- Feb 6, 2010
- Central Texas
Back in mid-Aug, I decided I needed to get in shape and lose some weight. "Too much gut, not enough butt" as one woman described most middle-aged men. Fair enough. I do stay pretty active working on my house, yard, car...all that stuff. But obviously it wasn't enough. I eliminated all liquid carbo's, bread, pizza, FF's, orion rings, sandwhiches, hamburgers, tortilas, chips, cookies, potatoes, rice, donuts-on-the-weekend, etc. and no booze during the week. So I start riding my early 90's Rockhopper around the neighborhood which has quite a few rather steep hills before you go very far. I'm immediately busted, even on a mountain bike, with my lungs & legs on fire. So I learned to warm up first on the one straight road there is that's about 1/8 mi long, maybe less as I have no bike odo. I keep at it, gradually become able to ride up to the top of a local parking garage, into a neighboring strip center (with some rather steep pitches) and out onto a major parkway which while hilly is not near as steep as the hills I have to bike up just to get out of the neighborhood. Getting in shape by riding a bike truly is "a steep climb" in my situation. No kidding! One day it occurs to me to get down my 30yr old Japanese-built "Lotus" road bike, as I'd have less rolling resistance with its skinny tires and maybe a better mechanical advantage with it's larger tires & gear ratios. I'd bought this bike as an engineering undergrad to get from my dorm across campus and save time. It'd been hanging from the ceiling for nearly 20 years without a ride and I wasn't sure what state it would be in. I air up the tires and go for a quick spin. All seems to be in working order, the brakes work, the chain & rear sprocket (cassette?)are quite dusty, so they'll need a good clean, but so far so good. The derailleurs are Shimano 600, the brakes center pull Shimano 500, the crankset is a Shimano Super-maxy. Everything is Shimano-a-mano. The frame is mild-steel. Don't see any sticker for Chro-Moly. Plain old flat pedals too. I clean & relube both hubs, clean the rear sprockets cluster, soak the chain, then lube with T9 and let it dry hanging up in the garage while I wipe down the frame, disassemble the rear derailleur, etc. I didn't disassemble the brakes or crankset, just lubed all joints with T9 after blowing away the dust. I put her all back together, get the bearing cones adjusted just right and start riding her instead of the Rockhopper. It's only a 12-speed and seems geared to be a flat-terrain bike. I found myself in first on the hills and it wasn't low enough for me. Also, I didn't have near the stamina either, so I'd just have to stop and catch my breath in the beginning and even just walk up the worst part of the hills. I kept at it. The skinny tires make a huge difference. I kept pushing myself, the weight began to burn off and I slowly got into shape. I finally got to the point where my lungs and legs are no longer 'on-fire' and I have to quit. Now, I just get to the point where there's nothing left and I have to stop. That's quite a milestone for me. More good news is that I've lost 23 pounds and maintained that loss even while going off the diet a bit around the holidays. I have splurged and eaten a burger and onion rings with a few beers a few times. But it amazes me I continue to lose weight during the holidays. I originally thought it would probably take me 6 months to lose 20 pounds...not 3-1/2. I try and ride at least twice a week for maybe an hour or an hour and a half. As I gain endurance though, I can go farther and climb more hills. OK..so back to the bike... I have the old style chain, as the S600 derailleurs are not click-style. A local shop checked it for stretch and said no worries. Something's not quite right with the rear derail. though. It will miss shifts, be noisy and the chain will jump when I apply too much torque in certain gears while climbing hills. Very frustrating as I lose my momentum. One mechanic said my chain looked loose and that having more force from the rear derail. would help. Perhaps when I put it back together, I should have wound the spring an additional turn? Any ideas here? I'm also seriously considering upgrading pedals where I can click-in to use my other muscles for hill climbing. I've come rather far 'flat-footing' it, but still. I need to exercise these other muscles as well. I dug around in my closet and found some old Specialized bike shoes I'd bought with the Rockhopper, mainly because they actually fit my big (14) feet. I noticed a center section on the bottom that pulls out where I can attach a cleat. I don't have the inner metal plate though. Any suggestion on good pedals for the money? Currently everything else is going well. I went riding in town yesterday on a popular road that stretches across the North end. It's fairly flat and it was rather easy. I'm guessing it was maybe 20 miles or so. I'll have to check it in the car as I don't have a bike odo. That's something else I might want to add as well. Any suggestions there? I'm really enjoying riding here in the cooler weather and the freedom of being out in the elements on a bike. I always enjoyed it as a kid. Love going fast on the downhills. Also that I'm in much better shape and only 3 pounds away from losing 10% of my original body weight. I invite any suggestions to upgrading an old bike like this. Next time I'll take some pictures. Riding a bike is more fun and less expensive than joining a health club, though I miss pumping iron. Less gut, more butt is now my motto!