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New to cycling - old bike, even older bloke!

AlfaKenAlfaKen Posts: 3
edited June 2009 in Road beginners
Hello all - newbie here.

I am trying to get fit and a friend has donated his bike to the endeavour.
It's a Carlton ProAm 12 from about 1975 so no new technology here!

As I live in Sheffield just about everywhere is a hill to climb and I just can't do it - yet!!
I've only been having a go for a couple of weeks and whilst I like the Hope Valley (flat) I take the bike in my car - I can hear the groans now but please stay with me.

Temporarily, I wonder if I can change the gearing to suit the hills more?
Currently it has 52/42 (stamped on rings) and 12/23 (I think - it was mesmerising to count).

All advice greatly welcome, but please bear in mind I don't know the ins and outs.



  • Hello,

    are you sure he's a friend if he's given you a 52/42 and 12/23 to start off on around Sheffield? I think that's called 'tough love'.

    I'd stick with working on your fitness in the Valleys for now and save some cash for a more forgiving bike. The cheapest upgrade you could do is change the cassette to a 12-27 but as you're working with old components that might prove tricky. Might be an idea to let your local bike shop, LBS, take a look.

    One of the first lessons I learned was that, 'this isn't going to be cheap.' Mind I don't begrudge a penny.

    Good luck.
    If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Hi Ken

    Your gearing seems high to me, you could certainly sort out some easier ratios. Perhaps getting your local bike shop to fit a new rear sprocket (and chain probably) might be the easier option. If this is not possible then you could change one or both of the front rings or even but on a new chain set (which included the cranks as well).

    A word of warning though - the fact that your bike is old 'may' mean that finding replacements may be more complicated than with a more modern bike....but I'm only guessing on this. I'd get a quote first as you'll be surprised how much this sort of thing can cost.

    Good luck with it all.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • bazza59bazza59 Posts: 33

    I did something similar two summers ago. I bought a NOS townshend for next to nothing but lucky for me it had a 14/28 on the back. Even so I stayed away from anything that could be classed as a hill for a long time until I got some miles into my legs. After several months I decided that cycling and I agreed so I looked on ebay for something better (and also something that was the correct size :oops: ). Got a carrera vanquish with a triple and then started to look for hills, smallish ones first and then bigger ones.

    As previously said it might be worth trying your local bike shop to see if they have a 6 speed freewheel that would make hills easier.

    good luck baz
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    You can do what I did with an old Raleigh. Like yours it has an 53/42 crankset and I kept that. The freewheel is no problem Shimano do a screw on 7 speed freewheel in a 14/28 and that is ok for most hills, you will need a chain to go with it, total cost about £20 if you shop around on Ebay.
  • AlfaKenAlfaKen Posts: 3
    Hi again - what a good forum!

    Thanks for all the replies and advice.
    I took the bike to a LBS - who was very good with free advice, the kind of older, proper individual shop rather than the high turnover places round here.

    The upshot being he can sort me out with a triple at the front and matching cassette.
    This should give me the opportunity to cycle straight from home (in a while that is).
    Much cheaper than I thought it was going to be too. I can always revert to the original pattern when I am good enough.

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