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What bike for elderly lapsed cyclist?

(23 Posts)
ExConstance Thu 11-May-17 16:31:25

I'm 60, not fit at the moment and want to include exercise in my life rather than add it on in formal chunks. I have a Trek hybrid bike that I've had for years but don't ride, it is very uncomfortable both from the point of view of the seating position and the seat which turns my nether regions numb and burning at the same time. My back can't cope with a leaning forward seating position either.

My big idea was to get a sit up and beg type bike, like a Pashley or some sort of Dutch bike and serenely glide around. DH says this isn't a good plan as it is quite hilly in this area and such a bike wouldn't get me to work (7 miles) or into our local town because it would be heavy and slow. He says I need a road bike.

I came across a group of people who looked well into their 70's cycling past my house last weekend, having just come up the hill to our village, they told me how wonderful our local cycling club is and having looked at the website I could see some short rides that they do that might be something I could aspire too.

I think what I need is something with an upright position, more gears than a typical sit up and beg and fairly lightweight that doesn't look ridiculous. Up to about £650 ish would be fine. Any ideas?

TheLongRider Thu 11-May-17 17:18:13

It sounds as if you could do with stronger back and stomach muscles, Pilates, yoga and strength training will all help. It also sounds as if your hybrid is the wrong size for you if you don't want to ride it and are getting pain in the crotch and back. I would find a local bike shop and try other bikes and if possible get a bike fit. I have a hybrid, racer and touring bikes and I am equally comfortable on all of them. Ask the local bike club if they can give you any pointers and join them!

Road bikes typically don't have a particularly upright position unless you're riding with your hands on the handlebars all the time and not in the drops.

Your husband is right about Dutch bikes being heavy and slow with limited gearing.

The most important parts of your body are the parts in contact with the bike, bum, hands and feet. If you are experiencing baby discomfort in those areas check the fit of your bike.

If it's not comfortable, you won't ride.

TheLongRider Thu 11-May-17 17:19:26

*any not baby, an edit option would be nice

CMOTDibbler Thu 11-May-17 17:26:56

On a road bike, you are leaning forward, but you should be rotating your pelvis so your back isn't bent as such - but it does need core strength. Your nether regions are going to be helped by good cycling shorts and a proper saddle - I prefer ones with a big cut out, but it is a bit of trial and error to find the perfect one. You also need chamois cream.

A bike fit will help hugely to get you comfortable

Our cycling club has members into their 80's who are still regular riders. The Wednesday 'Antiques Roadshow' ride is amazing.

Try getting comfortable on your Trek first - new saddle (I like the Selle Diva flow), shorts, and a bike fit adjustment. Plus some pilates/yoga to strengthen your core

ragged Thu 11-May-17 18:02:38

Do you even want to do Yoga? I shudder at thought, so sympathies if that's your reaction, too.
My thinking is...
Talk to your local club.
Go natter in your local bike shop & explain how you can't get comfy on current hybrid. Which Trek is it? Is a lightweight quality one? Does the shop have any suggestions?
The typical Dutch style bike is rubbish for being a heavy monstrosity, sorry! Not suitable for most group outings. But there are some sit up & beg position bikes that might be ok.

Thread on bikeradar:

Another one with ideas:

TheLongRider Thu 11-May-17 18:38:02

There's always a recumbent bicycle. One of the men in our club who has long term back problems has one and loves it.

Maria1982 Thu 11-May-17 18:42:59

I have a hybrid which is set up in a very sit up and beg style, as I find my wrists get sore if I lean forwards too much.

Also consider a different saddle - I swapped the saddle for a Brooks leather one - much more comfortable than any gel or padding (I tried those options first as they were cheaper). they do need breaking in a bit so the leather wears in/ softens a bit.

FlaviaAlbia Thu 11-May-17 18:47:41

I wouldn't have thought a road bike would be a good choice for you if you have back problems but it could be worth going to a bike shop to sit on one to see.

You can get sit up and beg style bikes with decent gearing, I've got a ridgeback with 7 gears, an older version of this one.

I live on a hill and have hills in and out to the city centre and it was perfect for me getting into cycling and I used it to commute for years.

It can also take a bike rack which most road bikes wouldn't be able to if you wanted to carry stuff to and from work without using a backpack.

ExConstance Thu 11-May-17 18:49:42

I do lots of yoga - DH is a yoga teacher and teaches classes at the local leisure centre, he trials his classes on me every week, plus I do some on my own every morning. I've had the trek for over 20 years so I think I deserve a nice new bike! I'm going to have to go and try some out, on those threads there was mention af a rather nice Trek bike that looked just the business, but was discontinued a few years ago. Interestingly there was a comment that in Japan they ride upright type bikes despite the hills.

SealSong Thu 11-May-17 18:52:33

Ooh I love the look of that Ridgeback bike, Flavia. I want one.

ExConstance Thu 11-May-17 18:54:16

I like that Ridgeback one Flavia,!

TheLongRider Thu 11-May-17 19:46:54

If you're going to get an all year round bike, then make sure it can take mudguards and a pannier rack. Good lights are a must either USB rechargeable or possibly a hub dynamo. I recommend getting a cheap speedometer just to keep track of your mileage, you'd be surprised how much it adds up in a year Aldi or Lidl do cheap ones. There are always phone apps too.

Once you got a bike that fits you, hybrid or otherwise, cycling should be a joy.

FlaviaAlbia Thu 11-May-17 19:50:56

I love mine, I replaced the seat with a brooks leather one after a few years but the initial one was comfy enough.

timetobackout Thu 11-May-17 19:58:07

Have you thought of an electric bike bought an EBCO last year and thoroughly recommend,you still do plenty of work but get a bit of oomph up hills or into a headwind,slightly more than your budget though.

ExConstance Thu 11-May-17 20:57:35

It is probably just leisure for now, but if I was retired and using a bike for regular transport I might add an electric bike to the long list of things to buy from my lump sum - though a horse is my number one priority!

Wanderingraspberry Thu 11-May-17 21:10:31

I have a Bobbin Brownie which is upright and has 7 gears. I use it for my 6 mile commute which is mainly flat with a couple of small hills that it manages with ease. I believe that there is also a 25 gear version. I have arthritis and find it hard to walk far but can gen onto my bike and cycle to work easily. My husband rode it to the bike shop a few months ago and declared it a lovely ride too . I would highly recommend.

ExConstance Thu 11-May-17 22:15:06

I don't have back problems, but if I am sitting uncomfortably I seize up a bit. I'm quite flexible through all the yoga, but not fit in an aerobic way. I'll have a look at the Bobbin one too, thanks.

BoysofMelody Fri 12-May-17 18:22:12

My two pen'oth is that you're husband is both right and wrong.

Dutch style bikes are only good if you're in an extremely flat place ... like the Netherlands. Pashleys in my view look great, but are heavy and are overpriced and a bit style over substance. I'd fight shy of an electric bike, simply because they are so bloody heavy and you're having to shift the bulk of the battery as well. Typically they are about 20kg, double what an entry level road bike would weigh and they cost ££££££

I think he's wrong that you need a road bike (I say this as someone who owns a road bike) and my first port of call would be to see if your current bike can be made comfortable. Trek make some very good bikes and it may just be that it needs to be adjusted.

Is the handlebar too low? For a hybrid, the saddle and handlebars should be roughly at the same height. Saddle should be set so there's still a small degree of bend in your knee when you are at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If you can touch the floor with both feet flat, the saddle is too low. Set your saddle height first and handlebar height accordingly.

If you feel a bit stretched out, try moving the saddle along the rails so it brings it closer to the bars. Also check the saddle is level it could be that it is tipping you forward. To do this, put a hardback book on the saddle and then a spirit level on it, adjust until level. You may also be able to adjust the stem and the rise of the handlebars depending on the model.

If that doesn't help, try changing the saddle (make sure it is woman specific model). This can be an expensive business as it trial and error, one saddle might suit one person won't suit another. Bontrager do offer a 30 degree refund if you don't like the saddle for whatever reason, so maybe try those first. Also a wide saddle isn't always the most comfy either. I'd also try padded shorts too.

If that doesn't do the trick, a good local bike shop might be worth visiting. If you explain the difficulties you're having and see what they'd suggest. If you haven't ridden your bike in a while, it could benefit from a service before you take it out again. They should make adjustments in set as part of the service or for a small extra payment.

Having said that, it could be that the bike could be the wrong size or have the wrong geometry for you, but I wouldn't be looking to buy something new without trial and error on your current bike.

ragged Fri 12-May-17 19:33:24

omg, 20 yr old bike. I guarantee you definitely deserve a new one!!

Go around every shop & try everything they have but commit to nothing until you can't think of another shop to visit.

Cornishmumofone Fri 12-May-17 20:54:25

I'm a keen cyclist and have several bikes. However, the one that has a special place in my heart is an older model of this: I commute to work every day on it in a very hilly area. It was light enough for me to ride every day when I was pregnant. It has thin tyres like a road bike and is reasonably light, but quite an upright position. It's in your budget, with enough money to spare for a bike fit and would be perfectly suitable for Breeze rides and similar cycle trips. I rode mine around the Isle of Wight on an informal sportive as I didn't have anything else at the time.

In Japan, the 'mamachari' (mother's chariot) is a popular bike for mums to use to transport their children. However, when I was cycling across the Japanese Alps, the cyclists were all on road bikes 😊

SheepyFun Fri 12-May-17 21:27:11

It's definitely worth talking to a (friendly) bike shop about fit - if you want to be more upright (I did), then you may be able to get a different stem (the bit that attaches the handlebars to the rest of the bike). Mine makes the handlebars higher and closer to the saddle - both good, as I have long legs for my height, so a short back - I can't comfortably reach as far as a 'normal' person my height, so I was having to lean more than was comfortable before the stem was replaced.

TheLongRider Fri 12-May-17 21:56:48

I'm going to go against the having a level saddle regime, I find I need my saddle to be slightly angled downwards. When it's level it puts too much pressure on my vulva.

Bike fit first and then have fun shopping for a new bike.

ExConstance Sat 13-May-17 11:27:59

Thanks for all these replies I'll have a look at the one you suggest Cornismumofone too. DH will be going bike shopping too, but as a fit skinny person I'm sure he won't have my problems choosing one. I will report back when I have made my purchase.

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