Bonjour riders! Beginner asipiring light-tourer

Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
Hello everyone!

Thanks for accepting me in this group. French guy, stuffed with an Asian face, arrived in Tokyo in Spring 2019.

Beginner rider, I rented some bikes whenever possible during my various travels through Japan. When I could have some nice bikes to travel all day long, the virus started to infect me. Here I am now living in Tokyo and still willing to travel by bike. I now would like to be able to travel multiple days, say 5 days, while covering some 70-ish km per day. This might look like some light-touring. Increasing my biking distance step by step, I recently did a 50km ride. Damn, I was hungry but also confident that I can go further.

I currently have a second hand bike (Grandir sensitive with a Shimano Tourney --__--) to know what I want in a bike and starting to shape myself (and also because I did not have much money when freshly arrived in Tokyo ^^). I have to say I currently have my eyes on the Giant Content AR 2.

Another reason to improve my endurance is my hyperthyroidism (I already tried a treatment and cannot have another treatment now nor soon). I believe that some exercise would help to reduce the tachycardia induced by the hyperthyroidism and would help me to feel better. I am then not aiming for speed but rather steady long rides. If anyone here also has a thyroid issue, I'd like to hear their experience in riding.

What I am looking for in this site:
- Learning about riding: technical stuff about bike, recommended equipment, way of riding, maintenance and stuff. I enjoy discovering technical and detailed things and that apply to bikes as well.
- Routes suggestion and why not participating in some rides !

Thanks for reading so far and happy ride to all!

Alain
 

Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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If anyone here also has a thyroid issue, I'd like to hear their experience in riding.
ça va @Alain !
Welcome. I've got Hashimoto's, which is the opposite to your hyperthyroidism, but the only thing that has affected me is that I sweat more. Otherwise, cycling has made me healthier now as an old man than I have ever been at any other time in my adult life.
I'd consult your doctor, first, though, especially if you have Grave's disease, where exercise can be dangerous.
 

Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
I'd consult your doctor, first, though, especially if you have Grave's disease, where exercise can be dangerous.
Thanks @Kangaeroo! First of all, happy to hear that it did not prevent you from cycling! As for me....shoot, I indeed have the Grave's disease (the auto-immune one) hence the tachycardia. After my treatment failed, I was recommended to do some daily walking to avoid a complete muscly atrophy (I weight 51kg instead of the recommended 57-is kg). I have to do some blood check first, hoping it will not compromise my bike buy, and then find a doctor to consult. Do you have any doctor recommendation?
 
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thooms

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Jul 6, 2019
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Welcome @Alain!

While I'm not a doctor, cycling more seems like it is a form of exercise which can do most people at least some good - you can match the output to what you feel comfortable doing, and getting out and seeing the sights / smelling the trees is always good for the mind, as well as the body :)

If you're looking for a bike to do some touring on, there's one currently in the classifieds which would be the ideal tool for the job.

Salsa Vaya

If the budget and the bike fit you then you could do a lot worse!

Hope to see you out on the road some time :)
 
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Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
Thanks @thooms ! Unfortunately, 200k is a bit out of my budget. The Giant Content AR 2 is already on the top range. I indeed plan to add a rear luggage rack. I definitively need to see trees! You are more than right on that point

Gladly participating someday in some rides!
 
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pedalist

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Hello Alain,
great that you found cycling. To me it has something healing in many ways. But best of all it's real good fun.
I second what @thooms wrote. If your doc told you to do some walking, I feel you should be okay mixing it up with some cycling, since cycling can be done at any level as long as you go fast enough to keep up the balance. (Just for the record: I've got no medical background and a remote diagnosis can never replace a proper medical face-to-face consultation.)
The Giant looks fun, but something like the Vaya sounds not wrong (though I've never had a chance to ride it yet) for the kind of riding you've described in your initial post.
Here are definitly some knowledgeable people around who could share valubale thoughts and advice.
I'm sure you'll find a bike that makes you smile and takes you to the trees.
 

Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
Thanks @luka and @pedalist! So I re-read the offer. I forgot to mention I am 165cm (and 51kg instead of 57 T_T) so it might be a bit big: Salsa recommend 170~178cm rider height. Asian makers might shape Asian bodies better :)
 
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kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
Yes that bike would be a touch big I think. With your budget you can get a very good bike for your needs.
The key point is sizing. You are lucky here in Japan there are many smaller sized bikes. If you want to use panniers maybe look for something with mounts for racks and fenders.

And finally get medical advice about your intended riding.
 

MattRyuu

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Apr 23, 2019
260
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ça va @Alain !
Welcome. I've got Hashimoto's, which is the opposite to your hyperthyroidism, but the only thing that has affected me is that I sweat more. Otherwise, cycling has made me healthier now as an old man than I have ever been at any other time in my adult life.
I'd consult your doctor, first, though, especially if you have Grave's disease, where exercise can be dangerous.
Welcome Alain also have Hypothyroidism. Excersing regularly is critical for me to stay healthy. No negative side effects, and kept my medication levels the same for 13 years.
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
104
140
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51
Hi Alain. As some very low level advice, Japan is a mountainous country where everything flat is built up. To get off the beaten track, get some low gears!

I suppose with touring, the question now is whether you get a touring bike that is rack friendly or go bikepacking on basically any bike you choose. There is very good hiking in Japan, and if you like that, any compact/lightweight camping gear chosen for the bikepacking route would be good for ultralight hiking too. Japan has convenience stores everywhere, so I suppose it is friendly country for people who go minimal.
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
973
376
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Tokyo
"On paper" (the web page you link to), your current bike looks pretty good to me. How are you dissatisfied with it?

(In particular, you're advised above to "get some low gears", but the photo in the web page suggests that the lowest gear of your current bike is lower than the lowest gear of pricier "road bikes" -- and usefully and commendably so.)
 

Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
Riders of all abilities welcome to join the eternal pub-crawl-in-motion we call Half-Fast Cycling.

Thanks! I will have a look

Yes that bike would be a touch big I think. With your budget you can get a very good bike for your needs.
The key point is sizing. You are lucky here in Japan there are many smaller sized bikes. If you want to use panniers maybe look for something with mounts for racks and fenders.

And finally get medical advice about your intended riding.
I will try to find some time next week for the thyroid check

Good point for the rack mount. I thought that panniers could be mounted on most bikes... If the Escape RX Disc can make me save 70k, I will strongly consider that as well :) I will most likely seek advise for bike after the medical check, which worries me a bit beyond cycling.

Welcome Alain also have Hypothyroidism. Excersing regularly is critical for me to stay healthy. No negative side effects, and kept my medication levels the same for 13 years.
@MattRyuu, may I ask if you have undergone any surgery (taking off thyroid or partially removing it)? If you take medication for 13 years, you are most likely taking some levothyroxine. I had a 18 months treatment (thyroid suppressor + levothyroxine), in 2017-2018, and I had to exercise ligthly (walking, sometimes bouldering). However, this treatment seems to have failed and I was not recommended to take another treatment before years. I am now not very comfortable about doing any thyroid surgery...Surprisingly, I feel my heart does not "explode" when I am on my bike. My Fitbit, for what it's worth, measured an average of 130 bpm on some 25 km ride.

Hi Alain. As some very low level advice, Japan is a mountainous country where everything flat is built up. To get off the beaten track, get some low gears!

I suppose with touring, the question now is whether you get a touring bike that is rack friendly or go bikepacking on basically any bike you choose. There is very good hiking in Japan, and if you like that, any compact/lightweight camping gear chosen for the bikepacking route would be good for ultralight hiking too. Japan has convenience stores everywhere, so I suppose it is friendly country for people who go minimal.
Roger for the low gears! I like hiking, not specifically hiking but I like, in general, walking and enjoying landscape. I did not plan to buy a pure touring bike as I initially aimed for a light versatile bike on which I can mount a rack for light luggages, hence my eyes on the Giant Contend series. As you said, it is quite convenient here (food, accommodation...) so it's like that I have to bring my whole house with me. Looking forward those sceneries !

"On paper" (the web page you link to), your current bike looks pretty good to me. How are you dissatisfied with it?

(In particular, you're advised above to "get some low gears", but the photo in the web page suggests that the lowest gear of your current bike is lower than the lowest gear of pricier "road bikes" -- and usefully and commendably so.)
The Grandir I currently have, from the website, has a [14T-28T] cassette, a smaller range compared to the [11~12T - 30~34T] I usually see on road bikes. The geometry is quite a racing angle to me. Brakes got loose quite quickly, which can be replaced, and the gear shifting in the middle is not something I finally like, well I was curious at first. Also, I don't know if, as a beginner, I don't use properly but I feel it quite heavy with its 14.8 kg.
Also, it might be a lack of maintenance of the previous owner or a mistake of mine but I could not pass the highest gear and the front derailleur was a bit offset, few days I bought it (July 2019).
The positive point is that I played with it to learn about bike such as tightening the brakes again, fixing the front derailleur offset...It is alright as a city bike (commuting, supermarket). I did a mistake by trying to fix the rear derailleur (Ooops) without success this time.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
973
376
83
Tokyo
The geometry is quite a racing angle to me.
Stems that raise the handlebar are available.

The very best rim brakes are expensive, but good rim brakes are not.

The Grandir I currently have, from the website, has a [14T-28T] cassette, a smaller range compared to the [11~12T - 30~34T] I usually see on road bikes. [...] and the gear shifting in the middle is not something I finally like, well I was curious at first. [...] I could not pass the highest gear and the front derailleur was a bit offset, few days I bought it
14T-28T on the back is indeed a smaller range than what's common these days. However, you've got a wide range at the front. This combination isn't much favoured these days, and there are some good reasons for the disfavour, but I doubt that any of the reasons are relevant to you -- at least when you get used to a triple chainwheel. (This is what I have on the bike I'll ride in the hills the day after tomorrow. I'm happy with it, even immediately after riding my other bike with a double chainwheel combination more normal these days.)

If the front derailleur is defective, a replacement should be simple and inexpensive. I imagine that some model(s) of Shimano "Sora" front derailleur would do the job.

I feel it quite heavy with its 14.8 kg.
It is. And this matters when you have the bike bagged up and are carrying it across a station. The weight is of no importance when going on the level or downhill; and what matters when going uphill is the total weight of you, the bike, and your luggage.
 

MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
260
228
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@MattRyuu, may I ask if you have undergone any surgery (taking off thyroid or partially removing it)? If you take medication for 13 years, you are most likely taking some levothyroxine. I had a 18 months treatment (thyroid suppressor + levothyroxine), in 2017-2018, and I had to exercise ligthly (walking, sometimes bouldering). However, this treatment seems to have failed and I was not recommended to take another treatment before years. I am now not very comfortable about doing any thyroid surgery...Surprisingly, I feel my heart does not "explode" when I am on my bike. My Fitbit, for what it's worth, measured an average of 130 bpm on some 25 km ride.
@Alain, no surgery for me. It is levothyroxine. I have never once been told to exercise lightly by 3 different docs in the US and 2 in Japan. I did pretty intense bikram yoga training for 5 years (6 days a week x 90 minute and 1 day/week teacher training x 3 hours, all @ 41 C). Been doing FTP training fro the last 2 months. Both have netted a 50-60 bpm resting heart rate.

I am also not comfortable with any thyroid surgery. 130 bpm average on a 25 km ride is reasonable. But again, as everyone else has said, you really need to ask a medical professional.
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
104
140
63
51
Is that a mountain bike triple on the front? It's actually good if it is, because it will be lower than a road bike triple.

Just some advice, but its not worth spending much on the bike you have because 50,000 yen will get you a very good condition second hand sub-10kg bike with Tiagra (2x10) with combined brake/gear levers. That's what I paid for an unridden Liv Avail, which I think is the women's version of the regular (non-gravel) Contend, with new Tiagra, so internal routing off the shifters (hello handlebar bag) and cool four arm crank. 4700 Tiagra usually comes with a 32 cassette, but apparently works with a 36 with no other adjustments.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,773
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
4700 Tiagra usually comes with a 32 cassette, but apparently works with a 36 with no other adjustments.
Officially the RD-4700 GS can be use with a maximum cog of 32T with a triple crank (4703) or a maximum of 34T with a double.
 

stu_kawagoe

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Jun 23, 2018
801
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I didn’t know much about the Contend so thanks for sharing the link. That AR looks like a versatile and decent value for money drop bar bike. I rode an old / cheap bike for ages and I was forever trying to keep it on the road. I now have a new CAAD 12 and I’m enjoying my riding much more than before. YMMV
 

Alain

Plop
Oct 8, 2019
31
41
18
Ebara, Tokyo
Thanks all for your answer. I went to an hospital last Saturday. I'll get the result next Saturday (09th) and a echograph. Verdict on Friday 22th. Let's see how it goes --__--
Tachycardia sounds to be back so I will put sports a little bit on hold ...