouldn't clipless pedels prove to be more of a pain when riding trails. Don't know, just asking...

BlackHills
08-27-2009, 10:35 PM
It really is that simple. The only thing you have to do is make sure you shift the derailleur to where the spring is holding it against the stop, normally that's onto the smallest gear both front and rear. Then just loosen, pull the cable and tighten the bolt up.

wallymann
08-28-2009, 12:37 PM
i think the santini gels are really thin and shaped. i think the "twist-gel" is their 3rd iteration.

BlackHills
08-28-2009, 05:05 PM
I figured that! I have grassed trails behind my house, about 5 miles worth. Wouldn't clipless pedels prove to be more of a pain when riding trails. Don't know, just asking...

Hmmm....somehow I missed this when I replied earlier.:confused:

You're probably thinking of the Look-style clipless and yes they would be a pain on a trail. However, there are several types of recessed cleat systems now that are easy to walk in and they really aren't noticeable. Most people that ride off road use them, the shimaNO SPD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimano_Pedaling_Dynamics) being the most popular. I use a similar one on my MTB and there's no way I'd go back to regular pedals.