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Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 10th 03, 12:54 PM
Elisa Francesca Roselli
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Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?

I'm still working on the signalling, especially the suggestion of trying to
lighten up my hold on the handlebars over some safe transits to the point of
being able to let go of them. I'm nowhere near letting go, but the analysis
is proving useful.

I am heaviest on the handlebars when coasting, as the downhill tilt throws
me forward. Overall, I realize that much of my weight _is thrown forward
onto the handlebars if I try to keep my ass in place on the seat. To the
point that I get sore arms and carpal tunnel symptoms when I've been riding
for a while. When today I tried coasting with minimal pressure on the bars,
putting more of my weight on my rump, I had that very disagreeable sensation
of hanging on my soft parts, impaled by the seat.

Given that the height of the seat is regulated in relation to the pedals, is
it possible that the handlebar is too low in relation to the seat, forcing
that forward-thrown, tushy-in-the-air posture? I should mention that my bike
is a city or "Dutch" type with an upright handlebar, so in principle there
is no justification for a crouching posture. On the other hand, perhaps all
bikes thrown you forward, and it's a matter of getting used to it? Another
possibly involved parameter is the distance between the seat and the
handlebars - perhaps the seat is too far back, causing a forward lunge into
a void to hold the bars?

Any guidelines on handlebar height and if and how it should be adjusted? I
don't see one of those quick release pins on the bars as for the seat, and
there is the complication of the shopping basket in the front.

Elisa Roselli
Paris, France

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  #2  
Old July 10th 03, 05:32 PM
Buck
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Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?

"Elisa Francesca Roselli"
wrote in message ...
I'm still working on the signalling, especially the suggestion of trying

to
lighten up my hold on the handlebars over some safe transits to the point

of
being able to let go of them. I'm nowhere near letting go, but the

analysis
is proving useful.

I am heaviest on the handlebars when coasting, as the downhill tilt throws
me forward. Overall, I realize that much of my weight _is thrown forward
onto the handlebars if I try to keep my ass in place on the seat. To the
point that I get sore arms and carpal tunnel symptoms when I've been

riding
for a while. When today I tried coasting with minimal pressure on the

bars,
putting more of my weight on my rump, I had that very disagreeable

sensation
of hanging on my soft parts, impaled by the seat.

Given that the height of the seat is regulated in relation to the pedals,

is
it possible that the handlebar is too low in relation to the seat, forcing
that forward-thrown, tushy-in-the-air posture? I should mention that my

bike
is a city or "Dutch" type with an upright handlebar, so in principle there
is no justification for a crouching posture. On the other hand, perhaps

all
bikes thrown you forward, and it's a matter of getting used to it? Another
possibly involved parameter is the distance between the seat and the
handlebars - perhaps the seat is too far back, causing a forward lunge

into
a void to hold the bars?

Any guidelines on handlebar height and if and how it should be adjusted? I
don't see one of those quick release pins on the bars as for the seat, and
there is the complication of the shopping basket in the front.


You have a lot of concerns, so bear with me as I try to address them all.
Your weight will definitely be more forward going downhill, but on the
streets it should never be uncomfortably so. Off-road, we often get waaay
off the back of the seat to keep from being pitched too far forward. From
your desriptions, it sounds like you would benefit from raising the
handlebars a bit. Most city bikes are designed to have the majority of your
weight carried by the saddle. It is not surprising that you find this
uncomfortable. You may need to adjust the saddle position a bit to keep it
from squishing your soft parts. If you can't find a good compromise, you may
need a different saddle.

You probably have a "quill" stem on your bike. This is the part that comes
up from the fork and holds your handlebars in place. These stems usually
have a bolt on top. If you loosen that bolt, you should be able to move the
stem up or down to get the right handlebar height. Keep in mind that it will
also rotate, so be cautious about getting it pointed straight forward again.
There should also be a "minimum insertion" line on the side. Make sure you
do not raise the stem any higher than that line.

Weight distribution on your bike is a dynamic entity. As you lean farther
forward, your weight shifts from your butt and feet to your hands. This does
put you in a more aerodynamic position and it increases the traction on your
front tire. But city bikes aren't really made for this position. If your
seat is in the right spot, then your handlebars may be too low or the bike
may be a bit too big for your. You can make corrections by raising the stem,
but you may have to buy a shorter (from front to back) stem to get into a
more comfortable position.

A third and final option is to go out and buy a new bike. You are already
talking about spending several hours a day on it, so it should be fit to you
properly so it provides the greatest performance and comfort. A good shop
can fit you properly.

I am very partial to this last idea for you. You may find that many of the
difficulties you are having are a direct result of a poorly-fitting bicycle.
My first bike was way too big and it could be terrifying at times just
because I was too small to handle it properly. Fit is paramount, but having
the right bike for your type of riding is important as well. I would never
consider using my old Scwinn Panther (a classic cruiser bike from the
sixties) as a commuter. The riding position is all wrong for riding any
distances.

Keep us informed of your progress. It's been great fun so far.

-Buck



  #3  
Old July 11th 03, 10:33 AM
Elisa Francesca Roselli
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Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?

Thanks for this thorough analysis. I will address raising the handlebars when I
have a little time over this long weekend. There is indeed a hexagonal ring bolt
which may move when I get a suitably sized key around it. I can also get the
seat forward a little, as it's on a sliding track with a bolt.

I don't think it's time yet to think of getting a new bike as the current one,
just a year old, is only now beginning to reveal its mysteries and
possibilities. I'm too ignorant and inexperienced to be able to judge a great
bike just yet. Until I know how to adjust everything and what can be adjusted
and what the effects of adjustment are, I'm not qualified to call Myrtille a bad
fit. I have no reason to suspect that she's too big for me as I am a tall (5'
8") and large-framed American woman and Myrtille is a French lady's bike. Also,
my job hasn't moved yet and may even decide not to move, so for the moment the
several hours of commuting a day are a possibility which I must envision and
prepare for, but by no means a certainty. Currently my trip to work is only 1.6
km and takes 10 minutes of road time.

I am planning a vacation in Cambridge, UK towards the end of July. Since this
will take me away from Myrtille and my beloved bike practise, I'm thinking of
hiring a bike while I'm there, so I can continue practising on the famous Backs.
(Cambridge as a city is entirely configured to bike traffic and it's a bit of an
irony that I didn't learn in the 13 years that I lived there!) That will also be
an opportunity to try other kinds of bikes. The person I'm staying with has a
Moulton, too, which I'm curious to try.

Elisa Roselli
Paris, France

Buck wrote:

A third and final option is to go out and buy a new bike. You are already
talking about spending several hours a day on it, so it should be fit to you
properly so it provides the greatest performance and comfort. A good shop
can fit you properly.

I am very partial to this last idea for you. You may find that many of the
difficulties you are having are a direct result of a poorly-fitting bicycle.
My first bike was way too big and it could be terrifying at times just
because I was too small to handle it properly. Fit is paramount, but having
the right bike for your type of riding is important as well. I would never
consider using my old Scwinn Panther (a classic cruiser bike from the
sixties) as a commuter. The riding position is all wrong for riding any
distances.


  #4  
Old July 11th 03, 10:36 PM
Luigi de Guzman
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Posts: n/a
Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?



I am planning a vacation in Cambridge, UK towards the end of July. Since

this
will take me away from Myrtille and my beloved bike practise, I'm thinking

of
hiring a bike while I'm there, so I can continue practising on the famous

Backs.
(Cambridge as a city is entirely configured to bike traffic and it's a bit

of an
irony that I didn't learn in the 13 years that I lived there!) That will

also be
an opportunity to try other kinds of bikes. The person I'm staying with

has a
Moulton, too, which I'm curious to try.


Cambridge isn't so much as entirely configured to bike traffic as it's a
town where the bicycle dominates the existing facilities to the same degree
as motorized traffic dominates elsewhere....

I always found the Backs to be a bit of an unnerving place to ride,
personally. I wasn't as confident back then, and Queens' Road was the only
place in Cambridge, it seems, that anybody was allowed to develop any real
speed, and so all the cars would gun it through that stretch

I've since gone back, with more miles under me and I've been a lot less
fazed by the whole experience, so maybe i was just more jittery then.

Goodness, we might even see each other in Cambridge--I'll probably be up
reading at the UL for a bit. I'll roll Bekah (my much-maligned pink and
black MBK, the London bike) onto the train at KingsX. How's that for
multimodal transportation strategy...?

-Luigi


  #5  
Old July 15th 03, 03:26 PM
Elisa Francesca Roselli
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Posts: n/a
Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?



Luigi de Guzman wrote:

Goodness, we might even see each other in Cambridge--I'll probably be up
reading at the UL for a bit. I'll roll Bekah (my much-maligned pink and
black MBK, the London bike) onto the train at KingsX. How's that for
multimodal transportation strategy...?


Hey cool, another Cantabridgian! I'm King's, History Tripos, BA 1978 MA 1982.
I'll certainly be visiting the UL, although this year I have no specific
research projects. My notion of an ideal summer hol is Cambridge for a writing
project with time in the UL and buying books. Also I like to cook for the person
I'm staying with. Sure, I'm a nerd - I know most people wouldn't consider that a
holiday at all, LOL!

As for multimodal, I was recently really pleased to notice that in Paris the
RER, the suburban milk-train, takes cycles in the first and last wagon of every
train - there's even a picture of a bicycle on them!


I always found the Backs to be a bit of an unnerving place to ride,
personally. I wasn't as confident back then, and Queens' Road was the only
place in Cambridge, it seems, that anybody was allowed to develop any real
speed, and so all the cars would gun it through that stretch


Actually I meant on that broad grassy sidewalk behind Tit Hall and Clare - I'd
be spooked by the actual road. Or perhaps Jesus Green then. It'll be on the way
between home and the Town Centre. I've always walked it previously and it seemed
to go on for miles and miles. I suppose it will look really short on a cycle!

Cheers,

Elisa Roselli
Paris, France





  #6  
Old July 16th 03, 03:26 AM
Luigi de Guzman
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Posts: n/a
Default Signalling - What About Handlebar Height?

Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote in message ...
Luigi de Guzman wrote:

Goodness, we might even see each other in Cambridge--I'll probably be up
reading at the UL for a bit. I'll roll Bekah (my much-maligned pink and
black MBK, the London bike) onto the train at KingsX. How's that for
multimodal transportation strategy...?


Hey cool, another Cantabridgian! I'm King's, History Tripos, BA 1978 MA 1982.
I'll certainly be visiting the UL, although this year I have no specific
research projects. My notion of an ideal summer hol is Cambridge for a writing
project with time in the UL and buying books. Also I like to cook for the person
I'm staying with. Sure, I'm a nerd - I know most people wouldn't consider that a
holiday at all, LOL!


I read History at St. John's BA 2001...tell me, were the windows on
the Seeley always so dirty, or were they clean in your time? If you
do go back to the Seeley, note the new 'meathook' bike storage
thingies ranged around it...these occasioned much protest when they
were put up, and several prominent members of the Faculty went so far
as to campaign for their removal....[I signed the petition more out of
dutiful obedience to the fellow teaching my Part II special subject
than out of genuine conviction]

As to reading in the UL--well, I miss it because there are books
there...but seeing as I spent my fair share of time chained to a desk
(naturally one of the ones near the radiators!) on North Front 6 in
that most fascist of cambridge buildings, I'm not sure how much I want
to go back.

(Although my grad friends have told me that the tea room is *the*
place to go if you want to pick up grad students....)

But since i've got a lot of friends still there, taking their PhD's,
I've visited a lot...


As for multimodal, I was recently really pleased to notice that in Paris the
RER, the suburban milk-train, takes cycles in the first and last wagon of every
train - there's even a picture of a bicycle on them!


Those RER trains are huge. although having brought a bicycle on one,
I'd wonder how on earth I'd be able to carry it *off* again, on
entering the city, since from what I remember of the few RER platforms
I saw when I was last in Paris, there are usually quite a few steps to
carry the bike over on arriving....

You will find no such accomodation on the trains from London to
Cambridge originating out of Kings' Cross--you may roll your bicycle
on the end doors of each carriage, but there isn't any way to secure
them. I usually find msyelf sitting on the floor next to my bike,
lest it fall and hurt anybody else.

It's easier to take a bike on a train that runs nonstop from London to
Cambridge, if only because you know that nobody will roll it off the
train as you doze off somewhere in Letchworth or some other
godforsaken place. [1]



I always found the Backs to be a bit of an unnerving place to ride,
personally. I wasn't as confident back then, and Queens' Road was the only
place in Cambridge, it seems, that anybody was allowed to develop any real
speed, and so all the cars would gun it through that stretch


Actually I meant on that broad grassy sidewalk behind Tit Hall and Clare - I'd
be spooked by the actual road.


Ah, that bit. if you're too spooked by the road--and don't mind
yielding to every pedestrian ever--you could move *slowly,* if
illegaly, down the footpath from Silver Street until it ends at the
back gate at St. John's. Mind the crossing cars at the back gate of
Trinity, though....

There are a lot of new bike trails built parallel to the roadway,
too...Maddingley Rd. has a bikepath on each side of the roadway, so if
you're really scared, you could stay there, but the usual bikepath
cautions apply: you must be prepared to watch for cross-traffic from
the driveways fo the houses , you must be willing to share the path
with pedestrians, dogs, etc.

This is all fine if you want to pfaff about Maddingley Road, but if
you really needed to get into town--to buy books at Galloway &
Porter's or G. David's or Heffers' (sadly now only an outpost of
Blackwells', and much poorer for it, as they no longer stock
independently of Blackwells' and so getting stuff for the
reading-lists is far chancier) you'll need to get on the road....

Or perhaps Jesus Green then. It'll be on the way
between home and the Town Centre. I've always walked it previously and it seemed
to go on for miles and miles. I suppose it will look really short on a cycle!


I used to head up the baseball society (imagine!) and we used to play
every Sunday on Jesus green, occasionally endangering passing cyclists
with our foul balls....

anyway this is all rapidly sliding off-topic for rbm...if you like you
can e-mail me.

-Luigi

[1] apologies to anybody from Letchworth, but I've been stranded there
far too often, once by excessive drunkenness on the way back from
London, and twice by excessive incompetence on the part of the railway
network....
 




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