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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 03-07-12, 10:29 PM   #1
hawk8945
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Looking for a little help

So I am looking for some help. I am trying to get into riding and want to do several miles like everyone else but for some reason my legs just aren't letting me get past a couple miles. My cardio is fine but my legs are just burning. Now I lift a lot and have fairly strong legs but is it I am just not in bike riding shape and need to just give it more time. Is there any tips you guys have? I have been riding then hopping off and doing body weight squats anything else you guys think of?
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Old 03-07-12, 10:36 PM   #2
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So I am looking for some help. I am trying to get into riding and want to do several miles like everyone else but for some reason my legs just aren't letting me get past a couple miles. My cardio is fine but my legs are just burning. Now I lift a lot and have fairly strong legs but is it I am just not in bike riding shape and need to just give it more time. Is there any tips you guys have? I have been riding then hopping off and doing body weight squats anything else you guys think of?
Maybe this will help:
http://www.realmusclebuilding.com/20...nd-avoid-pain/

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Old 03-07-12, 10:42 PM   #3
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Thanks great read. Always trying to get more knowledge.
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Old 03-07-12, 11:09 PM   #4
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The first thing I would check is bike fit. Poor fit can cause lots of leg pain. If the bike fits well and is in good operating order, then it's just a matter of training.
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Old 03-07-12, 11:10 PM   #5
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If you want to increase your cycling legs, then just stick with it and cycle - a little bit at a time. Doing bodyweight squats as intervals in your riding is great exercise, but will worsen your feeling as it'll really build up the lactic acid. I'd suggest riding a route that will allow you to "spin" vs. a hard hill type crank. A helpful hint when the legs are really burning is to simply spin for a few mins in a gear that is easy until the burning eases. Make sure you stay hydrated too.
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Old 03-08-12, 07:34 AM   #6
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How are you riding? Are you in too high a gear, with a slow pedal cadence, mashing, pushing and grinding away? If so, that'll deplete your legs in a big hurry. Shift to a lower gear and spin more.
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Old 03-08-12, 08:11 AM   #7
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This just helped me out also... Great info!
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Old 03-08-12, 08:20 AM   #8
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I agree that the fit/adjustment and gearing you are using may be a large part of the issue. If you have the saddle too low and are pedaling little baby circles in a high gear, you won't get very far or fast. You won't be getting good aerobic exercise either. You may just need to do your shorter rides for a while until you feel you are having a little steam left at the end. Then push it another mile.

The rule of thumb I have always gone by is that when your leg is at it's maximum extension during the pedal stroke, the knee should be just *slightly* bent. Just enough that you are not straining your leg to reach the pedal. Individual preferences vary, but that should get you in the neighborhood.

Assuming you are riding a mountain bike or hybrid, I'd suggest using a fairly low gear to start off until you get stronger. Large cog in the rear and the middle ring in the front.

A couple of other things which come to mind that may be relevant:
-How tall & heavy are you right now?
-What kind of bike do you have and does it fit you?
-What has your physical activity been the last year or so?
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Old 03-08-12, 01:27 PM   #9
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Thanks guys a lot of great info on here.
Yo spliff
1. I am right at 6 flat and am 310ish depending on my hydration patterns that day.
2. I have a 26" schwinn protocol as i have a short inseam and 29 just didn't fit. I have the seat elevated to have full extension with just a slight bend.
3. My physical activity is pretty high especially for that of a 300 + dude. Lift 1 hour 4-5 times a week play 30 - 45 min of basketball with high school kids 3-4 times a week jog on the side and now riding bike.
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Old 03-08-12, 01:37 PM   #10
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Shift to an easier gear, and 'make up for it' by 'spinning' the pedals more quickly. That will shift the burden from your legs to your cardio system. And then your legs won't quit on you, burning, before you'd like to finish your ride.
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Old 03-08-12, 03:05 PM   #11
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Yeah I will switch to lower gear, I try to keep it a faster pace trying not to drop below 12 mph is that too fast or just around normal for an average ride.
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Old 03-08-12, 04:19 PM   #12
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An average speed can vary considerably, depending on the bike and other things like tires.
IF I put "tractor type" knobbies on my grocery getter, I have trouble getting up to 10 MPH. Skinny street slicks and I average about 14ish.

Spin at a comfortable pace. You can always push it when you get close to home if you desire.

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Old 03-08-12, 04:30 PM   #13
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Yeah I will switch to lower gear, I try to keep it a faster pace trying not to drop below 12 mph is that too fast or just around normal for an average ride.
An "average ride" depends on who the rider is. For my wife 12mph is the kind of speed she looks to maintain. For Mark Cavendish 12mph is so slow he's practically falling over. When I got on a bike for the first time in 20+ years 12mph was the kind of speed I looked forward to achieving.
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Old 03-08-12, 04:42 PM   #14
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Yeah I will switch to lower gear, I try to keep it a faster pace trying not to drop below 12 mph is that too fast or just around normal for an average ride.
Forget how fast you're making the bike go. Instead, focus (for now, for the purposes of the issue you're asking about) on cadence. How many times do the pedals go around in a complete circle per minute? The more often that happens, the less force you apply to the pedals each time, and the less stress you place on your knee, to hold a steady speed. A cadence that intuitively feels right to most people winds up not really being ideal for cycling, and being hardest on your knees, but also on the leg muscles. I'm pretty sure this is what's going on in your case.

If you have a cadence sensor, that's great, but if not, a clock with a second hand will do just fine. Count pedal strokes for 15 seconds, and multiply by 4. Ideally, on flat ground, you want to be doing around 80 to 90 rpms. On the other hand, comments like that tend to start a holy war in here.
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Old 03-08-12, 07:16 PM   #15
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1. Check your tires. Inflate to max pressure on the sidewall.

2. Next, remove front wheel, check bearings on axles. It should spin easily. If not, adjust the cones. If your Protocol has front QR, I'm not talking about the QR spinning. I specifically mean the hub axle.

3. Repeat 2 with the rear wheel.

4. Check brakes are centered and not dragging on the rim. If dragging, adjust brakes (usually disc front and V-brake rear on Schwinn Protocol).

5. Point a finger to the tips of your anterior pelvic bone usually just above the pants pocket where the belt hangs onto (unless you wear gangsta pants). That should be the starting position of where your saddle is. If you have a higher bottom bracket, you may need to raise it higher. Otherwise it should around there. Note - you can't touch the ground comfortably, even on one tippy toe while seated on the saddle.

6. Don't pedal like a duck. Keep feet forward. Pedal under the balls of the feet just behind the toes. Not on the arches.

On flat ground, you'll roll at 10 - 12 mph alone for the same energy as walking. I'd say 80 - 90 rpm cadence is a bit high for anyone starting out. Biometrically, we do best around 65 rpm except for racers trained to pedal really fast. But starting out, doing 40 - 50 is
fine. You aren't racing, and we're talking 12 mph here. You're only dealing with rolling resistance of the tires pretty much. Above 16 mph, wind starts to become a factor and increases as the cube of relative wind speed, so at 22mph, lasting more than 2 miles would indeed be an achievement.

But I regularly get novice riders to ride 25 miles in the first or second ride without issues on flat routes. Failure to finish is usually due to saddle pain, cramps due to improper riding position or due to lack of proper hydration and calories. Riders are literally coasting 25 miles on many of these rides. There is no cardiovascular strain whatsoever at our pace of 10 mph during a 25 mile ride or shouldn't be.

Most likely, the number one issue is lack of seat height. Number two, is lack of tire inflation and perhaps the wrong tires. Give it a shot and see if at least we can mechanically eliminate those causes.
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Old 03-08-12, 09:36 PM   #16
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Wow thanks Gyozadude that is really informative and will definitely try all of these things. Thanks once again. And no I don't wear gansta pants. haha
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Old 03-09-12, 02:34 AM   #17
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Go to the library and get books by Greg Lemond, Bernard Hinault, Eddie B, and Chris Carmichael to start, see my profile for old posts that will help feel free to msg. me w/ questions. Ask your LBS if there is anyone, ( like an old racer), who will take you under their wing for a bit

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Old 03-09-12, 04:10 AM   #18
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Something that may fly in the face of common knowledge:

Ignore the high cadence advice. Especially if you're a big dude.

Make me spin the accepted 80rpm+ up a hill and my legs will be burning.

Let me mash up it at a much lower RPM and I do just fine. Even pushing a big gear.

I've never been a high cadence rider. Never will be. Of course, I'll never be a top 10 contender in bike races neither, but I can ride all day without getting tired.
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Old 03-09-12, 05:59 AM   #19
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Askel, you are literally the only person I've ever heard say that. Seriously.

I'm not suggesting you're wrong - it obviously is working for you. But I don't know a single other person who's espoused that view.
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Old 03-09-12, 07:00 AM   #20
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Askel, you are literally the only person I've ever heard say that. Seriously.

I'm not suggesting you're wrong - it obviously is working for you. But I don't know a single other person who's espoused that view.
If you're talking the lower cadence view I find it unnatural to pedal much faster than what I'd estimate is about 60-70rpm. If I had to estimate the speed I feel most comfortable at it would probably be around 50-60rpm.

It may be I'm badly underestimating my cadence, it may be when I get up to speed I'm spinning faster and not really noticing it, or it may just be I find it easier to lay down more power at a lower cadence. Perhaps if I worked on increasing cadence I'd get more power than I currently do over time, it's hard to know.
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Old 03-09-12, 08:25 AM   #21
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For what it's worth I was just watching the Paris-Nice live cycling and most of the riders there seemed to be riding with a cadence I estimated to be pretty close to 60rpm.
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Old 03-09-12, 08:57 AM   #22
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I think my cadence has usually been around 80-90, though I think of late it's increased a little as my fitness has improved. So, I do think the ability do do a higher cadence comes with time. At the beginning it's more natural to mash a higher gear.
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Old 03-09-12, 10:13 AM   #23
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If you're talking the lower cadence view I find it unnatural to pedal much faster than what I'd estimate is about 60-70rpm.
I find it unnatural (but wonderful) to ride a bike, when nature gave me feet to walk on. Like spinning at a high cadence, it took me a while to learn this unnatural activity; the learning curve was steep, but, in both cases, it was worth it.
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Old 03-09-12, 08:59 PM   #24
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Something that may fly in the face of common knowledge:

Ignore the high cadence advice. Especially if you're a big dude.

Make me spin the accepted 80rpm+ up a hill and my legs will be burning.

Let me mash up it at a much lower RPM and I do just fine. Even pushing a big gear.

I've never been a high cadence rider. Never will be. Of course, I'll never be a top 10 contender in bike races neither, but I can ride all day without getting tired.
Hooray! I'm not the only one!
For 3 years I struggled (unsuccessfully) to improve my cadence beyond 72rpm. I didn't get faster but I did blow up a lot.
9,000 miles later, I changed my tactics and decided it was OK to mash.
My big legs can generate a lot of low-speed torque but the legs are heavy to lift and I need time to relax them between pedal thrusts.
59-62 rpm is my preference.
I still ride with my heartrate at threshhold but now I'm moving faster. Slowing the cadence helps me keep from overheating and bonking.
Legs still feel pretty fresh after 50 miles. Haven't done any longer rides recently.
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Old 03-10-12, 04:22 AM   #25
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Askel, you are literally the only person I've ever heard say that. Seriously.

I'm not suggesting you're wrong - it obviously is working for you. But I don't know a single other person who's espoused that view.
Apparently, there's a couple of us.

I'd really, really like to become one of those high cadence riders. It is the better way to ride.

I guess some of us just don't have the build for it.

But it gets me where I want to go. And I can make those skinny guys nervous on the hills. Before they dust me on the flats.
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