Rediscovering me

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#1
Hi all,

I started cycling when I was 10 - raced 12 through 17 and then discovered women and booze. After college I moved to Japan and discovered skiing and then motor racing. I was home in Ireland just last week and took to the roads again on a 23 year Eddy Merckx after quite a break.

The Merckx is my dads winter bike, rusted and heavy but it didn't matter. Out on the country lanes in the open air with my 76 year old dad and almost zero cars was a true blast. I got a little fitter in those 2 weeks I was home and I got to love the bike again. My arse of course would tell a different tale on that old rolls saddle but we won't ask it nor let it type this mail.

So I'm back in Japan and hungry for open roads and I've no gear. I have a jersey from my old team a pair of old compaqnolo shorts and some gloves but no ride. I hit the gym and got on the exercise bike for an hour but its missing everything that makes cycling great so that is not going to last.

I've owned 2 bikes over the years. I started on a DAWES an English brand probably long gone and I remember it being about 27lbs. It had remolds tubing so it didn't matter as that was cool. I do believe I won my first race on it. I then owned and raced a Peugeot made from some spiffy Columbus tubing and went all out on a MAVIC group set (I see they no longer make them). I think it weighed it at a stunning 23lbs. In those days we'd laugh at the thought of something less than 20lbs as you would blow away. Maybe its less windy now??? My mother gave that one away when I moved to Japan... It would be about 30 years old or so now though.

I dropped into Y's in Shibuya recently and ran into Eric who is also on this forum and he was kind enough to update me on the ins and outs of new bikes.

Currently my heart is telling me to get some awesome kit, get out training and go back racing again. Racing is hard work though and takes long hours of training, intervals, climbing etc... I found I'd lost quite a lot of my balance skills over my idle period, can't see me sitting in a bunch just yet either so the brain is asking hard questions. I'll stick with a goal of training and getting fit again just now and see where that takes me perhaps.

One of the main issues I have is facing Tokyo traffic and the continuous traffic lights all timed to make you stop at each one (at least in a car). I'm a country man you see. Think - rolling country lanes barely wide enough for two cars and bounded by green ditches. You might meet about 20 cars on a 60km ride and you rarely put a foot down at a crossing if ever. That is cycling beauty to me - the odd bee hopping off your face as you greet it along the way. I'm a little worried I won't find cycling zen here and my passion will disappear until my Merckx is 24 and I'm in Ireland again. Hey perhaps this is my mid-life crises finally :rolleyes:

Location wise - I'm living just south-west of Shibuya in a place called Gakugeidaigaku - ~50 minutes by Shank's mare or 15 by locomotion :)

So - I'm Tom and I'm happy to be here. Hope to see you all around at some stage... If you see anyone in a purple and yellow jersey with a big "Wexford Wheelers" on it - you'll more than likely have found me. Hopefully, I'll be on a :bike: by then!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
Welcome Tom,

Never fear there is a lot of cycling Zen here! More than you could wish for in fact! (I do have a small imagination though so there is probably a lot more than what I could wish for)

Many riders in central Tokyo will be able to guide you out of the labyrinth of Tokyo – unfortunately living in one of the biggest ant farms in the world traffic is always going to be a problem – but a 30 minute scoot will get you on to one of the rivers and the great green yonder!
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#3
Thanks for the welcome. It's funny but my imagine of cycling on a river path involves a mountain bike and people dodging so I always laughed when people suggested it before as a place to take a road bike. I'll just have to get out there and try it out me thinks!

Anyone know any good links on calculating a correct (albeit rough) frame size for road racing? Frame design has changed so much I fear that my old formulas won't mean anything. I can't recall what frame size I used to ride when I was 17 but I think it was getting a bit small... I'd like to know if I'm a 56, a 57 or a 58 so I can weigh up my options in shop.

Tom.
 
May 22, 2007
3,619
1,455
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#4
Thanks for the welcome. It's funny but my imagine of cycling on a river path involves a mountain bike and people dodging so I always laughed when people suggested it before as a place to take a road bike. I'll just have to get out there and try it out me thinks!
Imagine an airport runway, but with kids playing baseball at the side. That's the lower 25km of the Arakawa Cycle Path. They are often 'designated emergency roads' for vehicle access during a disaster response. Try not to hit the gates with your derailleur.
 

mxs

Speeding Up
May 14, 2010
65
13
28
Tokyo, Japan
#5
Anyone know any good links on calculating a correct (albeit rough) frame size for road racing? Frame design has changed so much I fear that my old formulas won't mean anything. I can't recall what frame size I used to ride when I was 17 but I think it was getting a bit small... I'd like to know if I'm a 56, a 57 or a 58 so I can weigh up my options in shop.
Here is a link to Competitive Cyclist's fit calculator
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#6
Welcome Tom!

Sounds like you are going down a very familiar road to a lot of us here!

if you want a good look at the cycling path from the comfort of your home, just take a look on Google Map's street view, any of the bridges that cross the river you can take a look down on the cycling path, and many are very visible from nearby roads, as well as the pics people upload from the area. For me, I hate riding on those paths on a Sunday, it is like Mike says, a long smooth straight piece of pavement with a million little kids, dogs, old ladies and sports on either side, that will without any warning just jump in your path. I find riding in Tokyo traffic with my trailer loaded with beer much less stressful.

If you really want to get out of Tokyo get yourself a bike and a Rinko bag for it, grab a train and go just a short way out of the city on the train and you will be much better off.

Cheers!
 

DeltaForce

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Sep 17, 2011
204
25
48
Toki, Gifu
#8
Welcome Tom

Yes, you sound just like me 8 months ago. Got my old bike (1980's) from my parents house on a rare visit back to NZ and started riding about, rediscovering myself, and several old riding buddies. We've all aged a bit though.

The river is a good way to start, getting out of the metropolis. Have to take it slow though. Over the last few months, I've found some good wide roads with not too much traffic that take me out to the mountains. Google maps and following other TCCers around helped me out there.

Dave
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#9
Seems I'm way off on the river paths then. I'll have to try going down to tamagawa to have a look in person as that's probably the closest one. Had a brief look with google maps too as suggested and it looks decent but hard to tell in the few short poke arounds I did just now. Will browse some more after. Thanks for the idea!

Tom.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
2,445
922
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#10
One of the main issues I have is facing Tokyo traffic and the continuous traffic lights all timed to make you stop at each one (at least in a car). I'm a country man you see.
For years I resisted moving to Tokyo because of the country man in me. Those narrow roads made me claustrophobic. I hated the traffic. Finally I gave in and we moved here. The narrow roads no longer bother me, now that I'm on a bike. I've seen more of the countryside over the last 9 months that I rode my bicycle here than when I still lived at the edge of the countryside in Yokohama, because I started riding a bicycle again.

It doesn't matter much what you start riding with. Before I got my current bike, I already did 50 km rides on my wife's mamachari (shopping bike) and a single speed folding bike. Neither fit me very well, but I did not let that stop me. Once you develop a taste for riding again, you'll find a bike that suits your needs.
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
8
38
kanazawa
#11
Hello Tom!

Just to add my personal experience, I did a 3-month internship a few months ago in Tokyo. I went out and bough my first road bike in the first ten days I was there. Looking back at it, it is probably the best decision and the best money I've spent in the past 5 years!

Riding to/from work almost every day, my fitness improved, and so did my mood :cool:. Takes a bit of getting used to the traffic, but soon you'll build up confidence and while at it, you might start ditching the monstrous train system.

Then there'd be the adventurous rides on the weekends, something strangely liberating and intoxicating. Back in Ishikawa, I still push for longer rides, to places I've never been, with just a map in my pocket. Just love the feeling of riding to new places, I'm sure Tokyo has to offer many of them!

Regarding tamagawa, I really liked it. Sure, from time to time you'll have to interact with other pesky... humans but it's not that bad, not bad at all :D!

From what you've shared so far, probably the bike will be a great way to rediscover yourself! And, why not, bring your family into it and enjoy with them.

Wish you the best and have fun!
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#12
It's amazing how many of you there are out there!!! I'm pretty determined to buy a bike and get out there. I'm sure I'll get the hang of the city traffic on my way to freedom. Been reading up on lots of things like Steel vs Alum vs Carb vs Titan and ultegra vs 105... I don't want to blow my life's savings on a bike but also I don't want to skimp on the finer enjoyment of nice equipment and something I can actually end up racing on if I was to really get in to it again. I'm starting to think the CAAD10 Ultegra is probably a very decent weapon from the reviews etc I've read... I need to actually take my measurements now though and see if Japan will have my frame size. Looks like they only go as far as a 56. I guess I could import a bigger one on my own worst case if the size is not available.

Anyway - cheers for all the input so far!

Tom.
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
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#13
It's amazing what you can think of when you start thinking about something... I had no idea what size I used to ride until just now... I was having trouble because we used to use inches in Ireland for bike sizes which is why I couldn't recall a cm size.

My old Dawes bike was 21 inches and my Peugeot was 23 inches... 23" is around 58 to 59 cm so I guess I know what to expect now unless sizing has changed over the years. I could have rode a 24" bike as I recall but I kind of liked the handling of the smaller size at the time.

Anyway, I gotta use the fit calculator to check my actual sizing these days but the other half has gone out again and the cat is not very good with measuring tape.

Tom.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#14
Sizing these days is not really about the seat tube. Almost every bike is designed more around the stack and reach measurements. My custom steel team bike is a 54 ish ST - but my carbon bike is a 51. Both have nearly the same effective top tube length and the carbon has a shorter headtube. Remember - no quill stem these days. More aggressive riders tend to size the frame down as far as possible then balance position by use of stem length and saddle set back. The smaller frames are a bit stiffer and lighter - as well as a little shorter wheelbase giving them a bit more agility in circuit racing. of course you don't want the frame too small or you'll be generally putting too much weight forward of the frame and the bike will tend to skip in the sprints and display other 'too small' characteristics. Anyway - it's a whole new world out there! (Compared to 15-20yrs ago!)
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#15
I'm starting to think the CAAD10 Ultegra is probably a very decent weapon from the reviews etc I've read.
As an owner of a CAAD10 I can tell you first hand that it is a great performer and, IMHO, one of the best values in the market. That being said, it has a pretty aggressive race geometry that isn't suited to everyone. As I'm sure everyone else here will agree, first and foremost is getting a proper fit and from there a properly fitted bike. By that I mean one that not only fits your measurements, but also your current flexibility, fitness level and riding style.
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#16
Great info Tim. I just looked up "stem" on wikipedia and it explained the quill vs the threadless. I wasn't aware of the term "quill stem" before but its all I've ever used. Some of the stem designs that I've been seeing recently make sense now that I see its a whole different way of doing it. Not a fan of the look of the stems that raise up at an angle too much but I guess it can be a necessary evil if you need the extra height. Maybe I'll (have to) get used to the look :)

Anyway - thanks for the sizing info update and the comparison of your different frame sizes. It helped believe it or not. The rear wheel skipping thing is interesting too because I had that on my 21" frame quite a lot in sprint finishes as I outgrew it but never thought about it too much before.

Tom.

Sizing these days is not really about the seat tube. Almost every bike is designed more around the stack and reach measurements. My custom steel team bike is a 54 ish ST - but my carbon bike is a 51. Both have nearly the same effective top tube length and the carbon has a shorter headtube. Remember - no quill stem these days. More aggressive riders tend to size the frame down as far as possible then balance position by use of stem length and saddle set back. The smaller frames are a bit stiffer and lighter - as well as a little shorter wheelbase giving them a bit more agility in circuit racing. of course you don't want the frame too small or you'll be generally putting too much weight forward of the frame and the bike will tend to skip in the sprints and display other 'too small' characteristics. Anyway - it's a whole new world out there! (Compared to 15-20yrs ago!)
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#17
Hi Pete,

Yes - I've read up some great things about the CAAD10. Great to hear another approval. Regarding race geometry vs something more relaxed -you are right. I can only say that I'll know what position I like when I get on the bike. On my recent rides in Ireland, I'd the bars down around 2"~3" or so below the saddle (as that is as far as the front brake cable would stretch) and mostly took up "cross the stem" and "squeeze the caliper-hood" positions. I did a couple of short sprints down low but my lungs couldn't keep up with my "heart". That position was a little too low for me as it put a little too much pressure on my hands but I'd dislike being too far up also.

Tom.

As an owner of a CAAD10 I can tell you first hand that it is a great performer and, IMHO, one of the best values in the market. That being said, it has a pretty aggressive race geometry that isn't suited to everyone. As I'm sure everyone else here will agree, first and foremost is getting a proper fit and from there a properly fitted bike. By that I mean one that not only fits your measurements, but also your current flexibility, fitness level and riding style.
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#18
Hi Pete,

Yes - I've read up some great things about the CAAD10. Great to hear another approval. Regarding race geometry vs something more relaxed -you are right. I can only say that I'll know what position I like when I get on the bike. On my recent rides in Ireland, I'd the bars down around 2"~3" or so below the saddle (as that is as far as the front brake cable would stretch) and mostly took up "cross the stem" and "squeeze the caliper-hood" positions. I did a couple of short sprints down low but my lungs couldn't keep up with my "heart". That position was a little too low for me as it put a little too much pressure on my hands but I'd dislike being too far up also.

Tom.
It sounds like you are doing your homework so kudos to you! With so many potential variables, you definitely want to make educated decisions. Good luck with the process!
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,049
636
133
Tokyo
#19
Here is a link to Competitive Cyclist's fit calculator
Ok - so I've been playing with the measuring tape and this site for two days now. I'm glad I re-measured as my gf had read the tape backwards and one of the measurements was 10cm out. lol.

So here is what I got.

Measurements
-------------------------------------------
Inseam: 86
Trunk: 66.5
Forearm: 37
Arm: 68
Thigh: 65
Lower Leg: 57
Sternal Notch: 152
Total Body Height: 185


The Competitive Fit (cm)
-------------------------------------------
Seat tube range c-c: 55.7 - 56.2
Seat tube range c-t: 57.4 - 57.9
Top tube length: 55.9 - 56.3
Stem Length: 11.8 - 12.4
BB-Saddle Position: 73.7 - 75.7
Saddle-Handlebar: 56.0 - 56.6
Saddle Setback: 6.8 - 7.2


The Eddy Fit (cm)
-------------------------------------------
Seat tube range c-c: 56.9 - 57.4
Seat tube range c-t: 58.6 - 59.1
Top tube length: 55.9 - 56.3
Stem Length: 10.7 - 11.3
BB-Saddle Position: 72.9 - 74.9
Saddle-Handlebar: 56.8 - 57.4
Saddle Setback: 8.0 - 8.4

Looking at the CAAD10 frame geo on the Cannondale website:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn.cannondale.com%2Fcatalog%2Fproduct%2Fc%2F1%2Fc12-geo-caad10_51.gif&hash=71f8f498277ea2279e304ba289f5220e


Going by the horizontal top tube length, the size 56 frame seems good but the seat tube center-to-center measurement seems a little short for me. Saddle would just be higher I guess. Or is the 58 the better fit with a shorter stem than recommended.

Not decided on the CAAD10 yet but am interested in this whole sizing thing.

If I use another site that just takes my inside leg and height, it seems to recommend a size 60cm frame, but I guess the more measurements I take the better the fit.

Interested in what you guys think.

Tom.

PS. I'm not so heavy (I think). I'm mostly ~76kg currently.