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Biking help

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
With the encouragement of local friends and some very good advice from this forum, I started riding a bike for conditioning about a month ago.

I am by no means in the same class as many whose posts have given me encouragement and technical advice. I average about 40 to 60 miles a week in 2 or maybe 3 rides. I ride a mountain style bike on the street and avoid prolonged uphill sections, although "prolonged" is getting longer as time goes on!

I have a few questions I hope someone can help me with.

The bike I am riding is a Raliegh M-80 left over from one of my kids. It is truly a freebee---he bought it himself making sub's at Subway 4 or 5 years ago. Not something I repossessed after he got tired of it!

It rides quite well, as far as I know! But what do I know.

I'm not a large guy, 5'6 about 140# on a bad day, almost 49 Y/O.

Q. # 1. As set up, seat is slightly higher than the handlebars. My legs are not quite straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke---maybe a 10 or 15 degree angle at the knee.

Is this about right? It feels pretty good.

Q. # 2. As set up, when leaning on my arms, my leg position at the bottom of the pedal stroke is NOT straight down from my pelvis---rather it is quite a bit in front of my pelvis. In other words, the pedal pivot point is significantly in front of where I think it shoud be.

Is this a factor of a wrong frame sizing? Or is this normal?

My feeling is that I am mashing (to quote Gonzo) well in front of the optimum plane.

Could this be corrected with a seat post that angles forward? If so--what to do about handle bar placement? Angled bar anchor?

Maybe a new frame? Next year of course!

Q. # 3. Not a setup issue, I seperated my right AC joint last ski season. It has healed very well. However, riding position, IE: leaning forward on arms, causes me discomfort. Not really pain, just very sore after about 15 miles or so. (My average ride distance).

Any sugestions?
post #2 of 6
First of all I admit, not beeing used to think in lb and foot doesn't really help here but you didn't mention anything about what size the frame is anyway...

As for the setup, first of all set the sadle height, it sounds like you've got it pretty good already though.
When you are sitting on the saddle, put the pedal under your heel, when you have that your leg should be completely straight. This will give you a little leg angle when the pedal is in "riding position".
Then you set the front/back position of the sadle, this is important... The front of the knee should be over the pedal axel when the crank is horizontal! After that you might have to change the height again.
As for the the stem (sp?), when you sit in "normal" position, the front hub should be in a line with the bar. In other words, you shouldn't see it. Then adjust hieght after taste...

Good luck, and welcome to the world of cycling!
post #3 of 6
hey skier_j,

the rule of thumb for assessing the relationship of saddle to pedals is this:

when your foot is at the 6pm (down) position of the pedal stroke, the bony part of your tibial plateau (it sticks out just below your kneecap) should be pretty well plumb above the ball of your foot and the pedal's spindle.

some riders prefer to be a bit more forward, some a bit aftward.

generally, you can correct this positioning with adjustments on the seatpost - loosen its clamp on the saddle, and slide the saddle fore or aft as needed.

as to your saddle height, if you have a 15-20 degree bend in your knee when the pedal is at bottom, you're doing pretty well.

anything that exceeds a 30-degree angle will likely be hard on the knees over time.

anything less than 15 degrees will feel unstable.

the easy way to get proper saddle height is to move the saddle upward until it is so high that it causes your hips to rock when pedaling. note that height. then lower the saddle until it causes your hips to rock. note that 2d height. your optimal height will be the point in between the two where you feel most comfortable.

note also that because the seat tube (into which the seatpost fits) is on an angle, saddle height necessarily changes the fore-aft saddle position. so, you should do saddle height FIRST and then do the fore-aft position. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

as to your third Q -- make sure the saddle is not pointed down toward the ground. the more "nose down" your saddle is, the more stress your hands, arms & shoulders must take. beware, though -- when the saddle is too far "nose up," it will cause the dreaded "sleepy peepee" and even can cause prostate issues.

{edited to answer 3d Q}

[ September 19, 2002, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #4 of 6
Sleepy Peepee... ha! Never heard that one.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Tele-swede and Gonzo

Thanks for the comments, I'll check theses out this weekend!

post #6 of 6
...or if you want to do some quick measuring and math...

Stand barefooted on a hard floor and against a wall. Press a thick,large book or some other thing like a 2X4 up and under your crotch as if it were your bike's saddle. Have your partner mark on the wall the position of the book where it meets your body. Do this 2 more times for precision. Do it even more if your partner is cute.

Measure the height from the floor to the mark. Multiply that number by 0.883. That's the distance you should have from the center of the bottom backet to the top of your saddle's low/mid point.

From this point you can tweak the height to adjust to personal preferences. I like mine just a smidge lower.

BTW, this is universal. It works for both mountain and road bikes.

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