Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Question on Muscle Endurance and Strength...

    I have a comfort bike (Specialized Expedition) that over the past few years I have ridden off and on in the evenings and on weekends. I even dabbled with commuting to work a couple of times a week when weather was nice. (14 mile round trip) Now I am down a car (permanently) and commuting is a necessity....

    So for the last two weeks I have commuted every day in the 105+ heat in Dallas Ft Worth area. I am just finishing up week two today and thinking about the ride home. What I dread every day are the climbs I have to make. I am 320 pounds and 5'11", riding a comfort bike with 1.95x26" non slick wheels... My legs are screaming on every hill by the time I get to the top. Even in the the really low climbing gears

    My question is... at what point does it become a little easier for my legs to do the work? I am monitoring my work outs via smart phone riding app and my times don't really increase or decrease. Any regular commuter have any personal experiences they can relate to me about how long did it take them to get the leg strength to do their daily commute without so much burn

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    In The Wind
    My Bikes
    GTO
    Posts
    25,898
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Slow down on the hills.
    Use your easy gears and see how slow you can go up, not how hard and fast.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    5,174
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    My question is... at what point does it become a little easier for my legs to do the work? I am monitoring my work outs via smart phone riding app and my times don't really increase or decrease. Any regular commuter have any personal experiences they can relate to me about how long did it take them to get the leg strength to do their daily commute without so much burn
    In my experience, it will never get any easier... unless you push yourself to do more.

    My 10-mile lunch ride didn't get any easier until I started doing a 15-mile lunch ride. The 15-mile lunch ride didn't get any easier until I started doing 30-mile rides on the weekends. The 30-mile weekend ride didn't get any easier until I started doing 45-mile rides on the weekends. The 45-mile weekend ride didn't get any easier until I took the 30-mile ride and added 2000 feet of climbing to it.

    Push yourself to ride faster or further and your commute will start to seem easier...

  4. #4
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Minnesota/Arizona and between
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD, 1969 Schwinn Collegiate, Cannondale Quick 4, Terry Classic, Gary Fisher Marlin, Dahon Jetstream XP
    Posts
    3,922
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree with 10wheels. You are trying to survive the heat. Shift down and go slow up the hills. I often look at hills as a chance to slow down and rest. If I don't fall over and make it up the hill I call it success! Even though I am not pushing it up the hills most of the time, I still am much better than I was, making it up hills I never could do before.

  5. #5
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mattoon,Ill
    My Bikes
    Trek 7300 Giant Sedona E-Bike Trek Madone 4.5 Surly Cross Check
    Posts
    1,977
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you have a straight Expedition with only a single 42 Tooth crank I feel for you. This isn't a hillclimber.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    My Bikes
    2006 Specialized Ruby Pro aka "Rhubarb" / and a backup road bike
    Posts
    1,563
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've been back on the bike 3 years. My original commutes were 9 miles each way and the hills were brutal on me. I needed to stop, sit down, and rest 5 minutes every 3 miles. Once a week I would do a 17 miles each way commute with some harder hillls.

    While I'm rarely commuting these days, I do ride those same hills. The steepest hill still gets me out of breath, but I no longer walk it and my cadence is better. My heartrate comes down pretty quickly. The longer hills I can tackle without fear and I get farther before I drop into my smallest gear. In essence, the routes have flattened out. I also believe that familiar routes are easier - your body learns how to pace yourself and you'll end up picking the right gearing at the right time.

    I was a parttime commuter, so I was able to do some longer/harder rides on weekends. When you can build up to a hot humid 80-miler, do some 30 mile rides trying to keep up with faster people/better climbers on group rides, the commute routes start to look easier.

    I would guess it was about a year for things to sort themself out. Aerobic improvement came along nicely after a few months, steep hill strength took longer. Average about 300 miles/month on the bike.

    Part of it is confidence, knowing that you can climb a certain hill. Part of it is toughing it out, keeping the cranks turning even when you get an opportunity to coast. And part of it is knowing when you've had enough and its time to ease back a notch and live to ride again.

    When I look back, I am amazed at how hard those first rides were and that I even kept at it. Keep the faith, one day you too can take pride in your accomplishments.

  7. #7
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    KHS Town and Country 100 & Jamis Durango Femme 1.0
    Posts
    2,103
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Keep riding! Commuting was tough at first for me because of the rolling hills, looking out for cars, making left turns in traffic, trying not to sweat buckets of sweat, and trying out different shoes nearly every day until I found a pair that were comfortable on pedals. But as time went on, the ride became much easier, my speed increased, and it became a lot more fun as I found new routes and nice little escapes.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Thomaston, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2013 Raleigh Clubman, 2010 Schwinn LeTour, 2012 Raleigh Sojourn, 2011 Schwinn Voyaguer 7
    Posts
    216
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Part of it is confidence, knowing that you can climb a certain hill. Part of it is toughing it out, keeping the cranks turning even when you get an opportunity to coast. And part of it is knowing when you've had enough and its time to ease back a notch and live to ride again.

    When I look back, I am amazed at how hard those first rides were and that I even kept at it. Keep the faith, one day you too can take pride in your accomplishments.
    I can agree with these statements. I am finding that a lot of hill climbing is as much mental endurance as physical conditioning. I did a two part 60 mile ride today with between 1500-2000 ft of elevation gain on each leg. The return trip got really tough after the 50 mile point and I still had to cross the Pine Mountains. The temp was in the low 90's with the humidity feeling like it matched the temp. At some point I quit worrying about my average speed, my cadence, or the ability to stand and climb a hill. It all became about making it home no matter how slow I had to go to climb the hill. There were some places where I was in granny gear for my bike (40CR x 34) and all I could think about was getting one more revolution out of the cranks. Finally I made it. With an average cadence of about 72 and an average speed just over 12mph. My longest ride prior to this was a 23 mile a week ago and I am quite satisfied by the fact that I did 60 miles on a bike in a day.

    We won't even talk about about popping the chain, leg cramps, or hitting a rain shower while on the ride back? Or even making a second bottle holder out of a plastic shopping bag so I could carry the extra quart of Gatorade (G2 low calorie cause I'm still a Clyde).
    RUSA #8269

  9. #9
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central NY
    My Bikes
    Felt Rejected
    Posts
    7,183
    Mentioned
    130 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You rebuild muscle on the days you don't ride. So if necessity forces you to commute 5 days per week, push HARD on the last day, consume protein and carbs within an hour of finishing the ride (I use whey protein mix), and then take the next two days off. It will take months to condition for strength, but you should see improvement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you all. As I had mention that was week two of the commute. Last Friday after the commute I drank a low carb protein shake (52g Protein) and stuck to a high protein and low carb diet all weekend. The only physical labor I did was mow the grass Saturday morning and lifted upper body weights last night. This morning's commute was much easier. I think maybe my problem was muscle fatigue last week. The previous weekend I did not give my lower body much rest. I rode 20 miles the Saturday morning after my first week. Mowed the grass on Sunday, etc.

    newbie bike question though... I am looking to upgrade my Expedition to a Trek 7.2FX or 7.3FX in the next couple of months. The 700 tires vs the 26" tires and different gearing of the FX.... I know I will probably be able to increase my top speed on flat and downhill over my expedition, but what about the uphill? Will my climbing be easier, same, or harder?

  11. #11
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mattoon,Ill
    My Bikes
    Trek 7300 Giant Sedona E-Bike Trek Madone 4.5 Surly Cross Check
    Posts
    1,977
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you have the single crank. The triple crankset of the Fx 7.3 will be much better.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    northern Deep South
    My Bikes
    Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee
    Posts
    1,912
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Gear down, pedal faster, not harder. It's counterintuitive, but with some training, it'll work wonders.

    Look into some slick tires. You'll be surprised how much easier your ride is with slicks, and you may be surprised how inexpensive they are. (If you aren't now, you will be when you start buying road tires!)

    Don't be afraid of carbs, especially right after a ride. You just burned a bunch, and there's a roughly 30-minute window after you stopped riding where carbohydrates you eat will go right into the muscles, getting you ready for tomorrow's (or this afternoon's) ride. From your description, I'd guess your liver was working overtime this weekend rebuilding glycogen in your leg muscles. It's easy to confound glycogen exhaustion with muscle fatigue.

    I'm going to throw out some guesses here -- 26 pounds for your Expedition, 20 pounds for the new Trek you want. Bike plus you weight 346 vs. 340 pounds. 6 pounds, less than 2%. The best you can hope for is a 2% increase in speed as the same muscles power you up the hill. Try the slicks first.

  13. #13
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,451
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    Thank you all. As I had mention that was week two of the commute. Last Friday after the commute I drank a low carb protein shake (52g Protein) and stuck to a high protein and low carb diet all weekend. The only physical labor I did was mow the grass Saturday morning and lifted upper body weights last night. This morning's commute was much easier. I think maybe my problem was muscle fatigue last week. The previous weekend I did not give my lower body much rest. I rode 20 miles the Saturday morning after my first week. Mowed the grass on Sunday, etc.

    newbie bike question though... I am looking to upgrade my Expedition to a Trek 7.2FX or 7.3FX in the next couple of months. The 700 tires vs the 26" tires and different gearing of the FX.... I know I will probably be able to increase my top speed on flat and downhill over my expedition, but what about the uphill? Will my climbing be easier, same, or harder?
    I don't know these bikes, but I'll risk saying a lightweight wheelset and tires plus being able to spin up a hill in a lower gear will make an enormous difference. Mashing an over geared heavy bike with slow rolling wheels & tires, it's purgatory. And, I think it builds the wrong muscles, you want snap not crushing power.

  14. #14
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,100
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    it can take getting used to shifting in your absolute lowest gear and spinning slow and steady up the hill but that is what you need to do. I highly recommend you upgrade bikes IMMEDIATELY. That bike you are riding is a tank, it must weigh well over 30lbs. Get yourself on a hybrid without a suspension so you'll stop wasting so much energy and you will be a lot faster.

    PDLAMB, there is no way his current bike weighs 26lbs. it is certainly over 30lbs as it has a front suspension. A low end fx series trek is probably still close to 30lbs because it has a Hi-Ten steel fork. The 7.3 has an aluminum fork, it will lighten the bike but not help ride quality much. In my opinon the 7.4 is where I would start. It is a 9speed drivetrain so you will have plenty of low gears but much better spacing between all of your gears. IT also has the carbon fork and the isozone handlebars are absolutely awesome. I've had them on my commuter and whether it's just the feel of the grips or the rubbery insert in the bar, they are incredibly comfortable. I wouldn't go above the 7.4 model because they start putting low spoke count wheels on after that. Essentially they become speedy flat bar road bikes at that point, great for some but not for clydes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    415
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    I am 320 pounds and 5'11", riding a comfort bike with 1.95x26" non slick wheels... My legs are screaming on every hill by the time I get to the top. Even in the the really low climbing gears
    Loose the tractor tires first. You're riding on the road. Use road tires, something like 1,4 or 1,5" on 26". Slick tires. It's gonna cut your power loss in half on hills. Pump them up good. Then keep up with it, ride easy, stop if you need to. Then after a few months of this, report back.

  16. #16
    Senior Member TheTreauth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    2011 Giant Rapid 3, 2001 Schwinn Mesa GSX
    Posts
    113
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No one can really give you an accurate window for when it will get easier because everyone adapts differently to physical stimulus. But the best way to get better at it is to just keep at it, increase distance as you feel comfortable, and help yourself along with good nutrition. Good luck in your journey!
    Daily driver - 2011 Giant Rapid 3
    Weekend trail rider/winter beater - 2001 Schwinn Mesa GSX
    I get about 12 MPCB (Miles Per Cheeseburger)

  17. #17
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,100
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by whitecat View Post
    Loose the tractor tires first. You're riding on the road. Use road tires, something like 1,4 or 1,5" on 26". Slick tires. It's gonna cut your power loss in half on hills. Pump them up good. Then keep up with it, ride easy, stop if you need to. Then after a few months of this, report back.

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202472
    I had these in 700 x35c on my commuter. Awesome ride, no flats. Pumped them up to max pressure and they were quick and smooth and a very nice price. I highly recommend them.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    5,174
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202472
    I had these in 700 x35c on my commuter. Awesome ride, no flats. Pumped them up to max pressure and they were quick and smooth and a very nice price. I highly recommend them.
    These are a nice, cheap tire. I had the 26"x1.5 tire on my commuter bike for a (short) while and found that they wore out pretty quickly. I switched to the Continental Sport Contact tire. The profile is more rounded, so the bike seems to steer a bit faster; took me a ride or two to get used to it. The Sport Contact is twice the price of the Nashbar tire, but so far the seem to be quite a bit more durable...

  19. #19
    attacking the streets!
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn
    My Bikes
    Jamis Coda Elite
    Posts
    249
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Because I have more leg power than leg speed, over the past few days I have been staying in faster gears and just powering through hills (even if that involves standing up). I have been noticing that downshifting and spinning my legs faster causes me to run out of steam quicker than pedaling slower but pushing harder.

  20. #20
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,100
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jimnolimit View Post
    Because I have more leg power than leg speed, over the past few days I have been staying in faster gears and just powering through hills (even if that involves standing up). I have been noticing that downshifting and spinning my legs faster causes me to run out of steam quicker than pedaling slower but pushing harder.
    For short rides that is fine but try doing that during a century ride and see what happens when you hit a hill at the end.

  21. #21
    attacking the streets!
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn
    My Bikes
    Jamis Coda Elite
    Posts
    249
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    For short rides that is fine but try doing that during a century ride and see what happens when you hit a hill at the end.
    i haven't done a century in a long time (and i was in great shape), but i do at least 2 long rides weekly, usually in the 20-25 mile range (and many 5-10 mile rides). i'm 6' tall and currently weigh 255lbs (my bike is 34lbs), keeping a good cadence on flat or lightly inclined ground is no problem. when i hit steep inclines, even with downshifting i get pretty spent (temporarily). when i tried hitting steeper hills in a faster gear and using more of my leg power instead of leg speed, i don't feel as spent. i'm going to have to actually do some measured testing so see which way is actually working better for me, or if it's just in my mind.

  22. #22
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas
    Posts
    10,735
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A big part of the answer will be weight loss on your part.
    Consider driving to work then riding a flatter route for more miles. You want to be cycling for a long time, not doing a quick series of leg-press exercises that do you in. Especially if you find yourself pedaling very slowly with great effort, you can tire your legs out without getting much of a cardio workout in.
    See if you can find a flatter route.
    You may be able to get lower gearing on your bike, check at a bike shop.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  23. #23
    attacking the streets!
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn
    My Bikes
    Jamis Coda Elite
    Posts
    249
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    Now I am down a car (permanently) and commuting is a necessity....

    So for the last two weeks I have commuted every day in the 105+ heat in Dallas Ft Worth area.

    I am 320 pounds and 5'11"

    My legs are screaming on every hill by the time I get to the top. Even in the the really low climbing gears

    My question is... at what point does it become a little easier for my legs to do the work?
    your 320lbs and just dramatically increased both the amount of miles you ride and how frequently you ride. add in the 105 degree heat and it's real easy to see why your legs are screaming up hills. your commute will get easier when your endurance increases and your weight decreases, both will take some time.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •