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Recently Got Into Off Road Cycling...Tips, Advice, Comments Welcome

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Kevo, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Kevo

    Kevo
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    I haven't done any cycling of any kind in over 20 years, since racers were all the rage and started doing a bit recently when my brother suggested it.

    It sort of co-incide with the purchase of my Nikon D70 DSLR camera so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some good scenic photos from the nearby areas, Peak District, Cheshire etc.

    Also getting a bit bored of the same old Hollywood films at the cinema, crappy TV, pretty much got and watched all the back catalogue DVDs I wanted to see and can only listen to so many DVDAs and SACDS.

    Sort of a 'mid life AV crises' if you like.

    So time for a new hobby.

    Not that I don't get out, it's just that i've never been one for the 'great outdoors'...until now.

    Got myself a cheap 'off road' hybrid cycle (Raleigh Resonator Pro) for £140.
    I don't intend on doing any serious mountain biking (yet!), just simple off road stuff.

    Been on a few 'picturesque trails' in the Peaks and i'm now well and truly hooked (and saddle sore!).
    Got to see places that I would have never seen or been able to access or enjoy in a car, plus it's keeping me fit (and i'm well unfit, struggle to keep up with my 10 year old nephew!).

    Anyway, like any other hobby it's cost me a fortune!
    Loadsa accessories and gadgets required.

    It's changed a lot since my day....
    Gel saddles, GPS (no I haven't), cycle computers (speedos), 3D route mapping software, green slime to put in your tyres for punctures, pumps that don't look like pumps anymore, water packs to wear on your back etc etc.

    It used to be a water bottle, pump, and puncture repair kit in me saddle bag on my old racer.

    I now add Decathlon and Halfords to my usual list of shops!

    ADVICE SOUGHT...

    Is there anything I can do to prevent 'saddle soreness'?
    I've got a gel saddle and padded shorts but after about 5 miles it's still excruciating! Or is it just a case of getting used to it and i'm feeling it a bit more now that i'm older :(

    Anyone recommend any cycle trails ?
    (pref off road and not true downhill MTB stuff!) in Cheshire, Lancs, Peak District or Merseyside area (I live in Manchester).

    Any other cycling advice, tips etc for a newbie appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  2. Mr Cat

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    you may wanna upgrade your saddle...maybe buy a gel cover..??

    remember - the first 100 miles are the hardest to ride - as this process helps to expand your lungs slightly...I recall reading this years ago...

    but just enjoy it!

    edit - one way I used to get fit was by doing lots of rides that were close to me...I lived in Jesmond and used to cycle in the dene al day long (sad I know), but it meant no matter how tired i was, I knew home was only 10 minutes away...this better equipped me for when I did a longer journey...
     
  3. Kevo

    Kevo
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    I bought a gel saddle (proper gel not gel foam), maybe I need a few more miles under my belt (backside!).

    Maybe a Brooks leather saddle would have been a better choice?
     
  4. Harj

    Harj
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    Saddle sorness can only really be conquered by cycling as much as possible so you get used to it, however i do find padded cycling shorts useful.

    As for trail cycling, just lower the preassure in your tyres a little, so they absorb bumps and rocks, rather than bounce of them (more likley to puncture).

    As its your first cycle, and cheap, its probably not the lightest, if you do upgrade you'll find aluminum frames very light and nimble, and also the componets are a lot lighter.

    As for road cycling, get on the road when theres little traffic and so you get used to it, its the way I did, and also obey all traffic lights and road rules, you'll find you get less hassle from drivers, I have to say, that from a bike I can truly see how bad the majority of drivers are.

    Also you should be able to pick up free maps from your local council, and or cycling shops, showing all cycle routes, canal paths, quiet roads. Actually I know here in London the london cycling campaign have free maps, im sure there must be something similar in your area.

    Welcome to the world of cycling!
     
  5. roversd1

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    After some 25 years bombing round Cambridgshire, theres no real cure for saddle sores, just keep riding.

    Numb nuts -now theres something you should keep an eye on! there are many saddles with this mind- its just about the most important thing to worry about for us blokes.

    Bikes are like good hifi,once you find one you like you'll stick withit or years.
     
  6. LV426

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    You may find your underwear may be the cause. Or it may be the saddle - despite what it is.

    I tried several (a costly business) before I got one that I can bear for prolonged periods. And I've stopped wearing regular underwear when cycling.
     
  7. stealther

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    Hi I agree with the others that your bum just gets use to it.

    Does anybody know why tho? Is my Bum that clever it adapts to the harsh ness of my saddle?

    Used to ride my bike everyday to work and back untill I changed jobs a month ago I found that the underwear I wore could affect my comfort levels. Trust me you dont want your nuts pulled tight to your saddle It can get very uncomfortable
     
  8. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    I have padded shorts and even padded 'underwear/briefs'.
    The shorts seem to help (not tried the briefs yet), althoug hit feels like you're wearing a nappy!

    I think your skin/tissue between your 'sit bones' gradually toughens up the more you cycle and thus helps you gets used to it.

    I notice they make some saddles with a gap down the middle to rest your 'private bits'.
     
  9. keiths

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    Saddles are a very personal thing - one man's sofa is another man's arse hatchett - I get on well with Specialized 'Body Geometry' saddles, but a mate of mine hates them with a passion. Another mate uses the traditional Brookes leather type and swears by them, whereas I swear AT them, as they need something like about 500 miles of cycling before they adapt to your shape - during which time they are VERY uncomfortable. Whatever saddle you choose you are going to have to give it a while to get used to it.

    The width of the saddle is important as it must match the spacing of your 'sit bones' - too wide and it will chaff, too narrow and it will miss your sit bones all together. Often the narrow, lightly padded saddles are more comfortable, once you are used to them, than the wider gel-padded ones.

    Also if you are wearing padded cycling shorts, do NOT wear underpants underneath as that leads to chaffing. Go commando.
     
  10. neilneil

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    Top tip. If you haven't already buy AND WEAR a cycle helmet. Bloke at work in the next office to me never wore one.
    About a year ago he came off his bike and cracked his head open. He was in hospital for months and of work for even longer.
    You can easilly fall off on a trail (tree roots stones whatever) and can very easily get a major head injury. It really does happen.

    Have lots of fun because it's the very same tree roots and stones that make the ride challenging and interesting.


    Sorry, rant over.

    -Neil
     
  11. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Other things I have learnt in the past few weeks (some the hard way) is that like buying AV gear it does pay to do a little research and read reviews before you buy the most basic of accessories.

    Also don't buy cheap accessories and seek expert advice from independent shops.
    I know this sounds obvious and I hase always applied when buying AV gear so why on earth didn't I start off with the same philosophy with the cycle gear!
    I guess I didn't realise that I would get into it in a bigger way.

    OK, covered saddles and I have looked into these in great depth.

    Suspension posts for saddles (never even heard of these before!).
    Not sure if they make much difference so haven't invested in one (yet!)

    Cheap longish mudguards (£2.99 Wilko) that clip on in one location are a waste of time. Offer little protections and they're always twisting out of place.

    More expensive 'proper' mudguards (£19.99 Raleigh) took ages to fit as there is no fitting on my front spoke to attach the arm to so had to compromise with the wheel nut and washer to make it fit!

    Back rack and paniers.

    Paniers I bought (Argos Raleigh jobbies) too long for back rack and get caught in back wheel spoke!
    I'll have to take these back to Argos or get a larger rack.

    Cycle Computer (Sigma BC 1200) required excess padding on the fitting of the part on the fork to bring it nearer to the magnet to get a reading!
    Again more bits from the toolbox required to compromise.

    Those Modern 'stylish silver bicycle pumps that clip directly over the valve are not a patch on those old type with the flexible adaptor.

    Cycle carriers for car

    Jury's still out on this. Again took us ages to get it to fit right (rear high mount rigid type for a hatchback) as the instructions were typically usesless and the settings listed for my car were way out.
    Haven't managed to try it out on the road yet as it was well past midnight last night by the time we finished (Brother's wife wasn't amused!), but once you learn several knacks in fitting it (much like opening a deck chair for the first time!) it seems to be easier and quicker then the '6 fabric strap' type, although I have never fitted one of those

    Anyway what we have learnt after much toil is that nothing is a 'universal' fit even if it says it's for your type of bike and be prepared to bend and twist things into fitting with your OWN nuts, bolts and screws and box of bits of rubber etc!

    The joys of cycling!
     
  12. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Some great tips, keep 'em coming.

    I have a narrowish gel type saddle which I think is wide enough for my sit bones.
    I think i'll persevere with it as I could hust end up throwing money away and never getting the 'ideal' saddle.

    It's a 'Maddison G16' info HERE

    Keiths...

    I do wear undies under my padded shorts, but i'll take your advice and go commando.

    Neil...

    I must admit haven't been wearing a cycle helmet as I thought off road i'll be OK.
    This is extremely naiive of me and you have made me re-think.
    A mate at work who has also started cycing again after a long absence said they "look ridiculous" and he'll never wear one.

    I guess it goes back to the 70s and 80s when I last did any serious cycling when such safety wear was unheard of. Then again smoking was considered OK back then and I don't do that anymore !

    A helmet is on the list and I'll have one before my next trek.

    Any particular make/type too look out for?
     
  13. keiths

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    MET and Giro are the two big names in cycling helmets. I've always gone for MET (usually slightly cheaper). Broke one helmet in half once (glad I was wearing it!) only cycling on a canal towpath too at the time - you never know when you are going to fall off. It was raining hard, I was in a rush to get home so was riding almost flat out when my rear tyre skidded on an exposed tree root on a bend. Hit my head on a dry-stone wall.

    The better helmets are the ones with more air holes in them so you keep cooler - but these are the more expensive ones.

    www.chainreactioncycles.com is a good supplier - very quick delivery from Northern Ireland.
     
  14. Toasty

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    I just want to re-iterate what a good point this is. Always wear a lid. I've ridden with excellent riders and beginners, we all wear helmets. Why? Because regardless of how good a cyclist you are, you never know when the next fall will come, and the better you are, generally the fall happens at a faster speed.

    Everyone can deal with grazes and bruises, but a blow to the head is completely different, as highlighted above. I've seen helmets dent, crush and break after a crash, sounds obvious, but that would have been the skull.
     
  15. roversd1

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    I get a bit sick of the helmet debate, it wont stop you breaking your leg or stop a rib from puncturing your lungs.

    Its not against the law to not wear a helmet. I choose not to and in 25 years of riding, coming off, hitting stuff/ being hit, I now let fate decide (I even have a hole super glued shut in my head {explains a lot!}).

    I dont say you must/ must not wear one as the choice, currently, is yours. But, if I followed all of the safety advice out there, we'ed need a helmet to walk to the shops.
     
  16. keiths

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    I really don't mind if other people wear helmets or not - I always have done and will continue to do so. The jury is very much out on whether they provide much protection in the event of collision with a car etc. Don't want to see their use mandated by law (as it is in Australia etc) as cycle use has declined dramatically there since legislation was introduced. Most of my friends who cycle wear helmets and the ones that don't tend to be the ones that have been cycling for many years ie. prior to helmet use being the norm. The fact that "they look daft" isn't a good basis for making a decision.
     
  17. Toasty

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    I didn't realise this was a touchy / controversial subject. I'd always advise a helmet based on what I've seen and done on the trails. Apologies if this makes you feel sick ;)
     
  18. dubledene

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    i currently cycle to work as a means to get fit,luckily i work at raleigh uk so can get bikes a bit cheaper. at the mo i use a db m 20 which cost me £130 (rrp is £249.99) and it makes the 16 mile round trip pretty easy, but at the mo im 6.1 and 19.6 stone so ive quite a bit of weight to lose. and the 1 thing i do enjoy having a bike is just going out for an hour not particulary any where but just out so i say good luck
     
  19. roversd1

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    Cycling is the next best excercise to swimming for my asthma- ie it keeps me alive!

    < wheeze puff puff >

    Well nearly!
     

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