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Thread: Riding Everyday

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    Senior Member surgtech1956's Avatar
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    Riding Everyday

    Do you ride your bike everyday? I've only been riding about 8 miles a day and I don't feel like I'm doing much - fitness wise. How many miles should I be riding? 20 miles? I need to lose about 50 lbs also.

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    I don't think you need to ride every day. I ride 5-6 times per week, normally. If I keep going without a break I get deeply tired. I need days to recover.

    As far as mileage is concerned, you should do what you can. If you can handle eight miles now, that is good. You can think about gradually increasing your distance as you get stronger/lighter. If you feel like you can do more than 8, go ahead.

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    The idea that you need days off to recover is spot on. You can't do anything about how many mailes you are capable of right now - that's the result of what you've done in the past. for the future, add miles slowly and pay attention to your body. Most recommendations are to add about 10% per week to your mileage total. So if you did 5 days of 8 miles each day this week, that's 40. Try to do 44 next week. The incremental miles don't have to be spread across all the days, but you shouldn't just add them to one day either.

    I like to cross train a bit, so I generally ride 4 days a week, and go to the gym and/or hike (at a fairly vigorous pace of some steep terrain) and/or swim for 2 of the other days and just rest on the 7th.

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    I always take a day off to drive in to work. This means I sleep in a bit more, give my muscles a day to build and repair, and let my mind think about something else.

    Maybe add some mileage to the days you do ride and add a day of rest?
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    What do you mean that you are 'riding' 8 miles per day? Is that pedaling for 4 miles and coasting for 4 miles?

    I think a lot of people think the total miles are important when really its how much effort is exerted during the ride. A person who coasts and goes easy for 8 miles isn't going to get the fitness benefits that someone who is hammering for 8 miles.

    That being said, you should have at least 1 day off to allow your muscles to fully recover. On the days you ride, vary distance and effort. Do a short mileage day at an intense pace followed by a longer mileage day at a normal pace followed by a longer mileage day at a casual pace. Take a day off. Then repeat.

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    Serious question - what about if you ride 10-12 miles that are all up and down rolling hills. Lots of times, I put in so much effort to top a hill my heart is racing, I'm flushed - gone into the work harder than I can breathe zone. So when I crest the hill I tend to coast down the steep part and start pedaling again at the height of my speed - meaning I keep an eye on my speedometer and when I get as fast as I'm going - I start to pedal again as hard as I can for the next hill - slowly dropping gears till I crest the top in granny gear over and over again. I feel it is extremely difficult - my heart is pounding, I'm breathing hard - is that little bit of coast time really effecting my fitness I'm getting from the hills? I can't avoid hills here and it is ALL like that. Since I'm working so hard to get 300lbs up a hill - that does alot for me right?

    Quote Originally Posted by spooner View Post
    What do you mean that you are 'riding' 8 miles per day? Is that pedaling for 4 miles and coasting for 4 miles?

    I think a lot of people think the total miles are important when really its how much effort is exerted during the ride. A person who coasts and goes easy for 8 miles isn't going to get the fitness benefits that someone who is hammering for 8 miles.

    That being said, you should have at least 1 day off to allow your muscles to fully recover. On the days you ride, vary distance and effort. Do a short mileage day at an intense pace followed by a longer mileage day at a normal pace followed by a longer mileage day at a casual pace. Take a day off. Then repeat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by episodic View Post
    Serious question - what about if you ride 10-12 miles that are all up and down rolling hills. Lots of times, I put in so much effort to top a hill my heart is racing, I'm flushed - gone into the work harder than I can breathe zone. So when I crest the hill I tend to coast down the steep part and start pedaling again at the height of my speed - meaning I keep an eye on my speedometer and when I get as fast as I'm going - I start to pedal again as hard as I can for the next hill - slowly dropping gears till I crest the top in granny gear over and over again. I feel it is extremely difficult - my heart is pounding, I'm breathing hard - is that little bit of coast time really effecting my fitness I'm getting from the hills? I can't avoid hills here and it is ALL like that. Since I'm working so hard to get 300lbs up a hill - that does alot for me right?
    What your doing is essentially intervals. They are a good way to improve your fitness and recovery time.

    Some tips I've found helpful:
    1. Spend as much of your energy as possible on the uphill, don't waste it going down at all. Coast to the bottom of the hill, control your breathing, and stretch your legs if possible.
    2. Pedal over the top. Don't stop pedaling until gravity starts to speed you up. This will keep you from loosing unnecessary momentum.
    3. Drink water (hills make me sweat like a beast)
    4. Try to control your breathing on the way up. Good breathing techniques help keep your HR down. I found this out once I got a HR monitor. Concentrating on my breathing kept my HR down an average 5 bpm.
    5. Have fun. You'll get quicker with time and weight loss, I promise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spooner View Post
    What do you mean that you are 'riding' 8 miles per day? Is that pedaling for 4 miles and coasting for 4 miles?

    I think a lot of people think the total miles are important when really its how much effort is exerted during the ride. A person who coasts and goes easy for 8 miles isn't going to get the fitness benefits that someone who is hammering for 8 miles.

    That being said, you should have at least 1 day off to allow your muscles to fully recover. On the days you ride, vary distance and effort. Do a short mileage day at an intense pace followed by a longer mileage day at a normal pace followed by a longer mileage day at a casual pace. Take a day off. Then repeat.
    exactly, without knowing what those 8 miles are and how fast your doing them it doesn't mean a whole lot. I see you joined in december so assuming you've been riding for 8 months, 8 miles a ride isn't very far but i also don't know if you are 400 lbs or 250 lbs. I do about 8 miles everyday in just my course of running around doing what I do. It's a mile to my job and back and i go there and back multiple times a day (i'm self employed contractor if you will). If all you have time for is 8 miles, you should really try to mash them out as fast as possible if your trying to make it a workout.

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    Senior Member spooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wxduff View Post
    What your doing is essentially intervals. They are a good way to improve your fitness and recovery time.

    Some tips I've found helpful:
    1. Spend as much of your energy as possible on the uphill, don't waste it going down at all. Coast to the bottom of the hill, control your breathing, and stretch your legs if possible.
    2. Pedal over the top. Don't stop pedaling until gravity starts to speed you up. This will keep you from loosing unnecessary momentum.
    3. Drink water (hills make me sweat like a beast)
    4. Try to control your breathing on the way up. Good breathing techniques help keep your HR down. I found this out once I got a HR monitor. Concentrating on my breathing kept my HR down an average 5 bpm.
    5. Have fun. You'll get quicker with time and weight loss, I promise.
    Yeah. This type of riding will really help with recovery times. That is one of the things I've really noticed about my riding. The amount of time I need to recover after climbing a big hill has really dropped - and I no longer 'need' a day off after a 40+ mile ride. When I first start riding earlier this year if I did 20 miles I was completely done for 2 days.

    But interval training is only one type of riding. You should mix that up with some long and steady rides.

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    Not sure I buy into the coasting time hurts your fitness argument. If you power your bike from point A to point B in a given amount of time, you perform the same amount of work whether you are pedaling 100% or 50% of the travel time. If you climb a hill or do a traffic light sprint you (While I do anyway) easily go into aerobic debt and need some time to recover before pedaling with any power output again.

    If we want to talk about efficiency or race time, then we're talking about a whole 'nother thing. Actually, I believe if you pedal a constant power output to cover a given distance, you probably are using less energy than the person pedaling like a fiend then coasting to cover the same distance in the same amount of time. So constant pedaling makes you a more efficient bike rider, so I endorse the idea that a biker wants to develop the knack for riding within their aerobic and fitness level and working to expand the envelope to become a better rider.

    My $0.02 worth.

    Going back to the OP question. I embarked on a fitness kick this past February. Joined the Y, got some coaching and the whole bit. As the weather moderated, I started back on the bike. I was getting stronger and fitter, but the weight was staying constant. I decided to try to get into a daily routine of riding every day I could. I did start seeing some weight loss as I followed that routine. O'course, weight loss requires a full-court press - exercise (both aerobic to burn calories and resistance to build muscle mass) and calorie control in the diet. And yes, I need the occasional rest day - I get one to two rest days a week and I vary my rides between hard and easy.

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    Plenty of useful info here focusing on your riding,
    but don't forget to factor in
    your eating/diet in the equation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikealou View Post
    Not sure I buy into the coasting time hurts your fitness argument. If you power your bike from point A to point B in a given amount of time, you perform the same amount of work whether you are pedaling 100% or 50% of the travel time. If you climb a hill or do a traffic light sprint you (While I do anyway) easily go into aerobic debt and need some time to recover before pedaling with any power output again.

    If we want to talk about efficiency or race time, then we're talking about a whole 'nother thing. Actually, I believe if you pedal a constant power output to cover a given distance, you probably are using less energy than the person pedaling like a fiend then coasting to cover the same distance in the same amount of time. So constant pedaling makes you a more efficient bike rider, so I endorse the idea that a biker wants to develop the knack for riding within their aerobic and fitness level and working to expand the envelope to become a better rider.

    My $0.02 worth.

    Going back to the OP question. I embarked on a fitness kick this past February. Joined the Y, got some coaching and the whole bit. As the weather moderated, I started back on the bike. I was getting stronger and fitter, but the weight was staying constant. I decided to try to get into a daily routine of riding every day I could. I did start seeing some weight loss as I followed that routine. O'course, weight loss requires a full-court press - exercise (both aerobic to burn calories and resistance to build muscle mass) and calorie control in the diet. And yes, I need the occasional rest day - I get one to two rest days a week and I vary my rides between hard and easy.

    i'll keep it simple but basically if your sitting your ass on a seat and not moving your body, your not burning any calories. you need to pedal the bike if you want to burn calories. and if you pedal the bike, you should arrive where you are going faster. the problem is a lot of us pedal going downhill because we want' to go as fast as we can and we really only add a couple mph onto our speed. We would get a better workout if we would coast downhills at 25 mph instead of pedaling down them at 28mph and then save that energy to climb up the hills at 12 mph instead of 7.
    Last edited by bigdaddy10028; 08-01-10 at 08:20 PM.

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    Although if you can try to spend some time doing SOMETHING on your rest day. Maybe a little weight training (avoid your legs, and keep you HR down.) If I try to take a pure day off, I feel tired all day, and the next day I'm sluggish. Even a long walk will help (plus if you jog for a quarter of a mile or so the impact nature of the exercise will help your knees and bone mass as long as you don't over do it.)
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    All good advice, I'll add to this:

    I rode 14+ miles 3-5 days a week for a year, and didn't lose any weight. It wasn't until I started controlling my food portions also, and eating healthier foods, that I started losing weight. Just remember, you lose weight when calories in < calories out. Doesn't have to be by much, but you need to find that spot.

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    I tend to not ride more than 4-5 days a week. Sometimes not even that often. Recovery is very important, as others have said. I tried riding every day, and doing "easy" rides in between harder rides. I guess I wasn't going easy enough, even though it sure felt like it. At the end of the week I was exhausted and sore everywhere. These days I cut back on frequency of rides and concentrate on quality of rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surgtech1956 View Post
    Do you ride your bike everyday? I've only been riding about 8 miles a day and I don't feel like I'm doing much - fitness wise. How many miles should I be riding? 20 miles? I need to lose about 50 lbs also.
    As it happens I do ride almost every day, but while some days might be 70-80 miles, others will just involve a trip to the local store. You certainly shouldn't go hard every day. In any event, whether you ride every day is less important than time on the bike, and the intensity of effort. 8 miles per day isn't a lot, though...

    As others have said, if the idea is to get fit and lose weight, you need to challenge yourself in terms of intensity (fitness) and control your calorie intake (weight). If you do the former without the latter you're likely to just eat more to compensate for the exercise.

    And I also agree with the comment about hills being, effectively, interval training. No need to get too scientific - just find an undulating route and try to maintain a decent speed up the hills. You'll notice the difference in fitness pretty quickly
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikealou View Post
    Not sure I buy into the coasting time hurts your fitness argument. If you power your bike from point A to point B in a given amount of time, you perform the same amount of work whether you are pedaling 100% or 50% of the travel time. If you climb a hill or do a traffic light sprint you (While I do anyway) easily go into aerobic debt and need some time to recover before pedaling with any power output again.

    If we want to talk about efficiency or race time, then we're talking about a whole 'nother thing. Actually, I believe if you pedal a constant power output to cover a given distance, you probably are using less energy than the person pedaling like a fiend then coasting to cover the same distance in the same amount of time. So constant pedaling makes you a more efficient bike rider, so I endorse the idea that a biker wants to develop the knack for riding within their aerobic and fitness level and working to expand the envelope to become a better rider.

    My $0.02 worth.

    Going back to the OP question. I embarked on a fitness kick this past February. Joined the Y, got some coaching and the whole bit. As the weather moderated, I started back on the bike. I was getting stronger and fitter, but the weight was staying constant. I decided to try to get into a daily routine of riding every day I could. I did start seeing some weight loss as I followed that routine. O'course, weight loss requires a full-court press - exercise (both aerobic to burn calories and resistance to build muscle mass) and calorie control in the diet. And yes, I need the occasional rest day - I get one to two rest days a week and I vary my rides between hard and easy.
    The only time it's possible to pedal 100% of the time, is if in an area that is dead flat under a strictly rural setting or under artificial conditions like on a trainer/rollers. I would think for most riders, pedal time IS somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50% of saddle time, which is not unreasonable. Where it gets interesting is when the rider picks a distance like 8 miles, and rides only 8 miles for years and wonders why they aren't improving any. You need to constantly attempt to push the envelope a little, if 8 miles is good, try 9 or 10 miles, then 12 miles then 15 miles, you can slack off when you get to a century.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The only time it's possible to pedal 100% of the time, is if in an area that is dead flat under a strictly rural setting or under artificial conditions like on a trainer/rollers.
    Er, that's not exactly true. True, in urban cycling you'll have to stop and start. But there's no reason you shouldn't pedal for 100% of your moving time, and even in cities one spends only a small percentage of time stationary. As far as hills are concerned, with normal gearing it is perfectly possible to pedal downhill, you won't spin out until you're doing close to 40mph. And then there's my fixed gear....
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The only time it's possible to pedal 100% of the time, is if in an area that is dead flat under a strictly rural setting or under artificial conditions like on a trainer/rollers. I would think for most riders, pedal time IS somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50% of saddle time, which is not unreasonable. Where it gets interesting is when the rider picks a distance like 8 miles, and rides only 8 miles for years and wonders why they aren't improving any. You need to constantly attempt to push the envelope a little, if 8 miles is good, try 9 or 10 miles, then 12 miles then 15 miles, you can slack off when you get to a century.
    I strongly disagree with this. I pedal somewhere close to 90% of the time. It's just about making a conscious decision to do so. I will add that I definately am a spinner not a masher. Mashers tire out and then they have to coast. It is possible to pedal going downhill, it's just not necessarily a good use of your energy. Coast and recharge a bit so you can kill the next hill or really get it going fast on the flats.

    but the bottom line is this. Somwhere there is a person on a running forum saying "I run 2 miles everyday and I'm not losing weight" then someone is going to ask them how fast they run the 2 miles and the person is going to say "25 minutes" well guess what, that aint running! that is slow jogging. Frequency x Intensity x time = weight loss (along with nutrition ) Frequency means how many times a week, intensity is how hard so in this case your AVG MPH and time is how long your on the bike. For me I do rides that are longer like 20-35 miles and those I do put a solid effort but there is certainly some pacing going on and an understanding that I'm going to be on the bike for a long time so I'm going to burn a lot of calories. On the days where I want to ride but I know my time is limited I do 1 or 2 laps in central park. each lap is 6.1 miles and I'm basically trying to break a land/speed record when I do those laps. My best lap time to date is about 19:30 which is an 18.8 MPH avg. My ride yesterday was 35 miles in 2 hours 55 minutes for an average speed of 12.2mph. Much less intensity but a whole lot more duration so it still gets the job done either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Er, that's not exactly true. True, in urban cycling you'll have to stop and start. But there's no reason you shouldn't pedal for 100% of your moving time, and even in cities one spends only a small percentage of time stationary. As far as hills are concerned, with normal gearing it is perfectly possible to pedal downhill, you won't spin out until you're doing close to 40mph. And then there's my fixed gear....
    In an urban setting when you know that the next stop is 100m on, then it's common to coast to a stop, I know cagers will often accelerate to the last 5m before jamming the brakes on, but few cyclists do. Really though pedalling versus coasting time with coasting time meaning a much lower level of effort, is for the most part a straw man argument. Here is an example, I go along one road, it's about 500m long and drops about 2m, nice to get to about 30km/h coasting down there, this is followed by a very short 2m rise over about 100m, there is a 90 degree turn at the bottom, so you need to dump the momentum before going into the climb, is there less effort expended coasting down, turning and pedalling up, then there would be if it were dead flat and you pedalled the whole time.

    There are many other factors the biggest one is the condition of the motor. If the rider has spent a couple of decades on the couch, with little physical activity and is obese then the effort expanded in 8 miles with 50% of that as pedalling is going to be more then a fit, regular rider riding the same 8 miles pedalling 100% of the time. As I said earlier, if a rider wants to improve they need to be pushing the envelope. That could be by riding further or the same distance faster or both. If they want to lose weight, they need to combine more exercise effort and less fuel of higher quality.

    The issue and this may be the problem for the OP, is that they do the same distance, probably at the same speed, day in, day out, and the body gets acclimatised to that, which is why people who change their exercise and eating tend to plateau after a while, so you then need to change things up to keep going.

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    The thing about urban settings is that we don't often stop all that much. A row of cars is stopped and we may coast a little bit to get through the cars but then we are mashing to get through the red lights!
    I think we all agree that 8 miles on a bike isn't a whole lot of exercise. For someone just starting out, it's great. But if losing 50lbs is the goal, much more effort is needed so in that regard we agree. If your only doing 8 mile rides daily, you should be trying to do them as fast as you can

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    Some of you guys are doing the OP a disservice by just saying "do more miles". What kind of shape is he/she in? What kind of condition is he/she in at the end of the 8 miles? Done? Or ready for more? Why are they stopping at 8?

    And I know there will be some chafing at this but WTF. Yeah I'm doing small mileage now to get in shape with the goal of more as I become conditioned to riding,hell physical exertion in general. I don't even keep track of mileage but have a general idea of it. If you're in such good shape that you cannot recall the feeling of your heart at maximum effort congratulations. I'm just not there yet.
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    I'd like to suggest that you not focus only on riding, especially starting out. Doing SOMETHING every day is great and you'll have to up the ante as things become easy. More miles, or faster in riding. But you need to look at what you are physical condition to take. You could alternate riding with some light weight lifting (light for now). Or, if your gym is relatively close, bicycle to the gym like I do. That makes my ride to the gym a warm-up and my post gym ride home a warm-down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    there's no reason you shouldn't pedal for 100% of your moving time
    This is how I tend to ride. I live in a fairly flat and rural area, though, with low rolling hills. On the occasion that I tried coasting down the hills, rather than feeling refreshed I had a hard time getting my cadence back. So, I keep my legs moving as much as possible even if I'm not pushing hard.

    With respect to total miles ridden, it simply comes with time in the saddle. My long rides are a yawn to a lot of people. As long as the ride is challenging to me, that's all that matters.

    To directly offer my two cents to the OP, don't focus on a mileage number. Push yourself a little each week to make gains but don't worry about who else is riding more miles than you are. Before you know it, you'll be hitting distances you never thought possible. And I agree with everyone here who said a rest day (or two) is a good idea. You'll come back stronger afterwards!

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XR2 View Post
    Some of you guys are doing the OP a disservice by just saying "do more miles". What kind of shape is he/she in? What kind of condition is he/she in at the end of the 8 miles? Done? Or ready for more? Why are they stopping at 8?

    And I know there will be some chafing at this but WTF. Yeah I'm doing small mileage now to get in shape with the goal of more as I become conditioned to riding,hell physical exertion in general. I don't even keep track of mileage but have a general idea of it. If you're in such good shape that you cannot recall the feeling of your heart at maximum effort congratulations. I'm just not there yet.
    With all due respect, the OP asked whether he (she?) should be doing more miles in order to get fitter, and suggested a figure of twenty. So I don't think any of us are trying to push him into something he can't do.

    As for the feeling of one's heart at maximum effort, I'm not sure I can recall it because I suspect that if someone put a *** to my head while I was sprinting up a hill I'd find that it would go faster than I'd thought. But in any event, if you're just starting out you need to build up gradually. I'd recommend slightly longer, but rather easier, sessions rather than maxing out.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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