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Another newbie

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by 8-wheeler, 17 Aug 2007.

  1. 8-wheeler

    8-wheeler New Member

    Hey all, this is my second post here. I'm just taking up cycling again - the last time I did semi-regular cycling was around 10 years ago in my university days, and even that was only for about a year or so. I've been a regular skater for almost a year now (hence the handle), and though of cycling as a good cross training exercise.

    Bought myself a nice shiny blue racing bike. Nothing too hardcore, but it serves my purposes well enough. Why don't racers have the double-lever brakes anymore? I used to find them really conveninent, whereas now I find I have to ride in the "race" position to have the brake levers at my fingertips. Annoying.

    So I just started cycling in to work this week. A bit wobbly at first, but getting better each day. At the moment it's a 9 mile commute from Stockwell to Chiswick in London, but in a couple of weeks' time I'll be starting a new job in Clerkenwell, which is only about half the distance. Actually got a puncture on the very first day that I decided to cycle in, but fortunately it was about a mile out from work and I managed to coast in without losing too much time or damaging the wheel (it took all of my lunch break to repair it, LOL). Also had a close encounter with a b@stard van yesterday that overtook me and then cut left immediately across me. I had to swerve to avoid him. I hate arrogant and aggressive motorists like that.

    Anyway, I rambling on a bit. Just wanted to say that it's nice to be back on a bicycle, and I'll look forward to contributing to this forum in future.

  2. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    O' slO'
    G'day 8-wheeler.
    Glad that you took the plunge to start riding, and glader that you joined here!
    Is your name a reflection of what your bike looks like? Stabilisers on your stabilisers etc?
    Ride safely and enjoy it! :ohmy:
  3. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Those additional levers were known as 'suicide levers', because of their tendency not to be properly efficient and to end up banging uselessly against the bars before they pulled the brakes on. Which is why they stopped being fitted...

    There is a better, modern solution, which is to fit a special pair of additional levers which sit where you want them on the tops and 'plug into' into the cable. Alas, I can't quite remember the details of what they are called.... Someone else might remember or a decent bike shop might be able to help.

    Anyway, welcome! :ohmy: Before long you'll be swanning into Commuting to report every 'left hook' (what happened with that van). Your new commute distance is a a great one - long enough to be fun, not so long as to be a drag...
  4. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    Welcome 8-wheeler
  5. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Hi there!

    What Arch was groping for were 'Cross Top' levers or just Cross Levers. These Cane Creek are not the only options but are quite good quality.


    The other option is to practice a little more with the set up you have. A lot of us find we can 'cover the brakes' with our hands up on the 'hoods'. All depends on your confidence level and the size of your hands! But the Cross Levers are becoming more popular.
  6. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Thank you Tim! I'll remember that now, until the next time I forget. My BF put them on the tops of his Galaxy drop bars and reckoned they were really good, especially for about town, when you want to be upright, but have the brakes covered.

    Hand size is an issue, I swapped to flat bars on my Galaxy because I found the levers hard to reach from the hoods with my little girly fingers, and it was before I'd heard of cross levers. But the drops looked good, and when I ever get round to rebuilding the Galaxy, I might revert to drops and get cross levers.
  7. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    Tim, are the cables of cross levers joined with the levers on the 'hoods' or are they instead of. I had a Giant bike in China, which was really more of a light tourer, which had the only brakes in that position, they were alright once you got used to them but when then reverting back to the full roadies I found that sometimes in an emergency the hands were going to the wrong place for braking. I few thumping hearts moments were experienced as a result!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    That sounds deadly Keith.

    In fact, so much so I think I might treat myself to an exclamation mark !

    Done properly, the brake cable passes through the cross levers which have no influence on the regular brake levers whatsoever.

    Only the brake cable casing is altered. This is cut eith side of the cross lever mechanism. To operate, the cross lever 'pushes apart' the casing, so effectively shortning the inner and thereby applying the brakes. Dead clever.
  9. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    I would not bother with the cyclo-cross type levers. Try cycling with hands on top of the brake hoods - that will give you enough braking for 98% of the time and you can go down onto the drops if you need to

    For the traffic issues, get a really detailed , map and look at back routes, and check the TFL site for marked cycle routes. I commuted from Dulwich to Chiswick a few times and recall using the towpath on the southern side of the Thames near Hammersmith.

    Tip - always carrry a small pump and spare tube, and a pair of latex gloves - makes changing a tyre much more office friendly!
  10. 8-wheeler

    8-wheeler New Member

    Hi Dayvo, Hehe, no my name is a reflection that I am one of the skater jocks (you may have seen some of us on the London 2 Brighton this year). It's a bit funny - in skater circles we love to take the p*ss out of the "lycra bods" whereas that seems to be the norm here on Cycleland. :ohmy:
  11. 8-wheeler

    8-wheeler New Member

    Ah, yes, half the fun in taking up cycling again is in learning all the new terminology that has sprung up! Yes, I am really looking forward to my new commute, it's 4.5 miles according to Google maps, although I'm sure that after a few months as I build up fitness I'll be hankering for something much longer!

    Will check out those "cross tops" too...
  12. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    you sound like one of these people that would be better off with a road bike with flat bars as opposed to drop handlebars. 'Road bike' doesn't have to necessarily mean drop handlebars you know.
  13. 8-wheeler

    8-wheeler New Member

    Actually, you're dead on. I'd love to replace the drop handlebars with those bullhorn type handlebars. Unfortunately I wouldn't know where to begin in order to do this.. I guess I would need new brake levers as well?
  14. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Actually, you're dead on. I'd love to replace the drop handlebars with those bullhorn type handlebars. Unfortunately I wouldn't know where to begin in order to do this.. I guess I would need new brake levers as well?[/QUOTE]

    The easy way (costs most) is to take the bike to a good bike shop and say "I want you to swap these drop bars for these other bars, how much?" You'll need the new bars and grips, new brake levers and depending on where your current gear changers are, maybe new gear shifters and new cables and then they'll charge you labour as well.

    An alternative, (should cost less) if you feel up to the task is to take it to the shop and say "Sell me everything I need to swap....." and do it yourself. You'll need to make sure the new bars aren't a bigger diameter than the stem will accept (smaller is ok, you can use a shim) and that all the bits fit on OK. You may need a good bike maintenance or building book to take you through the stages, if you're not well up on what to do. In my experience a lot of the actual stages are pretty simple and common sense if you know what you're doing, and what should go where. The fiddly bits are the finetuning and adjustments at the end. The best way is to do it under the instruction of someone more expert - then when you can't see how something works, they can show you in a way a book can't. This is how I learnt to do stuff.

    Finally you could work it all out and buy all the bits independently yourself - this is where you can get into problems of compatibility and so on, if you don't have the experience... Might be the cheapest, unless you buy something that's not right, or end up taking it to the shop anyway...:blush:
  15. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    Actually, you're dead on. I'd love to replace the drop handlebars with those bullhorn type handlebars. Unfortunately I wouldn't know where to begin in order to do this.. I guess I would need new brake levers as well?[/QUOTE]

    Oh. You've already bought the bike. It would probably have saved you some money if you'd decided this before you actually bought it, but it can still be done. You'll need new brake levers, new shifters, new handlebars, some grips (i've got some you can have if you want) and bar ends (as i've said before i recommend the straight ones with a curve at the end so your hand doesn't slip off rather than the contoured ones). In fact that's not actually much new stuff to buy.

    Post back with details of what mech you've got (i.e. how many speed, what brand) if you need help on what shifters to buy. Also remember brake cable isn't the same as gear cable! (brake cable's stronger.)
    You might need some cable cutters because the inner you've got may be too long (it's unlikely to be too short, so you're unlikely to need new inner) however you may need a new bit of outer - i'm not exactly sure how much outer drop handlebar bikes have due to it going inside the handlebars. You'll also need ferrules / finishing stops if the levers / shifters you buy don't come with them.