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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-31-07, 11:09 AM   #1
Desert Storm
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New to biking and losing weight too!!!

Hi Everyone,

I'm 250 lbs and recently bought a bike Trek 3900 not only to lose weight but also because I enjoy riding. I started on gear 2 and now have moved to gear 6 while keeping the front gear to 3. Now here are a few questions:

1) How important is it to warm up before riding? Any exercise suggestions?

2) I ride everyday at 4:45 to 6 in the morning as it is the only time in kuwait when it's not like a furnace during the summer. Is this good? Or should I try biking in the evenings?

3) Should I ride fast on a low gear (2 or 3) or should I increase resistance for losing weight?

I work a lot everyday and usually end up beat by the end of the day. Please offer any tips/suggestions on how to efficiently utilize my biking time in losing weight. Thanks all
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Old 07-31-07, 11:16 AM   #2
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Congrats on getting the bike. From my experience biking and weight loss is a simple thing: more time on bike = healthier you. Gearing is about personal comfort at one level, some people like to spin (pedal faster in lower gear) and some like to mash (pedal slow in higher gear - that's me). Try both, see which lets you ride longer (especially with the heat) and check your heart rate (cheap way - pulse at the wrist for 30 or 60 sec) and see if one gets a higher rate.

Bottom line, ride more is good. Welcome to the club!
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Old 07-31-07, 11:29 AM   #3
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Good for you and welcome!

Spinning is supposed to be more cardio-vacular and mashing is for muscles/strength. Intervals will improve both and burn calories like crazy! Intervals also work to build speed and stamina.

I find that it is easier to ride in the mornings because the earth has cooled all night. The heat is from the sun and radiating from the surface in the afternoons making it hotter; especially if you are on pavement.

Hope this helps. Be safe over there! Godspeed in all you do.
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Old 07-31-07, 11:31 AM   #4
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Warming up is pretty essential. I'm finding it's more important the older I get. (I'm 38.)

Cadence speed is somewhat a matter of personal preference, but slow cadence/ higher (harder to pedal) gears tend to take their toll on your knees unless you're going fast. In terms of calories burned, I think it's more or less all the same no matter what gear you're in. You're either spinning madly or slowly but pushing hard on the pedals. I tend to alternate what I'm doing, on my somewhat heavy MTB (mountain bike), favoring a higher cadence.
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Old 07-31-07, 11:35 AM   #5
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For the speed...

Im no pro, but physics tells me that it takes the exact same energy input to move a specific weight a specific distance, no matter how fast your legs are going. You're basically choosing slow, high output movement, or fast, low output movement.

Calorie-wise, you should be the same either way.

However, your heart will appreciate the faster, easier pedaling (to a point)
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Old 07-31-07, 12:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rjm1982 View Post
For the speed...

Im no pro, but physics tells me that it takes the exact same energy input to move a specific weight a specific distance, no matter how fast your legs are going. You're basically choosing slow, high output movement, or fast, low output movement.

Calorie-wise, you should be the same either way.

However, your heart will appreciate the faster, easier pedaling (to a point)
This is purely speculation, too... but this post got me thinking. I wonder if the same principle applies as calories burned running vs. walking. Running burns more than walking the same distance because you're doing more vertical work (pushing yourself off the ground). So perhaps spinning fast burns slightly more because in addition to moving yourself forward, you're moving your legs up and down more.

That said, my newbie advice would be to not think too much, just ride in a way that's fun and feels good so you'll ride more.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 07-31-07, 01:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BeckyW View Post
This is purely speculation, too... but this post got me thinking. I wonder if the same principle applies as calories burned running vs. walking. Running burns more than walking the same distance because you're doing more vertical work (pushing yourself off the ground). So perhaps spinning fast burns slightly more because in addition to moving yourself forward, you're moving your legs up and down more.

That said, my newbie advice would be to not think too much, just ride in a way that's fun and feels good so you'll ride more.

Welcome aboard!
Sprinting(Anaerobic Intervals) vs Steady Pace (Aerobic)

Anaerobic:
  • Greater calorie burn over a shorter time period
  • Burns more protein than fat by ratio
  • Builds greater muscle mass
  • Builds the "Fast Twitch Muscle" Fibers
  • Greater Cardiac stress, so High intensity isn't the best idea initially if you are just starting out from a sedentary lifestyle


Aerobic:
  • Greater fat burn than protein burn by ratio
  • Builds aerobic and cardiac health as a base reliably
  • Good for entry from a sedentary lifestyle
  • Builds long endurance

Mix them up after you have a good base health going!
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Old 07-31-07, 03:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rjm1982 View Post
For the speed...

Im no pro, but physics tells me that it takes the exact same energy input to move a specific weight a specific distance, no matter how fast your legs are going. You're basically choosing slow, high output movement, or fast, low output movement.
True but only to a point. It's right on the money until you begin to think about efficiency. While power output at the wheel may be the same, with high rpm/low force or low rpm/high force, higher cadence and lower force is a much more efficient way to pedal once you get the motion down, this will take some time to get used to.
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Old 07-31-07, 06:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Desert Storm View Post
1) How important is it to warm up before riding? Any exercise suggestions?
Unless you're surrounded by hills and have no flat terrain, the early stages of your bike ride can be an ideal warmup. Just stay in a low gear until you can feel your legs coming alive.

Quote:
2) I ride everyday at 4:45 to 6 in the morning as it is the only time in kuwait when it's not like a furnace during the summer. Is this good? Or should I try biking in the evenings?
There's no magic time of day for weight loss, although a lot of people are fooled into thinking there is because they weigh themselves after exercise, and there is a correlation between higher/lower weight and time of day. Just go with a time that works for you.

Quote:
3) Should I ride fast on a low gear (2 or 3) or should I increase resistance for losing weight?
It's not really a matter of the gear so much as whether it puts you in an aerobic or anaerobic zone. If you're newly active, you want to pretty much stay away from anything anaerobic for probably four to six weeks. At that point, if you've been exercising consistently, you will have established some aerobic fitness and can think about what's next.

Quote:
I work a lot everyday and usually end up beat by the end of the day. Please offer any tips/suggestions on how to efficiently utilize my biking time in losing weight. Thanks all
The thing that's going to help your efficiency the most at this point is not thinking about the conventional meaning of "efficiency" -- doing the most possible in the least amount of time -- and thinking instead about how INefficient it is to charge into something at a high rate of intensity, get hurt or discouraged or burnt out, and quit. Your best route to efficiency, at this point, is to establish consistency. Fitness isn't a short-term program, it isn't even a long-term program -- it's a lifestyle choice, and it's something you'll work on for the rest of your life.
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Old 08-03-07, 08:55 AM   #10
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Sorry for the late reply and thank you all very much for the responses. For the past month I have been switching back and forth between slow and fast riding but one thing has been bothering me and that is my knees!!!! I have been having the toughest time adjusting to the pain in my knees/thighs. I have been riding for a month and a half and was hoping to see this go away but it hasn't! Is there something I am doing wrong?
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Old 08-03-07, 09:38 AM   #11
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Sorry for the late reply and thank you all very much for the responses. For the past month I have been switching back and forth between slow and fast riding but one thing has been bothering me and that is my knees!!!! I have been having the toughest time adjusting to the pain in my knees/thighs. I have been riding for a month and a half and was hoping to see this go away but it hasn't! Is there something I am doing wrong?


It sound like you are "Mashing The Gears". Use lower gears so you spin faster at a cadence between 75 and 85. I ride at about 82-85 normally on my 50T/15,14,13 and try to keep myself at that cadence throughout my route except hills. But even on a hill I'm somewhere between 55 and 60 depending on the grade which I use a 39T/24,27. As a rule of thumb I try hard not to let my cadence drop below 75 .

If you wanna go the fastest, use the gear combination that gets you the highest gear ratio. For going at medium speeds use the combination of gears that ends up with gear ratio somewhere in between the highest and lowest. but always keep you cadence in mind while doing either.Check out this site:http://home.i1.net/%7Edwolfe/gerz/howto1.html


Riding around on high gears all the time are hard on the knees as you have found out. I would back off a few days and let yourself heal. Then stop "mashing" the gears and start "spinning".

Last edited by slyjackson; 08-03-07 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-03-07, 09:47 AM   #12
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Knee- check saddle height and adjust if necessary

Thighs- Use a high cadence. But if you are working your legs hard, they are going to hurt no matter what. It's just a part of exersice.
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