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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 05-13-08, 02:31 PM   #1
AliceCuriouse
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Ouch.

I hurt. Today I wrote my back to work for the first time. I got a KHS Urban-X last Thursday and I was very excited about riding it to work (I have a 5 mile commute).

Last night I rode my bike half of the way to work and back to prepare myself for the ride. This was my first time riding since I was young and I had only done reading on how to ride in traffic, etc. I picked a route that had a bike lane for 75% of the distance.

When I woke up this morning I was sore in the seat/crotch from the bike ride last night. Ouch. But I really, really wanted to ride this morning anyways. So I lowered the seat some so that I could sit far back on the seat and not irritate my existing soreness.

The ride was scary and difficult. I have a lot of trouble stopping at intersections without jumping forward on my bike. That is not easy to do while I am slowing down...since I was sore I did not feel like jumping up and down on and off my seat. I have trouble getting started at intersections and balancing while I am going slow.

Now I am in quite a bit of pain. I have taken two anti-inflammatory pain relievers and have been sitting on an ice pack for an hour. I must admit that I was not prepared that I would be so sore from the seat. I am not sure if I should try to ride my bike back this evening after work or take the bus.

Is this all normal?
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Old 05-13-08, 02:43 PM   #2
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Is this all normal?

No.
Sounds like you need to get your bike adjusted and fitted properly. (Handlebar height, seat height and tilt, etc.) Another consideration is getting a different seat. If this one is so painful after just one or two rides, it is not the best one for you.

You should go to your local bike shop and discuss these issues with them, and they should be able to help fix things up for you.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:46 PM   #3
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Afraid so... you'll get used to it really quickly, but yeah, the first ride usually is pretty ouchy! When I started commuting I would ride in/take bus home/bus to work/ride home twice a week (with a day of no riding in the middle). Pretty soon I was able to ride both ways twice a week, then three, then every day.

You will get better at maneuvering at low speed. That was where I was wobbliest at first! You will also get used to spreading your weight out on the bike, with your hands, feet, and butt all taking part of the load. Most of us try to put all our weight on the saddle at first, and it's a lot to ask of that area of the anatomy...

What is the saddle like? Is it padded over a hard plastic shell? Many "stock" saddles are like that and they are pretty ouchy. I have a Bontrager saddle that has a cutout center and is upholstered over hard foam. It is very comfortable to ride, actually better than the gel seat I tried. Are you wearing bike shorts? Those make a big difference too. I wear mine if I am going more than about a mile.

For now, try to drink lots of water and stretch your legs and back. That's where you'll feel it next, trust me! That goes away soon too. And when you get home, try a bath with Epsom salts to draw out the soreness.

And congrats on the new bike!!
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Old 05-13-08, 02:53 PM   #4
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The KHS website says that it is a "padded and sprung saddle with Brass rivets." It says that the seat is a Coinlli 1750, Classic with rivets.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:56 PM   #5
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Yes, and no.

For a lot of people, the bike's stock saddle is a torture device. If you have any kind of distance to ride and the saddle doesn't fit, it will hurt. Also, if your body isn't used to biking, your body will hurt because it just isn't used to what you're asking of it. So yes, hurting is normal as part of *starting* to bike.

There are lots of saddles out there, including one that won't hurt you. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to figure out if a new saddle will suit you without trying it. As you bike more, your body gets used to the activity and hurts less. So it is not normal to *keep* hurting. And it can be tricky to figure out if the pain is that the saddle is wrong or that you're not used to it at first. So...

I would back off the distance a *lot* for a bit. Just go 1-2 miles at a time for about a week. That should be short enough that you have no real pain from the saddle. Then move up to a bit longer distance. If you've got a desk job, you should be up to your commute distance in a couple weeks. If your job is very active, you might want to be comfortable for a few more miles than your normal commute. That way if you have a rough day at work, you *know* you have the reserves to handle your commute. The extra practice will make handling traffic easier. And if you hurt on longer distances but not on short ones, it will be easier for you to tell if it's the saddle or the distance.
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Old 05-13-08, 03:06 PM   #6
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OK, that sounds pretty good - you'll get used to it, I promise! I asked because my first bike had a horrible seat that nearly killed me - some saddles you just can't get used to, and mountain bikes are the worst for stock saddles.

And it really is normal to be sore after your first ride in a long time. Five miles is a decent distance for your first ride! Take it easy, and if you have time to go into the bike shop, maybe have them take a look at the fit, but a sore butt is not usually a fit issue this early in the game. That said, don't forget to put the seat back up - if it's too low, you can hurt your knees, and you won't be able to take your weight on your legs and hands so you will end up putting *more* pressure on your sore rear. Counterintuitive, I know, but it works

I am going to guess that you were kind of tense this morning, too, and that will aggravate the situation. When you are tense you are much more vulnerable to bumps and rattles. As you get more confident on the bike you will learn to transfer your weight to the pedals and "float" over bumps.

And seriously, padded bike shorts. Own them. Love them. I ride my sprung-saddle Raleigh in jeans, but I couldn't do that till I had a few hundred miles (in bike shorts!) under my belt. It sounds bizarre, but there are muscles there and they do get conditioned!
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Old 05-13-08, 03:30 PM   #7
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Nice bike.

If you go to http://commutebybike.com/2006/06/15/khs-urban-x-r

and

http://commutebybike.com/2006/04/28/100-mile-khs-

There are great reviews on the bike but the author mentions the saddle. Also, make sure the bike is fitted to you properly.

Good luck with your new bike.

Last edited by bedian; 05-13-08 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 05-13-08, 04:22 PM   #8
Bill Kapaun
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I think you tried to do too much too soon.
A couple miles is plenty the first day.
You can get into "bicycle shape" rather quickly, IF you don't abuse yourself.
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Old 05-13-08, 04:38 PM   #9
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Maybe stop and stand when you come to a stop and stretch a little bit. Also if you can find a reason to take a break halfway through, maybe to get coffee somewhere. Its ok to stop and rest. A lot of people never get into running because they can't get over feeling silly when they are slowing down to rest. Just remember you are the one really doing this and getting into shape, you should be proud.
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Old 05-13-08, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I think you tried to do too much too soon.
A couple miles is plenty the first day.
You can get into "bicycle shape" rather quickly, IF you don't abuse yourself.
+1

Also +1 on the suggestion to find a way to bike part way. I've got a 22-mile round trip commute and I wanted to dive into it, but fortunately for me when I started out my legs just wouldn't let me do it. So I started riding a mile or two in the evenings. I worked up to riding two miles to the light rail station a couple of days a week. After about a month I made the 11-mile ride home. A few months later I was able to make the whole trip five days a week. It takes patience.

Long distance cycling training plans call for increasing mileage no more than 10% per week. I think that's a good ballpark basis for starting commuters too.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:07 PM   #11
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Yeah, you took on too much too soon. Should have ridden some short rides first to get used to the bike, not taken a longer ride when you already hurt. . But no problem - you'll be back in the saddle soon enough.
If the pain is all around the sit bones, that's good - they should be the part that carries your weight. If the pain is farther forward and central, you may need to adjust your seat. It shouldn't be digging in to your soft tissues.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:56 PM   #12
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Yep, sounds like too much, too soon. I would take a couple days off, then bike commute 2 non-consecutive days a week for a couple weeks, followed by stepping it up to 3 days a week, etc. And I wouldn't turn my rides into a hammerfest at first. After the soreness goes away you can work on speed.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:31 PM   #13
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Your body (and mind) need time to adjust.
This sounds exactly what a couple of women were telling me at work last week!
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Old 05-13-08, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceCuriouse View Post
Now I am in quite a bit of pain. I have taken two anti-inflammatory pain relievers and have been sitting on an ice pack for an hour. I must admit that I was not prepared that I would be so sore from the seat. I am not sure if I should try to ride my bike back this evening after work or take the bus.

Is this all normal?
Depends. Besides the saddle, there's the possibility that the problem is one of chafing -- not usually a real problem on a 5 mile ride, but if you wearing jeans and tighty whiteys, it's possible.
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Old 05-13-08, 08:33 PM   #15
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the first days, after not riding, are the hardest. touring is the same.

5 miles is a good distance, at 12 mph, you should get to work about the same time as driving +/-5 minutes to park, walk from terminal, etc...

-get your bike tuned-up to fit and properly mechanically set !

-practice the route in stages if needed

-practice again! and again...(any bike clubs in your area? they could supply hands on insight)!

try this prescription for three to 15 days and see how you feel then, and remember, like working out, you need to be consistant, goal focused. i look forward to hearing how your commute went on the week of
June 1!

t
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