How to get Fit on a Bicycle?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thirdcrank
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Re: Cycling fitness

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Sep 2008, 7:11pm

bikely-challenged wrote:Not that it matters, but I'm Mrs Bikely-challenged! :)


What are you doing dealing with correspondence clearly addressed to your husband?

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bikely-challenged
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Re: Cycling fitness

Postby bikely-challenged » 16 Sep 2008, 9:06pm

thirdcrank wrote:
bikely-challenged wrote:Not that it matters, but I'm Mrs Bikely-challenged! :)


What are you doing dealing with correspondence clearly addressed to your husband?


Modern couples* don't necessarily share the same name, his name would be Mr SKILL. (as in the 1970's kids that we were/are, shouting "skill!" when we've pulled off an admirable stunt).

Which reminds me, the last time I had a bike I had a playing card attached to each wheel with clothes pegs. Oh dear, once I get started down memory lane, there's no stopping me :oops:

*well, we were modern once.
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DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.

Dee Jay
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Re: Cycling fitness

Postby Dee Jay » 16 Sep 2008, 9:34pm

bikely-challenged wrote: Modern couples* don't necessarily share the same name


At the risk of further hi-jack of this thread ... this is very true, my husband and I have different surnames.
Dee

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Fletten
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Location: Essex

Postby Fletten » 18 Sep 2008, 5:15pm

I came back to cycling in early 2007 after trying the gym and an exercise bike at home, but as others have said these are boring. I bought a bike and hit the road and soon found I was enjoying it, then a few months ago I developed sciatica this not only stopped me riding but walking and even sitting was painful, I was out of action for 3 months, now it's gone as quick as it came, over the last few weeks I have got back on the road and getting fitter again. I am told the sciatic nerve runs through the pelvis and can be caused by sitting awkwardly and even be provoked by keeping your wallet in your back pocket.
Perhaps my saddle my be the cause, does anybody have any ideas.

HiVis

Postby HiVis » 20 Sep 2008, 10:41pm

I too am very grateful for this post - it has really spurred me on to getting on the bike again. I got the bike recently and started riding in ernest. Then last Saturday morning I made a stupid error and came off the bike, badly grazing my knee, elbow, bike and pride - (bike tyres and wet tram tracks dont like each other do they?). Apart from the discomfort I have probably made too many excuses this week not to ride and I have secretly been quite dissappointed with myself.

Anyway today reading some of these posts has whetted my appetite or the bike again so I have cleaned, lubricated and pumped the tyres ready for 7am tomorrow and will continue with 'operation weight loss' (1/2 stone so far - many more to go).

So to those who never stopped riding - I'm back..........and to those that have stopped......you know you want to start again really!!!

(A quote I really like from Lance Armstrongs autobiography........"Are you ridin' or are you hidin',"........) Motto of the day tomorrow I think!

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UrbanManc
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Postby UrbanManc » 20 Sep 2008, 11:08pm

Fletten wrote:I came back to cycling in early 2007 after trying the gym and an exercise bike at home, but as others have said these are boring. I bought a bike and hit the road and soon found I was enjoying it, then a few months ago I developed sciatica this not only stopped me riding but walking and even sitting was painful, I was out of action for 3 months, now it's gone as quick as it came, over the last few weeks I have got back on the road and getting fitter again. I am told the sciatic nerve runs through the pelvis and can be caused by sitting awkwardly and even be provoked by keeping your wallet in your back pocket.
Perhaps my saddle my be the cause, does anybody have any ideas.


When I first started getting back pain I would have 2 weeks of work and lie on my bed for just as long :? , it's the worst thing you can do .

You must keep moving ,even if it's just walking with some pain.

Pilates is supposed to be great, it helps strengthen the core muscles, check out online video exercises .

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bikely-challenged
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Location: Argyll & Bute

Postby bikely-challenged » 20 Sep 2008, 11:32pm

HiVis wrote:
Anyway today reading some of these posts has whetted my appetite for the bike again so I have cleaned, lubricated and pumped the tyres ready for 7am tomorrow and will continue with 'operation weight loss' (1/2 stone so far - many more to go).



Congratulations on the half stone, keep it up! Procrastination is one of my faults too. I was just thinking this morning: can one learn consistency or is it something you're born with?

Fletten, regarding the backache, don't know about sciatica but my backache has improved hugely since I read Back Sense (thanks beaky) and changed my attitude to the problem.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Back-Sense-Revolutionary-Approach-Ending/dp/0091876737/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221949623&sr=8-3


Sorry, don't know how to make the link small.
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DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 21 Sep 2008, 8:34am

bikely-challenged wrote:I was just thinking this morning: can one learn consistency or is it something you're born with?



Routine is the answer for inconsistency. The trick is get into a routine and do it blindly without thinking about it. If you don't want to do something - thinking presents the opportunity for excuses.

I go to the gym during my dinner hour each day and dislike it - the solution don't even think about what I'm doing - at 12:30 I pick up my gym bag and head out the door without thinking about the gym...

david143
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Postby david143 » 21 Sep 2008, 9:41am

UrbanManc wrote:
mick skinner wrote:. one of the things i love about cycling is that you can make it as hard or as easy as you like....


But if you're basic fitness levels are poor or non existent you can have a chain ring as small as a 5p and you will still be cream crackered.

If you've done little or no activity then you will struggle and probably give up.

It's better getting a decent level of fitness in a controlled environment ( and in the warm ) before setting out on a life of cycling.


Don't agree, and won't agree. Cycling is a great way to start to be more active. It does not require that you workout in a gym to get fit first.

If all you can manage is a few miles, then fine. Work up from there, but I don't believe you should push hard. It is not a race, unless you want it to be! If you do push too hard, you will suffer the next day or so.

BTW- You are still getting exercise pushing uphill. Riding the hills will come. Just don't give up or expect it to happen by tomorrow.

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 21 Sep 2008, 9:50am

UrbanManc wrote:
Fletten wrote:I came back to cycling in early 2007 after trying the gym and an exercise bike at home, but as others have said these are boring. I bought a bike and hit the road and soon found I was enjoying it, then a few months ago I developed sciatica this not only stopped me riding but walking and even sitting was painful, I was out of action for 3 months, now it's gone as quick as it came, over the last few weeks I have got back on the road and getting fitter again. I am told the sciatic nerve runs through the pelvis and can be caused by sitting awkwardly and even be provoked by keeping your wallet in your back pocket.
Perhaps my saddle my be the cause, does anybody have any ideas.


I also suffer with back pain. This was eased somewhat after buying some padded undershorts (despite cycling my furthest in a day). I shall investigate a better saddle as I do stil get back pain. (Not sciatica from cycling, although I do get sciata at other times.)

When I first started getting back pain I would have 2 weeks of work and lie on my bed for just as long :? , it's the worst thing you can do .

You must keep moving ,even if it's just walking with some pain.


These are both absolutely true; you must keep mobile. And I get in the bath - with a book to make sure I stay there for a bit, as I'm an habitual showerer - and that eases the pain, too.

Pilates is supposed to be great, it helps strengthen the core muscles, check out online video exercises .


Pilates is the single - ongoing - thing which has most helped my back pain - I was recommended Pilates by my osteopath. Keeping my weight as low as I can also helps backpain.

So, it's all multifactorial, as everything usually is!

I think I shall take a look at that book - Back Sense.

Dee

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Fletten
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Postby Fletten » 21 Sep 2008, 4:05pm

Thanks everybody for the advice about back pain and also the stirring comments about cycling for fitness.

david143 said:
Cycling is a great way to start to be more active. It does not require that you workout in a gym to get fit first.

If all you can manage is a few miles, then fine. Work up from there, but I don't believe you should push hard. It is not a race, unless you want it to be! If you do push too hard, you will suffer the next day or so.


I agree, when I was at school I hated the gym, yet I cycled to and from school and still went cycling in the evening. When I started work I cycled 14 miles a day and enjoyed it including the frozen eyebrows in the winter.
If I find myself looking for excuses not to ride I remind myself of my Grandad who had to ride to work with a bad leg and could only pedal with one using a fixed wheel bike.
Even though I am retired I still have that love for cycling and as I get fitter I can't wait to get out again. :)

mick skinner
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Postby mick skinner » 23 Sep 2008, 10:44am

fletten; i love to hear those sort of sentiments comming from people of retired age, it backs up my statement about loving cycling because it can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. i know a 72 year old guy who came on holiday to the alps with a group of first cat racers and me, he managed to get up alp d'huez and col du galibier and all sorts of other epic climbs, that sort of thing should be encouragement enough for OP or anyone....

bali

message for bikely-challenged

Postby bali » 26 Sep 2008, 1:14pm

message for bikely-challenged

Hi what type of bike do you have. I recently moved to a hilly area. Previously i had been biking around London on a GT palomar hybrid which was good for Londons flat roads but too heavy and gears didn't shift quick enough for where i am now. As soon as i moved to the hilly area i knew that the bike would not get me to my destination so i saved myself the trouble and didn't bother. I would have had to carry the weight of the bike plus myself. I purchased a 2008 ridgeback mx3 mountain bike with 24gears.... what a beauty. Some people would say that a mountain bike is no good for the roads and it is true. Mountain bikes are heavy and suspension adds weight but for this sort of terrain a road bike would have only done half the job. Especially driving down country roads where you get bumps and things. Sometimes you need to get on to the pavement or you risk getting run over by speeding bullet cars. Therefore you need a mountain type bike. I am extremely impressed with the ridgeback mx3. It is very light even though it has front suspension (which can be turned off and better on the road - hard tail back is an advantage). The tyres are a little on the thinner side so not bad for the road. The V type breaks are better than a disc brake. Disc brakes can be dangerous as the stopping power is grander. (you do not want to be flying down hills with disc brakes. You want to be stopping gradually). Break pads will wear but are replaced cheaply. When i am going up hill i just turn down the gears to 2 and 3 or 2 and 2 (or even 1 and 2) does the job on steeper hills. Then i just sit back and let my legs do the work (not my body. As if you were sat on a chair). It will also prevent damage to your back. Your knees must not lock out it should still be slightly bent or you risk knee damage) Whatever you do do not stand up to go up hill as this will kill your energy. The ridgeback mx3 is a quality lightweight mountain bike. Do not be decieved by the price as what you get is not what you pay for when compared to other bikes in the same price range. It is built with quality throughout and i am surprised it is not more like £500 odd pounds.

I have now been cycling for 2 months 10miles each way 4 days a week having a break on wednesday. (2 days at a time). My travel time has increased from 1hour 20 min door to door to 1 hour 5 min (6.5 min a mile)and believe me where i am is no small hills. I'm sure i will get fitter as time goes by but i do not need to get off the bike. And if i do it is only for a few min cos i can afford it. I think what you need is a bike as good as. If it's the cost you worry about then for me as an example i have already made my money back. If you already have a good bike for the terrain then consider your posture, even clothing. If you dont cycle right then you will not get fitter and risk damage to your body. Also breath correctly. I would be interesed to hear your opinion.

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bikely-challenged
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Postby bikely-challenged » 26 Sep 2008, 3:47pm

Hi Bali
Funny you should mention a Ridgeback. I was looking for a suitable bike for ages and did loads of research online. I live a long way from any decent bike shops and by asking lots of questions in various forums I narrowed down my choices to a Ridgeback MX2 and a Specialized Hardrock.

Found a Ridgeback stockist and by far the comfiest bike I tried was a Ridgeback MXK. The only trouble was that I was clinging to a tiny budget (£200) and didn't want to spend £300, so I didn't buy it.

Eventually the penny dropped and I realised I wouldn't get what I wanted for £200 and spent £350 on my bike, a Marin Stinson.

The Marin has quite a similar spec to the Ridgeback MXK, but I wish I'd bought the MXK - it was so comfy. As soon as I left the store I wished I'd bought it and have regretted not doing so ever since.

The Marin is OK, I think it's my general lack of fitness and strength rather than the bike that's letting me down.

Thanks for the tips.
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DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.

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hatless
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Postby hatless » 27 Sep 2008, 11:49pm

Earlier this year, when I'd just bought a second-hand road bike, I posted on here complaining that the lowest gear wasn't really low enough for the hills round here. One hill in particular. Amongst the advice was a comment from one person that I just had to keep going out a few times a week and build up my strength.

I found that a bit discouraging, but I think it was right. I did keep going out, and the hill got a bit easier. These days I go up it with a couple of gears to spare, and rather enjoy the challenge. If there's a following wind I'll try to get up without letting the speed drop below 8mph.

I'm not sure there are right and wrong ways to practise and train. If you keep doing something often enough for long enough you will get better. And as you get better, you'll enjoy it more and more.