How to get Fit on a Bicycle?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
slim

Postby slim » 30 Sep 2008, 4:29pm

Just had to jump in here with a comment about my own experience ...

The last time I did anything you can call exercise was 17 years ago and I am now 56 ... I decided I would get myself a bike and rather stupidly, without doing any research or knowing anything about bikes, (the last time I owned one was forty years ago and that was a Raliegh with a Sturmy Archer three speed, which was always stuck in the hardest gear) ...so I went to Halfords and bought myself a shiny, new, full suspension, cheap, Appollo mountain bike that 'looked' about the right size for me!!.

Anyway the first day I went out I did about a half a mile before deciding to go back home.....the second day I forced myself to ride to the next village and back....which was a total of about five miles...and when I got home from that journey my legs were like jelly and my heart was thumping for ages. I forced myself to do the same trip every day for seven weeks with hardly any sign of improvement, the eighth week was very windy and seemed even worse than the first...the only thing I could actually say 'was' improving was how long it took me to recover from the trip....I am now on week eleven and doing the 5 miles 'twice' a day.. which I couldn't possibly have done at the beginning and I am getting slightly faster too!!

I am really shocked by just how hard it is to get back into any kind of fitness..when I was young 'any' exercise was like topping up a new battery but now it's like trying to recharge an old dud one... but anyway the thing is that however slowly it is ...I 'am' improving and actually do feel more energetic..... I might even consider taking some of the advice I am only 'now' reading on these web sites and getting myself a 'good' bike because I am starting to enjoy it so much.

I want to say that what I have been reading on here has also helped to keep me going, that's why I had to make a comment.

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cranky
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Postby cranky » 30 Sep 2008, 4:34pm

Speaking as one old dud battery to another...."well done" :)
Iain

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pamac51
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Postby pamac51 » 1 Oct 2008, 9:10am

At the ripe old age of 56, I bought myself a Scott ATB last August. Although I had owned a bicycle of various types over the years, I never considered myself as a regular cyclist/cycle user. My first forays on my new bike amounted to a circular route of about 8 miles which would leave me puffing and panting and sore in all sorts of places. Since then I have persevered and now think nothing of a quick 20 miler if I am stuck for time but have been known to complete a 67 mile trip with no real problems. I enjoy the exercise and the sense of achievement and set myself goals such as do a complete trip in the highest gear/faster time. My (very novice) advice to anyone is to keep at it!

Firebird

Bike Fitness

Postby Firebird » 2 Oct 2008, 12:21pm

Three years ago I couldn't have cycled to the end of our street. Got an ancient but worthy folding bike from the free ads for a tenner, and off I went... Now have a hybrid cycle as well. My distance has grown considerably and now I can tackle hills without having a fit of the vapours!

Somtimes it's as much what's going on in your head, as what's going on down by the pedals. Get it in your mind that you are going to tackle the hilly bits one day, and you will.

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 2 Oct 2008, 12:29pm

Firebird: well done!

Your weight loss and increasing fitness is impressive!

I shall look out for the series ... will you let us know when it will be broadcast?
Dee

slim

Postby slim » 2 Oct 2008, 1:39pm

Hey ..yes well done Firebird I will be looking out for that myself...I am lucky I don't have the problem of weight to contend with.

I sure agree with you about it being what goes on in your head that makes a difference ...when I was young and did anything 'sporting' I would often feel completely defeated and give up because no matter how hard I tried there would always be someone fitter and better who could beat me.......but now my mindset is that the only person I care about beating is 'myself' and it's surprising just how much difference it makes not to feel like I have to be in some kind of competition with other people............I don't care if someone even older than I am goes wizzing past me!

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 6 Oct 2008, 10:24am

A fitness observation confirmation:

I cycled 18 miles yesterday - not having cycled for 2 weeks - and felt rather more tired than I was expecting to feel.

Compared with ... 4 weeks ago (first time on a bike post-surgery) ... my mileage was as follows: Monday - 5 miles, Wednesday - 9 miles, Friday - 12 miles ... the following (a week later) Saturday - 19 miles. And I didn't feel a fraction as tired, as I was building on my fitness level.

I know that this is nothing we don't know, in theory, but it's good to see it working, in practice.
Dee

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 6 Oct 2008, 10:26am

slim wrote:but now my mindset is that the only person I care about beating is 'myself'


This is very true.
Dee

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meic
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Postby meic » 6 Oct 2008, 11:04am

Slim's story is quite a common one and pretty much like my own. One thing I would say is that the improvement is not always obvious.
Some of my regular rides still seem to go slowly and you feel weak doing them but when you look at the times they are always going down if it wasnt for the clock you would not notice how much you have improved.
Also for the majority of the population their fitness and health is in a state of DECLINE so even staying at the same level of fitness is a 'victory'.
Yma o Hyd

mick146
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Getting fit on a bike.

Postby mick146 » 28 Dec 2008, 7:46pm

When I came back into cycling...I don't really know how long ago,about 6 or 7 years ....riding was torture.

I hadn't done much real excercise since my teens...apart from a short spell when I was keen on swimming,and in 1976 three of us spent the Spring training like mad,and walked the Cleveland Way in 7 days.

I certanly hadn't ridden a bike since I was about 20....I'm 68 now.

I came back into cycling when I decided to pack in with motorbikes...I couldn't afford to run both a car and the motorbike.

At first I would be cycling into town (five miles),and as I was nearly there I would find myself thinking"Oh Hell...I have to get back home on this thing afterwards"...No kidding,the thought was daunting,but gradually I started to enjoy the trip.

Now,although I'm not a high speed cyclist...(My bike is always carrying panniers,sometimes heavily loaded with shopping ..with only a bike,I have to call at the supermarket more often because of my lower luggage capacity),I often come home a via a much longer route,just for the fun...30 miles a day is enough,I do ten miles most days,20 a lot of days,and 30 some days.

My bike is now my only means of transport...I must admit,though,I've used the bus quite a bit during the recent cold weather.

So I would say...just keep practising...as you get fitter,you will enjoy your cycling more and more.

If anyone asks why I like cycling,I say "It's fast enough to cover a fair distance,slow enough to look around at the countryside,and you can stop anywhere you like to have a better look,or take a photograph or two"

I personally am so very glad I took up cycling...I would most likely have been an old wreck by now if I hadn't.
Old enough to know better.

drossall
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Postby drossall » 28 Dec 2008, 9:43pm

I'm inclined to think that the best way to find a hill easier is to look for a bigger hill and ride up that. This is a serious suggestion, in that cycling is partly physical and partly attitude, and if you don't think a hill is huge at the start (because it's smaller than the one you did last week), that's half the battle.

Basically, this just comes down to what everyone else said - keep trying :)

Go to the gym if you're the kind that likes to do that, but cycling is meant to be something you can do without going into training, provided that you are prepared to take it sensibly and progress gently.

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 17 Jan 2009, 7:03am

Another fitness observation

Like *everyone* I have had the lurgi. I didn't cycle for 32 days! In that time I have only had 2 X 2 walks, weeks apart.

On Friday, I went out on my bike with 2 friends from our cycling club - we have all been ill. We did 14 miles (avoiding the hills, insofar as this is possible in Devon!) and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes: I felt a bit tired, but done in. Almost no stiffness the following day. And I certainly didn't feel that I had lost all fitness. So, it's all good.

My cycling companions are both far better cyclists than I am. They had to wait for me at the top of a hill, and when I got to the top I said that I would have got off and pushed and if they hadn't been with me!

Feeling in good spirits - the lurgi is so demoralising - and hoping to get out again today before the weather sets in.
Dee

overhoist
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Re: How to get Fit on a Bicycle?

Postby overhoist » 26 Apr 2009, 6:52pm

Hi, only joined when i found this post browsing the net, and decided to join.

i have only been cycling since sept, and before that and very briefly about 5 years before that.

but this time the focus is better,going on longer rides, but when you havent done it for ages, you forget how hard it is!
but it never seems easy either

i failed on one hill, ended up walking up it, but i think i used the wrong tactics, i tried to attack it, got up it the next week though
and i find any gains seem very hard got, not sure if its the age,or the fact of not being very fit.
when i started it was only short runs, 6 mile 10, 18. now its 25 to 30, with the odd 40 chucked in, and i am cream crackered after that

and any gains you get always seem easier to lose that gain, but keep it up

kwackers
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Re: How to get Fit on a Bicycle?

Postby kwackers » 26 Apr 2009, 7:42pm

overhoist wrote:Hi, only joined when i found this post browsing the net, and decided to join.

i have only been cycling since sept, and before that and very briefly about 5 years before that.

but this time the focus is better,going on longer rides, but when you havent done it for ages, you forget how hard it is!
but it never seems easy either

i failed on one hill, ended up walking up it, but i think i used the wrong tactics, i tried to attack it, got up it the next week though
and i find any gains seem very hard got, not sure if its the age,or the fact of not being very fit.
when i started it was only short runs, 6 mile 10, 18. now its 25 to 30, with the odd 40 chucked in, and i am cream crackered after that

and any gains you get always seem easier to lose that gain, but keep it up


It never 'seems' to get easier because you ride to a difficulty level. If you did one of your early 6 mile runs at the speed you did it then you'd be amazed how easy it is.
As you got fitter you cycled further and probably faster, therefore it feels just has hard. Sounds like you're doing well though!

overhoist
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Location: lanarkshire

Re: How to get Fit on a Bicycle?

Postby overhoist » 26 Apr 2009, 7:44pm

thanks, it doesnt feel it at times, and the amount of guys that fly past me when im out!!!