Comfort and Practicality

Good Morning!

My preparation for the journey has been a continuous process. I’ve made a couple of changes to my bike to prepare for the many miles ahead of me. One of those changes is the handlebars. Typically, a mountain bike comes with straight handlebars and they work great in typical mountain bike conditions. One of the challenges I’ve experienced with straight handlebars is the numbing of my hands with the constant pressure between my thumb and forefinger. I experienced this sensation on long distance motorcycle trips as well. I did try gel grips in the past, but that didn’t stop the numbing, it just delayed it.

The constant pressure numbing can be avoided by being changing your hand position. On previous mountain bikes I had “bull bar” extensions which gave me the opportunity to change my hand position from horizontal to vertical.

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Some bike tourers opt for “down bars” which you’ve seen on Road Bikes. These bars give you the option of a higher horizontal position, and two lower vertical positions. These bars are great on my road bike for short (50 mile) rides, but something tells me leaning over for days on end will be felt in my lower back.

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The bars I opted for are called “butterfly bars.” These bars give you many hand position options. I did a little research and found the positioning of the components (brakes, shifters and grips) that works for me. The rest of the bar is covered with rubber foam tubing for cushioning.

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As you can see, these handlebars give me many hand positions to avoid hand numbing.

Another change I made to my bike is the pedal stirrups. The purpose of having your feet attached to a bicycle is to divide the effort used to pedal yourself forward. When pedaling, you are pushing down and forward with each foot, one at a time. When a pedal attachment is added, you are able to pull up with one foot as the other is pushing down, therefore you are reducing the amount of pushing force necessary and using different muscles.

On my road bike, I have bike pedal clips which lock your shoes onto your pedals. The thought of having my feet locked on didn’t sound very appealing considering I’ll be going through various road conditions and pulling a little trailer. This is an example of a “clip.”

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The other type of stirrup that has been around forever has a strap that allows you to tighten or loosen the fit around your shoe. The challenge I experience with these stirrups is being able to pull my foot out quickly when need be.

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While researching pedals, I came upon the stirrups I ended up ordering for my bike. The concept sounded good so I had to try them…

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This type of stirrup allows you to position your foot forward to be able to pull your pedal up (as the other two types do as well), but without the straps I can easily pull my foot off the pedal. On my last training ride, I rode about 10 miles off road through the twisting and turning trails of the Santa Rosa Plateau and the stirrups worked great. Problem solved!

Thank you for following along as I prepare for my adventure. I’m trying to be as prepared as I can be, but life is full of surprises that we can’t always be prepared for. Today is the day my cousin is going to have an open heart surgery. He’s strong and healthy so there shouldn’t be any complications. Today is also the day a cycling friend will be having a hernia surgery. Situations like this are reasons why we should be following our dreams and pursuing our goals while we can. I could be wrong, but none of us are getting any younger and time cannot be replaced.

Please pray for my cousin and friend because positive enery is everything. Thanks again, and have a Wonderful Day!

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4 thoughts on “Comfort and Practicality

    1. Hi John! I should have mentioned that I did test ride the bars and they work great. I was concerned about them flexing when my hands were on the grips, but I didn’t notice any at all.

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