I'm getting fitter. Hoorah !

ChrisP100
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Joined: 24 Sep 2020, 9:00am

I'm getting fitter. Hoorah !

Postby ChrisP100 » 24 Nov 2020, 1:18pm

I've recently (less than 6 months) returned to cycling. I'm in my mid-40's, and I'm commuting daily, over 10km each way with a hill at either end.

Before I started commuting, I did a few weeks of training rides, including short hill reps and time in the saddle to improve my road craft. I used to cycle a lot as a kid (road), and did a lot of mountain biking in my 20's, so I technically wasn't starting from scratch, and I did have some limited base fitness from running, although I'd let myself go a bit and was starting to get a bit squidgy round the edges.

My fighting weight is pretty much bang on 63kg, and I was nearer to 70kg before I got back in the saddle. I'm now back to 65kg, and I've lost a couple of belt notches to boot.

I'm now finding that I'm recovering faster between rides, and not as fatigued at the end of the week. This morning on the way into work I actually managed to leave a cog on the cassette going up the hill (44-32/12-32, 14-speed) which is no mean feat on my 7-speed less than close ratio rear cassette. I'm normally 32/32 at the steepest part of the hill, but next cog down is 26, so a fairly hefty jump, for me anyway.

I'm just happy to be out, and getting fitter in the process.
Last edited by ChrisP100 on 24 Nov 2020, 3:58pm, edited 2 times in total.

hamster
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby hamster » 24 Nov 2020, 1:29pm

Well done! Keep it up and (as you say) suddenly things start to get easier.

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simonineaston
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby simonineaston » 24 Nov 2020, 1:33pm

I actually managed to leave a cog on the cassette going up the hill
Don't worry - you can pick it up on the way home :wink:
No but seriously, glad it's working for you - I miss my modest commute since I started wfh. I always remember a medic I used to work with, who did the 4 miles between his house and Northwick Park Hosp. where we both worked, on a 3-speed shopper. "Why?" I asked. He replied, "Because, bicycles being so efficient, I'd get no exercise at all on a decent bike!"
byyeee,
SiE

Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby Tangled Metal » 24 Nov 2020, 2:35pm

Wasn't there a guy on a cycling forum who races complaining about being dropped on a hill by a guy on an old royal mail delivery bike. Single speed and weighs a tonne without letters!

Turns out the postie was well known in the area as a semi pro cyclist who regularly races in the highest UK categories. I think a lot had the opinion that being dropped by him on hills was still acceptable performance.

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 24 Nov 2020, 3:01pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Wasn't there a guy on a cycling forum who races complaining about being dropped on a hill by a guy on an old royal mail delivery bike. Single speed and weighs a tonne without letters!

Turns out the postie was well known in the area as a semi pro cyclist who regularly races in the highest UK categories. I think a lot had the opinion that being dropped by him on hills was still acceptable performance.

Never underestimate ‘shirtless Keith’

https://vimeo.com/211342610

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 24 Nov 2020, 3:07pm

simonineaston wrote:No but seriously, glad it's working for you - I miss my modest commute since I started wfh. I always remember a medic I used to work with, who did the 4 miles between his house and Northwick Park Hosp. where we both worked, on a 3-speed shopper. "Why?" I asked. He replied, "Because, bicycles being so efficient, I'd get no exercise at all on a decent bike!"


He’s absolutely right as well. I have a complete tank of a bike which I use for my day to day commutes. The reason being that my better / best bikes are so easy to ride in comparison, I’m practically nodding off, whilst doing reasonable speeds sometimes on the better bikes. The ‘old’ way was always to buy a single speed running 80 inches for winter training, there’s some logic to that as well.

ChrisP100
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Joined: 24 Sep 2020, 9:00am

Re: Getting fitter.

Postby ChrisP100 » 24 Nov 2020, 3:38pm

Marcus Aurelius wrote:
simonineaston wrote:No but seriously, glad it's working for you - I miss my modest commute since I started wfh. I always remember a medic I used to work with, who did the 4 miles between his house and Northwick Park Hosp. where we both worked, on a 3-speed shopper. "Why?" I asked. He replied, "Because, bicycles being so efficient, I'd get no exercise at all on a decent bike!"


He’s absolutely right as well. I have a complete tank of a bike which I use for my day to day commutes. The reason being that my better / best bikes are so easy to ride in comparison, I’m practically nodding off, whilst doing reasonable speeds sometimes on the better bikes. The ‘old’ way was always to buy a single speed running 80 inches for winter training, there’s some logic to that as well.


I'm not sure my knees would thank me riding a single speed these days. Even the thought of riding my old 3-speed Raleigh Grifter gives me nightmares.

I'm pushing the best part of 16kg bike/rucksack combined up the hill. It'd be interesting to see how I fared on a lighter bike and no rucksack.

hamster
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby hamster » 25 Nov 2020, 8:47am

ChrisP100 wrote:I'm not sure my knees would thank me riding a single speed these days. Even the thought of riding my old 3-speed Raleigh Grifter gives me nightmares.

I'm pushing the best part of 16kg bike/rucksack combined up the hill. It'd be interesting to see how I fared on a lighter bike and no rucksack.


I have dodgy knees and imagined that going singlespeed would last about three weeks until I got knee pain. That was 12 years ago! I think the difference is that I ride a lot more out of the saddle. For me at least, knee pain comes from pushing big gears while seated.
The advantage is that I am always in the wrong gear, so as a training aid it helps a lot as I have to work harder.

PH
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Re: I'm getting fitter. Hoorah !

Postby PH » 25 Nov 2020, 8:59am

Well done on both the fitness and the riding.
You might try mixing it up a bit, when I had a decent commute I got in a bit of a rut and all that happened is I got good at that commute. I had to give it some thought and work at making it benefit my other cycling - That's if you want it to of course, there's nothing wrong with however you do it.
Also - do try and get that weight off your back, it isn't a killer, I do some deliveroo so I'm no stranger to riding with a pack, but given the choice I'd much rather let the bike take the load, it's so much easier.

Tangled Metal
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Re: I'm getting fitter. Hoorah !

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Nov 2020, 9:24am

I found that if you're using a commute to get fit you soon reach a plateau and the commute only maintains that fitness. You then need to mix it up somehow. I tried Farrell type of thing on the way home. Sprint between lampposts, up short hills, etc.

ChrisP100
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Re: I'm getting fitter. Hoorah !

Postby ChrisP100 » 25 Nov 2020, 12:44pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I found that if you're using a commute to get fit you soon reach a plateau and the commute only maintains that fitness. You then need to mix it up somehow. I tried Farrell type of thing on the way home. Sprint between lampposts, up short hills, etc.


I generally travel to work via the same route. It starts off relatively flat, if ever so slightly uphill. I use that to warm up, then I have a steep downhill section with a set of lights near the bottom. I always stick in a hard sprint away from the lights, and traffic depending I try and keep that up for the full 500m before I have to turn. I then have a relatively flat ride through the town (level crossing, 2 sets of lights and a roundabout) before I have to head upwards again. Small village at the top before heading out onto the final section of exposed country lane.

Going back is a different matter. I reverse the last half of the ride in until I'm back in the town, and then there are a number of ways I'll go. There's 2 steep road routes, a steep short cobbled climb, a longer shallower road climb and variations of these of varying lengths that can add up to 4km on my ride. I often chuck in a threshold effort for the last leg too, it just depends how I'm feeling.

PH wrote:Well done on both the fitness and the riding.
You might try mixing it up a bit, when I had a decent commute I got in a bit of a rut and all that happened is I got good at that commute. I had to give it some thought and work at making it benefit my other cycling - That's if you want it to of course, there's nothing wrong with however you do it.
Also - do try and get that weight off your back, it isn't a killer, I do some deliveroo so I'm no stranger to riding with a pack, but given the choice I'd much rather let the bike take the load, it's so much easier.

Thanks.

I enjoy mixing it up. I can tell when I've put the effort in on the way to work as the three-storey stair climb when I get there certainly gets my quads burning :lol:

As for the wight on my back; I have a lot of kit to carry into work, so a rucksack is the better option for me. I have a well fitting 20L cycling specific rucksack with a big reflective panel on the back. Plenty of compression straps in the right places, and some useful easily accessible pockets for my keys/phone/ID.

ChrisP100
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Re: Getting fitter.

Postby ChrisP100 » 25 Nov 2020, 1:12pm

hamster wrote:
ChrisP100 wrote:I'm not sure my knees would thank me riding a single speed these days. Even the thought of riding my old 3-speed Raleigh Grifter gives me nightmares.

I'm pushing the best part of 16kg bike/rucksack combined up the hill. It'd be interesting to see how I fared on a lighter bike and no rucksack.


I have dodgy knees and imagined that going singlespeed would last about three weeks until I got knee pain. That was 12 years ago! I think the difference is that I ride a lot more out of the saddle. For me at least, knee pain comes from pushing big gears while seated.
The advantage is that I am always in the wrong gear, so as a training aid it helps a lot as I have to work harder.


I'm not a big fan of riding out of the saddle, so I try not to put too much torque through my knees in the lower gear/speeds. Maybe I'll have to try and force myself to get out of the saddle more.