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Cycling Newbie
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Discussion Starter #1
New member here and I've been lurking for some time now. I just recently got into biking to shed a few pounds. I just bought my first "real" bike and it's a Giant Roam 1. I've been riding every other day for about 2 weeks now and I really enjoy it.

One thing is disheartening is seeing new riders posting about going on 15+ mile rides right off the bat. I can't do anywhere near that distance. I started out and 4 miles was exhausting. I was drenched in sweat, panting like a dog in heat, and had sore tops of my thighs for days. This past weeks. I was about to do 8.6 miles and wasn't too tired or sore. But I doubt I could even get close to 15 or miles. Is this normal for a relatively young guy like me, 28 years old? Are people just riding mostly flat terrain? Where I live there are lots of short and steep hills. I'm talking so steep I'm downshifting to my absolute lowest gear and still barely making it to the top. I have to ride my brakes on the way down just to give me enough time to catch my breath before the next hill. What gives?
 

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Premium Member
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Have you consulted a Doctor before begining?

Have you ever had a good fitness level before?

Are you a smoker or former smoker?

Getting into shape takes time. Remember some new cyclist may be switching over from another sport that has them in good condition already.
 

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Cycling Newbie
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Discussion Starter #3
Didn't consult a doctor. I don't even have a doctor. I get a cold a couple times a year and that's the extend of my medical issues.

I had a good fitness level in high school and early college. After school I got an office job and don't have a lot of physical activity. I'm 6' 1" and 230 lbs, overweight but not obese. At least I don't think I'm obese.

Never smoked a day in my life.
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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Welcome to the forums!

Where do you live? When I lived along the coast, I could ride all day, and even raced for a bit. But then I moved to the mountains six years ago, and never fully acclimated. Also, are you spinning, or mashing? Too much time in the wrong gear will wear you out quickly. Finally, don't get disheartened by what others are doing. Assuming you are healthy and properly hydrated, you'll start logging miles quickly. It's not fair to compare yourself to another stranger on the internet. Do your best, and improve on that.
 

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It's gonna take a little time. I just bought a bike in early July, first real riding in almost 40 years. The test rides at bike shops were exhausting. First ride on my own bike was 4 miles, was totally whupped. I have been going out every Saturday, and the first month of rides was very tiring, I ached for days after each ride. The last few weeks have seen marked improvement, and I have tried to increase my distance a little each time.

This past Saturday, I was able to ride the complete distance of my local MUP for the first time. It's 10 miles each way, and I stopped for a rest/drink at the far end before returning. It's not a tough ride, no real big hills, and I figured my average was around 13- 14mph. The best part is, I didn't feel too bad afterward, actually went and played golf in the afternoon. I guess it's time to start pushing harder.:)

So hang in there and be patient, if a 55 year old guy like me can progress, so can you.
 

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Even if it's all muscle, that's a lot of weight to drag up steep hills.

Make sure your saddle is high enough. A lot of newbies ride with low saddle, which not only is less efficient but puts extra stress on knees.

Good for you to downshift to your lowest gar for the climbs. A lot of riders try to tough it out in a high gear, which doesn't necessarily make them faster and again increases risk of injury.

Don't worry about how far or fast you go. That should improve with time. Try to keep your heart rate in the target zone (60 to 80% of max). Don't push yourself too hard. Keep it fun.
 

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Cycling Newbie
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I guess I just set my expectations a little too high. I try to keep my cadence the same throughout my ride and definitely try to spin instead of mash. But some of the hill I'm riding still require mashing even in the absolute lowest gear on my bike.

I love the Roam 1. It was the nicest bike that I test rode. It has the smoothest shifting on any bike I tried and really just feels good to me. I actually went up to an XL frame because it seemed to fit me a slight bit better in terms of reach for my arms. The frame is a tab taller than it should be for someone my size, but the bike shop said that my torso and arms were longer than a typical person, so the XL frame keeps my saddle low while keeping my legs with a very slight bend at the bottom of the stroke. I also had the shop add some toe clips to the pedals and I really like them. When my legs get tired of pumping downward, I can use the clips and pull up to give me a slight break.

I live in Missouri, so just about every place has hills. Some are low rollers and some are steep and long.
 

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Olympus,

You will be surprised at how quickly you'll be able add miles. I started riding this summer and my first few rides were under 5 miles. I just did 16 miles for the first time yesterday in just over an hour.

Just adding a couple miles to rides each week will get up to 20 miles in no time. Hills that are killing you now will become easier. well maybe not easier but you will be able to climb them faster.

The great thing about this forum is that there are riders at all levels and they are all friendly and helpful. It's about being on the bike riding not how many miles you ride or how fast you go.


Ray
 

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Don't get bent out of shape on distance. It's the quality of the ride that important. My life schedule usually doesn't allow me to get more than an hour or hour and a half of ride time in. It's what you do in that time that counts. And remember, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Meaning, if you are happy on the bike, you mind will be clear and you will want to ride more thereby getting your body in shape as well!

Keep at it and don't let distance become your goal. If you enjoy it, you will want to do it. But remember, for overall fitness you should look into other activities as well. Good luck and keep it up!
 

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Premium Member
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Welcome!

I as well had moments of concern when I got started. Reaching that first 10 mile ride seemed to take forever, but it didn't in the grand scheme of things. As some wise people once told me only saddle time will get you the miles. Remember to pace your self and add distance.each.time. after time you will get further and further. You can also add some speed as you get your legs. Remember to breathe controlled breaths and don't feel bad for using the lower gears. Get used to spinning higher cadence in those gears. I personally do intervals to gain strength in higher gears. That is another topic all together.

I am 29 and I was weighing in at nearly 200 lbs. I'm a short dude so that was not working and I was on high BP meds. Got on the.bike and kept pushing with the encouragement of fellow TSers. Now I weigh 181 and can do 40 miles in a ride.

Time, patience, determination.

You can do it man just keep spinning.
 

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Cycling Newbie
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Discussion Starter #13
That's great for motivation Omni. Thanks for sharing. The one thing I feel like I have going is that I really enjoy riding my bike. I've tried running, stairs, and other forms of cardio workouts and honestly I hated every one of them. I was miserable and I never stuck with any of them long enough to see results. But I actually enjoy biking and hope that the enjoyment will help me be in for the long haul. I look forward to the day I can do a ride like yours.
 

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Olympus said:
That's great for motivation Omni. Thanks for sharing. The one thing I feel like I have going is that I really enjoy riding my bike. I've tried running, stairs, and other forms of cardio workouts and honestly I hated every one of them. I was miserable and I never stuck with any of them long enough to see results. But I actually enjoy biking and hope that the enjoyment will help me be in for the long haul. I look forward to the day I can do a ride like yours.
There is a strong possibility that you too will get hooked. It is an addiction.

Just push a little harder each ride and before you know it 10 miles will be a warm up. I thought it was crazy. If you said to me a year ago that I would be riding 30 or 40+ I would laugh in your face.

A lot of people hear have similar stories. Everyone has their knowledge and strengths to offer. If you need fitness training help ask INTEGRATE.
 

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Don't get discouraged. I'm 33 and about 20lbs over weight. Second season riding again and just got a road bike on Thursday. I'm up to 17 miles after 5 days a week for two months. I'm only turning an average of 13 with no major hills. When I hit the hills I'm dead. At the beginning of the summer 3 miles wiped me out.
In no time you'll be over 20 a ride.
That roam is a beauty!
 

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Premium Member
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stgavin said:
Don't get discouraged. I'm 33 and about 20lbs over weight. Second season riding again and just got a road bike on Thursday. I'm up to 17 miles after 5 days a week for two months. I'm only turning an average of 13 with no major hills. When I hit the hills I'm dead. At the beginning of the summer 3 miles wiped me out.
In no time you'll be over 20 a ride.
That roam is a beauty!
See another success story. :thumbsup:
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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I really like that bike. Somewhere in Springfield is my old Trek 1200. My ex got it when we lived in Forsyth. I don't envy those hills either. By the way, you are also fighting a lot of humidity and airborne allergens that other riders may not have to deal with.
 

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I have to drive to where there is only a 2% grade for 8 miles other than that is large hills near home. 20% is high humidity for me in the desert and at 4am that's not a factor. I don't envy those who have to deal with it!
 

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Cycling Newbie
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Discussion Starter #19
I guess I've just gotten used to the humidity and didn't even consider it a factor in my riding. It's regularly 60 to 80% humidity here.

Thanks to stgavin for sharing his success story. I'm feeling much better about myself. Glad I chose to stop being a lurker and start being a member here. Great community.
 

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First, congrats for getting off your duff and starting to ride, that first step is huge; you've made more of a commitment than many other people that make excuses for not riding.

It's too hot.

It's too cold.

I'm tired.

I'm hungry.

I don't want to get sweaty and smelly.

And on and on and on.

Wimps. Cop-outs. Pity partiers.

Don't get hung up on miles, time in the saddle, average speed, etc etc etc etc etc. Dude, it's the (s)miles, not miles at this point. My first ride back in the saddle in January 2010, I was 30 and overweight, my good god I thought my lungs were filled with sand, my legs were on fire, my nose and throat were too narrow to breathe and the next morning I found parts of my scranus aching I didn't know existed! And I was living at the beach at sea level, no inclines and a 1.2 mile ride kicked my a$$!!!!

Don't kill yourself, really. If you're uncomfortable or cycling becomes drudgery, the bike is only going to get put away and never ridden again. Have Fun!!!! For me, I love flogging myself up hills, intervals and digging deep in the pain cave to see what I have left.

But. . . .

My favorite rides are dawdling along on my hybrid with my daughter in tow and my wife next to me, all three of us lost in our own worlds yet connected at the same time via cycling. No cyclocomputers, no heart rate monitor.

One of the best things I ever saw here was a quote, maybe Poolie (?)

"Cycling- If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong."

That, my friend is the truth.

Welcome to TwoSpoke.
 
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