Welcome to the forum, BetterGuyNow. It's always a pleasure to hear from another biker. I'm very happy with my Specialized shoes with the Boa system, and Shimano SPD 105 pedals. It's a definite upgrade from what I had. I'm already thinking about my next upgrade. I'm thinking about replacing my bearings with ceramic ones. I'd love to hear from anyone who has ceramic bearings.
I used to have those straps that fastened your feet to the pedals and made you lean against lorries at lights. Used to do 20 miles every day.
Don't laugh at me. I feel so old.
You would never know from looking at me today, but I got to ride in a couple of road racing events with Greg LeMond, back in his hay days, between his first two Tour DeFranc wins. He was a great guy! I so wish I had known TTATT back then! I would have never been a great rider, but I loved the sport! It was a hell of a good time!
I think I would kill myself quickly if I actually strapped my feet to the pedals (ok, I concede it's not quite that literal) but, I am with Terry here, I ride because it's better than driving (sometimes...I live where it rains all winter) and for the sheer enjoyment of finding a good bike trail in my city.
fiddler - whereabouts are you? I'm in the PNW between SEA and PDX. I have fallen over three times in three years wearing cycling shoes. The first two times were in the first month of riding with them (standard noob: bike was stopped at a light and I forgot my shoe was cleated in). Final time two years ago I had a pebble stuck in the pedal and it wouldn't release.
During this last summer's STP, the screw holding the cleat to the shoe came out of my wife's shoe... she couldn't release the shoe from the pedal, but fortunately she was able to get the other out in time.
But there you go. Between us we have several thousand miles over the last few years, with one complication and four falls, all with the bike not moving. The benefits are pretty great though if you like to ride hard. When you can pull up on the pedal, not just push down, you can either double the effectiveness of your pedaling, or share the effort over two strokes. And I've never lost my footing on the pedal going over railroad tracks or the occasional unavoidable pothole. I never thought it's something I would feel safe doing, but I can't imagine riding a bike without cleats now.
Spectre - Are you still in the area? Time for a tune-up for me, though I think I'm going to be buying a new brifter. The lever for my front derailluer stopped moving (Shimano 105 Flight Deck). At least it was the front! I understand they can't really be fixed, it's just time for a new set. Any idea what would be a comparable replacement now?
DwainBowman - Cool! I'm the same way... I love beer and pizza way too much to look like a cyclist. But I train a fair amount and absolutely love riding, so I make it through. We have a fun ride in Seattle call the Bike and Brews... It starts at a brewery in Seattle, then you ride south about 20 miles through urban trails to another brewery, where you pull a coupon off your bib for a pint. When you're done there, you head back to the first one. Good stuff.
Getting psyched for the Chilly Hilly... Two years in a row I planned to do it and both years ended up with pnuemonia the month before the ride. I'm in the final stages of ankle sprain recovery right now, then it's time to jump on the trainer.
Simon - My first serious road bike was an '84 Raleigh Gran Prix. It was complete still, with the original saddle and those leather straps for the pedals. I've had that bike since the mid-90s, and it's still hanging up in my carport. I've upgraded the brakes and wheelset, though had to retain the original hub for the back, which subsequently exploded on a 50 mile hilly training ride two weeks before my first STP. Had to borrow a bike for that ride. But I do look respectfully at that old Raleigh hanging from the ceiling every time I walk past it.
I still ride every day. Winter has arrived; I wear blue jeans. My right cuff is rolled up to avoid catching in the mechanism.
I live on the side of town where there is only a designated bike path close to schools.
When nasty weather passes through, the branches end up pushed against the curbsides and bike lanes.
When I had a car that could pass inspection I'd transport my bike to the nice side of Fort Worth. There you'll find special
flat bike paths (which I NOW would really enjoy) looping around the city where it is scenic and pleasant. Quite a contrast
to the treacherous and ever busy city streets I inhabit now.
The bike path riders are professional people with the expensive bikes and special gear. I call them costumes:)
Speed appears to be an obsession with such folks. I value life and limb far too much to exceed 10 or 15 mph.
So many unforeseeable events intrude in the course of a daily ride, I can't imagine how I'd have the time to cope if I were speeding.
The bike riders on city streets appear to be insane young people with bicycles waaaay too small for their body. There is chaos in their manner of darting to and fro in front of this and that car. No wonder the automobile drivers have developed a fury toward us.
I had a man look me in the eye and suddenly turn in front of me as I zipped downhill (aided by gravity and wind at my caboose) creating
a crisis I only barely averted. My heart was pounding like crazy! It isn't the first time I've been the target of a bizarre attempted murder.
I don't know how it is in other states, but Texas men seem to have a visceral contempt for cyclists.
I've been around bicycle clubs where ten to twenty people go out riding together. I'd rather have a proctology exam than be a part of that kind
nonsense. Why? I'm a lone wolf, I suppose--I dunno. I just don't get it. You have to deal with personalities, leadership struggles, egos, etc.
My sense of freedom and the opportunity to have fresh air (carbon monoxide mostly) and strenuous exercise at age 67 create more positives
than negatives. I truly enjoy riding on two wheels. I think I'd be dead in six months without the freedom to ride. It is the only pleasure I have left in life of a physical nature.
No BGN, I moved back to California because I couldn't stand the rain.
I would guess that unless it was in an accident, your shifter could probably be fixed. Taking it off and dropping it in a solvent tank for a few hours works wonders for clogged up shifters.
As far as places to take your bike, I don't know where you live but one of the best stores I saw was an odd triangle shaped store that was right next to that trail(you could reach out an touch it from the trail) that goes from the locks over to Redmond. It was about a mile east of the college. The other place was also close to the college where they make Rodriquez bikes. From what I observed, I'd never take my bike to a place like Performance or Greggs up there unless you know the mechanic that will be working on it.
This whole thread got me thinking that my prize for 2nd place at the mountain bike national finals bike for the cross country intermediate race in 1990 was the first generation SPD pedals and shoes. Those pedals were ruined in the next year at the Mt. Shasta race where it rained and it turned into slogging through 36 miles of mud. Probably the hardest race I've ever done and it ruined at least $600 of parts.
Here's some bicycling wisdom from one of my favorite bike sites. They're stuff is really old and simple, but way too expensive for my budget. Maybe someday.
Tips for Happy Riding
Learn right away that the front brake is the most effective one, and to never lock the front wheel in dirt (or on the road, but it's more likely in dirt). Learn how far you can lean over without scraping a pedal.
Learn to keep the inside pedal UP when you corner, and learn to ride safely in all conditions. Be the master and commander of your own bicycle.
Signal your approach to pedestrians, especially if they're old, and a bell is better than "On your left!" If no bell, try clacking your brake levers. If all you got is "On your left!" that's fine, but if you ride a lot on paths, get a bell.
At least one ride in 10, go without your sunglasses and gloves. Sometime next month, put some double-sided cheap-style pedals on a good bike and ride in non-cycling garb. It works shockingly well, and sends a good message to would-be bicycle riders.
Carry an extra tube you can give to somebody with a flat tire and just a repair kit.
If you're a guy, don't try to be a mentor to every female cyclist you meet.
Don't ride in shoes you can't walk through an antique shop in.
Don't wear clothing that makes your sweat stink even more.
Don't think you'll go faster in a significant way if you and your bike become more aerodynamic.
Put a $20 bill inside your seat post or handlebar and hold it there, somehow.
Don't ride until you're confident you can fix a flat.
If you ride more than one bike, have a set of bring-along tools for each one. Learn how to remove your rear wheel (put the chain onto the small cog, etc.).
If you ride in a group, bring food for you and somebody who forgot to.
Go for a one-hour ride underdressed sometime, because it's good to be really cold on a bike every now and then.The reverse (overdressing in hot weather) is not necessary!
Never blame your bike or your health or anything else if you're the last one up the hill or in to the rest stop.
If your brake hoods are black, wrap your bars with a different color tape, so it doesn't look like a one-piece set-up.
Never let your chain squeak.
If you pass another rider going up a hill, say more than "Hi," but if it's a woman and you aren't, don't assume she wants to chit-chat. Treat her as you'd have a generic guy-rider treat your wife/daughter/girlfriend.
If you're a woman and it's a guy, you can chit-chat all you like, they won't mind.
If you see another rider approaching you from the rear and trying to catch you, let it happen. Fun is more important than fast.
Don't put any cyclist up on a pedestal, except Lon and Freddie.
Sometimes, bring normal food on your ride. Sometimes bring none. If you're reasonably well-rested and have eaten anything at all in the last eighteen hours (and are not diabetic), you should be able to pedal your bike for two to three hours without supercharging your system with carbohydrates. Believe it or not, carbs really do make you fat, and are necessary only for long, hard rides.
Shoot photos on your rides and give them away.
Feel comfortable mixing high tech and low tech, old and new parts and technologies, and don't apologize to anybody for it.
Compliment other people's bikes, especially if they're new.
Buy the cheapest helmet that fits well.
Try seersucker shirts for hot weather riding, and long-sleeved ones are best.
Don't underestimate fig bars. If you get a new widget and like it, don't "swear by it."
Don't always shop by price and never ask for discounts at your local bike shop. Every time you go into a bike shop, spend at least $2, and if you ask a question and get good advice, spend $5.
If you buy a rack, don't ask for free installation.
Don't assume your bike shop is making money.
Ride only when you feel like it.
If you know a fast new rider, don't say, "You really ought to race."
If you see a stocky woman rider, don't suggest she race track.
Have at least one bike you feel comfortable riding in a downpour.
Ride in weather that keeps other cyclers indoors.
Never keep track of your pedaling cadence.
If you have a normal loop or ride, count the number of times you shift on it; then the next time you ride it, cut that in half and see if it makes any difference.
Learn to ride no-hands and to hop over obstacles, but not simultaneously.
Never hit a pedestrian. In traffic, be visible and polite. Don't feel as though you must be a role model for all other riders; be polite for selfish reasons.
If you have several bikes, set them up with different equipment but always ride the saddle you like best.
Don't try to keep up with faster descenders if you're not comfortable descending.
Never apologize for buying something that's not quite pro quality by saying, "I'm not going to race or anything."
If you buy a stock bike, do something to it that makes it the only one exactly like it in the world.
Don't think it's important to match front and rear hubs or rims.
If you borrow somebody else's bike, for a short test or a long ride, say something nice about it.
Always bring a pump.
Build at least one wheel.
Wear out something.
Don't ever describe any bike, no matter how inexpensive or dilapidated, as "a piece of crap."
If you get a fancy bike assembled by somebody else, allow them a scrape or two, especially if the bike is really expensive.
I used to have those straps that fastened your feet to the pedals and made you lean against lorries at lights.
I left the toe straps slightly loose for city riding, so I could pop the cleat off the pedal at stops. With my first set, there was also the problem of finding a cobbler to install the cleats on my shoes, and who was careful to not nail them on crooked (yes, this was long ago!). Clipless pedals and shoes are a much better solution.
Spectre - I know the place you're talking about! I've never been in there, but have ridden the trail from Gas Works to Kenmore and back several times. I live between Seattle and Portland, so when I go up there with my bike it's just to enjoy a different trail. Thanks for the recommendation. Every time I buzz by I want to go in there, but I'm too busy buzzing by. :-)