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Road Bike Question

Old 04-27-19, 09:43 AM
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insignia100
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Road Bike Question

Hey guys! I've been on and off the forum for quite some time now, as my interest in cycling waxes and wanes. A bit of background: most of my cycling has been in the form of recumbent trikes (love my Catrike Expedition), and before moving to Knoxville, TN from Tucson, AZ, I was regularly riding 20+ miles on The Loop (which I miss dearly). A few months before moving I purchased a Giant Escape 3 hybrid and started riding it a bit in lieu of my trike. After we moved across the country the trikes and bike set for several months, and now that the weather is warming up I'm getting my pedaling legs back. Also, I've been working on getting healthier overall -- I've been going to the gym and working with a trainer since January, and have lost 60 lbs since February of last year (~308 in Feb 2018, down to 248 today).

One of the observations I've made is that trikes don't seem to use the medial quad (vastus medialis) muscle as much as bikes do. Last weekend I rode 15 miles on my trike, but I struggled to get 4 miles on my bike. This is improving, though, with my 7 mile ride today. My medial quads are definitely the limiting factor for me, not my lungs or my butt.

I'm wanting to get into road bikes for exercise benefits and the social aspect of group rides eventually. However, I won't buy one until I can actually justify the expense. My thoughts were setting a goal of being able to ride 20 miles with an average speed of 15 MPH before investing in a road bike, but I'm not sure how realistic that is for a cheap hybrid bike. Has anyone else had similar thoughts/goals? I'm also thinking that perhaps I should ignore the speed aspect, and just set a distance goal instead. I dunno! Either way, I'm constantly looking at road bikes to provide some inspiration...
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Old 04-27-19, 01:10 PM
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I'm afraid I don't have any personal experience, other than seeing other riders on hybrids. Just like road-riders, though, I have seen hybrid riders all over the spectrum: some can keep up on fast paced group rides (20mph avg) while others get dropped when the pace goes over 15mph. You won't really know until you try.

Also, I think of you as a small guy now, so I say go for it. I was racing weekly criteriums in Southern California against Pros and Cat 1s back when I was 260lbs. Our local training rides (Montrose Ride, Rose Bowl Ride, etc.) regularly had former world champions, regional & national level pros, and the occasional Tour de France rider show up for training (especially around Tour of California time). If I can do it, you can too!

That said, just this past June (2018) I relocated to Knoxville as well. Where abouts are you located? I'm mostly in west knox area.
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Old 04-27-19, 01:21 PM
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insignia100
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I'm down in Farragut at the moment, but I think when my wife and I buy a house (hopefully this fall) we are going to be looking in the Karns/Hardin Valley areas.
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Old 04-27-19, 01:23 PM
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Nice: not too far away.

If I get back into riding, I'll have to look you up (hurt my back couple years ago).
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Old 04-28-19, 05:22 AM
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20+ miles is no problem on a hybrid, but 35 was about my personal limit. I never could seem to average more than 11 mph on mine though. I'm faster on my road bike.
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Old 04-28-19, 05:51 PM
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I think I'm going to base my decision to buy a road bike on distance then.

There is a ride here in Knoxville in September, Pedal for Alzheimers, that has a 23 mile, 51 mile, and 68 mile route. I think I may start training for the 51 mile route...
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Old 04-29-19, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
20+ miles is no problem on a hybrid, but 35 was about my personal limit. I never could seem to average more than 11 mph on mine though. I'm faster on my road bike.
I'm the same way. On a good day, I can average over 12mph, but that's a bout it. After 20 miles, I am cooked on my hybrid. I just bought an old diamndback roadie, and once it is fixed up. I hope I can be a tad faster.
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Old 05-03-19, 07:07 AM
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Your experience of engaging different muscle groups is common to recumbent style bikes, and switching to uprights. Luckily most people find it only takes a handful of rides to be comfortable on one type of bike or another.
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Old 05-03-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by insignia100 View Post
I think I'm going to base my decision to buy a road bike on distance then.

There is a ride here in Knoxville in September, Pedal for Alzheimers, that has a 23 mile, 51 mile, and 68 mile route. I think I may start training for the 51 mile route...
I started in the spring of last year with a Schwinn hybrid from Walmart. I put almost 500 miles on that bike last year. Mainly started out at a 10-11 mph pace and got up to over 13 mph. Averaged 12.8 on a 40 mile ride for Bike to Beat Cancer in Louisville, Ky last September. I started club riding and some of the C pace riders use hybrids still. I upgraded to a specialized diverge comp road bike this spring and it has helped raise my average speed as well as my ability to ride longer and more efficiently. Although I love my road bike, the initial switch didn't prove to me that I was faster on the road bike than I was on the hybrid, maybe 1/2 mph at most. The key I have found is to ride more and ride longer and harder to improve your ability. I ride at 290-300 lbs still, but the weight is falling off slowly but surely. Good Luck!
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Old 05-03-19, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by insignia100 View Post
Hey guys! I've been on and off the forum for quite some time now, as my interest in cycling waxes and wanes. A bit of background: most of my cycling has been in the form of recumbent trikes (love my Catrike Expedition), and before moving to Knoxville, TN from Tucson, AZ, I was regularly riding 20+ miles on The Loop (which I miss dearly). A few months before moving I purchased a Giant Escape 3 hybrid and started riding it a bit in lieu of my trike. After we moved across the country the trikes and bike set for several months, and now that the weather is warming up I'm getting my pedaling legs back. Also, I've been working on getting healthier overall -- I've been going to the gym and working with a trainer since January, and have lost 60 lbs since February of last year (~308 in Feb 2018, down to 248 today).

One of the observations I've made is that trikes don't seem to use the medial quad (vastus medialis) muscle as much as bikes do. Last weekend I rode 15 miles on my trike, but I struggled to get 4 miles on my bike. This is improving, though, with my 7 mile ride today. My medial quads are definitely the limiting factor for me, not my lungs or my butt.

I'm wanting to get into road bikes for exercise benefits and the social aspect of group rides eventually. However, I won't buy one until I can actually justify the expense. My thoughts were setting a goal of being able to ride 20 miles with an average speed of 15 MPH before investing in a road bike, but I'm not sure how realistic that is for a cheap hybrid bike. Has anyone else had similar thoughts/goals? I'm also thinking that perhaps I should ignore the speed aspect, and just set a distance goal instead. I dunno! Either way, I'm constantly looking at road bikes to provide some inspiration...
You know what I did when I first started? I didnt buy a cheap bike, I bought a good bike. A bike that would make me want to ride it. A bike that I loved looking at, a bike that I wanted to be on. This resulted in many more hours and miles in the saddle. Improvements came quick just due to the amount of time I was spending riding. I doubt I would have ridden as much or enjoyed it as much if I was on a budget bike solely focused on riding a certain distance or going a certain speed. There is something to be said about having a love for what your doing to see better/faster results, and in my mind a great bike certainly made me want to do it. YMMV.
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Old 05-04-19, 06:12 AM
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Road bikes don't need to be ridden only at 15mph+. My cycling club has levels for people who ride a few mph slower than this and everyone's on a road bike.

I agree with @jadocs above, buy a bike you want to ride. If you look at your bike and it makes you think, I wish I had a better bike, buy a better bike. You will ride it more. If you heart desires a road bike, don't put up roadblocks or goals, I know plenty of people who have done this, "I just want to be able to ride 50 miles on my Schwinn", they never get there, and their interest in cycling wanes.
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Old 05-05-19, 07:21 AM
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You make some good points everyone. I'll be visiting some bike shops this week to see if anyone has any good deals on previous year models before I get too attached to 2019 model specs. I'm liking the looks of the Giant Contend SL 2 Disc -- it seems like a good value with the specs and comfort geometry I'm looking for. I was seriously considering a Cannondale CAAD Optimo for about 30 seconds before I decided I don't need a bike with race geometry...
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Old 05-18-19, 09:05 PM
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Recumbent vs Upright bicycles

I own an older Ryan Vanguard recumbent which can be characterized a an older style recumbent with the seat above the crank axle line. I also ride upright hybrid style bicycles. 20 miles is the upper travel limit for my upright bikes. That's when the shoulders start hurting or my neck starts hurting. The recumbent really has no upper limit other than getting too tired to pedal anymore. The recumbent just doesn't hurt me in any way. However I love my upright bicycles and continue to ride them most every day. There is a difference in what muscles get used by both styles of bicycle. I've never had as much degradation of performance as insignia 100 has going back and forth between bicycles. I think that the more he rides his uprights the less problem he will have as the different muscles get in shape. The worst problem I've had with recumbents was sitting too upright and making my butt hurt. Leaning the seat back more cured this problem. With uprights there are so many ways to make yourself uncomfortable. I recently lowered my handlebars and caused persistant mid back pain on both sides. Those muscles are now getting used to their new position and clearing up after a couple of months. Much is made of your average speed when cycling and how fast others may be going. I really wouldn't worry about any of that too much. Work toward attainable goals, then move on to the next goal. Maybe one day you will be averaging 15mph or 20mph but today averaging 11mph is perfectly OK. Don't overdo your exercise and really hurt yourself and you'll be alright.
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Old 05-19-19, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by insignia100 View Post
I'm wanting to get into road bikes for exercise benefits and the social aspect of group rides eventually. However, I won't buy one until I can actually justify the expense. My thoughts were setting a goal of being able to ride 20 miles with an average speed of 15 MPH before investing in a road bike, but I'm not sure how realistic that is for a cheap hybrid bike. Has anyone else had similar thoughts/goals? I'm also thinking that perhaps I should ignore the speed aspect, and just set a distance goal instead. I dunno! Either way, I'm constantly looking at road bikes to provide some inspiration...
Before I got a road bike I was riding a Trek X-Caliber mountain bike. I installed 32mm Bontrager road tires. The weight of that bike had to be at least 30 pounds, maybe as much as 34 pounds with lights, water bottle and saddle bag. It was a 2x9. Set up with road tires it was similar to a heavy hybrid...with low gearing. At 265 pounds or heavier, I could average at best, probably 13 MPH on the road. My longest ride on that bike was, I believe 45 miles. It would be hard for me to get above that 13 MPH average due to the MTB gearing. Id run out of gear on any downhill areas.

Your hybrid probably weighs less than my X-Caliber, and you probably have road gearing. If so, you could probably average 15 MPH without much trouble.

As for inspiration, on my road bike my average speed jumped almost 2-3 MPH basically immediately. (For rides up to 60 miles). My road bike weighs about 20 pounds and has a sub compact 2x11. The lower weight and higher gearing made a huge difference. Within a couple of months my longest ride was in the 80-90 mile rang.

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Old 05-19-19, 06:07 PM
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I actually picked up a road bike week before last -- a used Giant Defy Composite 1. I hadn't set out for a carbon fiber bike, but I couldn't pass up the deal. Well, I had the shop swap out the stock wheels with a stronger set from Velomine (36 spoke wheels, 105 hubs, Velocity Deep-V rims) and went for a 20 mile ride today. Love the bike, definitely a keeper, and though my speed increase wasn't dramatic (much of my normal route is on a MUP and I avoid excessive speed), it felt faster, smoother, and took less effort compared to my hybrid. I'm debating on if I even want to keep the hybrid or not, as I don't see many instances where I'm likely to take it out...
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Old 05-28-19, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by insignia100 View Post
I actually picked up a road bike week before last -- a used Giant Defy Composite 1. I hadn't set out for a carbon fiber bike, but I couldn't pass up the deal. Well, I had the shop swap out the stock wheels with a stronger set from Velomine (36 spoke wheels, 105 hubs, Velocity Deep-V rims) and went for a 20 mile ride today. Love the bike, definitely a keeper, and though my speed increase wasn't dramatic (much of my normal route is on a MUP and I avoid excessive speed), it felt faster, smoother, and took less effort compared to my hybrid. I'm debating on if I even want to keep the hybrid or not, as I don't see many instances where I'm likely to take it out...
I suggest keeping the hybrid as a beater.
You may find that you sneak in a few more rides each season
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Old 06-04-19, 08:19 PM
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Road Bike Dreams

I am in the same place. I ride a hybrid and I want to ride on faster rides. I have been telling myself to work towards raising my average speed and wait until next season to get my road bike. I averaged 14mph in the coastal Spring Century (I rode the 33 mile segment) on ultra flat roads.

When I ride by myself I try to push my speed. I always run Strava and obsess over improving my speed. I don't really know how much difference a road bike would make for me but since that fateful day when I test road a nice Trek road bike I can't think of much else.

My tires aren't really knobby but my husband's were we switched his bike to a bit thinner and smoother tire. He thinks the rolling res ok distance is lower and he is faster.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:25 AM
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My daughter has been riding my wife's 98 Schwinn hybrid for the last few years. It was bought new, in a bike shop in 98. She has been wanting a lighter, faster roadbike. I was going to give her my Cannondale R200, also a 98 bought new. But she wanted "her own" bike. I helped her find another 98 Schwinn, this is an aluminum Passage, equipped much like the R200 I was going to give her. It fits the lighter and faster bit. And the blue is really her color. The only issue with this older bike, was the wheels needed trued, and the tires were dry rotted. I loaned her the wheels of the R200 for a bit... But she is very happy and loves the ride of the Passage... And for her, the price was right and the bike more than fits her needs and desires. She has had a couple 20 mile rides so far and looks forward to more.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:45 AM
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Nothing wrong with a Hybrid.
One of our ride leaders for the local bike club put 1000+ miles on his in May.
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