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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 10-09-08, 07:50 AM   #1
TechKnowGN
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The need for speed

Me: 315 (as of this morning woohoo!)

The bike: Trek 800, slicks.

The ride: a relatively flat 5 mile commute to work.

The time: about 35 minutes including traffic stops.

It's about twice as fast as I can walk it at racing speed, but I want to go faster.

My average speed is about 10Mph. Top speed on a couple short downhills is 16.

I seem to top out my cruising speed at around 12, sustainable for a few minutes on flat road section.

I do seem to be improving slowly, but Im wondering how much is me, how much is bike?

Ive reach 80 miles on the bike. Is it just too early to start seeing more quickness?
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Old 10-09-08, 08:06 AM   #2
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To answer the quickness question.....YES. 80 miles is just a start. Don't be in such a hurry to gain speed yet. It will come in time but 80 miles is just not enough IMO. Keep it up and soon that 35 minute time will be cut in half.
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Old 10-09-08, 08:22 AM   #3
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Yes, too early.

You need to ride 100 miles or more a week, for longer periods, for several weeks. Add miles to your commute home. Of course, consult with your doctor first.

At your current weight, I would not chase money on a newer/lighter bike. I would reward yourself with a new/better bike when you reach a significant milestone. Use it to add to the motivati
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Old 10-09-08, 08:26 AM   #4
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When I switched bikes, my average speed improved a lot. I was riding a Trek 6500 MTB with front shocks and over-inflated off road tires. I was riding about 15 miles/day on flat paved bike trails in the area and averaged 15mph tops. I went to a Trek 1.2 road bike and immediately I was averaging 18mph on a longer 20 mile ride on the same trail. I also love the different hand positions I get on the road bike. The main reason I bought the road bike was because my wrists were killing me after a couple weeks of riding on the MTB. I'm sure you will get faster in time no matter what bike you're on, but obviously a skinny tire road bike will help. I have about 200 miles on the road bike and my average speed has only just barely improved in those 2 weeks. If you're comfortable on your 800 I would say stick with it assuming that fitness is your primary reason for riding.
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Old 10-09-08, 08:52 AM   #5
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Speed only comes with muscle developement. When we started cycling, we had a hard time holding onto the back end of a paceline cruising at 20 mph. Gave it our all but just wasn't there. Kept at it at, just riding and doing our thing.

One day, woke up, next thing I know we're pulling the line at 25 mph! It's not the bike. I've ridden side by side with other roadies doing 24 mph on an mtb with knobbie tires, dropping a couple of other roadies along the way.

Plenty of people have the strength but takes time to develope the muscles involved in cycling. Interval training will help. But I would suggest just ride for a few months to properly develope style and technique.
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Old 10-09-08, 09:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the great answers gang! Very helpful and motivational!
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Old 10-09-08, 09:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TechKnowGN View Post
Me: 315 (as of this morning woohoo!)

The bike: Trek 800, slicks.

The ride: a relatively flat 5 mile commute to work.

The time: about 35 minutes including traffic stops.

It's about twice as fast as I can walk it at racing speed, but I want to go faster.

My average speed is about 10Mph. Top speed on a couple short downhills is 16.

I seem to top out my cruising speed at around 12, sustainable for a few minutes on flat road section.

I do seem to be improving slowly, but Im wondering how much is me, how much is bike?

Ive reach 80 miles on the bike. Is it just too early to start seeing more quickness?
Keep in mind as you go faster you may become more perspired. Do you have a shower at work? Some commuters don't ride as fast as they are capable if they have a short commute, simply because they don't want to get sweaty.
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Old 10-09-08, 09:54 AM   #8
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For me I can do a lot better times on my road than my mountain because of the resistance from the tires HOWEVER I am getting faster as I commute more. So I say congrats and it's you that made the jump.. Keep it up!
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Old 10-09-08, 10:44 AM   #9
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Keep in mind as you go faster you may become more perspired. Do you have a shower at work? Some commuters don't ride as fast as they are capable if they have a short commute, simply because they don't want to get sweaty.
Nope I wear sweat wicking gear, change clothes and dry them off under a lamp at my desk. I bring deodorant and body spray to work, and if im really sweaty I wipe off with towels in the restroom. I do tend to be pretty sweaty when i get here, but i dont do a ton of interactions first thing in the morning, so its worth it to me to get the added workout.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:16 AM   #10
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Speed will come. Yes switching to a road bike or preformance hybrid will increase your speed, but at 80 miles your just cutting your teeth. I personally road my mountain bike for 1160 miles before I took the plunge and bought a road bike. During this time I was forced to work on my technique instead of letting the technology do the work for me. Stick it out 500-1000 miles before switching your bike, when you do you will be a much better cyclist and likly have a much better idea of what bike would best suit your needs. Might be a hybrid, might be a hardtail, might be a touring rig etc.

Keep up the great work, first milestone is 100 miles and your in spitting distance
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Old 10-09-08, 11:27 AM   #11
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The Trek will do just fine, just keep riding.

Miles are your friend, the more you rack up the better you will get. It just takes some time, so the longer you go, the faster you will be.

Book mark this thread and come back to it in three months, lol.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:37 AM   #12
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Will do.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:57 AM   #13
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The speed will come with time. Work on longer rides. I rode a hybrid for over 1000 miles before I thought about a road bike. I found that real weight loss did not happen until I started doing rides about 1 hour long. (I lost 70 lbs in a year). Its not the speed at first that most important thing. Its turning your muscles into calorie burning machines. You will get there. Just ride!
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Old 11-03-08, 08:40 AM   #14
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I am impatient, couldn't wait to come back and check my progress. Not quite a month, and today I set a record commuting to work. I was 32 minutes door to door, and that included slightly longer than average traffic stops. 3 minutes isn't a lot faster over 5 miles, but it's still improvement in less than a month, especially for the amount I've been riding. I have 3 (maybe 4) straight days of commutes this week with the nicer weather, so hopefully I can wittle that down a little more even.
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Old 11-03-08, 01:35 PM   #15
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I started cycling again in Feb this year and I've done around 2200 miles now and I'm only just seeing any real improvements in speed and distance. I started averaging 10mph and now I can average 15 over 50 miles without any real effort.
Once I lose 20Kg and cycle another 2000 miles I'll be even faster and if you keep cycling you will to.
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Old 11-03-08, 01:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechKnowGN View Post
Me: 315 (as of this morning woohoo!)

The bike: Trek 800, slicks.

The ride: a relatively flat 5 mile commute to work.

The time: about 35 minutes including traffic stops.

It's about twice as fast as I can walk it at racing speed, but I want to go faster.

My average speed is about 10Mph. Top speed on a couple short downhills is 16.

I seem to top out my cruising speed at around 12, sustainable for a few minutes on flat road section.

I do seem to be improving slowly, but Im wondering how much is me, how much is bike?

Ive reach 80 miles on the bike. Is it just too early to start seeing more quickness?
I've done about 1700 miles since April, and I'm still too slow. My average for my commute (16 miles one-way) is about 14 mph. You'll get faster. It also depends on the terrain. My commute home is a bit slower because I'm slowly coming up out of a valley.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:14 PM   #17
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The commute in is a slow uphill, the reverse on the way home. Part of it is still looking for that right saddle, but i finally got some cheap bike shorts with padding this weekend, so that helped on the way in.

What didnt help was packing too small of a lunch and going for the fried fish and french fries after id already eaten my sandwich. Tomorrow I pack a bigger lunch. Id be pissed about what I ate if I didnt know I had a nice ride home ahead of me plus a training walk to prepare for the 10k this weekend.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:56 PM   #18
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I weigh about 25lbs less than you, my first few rides I was where you are. after a few hundred miles I was hitting avg 15mph fairly easily and on hillier rides hitting 30mph top speeds. now with a couple thousand on the bike i can hit 19mph on flats and keep it up for about 3 miles at which point i burn out a little and drop down to about 16mph.
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Old 11-03-08, 03:43 PM   #19
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+1 on sticking with the MTB for a while. When I returned to cycling last year, I put a bit over 1,000 miles on an old MTB before switching to a road bike. If you haven't already, switch to some higher pressure, narrow slicks and you'll feel the difference.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:05 PM   #20
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My commute is 6 miles and I started in May at 34-36 minutes each way. Now that I have more than 1500 miles I'm between 22-26 minutes depending on the wind. Seat positioning makes a huge difference as does handle bar height. Seat higher, bar lower is faster. At 264 I'm about 20lbs lighter than in May. Just keep pedaling.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:29 PM   #21
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depending on your gearing, crank length etc., you might try a lower gear and spin faster.
After getting a cheap speedometer, I found I was actually faster when using the next lower gear.
What really surprised me was my stamina was much better. My speed only went up by about 0.5 MPH, but I could maintain it far longer.

IF your bike has a cassette instead of Free Wheek, you might look into a "road" type cassette, like a 12-21 or 13-23.
That'll give you closer spacing in your "cruising" gears.
Do you find yourself in a position of "this gear is a little to easy and the next higher is a little too hard"? id so, it sounds like you'd be a good candidate.
I ride on level ground and I "LOVE" being able to shift just 1 tooth different if the head wind changes slightly or I have that SLIGHT change in slope.
I use a 13-24 I made up. 13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24. (basically the same as a 13-23)
IF you only have a 7 speed, a 13-23 would omit the 16T cog from above.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:55 PM   #22
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I usually average about 12.5-14 mph or so on a "normal" route.

I've ridden the White Rock Lake/Creek loop quite a few times going just as fast as I reasonably can. The best I've done there is averaging 16.0 mph for about 22 miles. That's on a Worksman cruiser bicycle, single speed.

This last weekend, I rode a "no drop" ride from the local bike shop on Saturday, then rode a bit longer route that included most of that "no drop" route by myself on Sunday. I slowed down just a bit but enjoyed it quite a bit more- it was the difference between hitting the hill tired already or feeling fresh at the start.

The original post didn't say how speed was measured. Most of us use speedometers/ computers that stop measuring when we stop rolling. If you average in the time waiting at traffic lights, that'll make a big difference.
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Old 11-03-08, 10:59 PM   #23
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I really am not sure I know what gear to be in when. I have the comfort setting, where I know I can go up small inclines and on flats in a gear i like. But otherwise Im useless with them.

I feel like right now, Id like my handlebar to come up some, honestly. Ive got the seat up where i want it. Im still not particularly comfortable on it. The bike shorts help some with that, but not completely. Im aware people get more comfortable over time, but Im fairly convinced I need a slightly wider saddle.
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Old 11-04-08, 07:19 AM   #24
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I rode my mountain bike until I realized that a road bike would make all of the difference in the world. At 315, you might be a bit more than what a good road bike can handle for now. I picked up a Schwinn Circuit cheap when I was at 245. So set a weight goal before making the plunge into a new bike. My goal is 200 for my next purchase. When I hit that, I am splurging on a lightweight bike.

A wider saddle helps at first. I had one and gave it to a larger friend of mine when he started riding, but eventually it will chafe and you will need to go to something narrower. To start of though, it is a lifesaver.

You need to ride, ride, ride which will help you lose weight. I have seen large riders that are strong as oxen and can hit good speeds, but if they were to shed another 60 pounds, then that power would convert into even more speed. The lighter, the faster and better climber you will be.

It is a sick formula. You ride more. You lose weight. You go faster. You go farther. You see more. You ride more... repeat... It doesn't end.

When I started riding back in early July, I'd get home from a 15 mile ride and think that I had just done the best rides imaginable. Skip forward to Sunday where I did 75+ and I realize the gains that I have made in the past 4 months.

It will come with time. Just keep plugging away. Keeping the meals modest helps too.
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Old 11-04-08, 08:32 AM   #25
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Sadly I had to take today off. I overdid it a bit yesterday. I set a terrific pace on the way in 32 minutes, and on the way home, I was feeling so good, i figured I would try a different way home that involved a hill. I climbed the hill, with only one quick pause, but this morning I woke up with very sore knees that would not have been good for the commute. I am proud of what I did yesterday and that is overwhelming the disappointment I'm feeling about not riding today.

I will ride again tomorrow, and tonight I'll train for my walking race this sunday.

Food has been tough at times because Im way hungrier than normal after a ride to work. So Im working on controlling that too.
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