God help me

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by shooter560, 1 Dec 2007.

  1. shooter560

    shooter560 New Member

    This is my first post and I'm sure if you read it, you will either shoot me or help me, hopefully the latter, so here goes with the dirty facts.

    I'm 43, 176cm 79.5kg (BMI of about 25.4) so in the overweight category. However the worst part is i'm a smoker, yes i know just how bad this is for me and those around me, hence me coming on here.

    I have set a quit date of xmas day, I plan on quitting and staying a non smoker.

    I have also decided that getting back on a bike would be a good idea, I used to cycle loads when I was at school, Time Trialling, Road Races and Crits.

    Everything to do with cycling has moved on so much its like I'm from the dark ages, so any help tips guides on bikes, I'd like to go back to a racer style, if possible something that will last but be fun, fast, nimble and maybe if I can recover some fitness allow me to again get in to the competitive side of cycling, though I know I'll never lite the road up.

    Also fitness, unfortunately i'm the sort of person who either commits 110% effort and goes for it or doesn't bother, and I want to give it 110% so tips, guides, advice etc very much appreciated.

    Oh on the bike recommendations, my budget is £500-£750 I guess, I've been looking for the last week at stores etc and totally lost, so any recommendations much appreciated. On the bike, I guess I'd like 18-20 speed, close clearance (not worried about guards, my skin is waterproof)

    Now the real stupid part, I've been reading this site for a couple of days and found out that there is a David Lloyd Challenge mini and mega, do you think I could get fit enough etc to consider doing the Mini? I really like having goals to work towards and something like this seems mad but maybe possible, or are these really only for seasoned riders?

    Many thanks in advance
  2. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Best advice I can give on buying a bike is find a good local bike shop (LBS) try as many bikes as you can in your price range and buy the one that feels the best. If the LBS won't let you take the bikes out for a test ride on the road, walk away and never go back to them. As to the David Lloyd mini Challenge there is no harm in having an aim in life, if it gets you out there, then go for it...

    Oh and at this time of year don't forget to get a decent set of lights.
  3. gbb

    gbb Legendary Member

    Go for it shooter, you have everything going for you...
    Being a smokers going to affect your performance a bit, but its not going to stop you either.
    You have history in cycling...more than i ever did.
    At about 12 stone, youre not unduly overweight surely ?

    The bikes...youve plenty of choice in that price range. There are no bad bikes at those prices...try as many out at your local bike shops as you can. You will know which bikes you prefer when you see them...thats almost as important as the componentry. More important...get the right size.

    It may seem (and probably will be ) bl00dy hard at first, but start steady and gradually increase your time on the bike as your fitness improves.

    I got hooked about the same age as you....struggled to do 10 miles. 20 miles are now just a quick jaunt, 30 or 40 miles the norm on a Sunday.

    If in doubt...ask ask ask :biggrin:
  4. Joe

    Joe Über Member

    Go for it! :biggrin:
    Having been into cycling in the past I'm sure you'll get bitten by the bug again in no time. Nice new bike won't harm either!:biggrin:
    As for the smoking...maybe having a set quit-date, savouring your last fag etc isn't the best way? Why not just get it over with and quit today (easier said than done I know:evil:)
    There's a smoking thread here with plenty of advice, you aren't the only one!
    Good luck!
    I'm sure you'll be eating up the miles in no time.
  5. ash68

    ash68 New Member

    I understand that the Dave Lloyd rides are going to be very,very hilly. Even the mini one. It would be very hard work IMO, but if you want a goal, then why not go for it. You'll never know if you don't try.Bikewise, perhaps a look at the giant scr range or specialised allez to see wht you think of them.Try the webshop at www.edinburghbicycle.com for a few ideas and specs and prices. There are a few sportives up and down the country if you wanted to try them out, depends on where abouts you live really.
  6. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Hi Shooter,

    Find yourself a Trek dealer local to you and get the details of the 2008 version of the 'Trek 1.5'.

    It represents one of the biggest manufacture's take on the £600 bike and is an excellent bench mark from which to evaluate anything else that might take your fancy. Remember a £600 bike will cost you nearer £700 by the time you have got some shoes / pedals / gloves / puncture kit and tools / pump, etc. Although shops seem reluctant to bargain on the bike itself (especially current model year and that price point) there is often quite a bit of discount available on accessories bought at the same time. Make sure you take you full shopping list along with you.

    Try to learn a little about the names of the different Shimano (and Campagnolo) gear sets, so you can understand some of the mumble jumble they talk in these shops. You will see that the above Trek has the 'Shimano Sora' which for 2008 will be 9 speed for the first time. If they offer you 'last years model' try and find out exactly what the trades off will be. Not having quite your size and not having a triple chainset, for example, might make me question whether any amount of discount is worth it, whilst having 8 not 9 speed might require substantial discount, whereas the 'wrong' colour would still be tolerable, but well worth a haggle.

    Unfortunately, there are some major decisions you will have to make before you buy, and getting them right FOR YOU is not easy. Unfortunately, a lot of advice that is bandied about, including from shop staff, reflects their perspective and prejudices, rather than addressing your needs.

    For example, some things are worth getting right because they cost peanuts at time of purchase, but hundreds of pounds should you decide to change later on. An example is whether you want 18 gears or 27 gears (which have a triple front chainset). If you live in a hilly area or fancy the idea of 'hauling your arse' over the Alps one day, then a triple is worth considering, but others consider them to be totally superfluous. Just make sure the person advising you shares your aspirations / age / athletic ability / smoking habits / etc! (If you fancy the Dave Lloyd rides, then get a triple! )

    But there are good shops out there and look around till you find one that seems to care. Favour one that is prepared to change bits around and will spend time ensuring the bike is a good fit.

    Finally, although no one has a good word to say about Halfords, the Boardman Bike they sell from around £600 is also very good. It's at least worth a look to get another variation on a similar theme. And who knows, yours maybe the store with the decent staff ?

    PS: Cycling Plus magasine is a pretty decent source of information when you're starting out. Ideally find someone who has the last couple of years' back copies they can lend you. Most of the articles repeat on that sort of time scale, so reading the last 25 magasines should see you completely up to speed.
  7. OP

    shooter560 New Member

    Thanks for the replies guys, its much appreciated, and has brought up a couple of things for me to consider and also comment on.

    I set a quit date for smoking as again without a goal I forget/ignore things, however if I get a bike sorted then I'm sure I'll quit even sooner, see method in my madness.

    Other bits and bobs, I have already factored money for these things :biggrin:

    Triple chain sets, to be honest living in Norfolk a triple would be a waste, though I guess if I decide to do the David Lloyd mini I'll need all the help I can get.

    Why are so many bikes being offered with compact cranks? almost every bike I've looked at that I like the spec of seems to have these, which means if I want a bigger gear its spend more :biggrin:

    Boardman bikes, I've already had a look at them and I like the look of them, the only down side I can see is the Comp version is another fitted with the compact crank :biggrin: maybe I'll have to increase my limits or stop being fussy and wanting bigger gears.
  8. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Compact chainsets have become popular recently because it allows all those who bought standard doubles to increase the range of their gears without the expense of changing to a triple.

    It also allows those who worry about the 'stigma' of fitting a triple to avoid what they think will be a poor refelction of their willy size.

    But if you are attracted by the idea of doing any of the 'sportive' rides that are becoming increasing popular, and you live in Norfolk without the possibility of convenient hill training, then one might be worth considering.

    Although compacts have their fans, I think they are least successful in rolling terrain where I always find the gap between the front rings gives too great a jump. Using a compact on rolling Audax rides in 'non mountainous' areas meant a lot of double changes (fromt and back). The middle to top rings on a triple are the same as on a conventional road double (40:52) with the bottom gear sitting unused till you need it.
  9. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    Hi Shooter,
    If you're looking at sportives I'd definitely go with a triple. The last hill on a long day is always much, much worse that you'd like. Trek, Specialized and Ribble (amongst many others) can supply a decent bike in your budget. Also plan on getting shoes, clipless pedals, clothing, multitool, a whole load of inner tubes and a track pump.
    I suspect giving up smoking will be the tough bit, and getting fitter on the bike will be easy in comparison. And as for being overweight - I'm 41, 175 cm, 103 kg and can do 75 hilly miles without losing the will to live (Essex sportive earlier this year). I wish I was only 80 Kg! And if I'm going to make it up Ventoux next year I think I'd better be 80 kg or so. :biggrin:
  10. Big Bren

    Big Bren New Member

    Good luck with your goals and targets, and welcome to what will soon become your new obsession!

    When it comes to choosing a bike, don't write off buying used; it's a great way to get much more machine for your money. I got a cracking bargain off ebay for example.

    Also, if you're starting cycling in the winter, be sure to invest in the appropriate clothing; nothing is more likely to put you off than freezing to death and/or getting soaked to the skin on your first rides out.

    Whichever way you decide to go, have fun.
  11. OP

    shooter560 New Member

    Oh I know what a sport obsession is like I did archery for 32 years including international, 40 hours a week working 50-60 a week training, as i say 100% commitment or nothing.

    Yep on weather clothing already started getting some of that ordered, hell I don't even have a bike yet :biggrin:

    As to ebay or second hand I have no problem with that at all, in fact found a Trek on ebay discovery channel version (1400) with 20sp 105 gear at a buy now of £600 in my size too which I thought I may contact the seller and see if I can't go and have a look at it.
  12. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Huge Member

    Fly Fifer
    I'm 43, 176cm 79.5kg (BMI of about 25.4) so in the overweight category. However the worst part is i'm a smoker, yes i know just how bad this is for me and those around me, hence me coming on here.

    your kidding right !! overweight !! im a good 20kg heavier i reckon :biggrin: your skinny mate :biggrin: as for smoking, well quite now.
  13. cyclebum

    cyclebum Senior Member

    Hi Shooter, I cannot comment on the David Lloyd thing but having a goal has certainly helped me. I started with no cycling background preparing for a charity ride I can't believe how far I've come but I cannot see I would have done 1/2 if it had not been for my target goal (India 2008) and for the advice and support from this wonderful crowd here so just go for it.

    As for the smoking there is more to quitting than just setting a quit date, preparation can be so important. I don't know how much proffesional support or advice you have taken but it does help and you can get you NRT on prescription. How much do you smoke? cutting down first is often of little benefit as you end up smoking the remaining cigs more efficiently (drag harder and lower down the stub), so you don't end up getting nearly as much of the benefit as you think. It really can work out easier in the long run to just quit.
    A craving only lasts as long as it takes to smoke a cigarette if handled in the right way. As soon as you have a craving have a number of distracting tactics to hand that you can do and before you know it the craving is past. I know that sounds easier said than done when put that way but believe me it helps. :biggrin:
    For once I can actually give valid advice as I worked proffesionally with smokers in a variety of ways for 6 years so if you want any advice I am only too happy to help. :sad:
  14. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Hi Shooter,
    I was in the same boat as you 18 months ago, just about to quit smoking, bought myself a bike at the same time so that I'd notice the difference and not quit quitting... it worked! I havent had a puff since april 2006.

    5'9" and 12st 7lb? that's not overweight... i'm only a few inches taller and am a good 2 stone heavier... as for BMI... no idea.

    Mind out, it does turn into an obsession, not that that's a bad thing. I was without my bike recently as i had it sent back for a replacement, and I felt a part of me was missing, sad as that may sound. glad to have it back though!

    I'm in suffolk, so similar terrain. I had 12 months cycling under my belt before I got a racing bike, the rest was done on a flat-bar hybd with 17 gears. I have a 14sp bike at the moment, it seems to be enough for me.. I can get up the steepest hills in suffolk (honestly, there are 2 or 3 hills) after a good 30mile slog... and tops around 33-38mph on the flat... depending on the wind. though yesterday, first time out on a long ride in 5 weeks as not had the bike... 40 miles nearly killed me. and then I got a puncture, luckilly just outside my friendly local bike shop.

    You will notice the difference within a few weeks of giving up, you will feel much healthier, your face won't feel bunged up in the mornings any more (unless you have a cold). most importantly, you'll realise how much you stank before you gave up... really, you will notice the reak of a stale ashtray whenefer you talk to another smoker... if that's not enough to keep you off the tabs, I don't know what is!

    Best of luck!
  15. OP

    shooter560 New Member

    Thanks again for the support, help and tips, feeling much better already :biggrin:

    On the quitting side of things, I have given up a couple of times in the past 3 months and then 9 months, unfortunately both times I restarted due to stress (World Archery Champs) and smoking at the time was the only way I was able to get everything under control to compete as I knew I could. Also with my work, self employed I can't smoke when working as clients cars.

    The real weird thing, I hate the smell of stale tobacco and dirty ash trays, I used to avoid going into pubs because the smell so bad, not a prob now, and yes I know I must smell just as bad. Plus I want to show a good example to my youngsters before they get to an age that they start thinking about smoking.

    On the weight, I agree I'm not that bad, but as my doctor has advised me that I need to quit smoking, lose a little weight and get more exercise, there is a history of cardiac issues in my family and none took regular exercise, so again a good reason to make life changes.

    Back to the bike, how many hours can one spend looking at websites, reading sites and generally trying to learn stuff. When I was cycling as a youngster I used to build, repair and look after my bikes and I'm even considering buying the components and building a bike now, more expensive I know but this way I could get the set up spec I fancy, maybe buy a perfectly good second hand bike that is the wrong size for me and then buy a frame/forks that are right.

    On the goal, I'm going to contact David Lloyd and ask some questions like how long would he expect the mini to take, I don't mind being last in but many hours behind is not fair or safe.

    I know Norfolk doesn't have many hills as such, however I do know of some short sharp ones and some longer (ok not much over 1/2 mile) but I'm sure I could set up a route taking in some of these, then there is nothing stopping me putting the bike into the van and travelling further afield.
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