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  1. #1
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    Newbie, So far so good! But need advice.

    I am a 52 year old 300 pounder and broke a bone in my foot in March. I decided to get into biking after sitting on my butt for 3 months trying to get my foot to heal. I purchased a used Trek 7300 after a lot of research and I must admit I really enjoy riding! I started off at 2 miles a day and within a couple weeks I was at 50-60 miles a week which is where I am now. It seems like I can't get past the ten mile mark in a day. I was also a long time smoker. I am having trouble getting my average speed past 10.5 which I know is very slow. Most adult riders pass me on the bike path. I also can't seem to lose much weight, which I 'm sure would pick up my speed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by tim961; 09-07-10 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Loosing weight is about what you eat or don't eat.

    Riding a bike will get you feeling and looking better.

    Don't even think about speed until you get about 2,000 miles on your legs.

    Ride as much as you can. Rest, take a day off when you need it.

    Eat Less, Eat smaller meals.

    What is you problem with not going past 10 miles?
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  3. #3
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    I will echo 10 Wheels about weight loss. You are what you eat is a cliche' for a very good reason. It's true.

    I started out on May 18th this year weighing in at 260 lbs. I could not ride more than 4 or 5 miles to start.

    This weekend I completed my first and from all that people tell me, a pretty challenging century ride. http://bombaybicycle.org/index.php/events/wright/

    I weighed in this morning between 220-223 lbs.

    This is not just due to me riding a bike but the bike is a huge factor. I started eating healthy on May 18th and have not stopped. That does not mean that I do not partake in less than healthy choices on occasion. But 90% of the time I am eating healthy food and in proper portion sizes.

    Keep at it and good luck!

  4. #4
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    i'd say stick with it

    make sure you are hydrating properly and eating the foods to give you energy and also aid in recovery. i'm still working on this myself
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  5. #5
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    Training and a good base where get you past where you are. One thing to suggest... slow down, ride for distance versus speed. I do two types of rides - short but fast and long but slow I did a century several weeks ago - my time for 102 hilly miles was 8 1/2 hours). Someday, well, maybe never, I hope to add long and fast (I would like to beat my best century time of 7 hrs.).

    Do one ride easy but push your mileage. Say do 12 or 15 miles. Once you have done that then you know what it takes to go that far and it will be "easy peasy".

    Speed isn't everything in fact, if you want to lose weight, long slow distance is better (do the research). Long slow sustained activitiy develops good "red" muscle which burns calories and fat more efficiently. Speed is something that comes with time and training so don't worry about it so much.

    Also keep in mind you are on a heavy bike. Going 10 mph is good considering. You are working much harder than those little skinny guys on road bikes and skinny tires.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. I agree about the improving the diet will help with weight loss. I think you have made great progress in a short time to be riding 50-60 miles a week. Keep working at it. To try to increase your distance take a short break. Ride six miles away from a starting point, stop rest a bit and ride back. You now have to ride the 6 miles back There are some other techniques for increasing your speed, but I agree with 10wheels you need more miles before worrying about speed. My guess is that if you keep riding you will suddenly realize you finished your ride faster then you previously did without thinking about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim961 View Post
    It seems like I can't get past the ten mile mark in a day.
    I am having trouble getting my average speed past 10.5 which I know is very slow.
    You could be reaching your one-hour lactate threshold at that speed and terrain combination.

    Speed isn't a very good metric for how hard you're working, especially when you're heavy and putting a lot of energy into getting your weight up hills. At 150kg for rider+bike 10.5 MPH with a .3% grade (50 feet in 3 miles) which seems to be "flat" takes about 23 Watts in the down-hill direction and 64 Watts up-hill.

    How you're feeling also doesn't work. You can feel great and still be accumulating lactic acid that will stop you after an hour.

    You need to look at power or heart rate to see where you're headed if you want to be scientific.

    Go slower when you want to go longer.

    Periodically ride harder but shorter (like intervals on hills) to increase your lactate threshold.

  8. #8
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    The Bee's 2 cents. Ride in an easy gear and pedal faster. A lot of newbies think if they ride in a harder gear it is better cause they think they go faster. In my humble opinion - easier it is to pedal and the faster circles the better for exercise (and riding). So make sure you are not maxing out the gears and are pedalling with ease. Then try and increase cadence..... go for 80-90 Cadence....

  9. #9
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    +1 to what Missbumble said. 90 RPM is a good, all-purpose cadence that many cyclists of all stripes (male or female, big or small, fair-haired or brunette) try to maintain for most types of riding. It may seem ridiculously fast at first, and you'll be forced to learn the ins and outs of your various available gear ratios to maintain it in different road conditions (terrain and wind primarily), but after a short while it will feel completely natural. Pushing too big a gear is an easy way to exhaust yourself and can lead to knee issues if you don't have a sizable mileage base in your legs to begin with.
    Last edited by CraigB; 09-07-10 at 03:33 PM.
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  10. #10
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    I truly appreciate everyone's advice! I think my appetite has increased with the additional exercise I have been getting. At ten miles , I have felt like I "hit the wall" where I don't care to face even a small hill or go into a strong wind. I don't remember the wind as being such a strong detriment. I feel like I'm on a sailboat when going against the wind. Today the we had gusts to forty mph here in Illinois and I thought at one point I might start going backwards as I struggled to move forward! The important thing is I enjoy riding so much and that means everything . I will update when I improve, Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Just have fun with your rides.

    The more I ride the more I want to eat..
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  12. #12
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim961 View Post
    I truly appreciate everyone's advice! I think my appetite has increased with the additional exercise I have been getting. At ten miles , I have felt like I "hit the wall" where I don't care to face even a small hill or go into a strong wind. I don't remember the wind as being such a strong detriment....
    One truism that I've heard often is that you don't lose weight by exercising, you lose weight by dieting. It's normal to get hungrier when you exercise more. That said, if you maintain the same weight but replace fat with muscle, you'll get leaner and thinner. You could stay at the same weight and have to buy a new, slimmer wardrobe. But if you want to lose weight, as well as fat, you'll need to count calories and work out a diet that provides enough energy to sustain your cycling but enough of a daily calorie deficit to lose weight.

    As for winds, they can be evil. I spent several hours this summer on a 35-mile ride into a relentless 20-mph headwind in Ireland. After that ride I felt as if I had accomplished more than I had on some rides that were twice as long.

  13. #13
    Non sibi sed patriae thestoutdog's Avatar
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    Congratulations on you're new endeavor. I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but here's my 2 cents. The more often I ride, the more likely for me to get on the bike and pedal the next day. I really don't care if it is a 25 miler with The Historian or a 5 miler with my dog (The Historian is a much better conversationalist). If I continue to get on the bike, my weight goes down and fitness level goes up. I rode a whole bunch the first three weeks of August, and lost 13 lbs. The last week or so, I have not ridden as much and gained one pound back. The important thing to remember is don't be too hard on yourself if you can't ride as fast or as far as you think you should be able to, just keep at it and it will come with time. Also, I find that when I am more consistent with my riding, I tend to eat better so as not to mess up all my hard work. Most importantly, have fun. Second is, have fun. If riding seems like a chore, you won't do it. Have fun, be consistent, and check in with the great people here on BF, they are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Welcome, and have fun!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim961 View Post
    I am a 52 year old 300 pounder and broke a bone in my foot in March. I decided to get into biking after sitting on my butt for 3 months trying to get my foot to heal. I purchased a used Trek 7300 after a lot of research and I must admit I really enjoy riding! I started off at 2 miles a day and within a couple weeks I was at 50-60 miles a week which is where I am now. It seems like I can't get past the ten mile mark in a day. I was also a long time smoker. I am having trouble getting my average speed past 10.5 which I know is very slow. Most adult riders pass me on the bike path. I also can't seem to lose much weight, which I 'm sure would pick up my speed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    First, don't worry about speed, speed is not that important. Losing weight is simple, it's a mathematical formula,

    I-O=W

    Where I is calories In, O is calories Out and W is weight change (express in calories - there are roughly 3,000 calories to the pound). Riding only deals with one factor, the more you do it, the higher the O number at the end of the day. The I number is harder, you need to remember one thing: food is fuel, it's not your friend, it's not your comfort, if you want either a comfort or a friend, get a dog. So with food as fuel, you need to also increase the quality of that fuel while reducing the quantity. Any food that comes with an ingredient list, check that list, avoid anything you can't pronounce....

  15. #15
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    I truly appreciate everyone's advice! I think my appetite has increased with the additional exercise I have been getting.
    You are doing great so just enjoy yourself and keep at it.

    One suggestion that has helped me in the quest to lose some weight was to become more aware of how much water I was drinking.
    I also am pretty disciplined with eating smaller portions and the other things that the folks have suggested.

    Sometimes when you feel hungry and are looking for a snack, try having a glass of water which for many suppresses that hunger pang.
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    Last edited by Seve; 09-07-10 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Add content - OP's text

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    You've made a great start. Try increasing your mileage by about 10% every week or two. Don't shoot for the metric century when all you've done is 10 miles. Sometimes it take a long time to work up distances. As you get stronger, you will start to go faster. Re: diet. Spend the money and go to a dietitian. He/she will tell you what to eat that will both give you fuel for riding and help you lose weight at the same time.

  17. #17
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    I didn't see anyone suggest a "reward" at your halfway point. Go half the distance you are going to ride and then do something to reward yourself.

    My favorite reward is to drink half a water bottle with HEED in it. I have a camel back for hydration and sip normal water every few minutes during my ride; but the water bottle with the HEED is waiting for that halfway point. (Then at 3/4 or end of the ride I drink the rest of the HEED.)

    A bottle of HEED has 100 calories and uses long chain sugars. It makes me feel much better and I can go much further; the energy from calories help but I think the added salts and minerals help you recover faster. When I do a short ride of less than 15-20 miles I probably don't need the added sugar/calories, but it is my little treat. (And I'm sure it is better for a person wanting to burn fat than a trail or energy bar.)

    I also keep an small packet of the gu or hammer energy goo which I never use unless I feel like I'm totally out of energy and won't make it home. (BONK)
    Last edited by keithlm; 09-17-10 at 12:00 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member retnav94's Avatar
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    Patience! I started about the same way you did, 300+ and a bad foot. As I stated in another thread, I started walking in may and dropped almost 60lbs but then my foot rebelled with Plantar Fasciitis. I turned to my old hybrid and hit the local bike path. i do about 10 miles in 44 mins or so and average between 10-12 mph. The hills kick my butt. The weight loss has been slower, and i am very competitive, however, I figure I just started and I have to be patient. Faster times and longer rides will come in time. As others have stated you are not on a road bike, give it time. I do eat much better now which is clearly the key, but the more i ride the more I want to ride.
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    Don't care about the speed... it will come with time, if you put too much effort on it you will feel extra tired and disappointed.
    As somebody mentioned here, a good advice would be going 6 miles one way and stop to drink some water, stretch... get back and ride the 6 miles back. do this for a week, on the next week you try without the stopping. 2 miles is 20% more then you are riding today.
    Regarding the weight loss, you are loosing fat and turning it into muscle. Don't worry about it, even if you were not loosing weight you would be decreasing your risks for heart diseases or diabetes. Ask your doctor and for sure he will be happy to know that you are doing your 10 miles a day.. it's a win win, there's no trade-off.
    One thing that helped me was to write down everything I eat during the day and put on a spreadsheet, after a week I would look for quick wins... things that have a lot of calories and I would not miss if removed. In my case it was soft drinks. I used to drink 10oz of Coke on every meal. Taking it off and replacing by water is not something that makes me craving for it and shredded more then 2000 cal/week from my diet. not bad.
    Don't get me wrong, some times I still want to drink a coke but I just do it like once a week instead of every meal.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim961 View Post
    I truly appreciate everyone's advice! I think my appetite has increased with the additional exercise I have been getting.
    Forget average speed, or, set yourself a cap. You won't have an average moving speed of more than 9 mph for the next long ride you do. And don't go up any hills, either, if you can avoid it. Long, easy rides burn more calories ( because they take more time ), but actually suppress your appetite for a while. Intense rides where you hammer on the pedals have other benefits, but they make you hungry.

    Quote Originally Posted by tim961 View Post
    At ten miles , I have felt like I "hit the wall" where I don't care to face even a small hill or go into a strong wind.
    That happens to everyone, which is why there are names for it. Hitting the wall, bonking, etc. You'll get stronger as you put more time on the bike, and you'll need less strength as the weight comes off. That will happen almost by itself. In the meantime, eat (well) before a ride, and take some food and water with you.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    You are on the right track.
    The weight will come off, (slowly), as long as you try to watch what you eat.

    As far as speed goes, Who cares? Are you working hard? Isn't that the important thing?

    Your distance, and speed will improve with time on the bike.
    Learn to spin the cranks, do some quicker, (for you) type rides, and mix in some slower longer type of rides.

    For a few people, cycling and weight loss come easy. For most of us, it takes some time and there are few short cuts.


    Good luck, and may you always have a tail wind.

  22. #22
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    Well, when I started 5 weeks ago I went 1.6 miles in 17 minutes and had to quit! Today I went 12 miles in 58 minutes and felt great afterwords! Its amazing and fun to watch the improvement. I know this isn't much for you experienced riders, but we all have to start somewhere. Now if I could stop eating so much, I might start losing more weight. Tim

  23. #23
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thats awesome progress. 12mph is nothing to sneeze at

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