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Q about legs getting shorter

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sisoon posted 7/12/2013 11:56 AM

I used to be an avid cyclist, but I stopped a few years ago. I finally realized I stopped because I was unstable on the bike, which I last set up around 1989, so 3 days ago I lowered the seat a tad (1/4"-1/2"), and I felt stable again.

Then I noticed that when I straddle the bike, my crotch pretty much rests on the top (horizontal) tube. There used to be a good 1" clearance. (I've checked this several times, with both pairs of shoes that I ride with.)

I used to measure 5' 7" or 5' 8". I think I now measure around 5' 7".

Is it likely I'd lose height only in my legs?

Could weight gain affect the apparent height of my crotch from the ground. I'm way overweight. I'm 25 lbs over my old riding weight (gained 20 since the A started and haven't lost it). Any idea how much that could affect the measurement.

I'll be seeing my doc for a physical next week, but I'm hoping SI has the right expertise signed on....

OOH, our budget doesn't allow for a new bike. OTOH, my birthday is in 11 days....

Thanks in advance.

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:59 AM, July 12th (Friday)]

heartbroken_kk posted 7/12/2013 13:34 PM

Fallen arches?

You need to get your bike re-fit for your body as it is now. Weight gain can make your "tipping" point move lower, which puts more pressure on your hands and stresses your low back.

Find a shop near you that has a trained fitter and a fitting station. You may discover your bike has always been too large, but you didnt really notice when you were in better shape.

Above is a good site to look for a fitter (I am not affiliated with this company but know their fit technicians are usually vey good and get good training) select "fit technicians, body geometry" in the check boxes. Some shops also sell their footbeds which go in cycling shoes.

New bikes come in all price ranges, you may be able to make do with a few new parts to get your bike dialed, like a new stem for example.

Since its your birthday you might consider renting a modern bike for a day, look for test centers at the above. Technology in bikes has advanced tremendously, and a new bike may get you all kinds of stoked to ride and work off that weight.

Eta typos

[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 1:36 PM, July 12th (Friday)]

TrulyReconciled posted 7/12/2013 14:47 PM

I was unstable on the bike, which I last set up around 1989

We all shrink a bit when we get older. In the 'old days' did you ride on different tires (possibly sew-ups if you were really avid)? A change in tire size/type/inflation could have some effect.

What you need to do is get an inversion hanger so you can hang upside down. By the year 2037 you'll be back to where you were.

In all seriousness, your bike frame is likely too big for you (sorry).

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 2:47 PM, July 12th (Friday)]

sisoon posted 7/12/2013 16:26 PM

Having asked my question here, it occurred to me that I have a good bike resource close to home in Kenilworth, IL - RRB Cycles.

I just want to point out they could have tried to sell me a bike; instead they recommended staying with what I have.

Mr. Boi's judgment is

1) Yeah, losing an inch or more in the legs is pretty common as his customers age.

2) The way I've always ridden keeps me pretty safe from the main injury that I fear. (My feet are flat on the ground when I straddle the bike, even in cycling shoes, so stopping and starting are fine.)

3) It's too good a bike to give up on now - it's a Brit, all Reynolds 531, never raced, although it's gone lots of relatively easy miles in Chicago's North Shore and Southern Wisconsin.

If I start to ride a lot again, I'll probably get a new smaller bike. (I just missed a red 19"/50 cm Super Course on eBay.)

Mr. Boi suggested further seat adjustments, which I will do as soon as I find my 10 or 11 mm wrench.

I got my bike in late Fall, 1981, just after my beloved 54 cm Atala Competezione was stolen. It was sized right - 21" seat tube, 22" top tube. According to Sirotta's system around 1986, the seat tube was less than a cm from what he'd have made for me if I ordered custom, but the top tube was short!

Turin Cycles in Evanston had taken the frame in trade and basically gave me used parts needed to build the bike. I built my wheels. It's got a very unusual set of parts - Avocet/Ofmega, TA, Suntour, Campagnolo, Zeus. Clincher tires.

One very unusual feature: the fixed BB cup is Italian; the other is British. Apparently the previous owner cross-threaded the fixed cup trying to install a Campy BB. Turin re-threaded it. Given the help they were giving me, I didn't ask for the other cup to be rethreaded - after all, it wasn't broken.

It doesn't look great, but it's pretty sound mechanically.

The ride up to Kenilworth was my first ride out of my neighborhood in 5 years - sure felt good.

But my birthday gift desire has become clearer - bike shorts that fit....

TrulyReconciled posted 7/12/2013 16:59 PM

I have a similar, all 531 DB all-Campy bike about 15 years older

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 4:59 PM, July 12th (Friday)]

sisoon posted 7/12/2013 22:20 PM

(It's probably 5 years older, since my frame is from 1972.)

Oh, wow, TR. Amazing. I would love to hear about it, if you care to share. I'm picturing a red Holdsworth or blue Mercian or ?

I've never updated my bike much, because I've always been afraid I'd stop riding (which I did a couple of time, after all), but I was blown away by the quality and beauty of pre- and early bike boom high end bikes that I was privileged to see.

Still, the prettiest bikes I've ever seen were the royal blue and white Atalas with chrome lugs. Of course, they didn't bear close examination....

heartbroken_kk posted 7/13/2013 01:09 AM

sisoon posted 7/13/2013 08:50 AM

I found the cartoon. Watching the Tour right now, off to acclimate my butt to the saddle when it's over. Yup - a good bike ride is an indescribable pleasure/

TrulyReconciled posted 7/15/2013 13:26 PM

Oh, wow, TR. Amazing. I would love to hear about it, if you care to share. I'm picturing a red Holdsworth or blue Mercian or,r:12,s:0,i:120&tx=106&ty=75

sisoon posted 7/15/2013 16:13 PM

Thanks, Tred. Amazing. I miss the elaborate lugs. I see it's got Dura-ace stuff now, but it originally came with Campy Valentino. (I can't read Swedish, but some things are pretty easy to understand....)

My Atala came with the low end Campy, too, but the rear derailleur was the Gran Torismo. The first thing I did to/for my Atala, after riding its sewups for a few weeks in close in Arlington, VA (urban), was to rebuild the wheels with clinchers. Then the derailleur broke a few weeks later. I put the entry level Suntour on it, and it became a lot easier to ride....

Looks like you still ride your Crescent - enjoy!

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