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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
or: How much sluggishness can I blame on my bike?

Hi guys, new to the forum here. I ride an old Schwinn 10 speed, she's really not flashy looking, but I see that as a plus as she's less likely to get stolen. I got a tune up and new rear wheel at the beginning of summer and to me it feels like it rides great, until I get in the situation mentioned below. I am getting tired of the old style shifters though, and the bigger problem is I'm tired of getting passed on the trail by the hardcore guys like I'm standing still. I admit to being at bit heavy at 215 lbs and I haven't always been so active, but I've been back in the saddle so to speak for two years now, and I try to ride pretty regular. I have Iowan winters here though, and screw riding the fake things in the gym. When I first started back I was out of breath the whole time, I was a huge mess. My heart and lungs rarely complain like they used to, and my capacity for testing myself with miles and hills seems to have hit a limit I rarely have the time to even approach. This is what makes me think maybe my bike is limiting me but maybe I'm just not pushing myself to go as fast as I should be.

My question is, would a modern bike give me enough of an edge so I wouldn't feel like such a loser out there, or is my main problem that I'm just carrying more weight than those skinny guys and they have years of practice on me? I was looking at a Trek 1.1, that's about all I could hope for budget wise maybe. I don't really know the good brands apart from that Trek seems popular. I halfway hope you guys tell me that my Schwinn isn't the issue, I really do love that bike, and it would give me a reason to work harder, but the other answer would make me feel good too. ;)
 

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It's the motor, not the chassis. Sorry. Getting spanked by younger guys that are in better shape and probably have a huge mileage base isn't helping your ego either. Don't despair, for I have a plan. First, you'll only get better by riding more and raising your fitness levels.

If you can do 20 miles without feeling like you're going to die, then you can consider intervals. But I'm not going to suggest a training program just yet. I'm going to suggest an incentive program. Why don't you reward yourself with some cash into your bike fund? I don't know your budget or mileage, but it could be as stingy as ten cents a mile, or a buck a mile. Each week, add up your miles, and pay into your bike fund. I think that may just motivate you to get fitter much quicker, and when you do reach your mileage/budget goal, you'll have a good mileage base, and be able to kick some ass on your new bike.
 

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The lighter the engine, the faster the speed. I am working on that too. Ride consistently and the engine will get lighter. Unless you are in the fastest gear and are spinning so fast that you are not doing anything, then your bike is not limiting the speed.

Ego can be a powerful thing, but if you are having fun don't worry about it. Unless you are trying to compete in the Tour de France, you are only competing with yourself trying to do just a little bit better than last time. The bike would be more likely to help you in the climbs than speed, and it does have easier shifting. I sometimes wish though for a ten speed like I had as a kid too. Those were so simple then I could easily do all the maintenance myself at about 13. The guy I rode a lot with back then had a Schwinn and it was the bike back in the day. My dad couldn't afford a Schwinn for me, but I had one I think he got from a Western Auto Salvage Store that likely had a scratch or something that had it returned. I didn't care. I had a blast. If you love the bike, ride it and enjoy.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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I ride down here in South Jersey if you nead to pass some one. slow and old thats me. I don't evean try to catch up, I just enjoy the ride.
 

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As the other guys said, it's mostly the engine. I got back into cycling this past spring and like you I was a little frustrated that pretty much everyone on the riding trail was passing me. What I did to take my mind off the other guys was to focus on my own performance. I logged every ride I went on. With this information I could see a slow but steady increase. My legs were getting stronger, my cardio endurance improving and I lost a pant load of weight in the process... and oh yeah, fewer and fewer people were passing me.

After 6 months and over a 1000 miles behind me I did upgrade from a Hybrid to a carbon fiber road bike and the difference is pretty noticeable. But only because the engine is now much stronger now than 6 months earlier.

Enjoy the bike you have, it's not holding you back. Do what Hack suggested and start a bike fund. By the time you have enough to upgrade, your engine will be strong enough to go out and kick some butt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Haha thanks for the advice guys. I never heard of interval training before so that was informative. I don't know that I'd specifically time it out like that but I might take the idea behind it and put it to use. My usual route is 24 miles so there are plenty of spots I could go all out for a bit. Also I like the incentive idea Hack, I just may do that.

Wild, I'd love to come to Jersey to pass ya, but that's kind of a long ride from Iowa, and by the time I got there, you might be passing me!

Poolie that's an impressive number! Way to go man.

Thanks again everyone, time to hit the trail.
 

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if you would find the newer bike more enjoyable or would ride it more then it might be worth it i guess.
The best bike is a bike you'll ride, if that has not be stated already.
 

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I would suggest doing intervals over the Winter. Get on the bikes at the health club or get a fluid trainer, I suggest the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.

Start with 30 second intervals and 90 seconds of rest in between. Do 8 sets with a warmup and cool down. Work up to 90 second intervals and 30 seconds off. You will not believe the improvement you will see in the Spring. Your weight is not holding you back on the flats or downhills, just your fitness. Unnecessary weight is a huge drag on hills. Additional weight may only require 2-4 additional watts on the flats but 40-50 watts going uphill which is huge. You do need an aerobic base of 500 to 1,000 miles to get started. After that intense efforts are needed to make additional gains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You know I've been thinking about the trainer thing, I've almost convinced myself to get this wind trainer Amazon.com: CycleOps Wind Indoor Bicycle Trainer: Sports & Outdoors

I know everyone likes the fluid ones but the extra cost over the wind models seems excessive to me. I ride with earbuds in (no lectures please) and I live alone so I'm thinking I should take a chance on the wind trainer. Anyone disagree?
 

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You need time and miles on the bike=== lots of them

Case in point... I am 6'1" and 220 We have logged north of 5,000 miles already this year. On this past Saturday we were on our Co-motion Speedster tandem (read touring rig with 77x32 tires on 40 spoke rims) doing a 62 mile charity ride. We finished in the top 10% and left many carbon steeds ridden by skinny riders far behind us.

Now the ones ahead of us were the skinny carbon riding folks that also spend lots of time on their bikes. Because with similar conditioning and strength the lighter engine will prevail.

so... spend quality time on your bike ... and you will get better.

by the way I am 54 and many we left behind were half that age :rolleyes:
 

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You know I've been thinking about the trainer thing, I've almost convinced myself to get this wind trainer Amazon.com: CycleOps Wind Indoor Bicycle Trainer: Sports & Outdoors

I know everyone likes the fluid ones but the extra cost over the wind models seems excessive to me. I ride with earbuds in (no lectures please) and I live alone so I'm thinking I should take a chance on the wind trainer. Anyone disagree?
The only issue I hear about the wind trainers is the noise, otherwise they are good.
 

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I ride an old school bike (Bridgestone 400 1984). Arguably, if you have reduced friction on all levels your bike should be acceptable, old school bike components break down quicker.
 

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Different ways of looking at things I suppose. A great guitarist is going to have a great guitar. Does it make him a great guitarist? Of course not. He would be a great musician if he was playing a drug store special. It might not perform the same, but HE would be just as good. You will ride faster, farther and probably enjoy the ride more on a new bike, AFTER you become the best cyclist you can be. Same as a great guitar doesnt make a great guitarist, neither will a great bike make you a great cyclist.
 

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There is an old saying you can't polish poo. Well as a former musician I once watched my old college professor let a young child (under VERY close supervision I might add) play his personal instrument. The kid still sounded like a 6th grade beginner, but then he picked up the kids instrument and that French horn sounded like it likely never had before or would again. It was a beat up old beginner grade, but in the hands of a master it could do things beyond anyone's wildest expectation. The kids eyes just lite up like a Christmas tree. It was the touch of a masters hands that made the difference. Then he picked up his instrument and headed out to a part time gig at the New Orleans Philharmonic. There the instrument would have mattered, just as the bike would matter at a pro bike race. Mythbuster's proved you can polish poo too.
 
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