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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-06-06, 09:40 PM   #1
jayhuse
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Any Secret to Increasing your mileage or improve recovery.

I started biking to work about 1.5 months ago. I use to just mountain bike once in a while. Now I have a great road bike and comutte to work about 32 to 38 miles round trip.

The problem is that so far I have only been able to manage 2 trips a week at best. It appears my knees are sore, my butt hurts as well. My commute time is about 1 hour there and 1:20 minutes back on average.

Is there anyway to improve my recovery from these bike rides. IT seems like if i ride on tuesday it takes me 3 days to recover for Friday.

I been doing about 60 to 80 miles a week. I would like to be in good enought shape to ride at least 4-5 five times week which equates to 190 to 240 miles a week. Is this a realistic expectation ?


Thanks jay
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Old 06-06-06, 10:14 PM   #2
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jay, I think you can do 190-240 a week no problem. it sounds to me, though, that you're a casual biker who's really pushing himself on longer rides as a novice commuter. My advice, such as it is... budget a little extra time and take your time getting in and back. Work on building towards your distance first, and then work on improving speed. Personally, I'd rather ride hard but manageably all five days than ride two days at pace and not ride the other three. You'll get to the point where you average 16-18mph for the commute, but for now, just concerntrate on making the distance a habit. The rest will come with time. Good luck & stick with it!
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Old 06-06-06, 10:32 PM   #3
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Protein. A lot of people have experienced amazing results when taking 20-30 extra grams of protein after riding home.

If you're just starting out or ride in the city where you're doing a lot of stop then go up to 30mph then stop again riding, you're gonna be chewing up your muscles a lot more than just cruising burning carbs on a straight road for an hour.
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Old 06-06-06, 11:42 PM   #4
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Protien was what I was going to say also, the building block for muscle repair. If your doing a number on your body it needs the materials to rebuild the damage you cause.

A protien shake is great with all the extra vitamins and minerals but if thats not your thing try to eat some meats. I used to just eat two bags of lunch meat for lunch when I was really heavy into the gym ^^

Also to reduce pains and risk of injury make sure your streching out really good before and after the ride.

And lastly stay very hydrated, being dehydrated takes a major toll on you and also really increases recovery from exercise, stay full of healthy fluids, and try to maybe cut down on the bad ones (soda, beer, ect) alchohol as much as we all love it is a diaretic and it dehydrates you.

Give it some time and keep at it and all things will get better and easier.

Make sure your bike fits you right also, if your bike fits wrong it can make you sore and cause bad form.
oh and as just some final input, even tho I have no moved to clipless yet, it may really help you to move to a clipless system so you can "spin" all the way there and use both the up and down motions of your legs for power thus increasing your efficantcy.
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Old 06-07-06, 06:11 AM   #5
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I usually eat several handfulls of peanuts after getting home from work. That, and lots of water.

Also, if your knees are hurting, make sure you are spinning at a high enough cadence (90-ish rpm for most people), and make sure your seat height is adjusted properly.
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Old 06-07-06, 06:36 AM   #6
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Don't neglect your sleep. Many repair process occur while sleeping.
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Old 06-07-06, 07:30 AM   #7
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Also, simply eating more right after each leg of your ride will help. You don't have to go overboard with the protein as it will only help so much. My best recommendation is to pick-up some of Chris Carmichael's books -- he's Lance Armstrongs coach -- which have lots of advice on nutrition and recovery, etc.
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Old 06-07-06, 07:45 AM   #8
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Slow Down!!! Ride at a comfortable pace, don't go anaerobic at all during your rides. You will still get stronger over time.

With as much riding as you do, I would make sure you have the correct width saddle. Regarding the knee pain, gear down and spin. If your knees still hurt, you might want to get some help with your fit. I had to use some shims to position my cleats.

I have a 50 mi round trip that I am doing twice a week, plus 80 training miles on the weekend. I keep my ride to work aerobic so it is a slower pace. After 3 weeks, I finally feel like I may be able to ride on back-to-back days. However, I am going to wait 2 more weeks before attempting riding on MON,TUE,THU.

One day, I did hammer the ride and it took me 3 days to completely recover, not worth it.
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Old 06-07-06, 07:58 AM   #9
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Spin spin spin, that's the best advice. My commute is about 18 miles round trip. Usually I ride my geared commuter, but once in awhile I'll take my fixed if I'm feeling good. Can't spin on the fixed much because of the gear ratio and the terrain, and I'm usually beat to hell by the time I get home. With the extra gears, however, I'm feeling fine. Finding the right gear and keeping your cadence high makes all the difference in the world.
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Old 06-07-06, 08:02 AM   #10
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Fit is very important especially at the OP's distance.
I ride 45 miles each day and every small tweak helps. This morning I moved one shoe's cleat a small amount and it made an amazing difference.
Go slow to start and work your way up. I'm at the point where I have to hammer each day and ride 7 days a week to see any improvement.
I would also recommend Chris Carmichael's books. I'm reading one of his (the name escapes me) and an older book by Greg Lemond.

Be patient and you will get there also.
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Old 06-07-06, 08:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhuse
The problem is that so far I have only been able to manage 2 trips a week at best. It appears my knees are sore, my butt hurts as well.
Sore knees? Have you checked your saddle position? Height and fore-aft position?
With that kind of distance I'm guessing you have clipless pedals. How much float?
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Old 06-07-06, 08:41 AM   #12
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^What the two above said. Seat too high - hurts knee. Seat too low - hurts knee. Use clipless, but install at bad angle - hurts knee. Just do too much too quickly - hurts knee. Get the bike fit to you properly, and try for a cadence of 90rpm, then adjust to your preference. Riding harder - increase rpm. Riding easier - lower rpm.

That said, biking is very good for knees. I've had 2 surgeries on one knee and have problems with other activities. Biking is fine, though, and actually strengthens the leg and the knee feels better.
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Old 06-07-06, 08:46 AM   #13
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All great suggestions. A few years ago my commute was roughly 15 each way into downtown. I knew I couldn't commute all week both directions on the bike at first. So I rode the bus into work, then rode home a couple times a week to began with, adding days as I saw fit. After a few weeks I wouldn't even have to think about the commute, after work I would change clothes, fill my water bottles and ride
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Old 06-07-06, 01:28 PM   #14
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Ya know, I've got something similar. My door to door commute is roughly 45 miles round trip up a 1.5 mile, 8% ave grade hill on the return. Last year, I had the same problem as you, needing most of the week just to recover. I was hating my commute because of this intensity of effort and would wuss out many times.

This year, I approached it differently. I started in Feb, riding 3 times a week (had to build up to 4 days from 2 months of no riding) but not door to door. I found a safe parking lot about 12 miles from work and rode in from there on a 46/17 geared fixie. After building up to 4 days a week, I added a Monday of door to door commute (a geared road bike for this one). Now, this being June, I am up to 2 days door to door with 2 days from parking lot and am very much stronger than I was last year (I can climb the hill in a 42/23 instead of the 30/23 I had done last year). My goal is, by the end of summer, to be riding door to door 4 days a week.

What this does is enables an active recovery during the two days (now) I am riding the short route. I still get miles, but at a lesser intensity. I have upped my mileage from around 100 miles/week (last year's best) to 200 miles/week, and it is only June (includes one group ride on Saturday).
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Old 06-07-06, 01:46 PM   #15
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Besides the excellent advice re: knee pain, I would make sure you really stretch out your quads. If those tighten up, it can torque your knee and cause pain.
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Old 06-07-06, 02:07 PM   #16
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I have a park halfway where I stop and stretch. My stretching is much more preferable when I am warmed up (so to speak). At work my boss is a massage therapist. On bad days I have my legs worked on.
I highly recommend visiting a massage therapist.
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Old 06-07-06, 02:40 PM   #17
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with that many miles, it's like training for an event. post workout (or commute) drinks like protein shakes, recoverite, etc will help your muscles rebuild. and rest. sounds like you're getting enough time off between efforts.
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Old 06-07-06, 04:33 PM   #18
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I read here somewhere, and tried it and it works for me: PB&J sandwiches. They have carbs, and protein, and both fruit and refined sugars. Plus they're yummy and cheap. Works for me.

BTW if you've been commuting for a while I don't think doubling the days will be a big stretch for you. I recently rode 70 miles, when I normally ride 11 miles twice a day, and had never ridden more than 28 miles at a time before. It was not a problem and I was not at all sore the next day. Once you get conditioned, if you take it easy, you can do a lot more than you think you can.

And if it does hurt (sore, not injury hurt), remember what you feel is you getting stronger.
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Old 06-07-06, 04:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec-cyclist
All great suggestions. A few years ago my commute was roughly 15 each way into downtown. I knew I couldn't commute all week both directions on the bike at first. So I rode the bus into work, then rode home a couple times a week to began with, adding days as I saw fit. After a few weeks I wouldn't even have to think about the commute, after work I would change clothes, fill my water bottles and ride
Agreeing with rec. You need to build up the daily mileage slowly and consistantly. I'm riding the same distance as you every day. But that took about a year. Starting closer ... then each week adding just a mile or so. For every mile you add, ...that's a total of 10 extra miles per week (if you ride 5 days per week).

Push yourself just enough so you're not arriving exhausted.
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Old 06-07-06, 05:07 PM   #20
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Another really good tip another cyclist gave me. Try to eat your snack **within 10 minutes** for a quicker recovery whether you're hungry or not eat. Maybe somebody can explain why that works!

Last edited by vrkelley; 06-07-06 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 06-07-06, 05:12 PM   #21
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I think it has something to do with ready fuel/material to help build muscle while it is stimulated rather than having to repair it from harder to access body stores. Might be wrong though.
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Old 06-07-06, 08:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhuse
I started biking to work about 1.5 months ago.
I been doing about 60 to 80 miles a week. I would like to be in good enought shape to ride at least 4-5 five times week which equates to 190 to 240 miles a week. Is this a realistic expectation ?
Edited: SGT That theory sounds right. The snack is easier to use.

Yes it's true that recreational bikers might do an 80/mi run or do that in a week...but 80 mi/EVERY week after only biking 1.5 mo's is a pretty good clip. Hope fully your legs aren't burned out.

Last edited by vrkelley; 06-07-06 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 06-07-06, 10:28 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
Another really good tip another cyclist gave me. Try to eat your snack **within 10 minutes** for a quicker recovery whether you're hungry or not eat. Maybe somebody can explain why that works!
i've seen that explained over in the training and nutrition forum. can't remember the details now, but i think the idea was that if you build up a blood-sugar deficit during the ride, then throwing food at it immediately afterwards prevents your body from dismantling muscle tissue to get it back.

my magic thing is plain-yogurt-and-oj instead of water. i usually can't be bothered/don't have time/am not organised enough to eat anything immediately after a ride, but a water bottle would be going with me everywhere anyway. i tend to slurp down a fair bit of it without even thinking, just in transit from the bike cage into the shower. definitely seems like it helps.
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Old 06-07-06, 11:49 PM   #24
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Get a good deep tissue massage once a week for 3-5 weeks in a row...then scale it back to 2-3 times a month.

Also lots of stretching and water.
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Old 06-08-06, 09:49 AM   #25
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To give myself a break and allow more frequent riding I use a bus with my bike on the rack or the subway for part of the trip. Lower mileage but more frequent riding works well for me at the moment. I have to move soon so the commute will be getting shorter.
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