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The right bicycle

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Camargue
The right bicycle

I have been cycling mainly for leisure for a number of years.  We take our bikes with us when we travel in our campervan and use them to get shopping etc and occasionally go for rides in the countryside usually no longer than 10 miles.  However i have always found getting comfortable on my bike difficult and this has increased as my problem with aching arms and numbness has become more obvious.  My current bike a Trek hybrid forces me forward to lean on my arms but trying out a dutch bike made me wonder if i would lose some of my ability to go up hills if i took all the pressure from my arms.  Has anyone cracked this problem.  I am looking for something quite light as i need to add a back carrier and mudguards plus i need to be able to manoeuvre it around at times.  Last year in Antwerp the lift to the pedestrian tunnel was broken so we had to take the bikes on the escalators which was quite scary for me as i had to hold the weight.  I had also thought of switching to hub gears as it might be easier in the future but wonder if i will be able to manage the steeper rides.  I want to keep riding for as long as possible so i need to get something that feels right.  Any help or pointers would be appreciated.

thanks

drifflad

Hi Carmargue, having sold everything that either had drop handlerbars or knobbly tyres I am left with a 1970's Raleigh 3 speed which is firmly in the sit up and beg category. Well equipped with mudguards, enclosed chain and rack it is comfortable and great round town although I need to improve the brakes.

It weighs less than it looks and was built to last. Although  these older models don't appeal to everyone there are a few modern versions on the market, Raleigh do a modern version of mine. Cost is always an issue but in my experience a cheap bicycle is just a waste of time. happy shopping.

iceni

Hi Carmargue and drifflad I find the position on a road bike with drop bars to make me as you say lean forward on my arms and this exacerbates the tremor and stiffness problems ,I tend to develop a strong tremor from the shoulder with this which does not help balancing the bike . I did one 100 mile ride last year which I was pleased with though for the last half I was very lopsided in posture on the bike resulting in numbness on the non PD side for a few weeks afterwards . This year I am riding another 100 for charity in august and am experimenting with different bikes to find a better position ,like you I find the more upright position to be favourable . Though my dawes galaxy has a modern compact frame which does facilitate a more upright posture than the mercian with traditional geometry that I rode the the 100 on I am finding small wheelers attractive .

I have a moulton apb which rides very well even off road and enables an upright posture which the PD seems happier with . Although for me at present mounting bikes is not an issue I notice my dad who also has PD  and others struggle with getting their leg over (strictly in getting on the bike !!) with this in mind they have been looking at  bikes with a low step through such as Dahon and Brompton these can be  light weight and ride well, taking carriers and folding for convenience .As drifflad says the traditional uprights can be good to though not as light ,Pashley on the uk side and bratvus on the dutch side stand out . I think I'm favouring the Moulton for longer rides and may be a Brompton for short conveniant trips .

Camargue

Thank you both for your posts.  Since i started this thread I have been to try out a dutch 7 speed hub gear gazelle bicycle.  The shop didn't have the exact type i was interested in but they also hired bicycles so we had half a day trying them out around york.  i realised from this that i wanted the handlebars swept around as much as possible.  The step through as you mentioned will also be important and I have chosen one with the lowest step through.  We are going back next week to try out a model which i hope will meet all these requirements.  I may then change the handlebars on my Trek to more swept round and keep it for longer rides but the gazelle will be lighter for day to day use.  We had a lovely folding bike as a 'pool' bike when I worked and it also was good to ride but we have a towbar bike rack for the back of our van which takes conventional bikes.  Fingers crossed that the gazelle will suit.  It is hard finding a choice of bikes near enough to try them out properly and my last couple of bikes have had problems for me that were not apparent when i had a short ride at the bike shop.  In retrospect i guess some might have been early PD related.  Will let you know how i get on.

Supa

Hi.

I have enjoyed cycling for pleasure and holidays for about ten years including a 12 day Pyrennean traverse and Mont Ventoux, and used to be very strong on hills. A year ago my back & hips became so stiff I had to change from a "man's style" road bike to a ladies walk through frame and during the summer my partner changed my drop handlebars for straights so I have a slightly more upright riding position. During this period my cycling speed and strength have reduced (due I suppose to my Parkinsonian problems) as well as to the new riding position which does diminish the pull between arms, legs & back.  But, even if I am slower it is better to be out cycling than not go at all, and luckily my partner accepts waiting for me or doing the hills twice (ha ha).

I have also bought an electric bike, intending to use it on longer hilly excursions, but have only done 12 miles on it so far as a few days later I fell over and broke my collar bone, so no cycling for another 3 weeks!! It is great to ride but needs very careful and considered use as it is much heavier and I really have to concentrate at all times. Not as much fun as a light bike, but as needs must. . . 

Happy pedalling

Camargue

Hi Supa

sounds like you have similar problems cycling as I have.  Like you I want to be out and about in the fresh air and i dont care about speed and distance.  We have a stationary bike that I use most days as i find it loosens up my back and hips so I try to do 15 mins every morning.  However it is nothing like being out on a road bike. We used to go for much longer rides but now about 10 miles is my limit otherwise i suffer the next day.  We use our bikes when travelling in our campervan to get shopping or for sightseeing so I am keen to not give up as we spent four months away last year and it would make it more difficult getting around as we like to leave our van parked up on campsites once we arrive.  I was interested to hear about your electric bike.  We saw quite a few last year when travelling through France and were easily overtaken by a couple on theirs from our campsite as we headed towards the nearest town for the market.  It is something to think about for the future.  Hope your collarbone heals soon and you are able to cycle again.  The recent good weather  really  makes me want to get out on my bike.

jaki

Would  love to take up cycling. Told my husband - bless him he bought me a bike off ebay. I know it has a proper name but I will describe it as about the size and weight of Granvil's bike from Open All Hours. Not surprising to me i could not even get onto it despite my husbands shouts of you can do it. No i couldn't. It actually scared me and my dream of cycling on tracks around Wyre Forest have been knocked for six.  Can anyone help me get onto a bike by recommending a good starter bike. I saw i think a 70's Hercules. Would that be a good bike to get my dream going again. Thank you.

 

 

Camargue

Hi all, well I have finally found my bicycle and not the one i went to see which wasn't quite right for me.  After trying quite a few bicycles of different frame sizes, spending a night thinking about it And reading the bike catalogues I went back to to the lovely people in Cycle Heaven in York and tried out an electric assistance bike. I was amazed at how versatile they were with different levels of assistance depending on how much i pedalled or none at all if i wished.  I realised that this would give me the chance to go out for longer rides with my husband with no fear of hills but at the same time give me plenty of exercise.  Although the one i have ordered (a gazelle orange em) is a bit heavier at 23kg than I first planned it has walk assistance if i have to push and we can lift it up to get on the bike rack of the campervan.  I dont get it until july as there will not be any production until then but I am really looking forward to using it.  A big thanks to the staff at the bike shop who were very happy to get out any number of bikes for me to try so i got the right one for my circumstances.

mandybike

Hi Jaki

We live close to the Wyre Forrest. A hybrid bike would be best.

Supa

Hi Camargue.  Glad to hear you have an electric bike on order - have looked at it online & the spec looks identical to mine, a Gepida Reptila. Enjoy!!  But watch out for its weight when stopping & starting until you are familiar with it. Orthopaedic doc gave me the go ahead for cycling again yesterday, my collar bone is healing well, just got to go carefully for next 6 weeks while it strengthens. Hurrah!! Need a bit of warmer sunny weather though!

 

mandybike

I have just bought a recumbent trike with a motor and it is brilliant.

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