I haven't rode since I was a teenager.
I have just had a 12 year old Trek 800 serviced and fitted with Continental City Contact Tyres 26 x 1.75.
Today I did 10 miles in 50 minutes. Mostly on gently undulating roads but with half a mile on a much rougher track. I seem to cruise along effortlessly at 14 or 15 mph on the flat and can get up to about 28 mph downhill before my courage fails me.
What should I be aiming for in the immediate future and in the long term on a machine like mine?
This weekend I will try for a two hour ride and see if I can average close to 14 mph.
Last year I worked hard to lose over 50 lb. I am now down to 208 lb - height 6 ft 3 in, age 55, male.
Let's do a Century
Welcome aboard!! You're exactly where I was 4 years ago. Just do what you feel like doing until you get very comfortable doing 25-30 mile rides. Keep adding miles as your conditioning and desire dictates.
When I first started back I was tickled to be able to do 10-12 miles. Now a good ride for me is 3-5 hours or 50-80 miles. Yesterday I took a day's vacation and did 80 miles in the mountains that had 8000 feet of climbing- was on the bike for 5 1/2 hours.
The hardest part is getting back out and getting started. Just ride doing what you enjoy doing and the rest will take care of itself. The main thing is to JUST RIDE!!
Thanks. I will have a go and keep gently pushing forward. My general health is very good.
I lost all the weight doing Atkins under medical direction - I was actally told "Do Atkins. It works." I now have folk telling me I will never cycle without eating lots of carbs, and folk on
telling me that's a load of rubbish and they cycle, run and weight-lift very nicely, thankyou.
I think I will stay low carb and see what happens - it has served me well so far.
Unless you have lots of time on an exercise bike you don't want to push it this weekend. You will hurt tomorrow but Saturday you will hurt worse. Don't stop though. Ride every day you can your 10 miles. Forget about speed for the next 2 weeks. Ride as fast as you feel comfortable. The no pain no gain crowd would say otherwise but for the first 2 weeks you only want to ride through the original pain, not add more. Somewhere in that second week you will be half finished with your ride and have not even noticed the pain. From then on it is a breeze.
Atkins is good for loosing weight but for insurance on longer rides get some of the jel carb packs to carry with you. You don't have to use them but if you start to bonk and are a long way from home you will be very happy you had them. They are not immediate so take a break or at least slow down for them to work. A small hoagie at a convinence store will work also. Again slow down until it works. You will know. Don't forget plenty of water.
Thanks for your advice PAL. I have been cycling two or three weeks. Started with just 20 minutes. I have had no pain and feel confident I can takle at least 15 miles, but I will never be far from home. There are lots of lanes round here.
Being a Brit I haven't any idea what a "hoagie" is. Perhaps Google will tel me. Jel carbs I will also search for.
Everyone is different, but Atkins has suited me so well I am guessing my friends on the Atkin's forum are right - with a well established metabolism in ketosis I will not bonk.
Well this theory has to be run up against reality, so I will go looking for "jel carbs"
Google returns nothing for "jel carbs". Do you mean a special preparation or what in UK we call "sweets" and in USA are probably called "candy". Glucose tablets are available from pharmacies - is that a reserve solution?
Last edited by Labarum; 04-28-05 at 04:17 PM.
I started bicycling at age 58 in March, 1998.
My goals were:
1. Do the Ride the Rockies (350+ miles, six nights of Colorado roads and passes up to 11,000 feet) at the end of June, 1998. I did this on a mtn bike.
2. Do a couple of "centuries" - 100 mile rides in one day. I did this also that summer.
The point being, if you want, you can set some pretty high goals for yourself and accomplish them.
The choice is up to you, but don't limit options because you are 55.
(The next year I bought a road bike, then a couple of years later, another road bike. My wife [two years older than I] also bicycles and has two bikes).
Enjoy your bicycling.
Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-28-05 at 04:35 PM.
I just turned 55 and have been a serious recreational cyclist since '82. I believe your body will begin to store more and more glycogen as you continue to ride regularly and farther, and your appetite will change and "request" any additional carbohydrates it needs. This is how it's always worked for me, as I get into shape.
So, if you find yourself craving pasta or bread or potatoes, don't reject it! And I'll bet even the Atkins diet will provide most of what you need to continue to improve.
Also, plenty of protein after a long ride is important for your recovery, so you're probably good with that.
A hoagie is just East Coast speak for a sandwich, of sorts, with meat and cheese. And try googling "gel carbs" instead of jel carbs. Returned lots of info for me.
Keep it up!
Did 15 miles in 75 minutes today and feel absolutely fine. Will try 20 tomorrow.
Let's do a Century
Dnvr always has sound advice and will play off his goals suggestions.
I've found it very helpful to set some goals as well and do a pretty decent job of tracking my activity. One of the most helpful things to me getting started was setting a goal or target to ride to a predetermined spot, town, etc. I would even reward myself with a snack after getting there!! The only way to get back was to ride back.......I still use that today to change my routes and see different areas around me--I've just pushed the radius out by quite a few miles.
I may have overdone it but I know how many miles, times, avg speed, heart rate, etc I've ridden on each of my rides since I started. By doing that, I'm able to not only set more reasonable goals, but just as importantly chart my progress-which continues to be slow and steady!! Seeing my progress has been a big and ongoing motivator in itself.
It's not something I intended to do when I first set out like yourself, but has evolved over time.
As far as the nutrition-bananas are my snack of choice on rides. I've used the glucose tablets and they're okay but quit using them for various reasons. I do use gel packs on 100 mile rides but find if I've eaten properly leading up to the events I generally don't need them that much. However, they seen to provide me more of a mental boost or safety net and I'll use them if I'm well into a ride and know there's a long/challenging climb facing me.
Just do what your body tells you and what seems to come natural. You'll find what will work best for you. The key is to just enjoy getting out and riding. Like many others of us, including myself, before long you'll start debating the merits of 105's, Ultegra, DuraAce, Campy, Ksyriums and on and on. It's a disease I tell you.......but a really good one to have!!!
Keep in touch! You'll find there is a terrific support group here!!
Let's do a Century
Oh yeah-I meant to offer congrats on the losing the 50 pounds. That is tremendous!! If you're climbing hills on a bike the reduced weight REALLY helps. I also lost 50 pounds but basically did it burning more calories riding a bike than what I consumed. Whatever works!!
Time for a change.
Trek 800 about 12 years old? Might be my old one. Good starter bike so don't worry about changing it for a while, but get the wheels checked by your local bike shop,(LBS) for true and tension. Should cost about £10 per wheel but will give you a more comfortable and faster ride. The other reason is that even with your greatly reduced weight, you are still a bit heavy for an old wheel that might be up for some aggressive riding shortly. The bike is an ideal starter bike, and you should keep it far at least a year before aspiring to something better.
Originally Posted by Labarum
From what I can remember of your part of the country you have some beautiful flat routes to ride on, but find some of the hills to improve your fitness. I know they will hurt and I know that you may feel like giving up riding, but persevere. From what I can remember, I used to do around 14mph average on a twenty mile road ride on the 800, but a good way of seeing what you can do is find a good section of flat road for about a mile, and see what you can average for this 1 mile. If you do this often enough, your average will go up for the whole ride, and it is very pleasing to roll along at 20mph for at least part of the ride.
Sometime in July there is a road ride you want to aim for. runs from Hampton Court to Hove, about 60 miles and is ideal for a first ride. No way is it a race, bike mechanics and recovery on hand, Plenty of stops for Refreshments and around 1,000 other riders to encourage you on your way. Transport is also arranged for the return journey. It is now called Capital to Coast, and some sponsorship for the charity organising the ride is necessary. It may seem long right now, but it is probably going to be the finest 60 miles you could possibly ever do. That first long ride you do will be the one you will remember for a long time to come, AND this one is far better than the other Ride-- London to brighton-- that seems to cause a few problem.
FOR THE OTHER READERS OF THIS FORUM.
London to brighton is around 50 miles. The event is run by the British Heart Foundation and is the largest participant cycling event in the UK. Only a couple of hills, only one could be a basket, but the problem is the other participants-- 33,000 of them. Yes, thirty three thousand. They are all trying to knock you off your bike as they have no experience, most don't know how to ride a bike, and most of them last sat on a bike a full year ago when they last did the ride. An experience never to be forgotten but one I keep saying I will never do again, but do.
The C to C ride is not long away, but I took a complete novice on this ride 5 years ago. He had only ever done 30 miles once, and was not fit. If he could manage it, then so can you, but it will give you a target to aim for, and no time to think about it, except how to get fit quickly.
Thanks for taking the trouble to answer me so fully.
My Trek 800 is not yours. I bought it new in Cyprus and it has had very little use. It has probaly done more miles in the last two weeks than in the previous 12 years. It was serviced by a local shop, but how much attention they gave to the wheels, I don't know.
Yes, there are some nice rides round the local lanes, and I am thoroughly enjoying them. There are some hills too - a couple quite close by. Its not called a Grannie wheel for nothing!
July I will be on holiday in Cyprus, which is my wife's home, but I could be around and might be ready to attempt 60 miles.
I hanker after a road bike, and will move slowly to that. I have a lot to learn, some weight to loose, and some fitness to gain. As a teenager I had a ten speed Falcon - 27" x 1.25" wheels if I remember, and it was more lively that my plodding Trek 800 even with the Continental City Contact tyres. On the flat and downhill I definitely feel I need a higher gear or two. I remember the posture of the Falcon being more comfortable than the Trek - it would be nice to have a frame that was properly selected for me. I am 6ft 3in with long legs and a short body. But I must remember that I am not 18!
I will see how I get on over the next few weeks - looking in the catalogues my initial view is a Trek 1000 or 1000c would be a good starting point for discussion. I don't think I want to race, but just enjoy a responsive bike on the lovely lanes round these parts.
But that looks interesting:
PS 15 miles in 75 mins today - with a 5 min stop to gossip to the primary school caretaker - will try 20 tomorrow.
Last edited by Labarum; 04-30-05 at 01:31 AM.
Ahhh 55 a mere teen compared to some of the rest of us here
Excellent advice above, I won't add to it.
You will find you can do much more than you thought you would be able to do
Let your limits be your limits, not those of someone else
Well, I did my 20 miles today in about 1 hr 30, I think. I got a punture 2 miles from home hence the "I think". Those mini-pumps are quite good. I was sceptical when I bought it.
No ill effects, but I must say I can feel the muscles in my shoulders and upper arms more than in my legs. That I hadn't expected.
Time for a change.
Mini pumps are fine, as long as they are a good quality. and they have a sensible volume in the cylinder.
Originally Posted by Labarum
Shoulder and upper arm strength is one of the requirements of bike riding. Don't know why, as on the road you are only on straightish roads. Try offroad to find out how much you use them..
20 miles in 90 minutes-- thats good for most of us on an old trek 800. They are not built for speed so 13.5mph average is good. The build of the 800 may also contribute to the upper body ache but a couple of rides and you will adjust to this. Providing it is not neck ache or pins and needles in the hands, then it sounds as though you have the bike set up for you.
Come on-- you are a novice rider just starting out-- Hows the one thing that all of us remember from our early days-- The Saddle and backside. (As you have done so well so far- you must have a problem somewhere)
Let's do a Century
Was the road wet by chance? Seems tires will pick up more nails and debris and cause more punctures in wetter conditions. Also, was the tire pressure adequate before you started riding? Tires not inflated to the proper pressure are known to get pinch flats which take on the look of "snake bites".
I've swapped my mini pump for CO2 cartridges. Just didn't like the look and rattle of the pump on the frame and can carry extra cartridges in my saddle bag.
If you ride long enough unfortunately you'll be dealing with flats!!
Combining Atkins and cycling puts a massive strain on the system cleaning out all those ketones. I have been told some Atkins plans
have some carbs in them. In your shoes I'd see a doctor and check on my liver, and eat a banana before riding. Fruit is good for you.
Unless you're going to race, why worry about training? Just try to ride your bike as much as you can. Keep up a comfortable pace, and the more you ride, the better you'll get.
I ate about 20g dark unsweeteded chocholate before cycling and about 100g dried apricots during the ride. Both those are about 30% carbohydrate and together they would about double my carb intake for a day without excercise. As a matter of interest a few hours after the ride I tested my urine for ketones (don't often do that these days) and found fairly high concentrations even after drinking lots and lots of water.
Originally Posted by late
That, I am told is to be expected, and not a concern, and yes, the senior medical officer on my army base checks me regularly. Blood Pressure Mar 04 147/94 . Jun 04 121/74 . Dec 04 119/72 as my weight fell from over 18.5 stone to under 15. My blood measurements are now all incredibly good, so they tell me.
All Atkins plans include carbohydrate - 20g a day at the start (all green vegetables) then increasing depending on your own metabolism and activity level so you stay in or on the edge of ketosis. I eat meat and fish, vegetables but not roots, berries, dairy products, but as yet no pulses or grains which are the last foods to be added back. In the last stages of the diet you come out of ketosis having balanced energy input and output, but having learned to do without processed fats and refined carbohydrates.
Time for a change.
Laburum or any of you that want to see the splurge on this ride, there is a web site at
As the riders comments say, A well organised route, with excellent marshalling and plenty of snacks provided en-route. Road riding is not my thing but a well organised route like this is a joy to participate in.
Thanks for the invitation but I shall be on holiday in Cyprus!
Everyone's interest in biking varies. Like other sports, biking takes time to gain proficiency. Sounds like one of your top 5 reasons is for overall health. This will do it. Like one's life, progress in this sport is hardly a straight line. Doctors and trainers tell us that we should pick an activity that we enjoy and that's the one that we'll most likely stick to and make it our lifestyle.
It's a Bank Holiday Weekend here in England - lots of free time - 20 miles Saturday, 20 miles Sunday, 15 miles Monday morning and 12 miles Monday evening.
I am surprised how much progress I have made in three weeks - lets see what the next month brings.
I think I have worked out why the saddle is so much more an issue than I remember. As a teenager I wrode a cheap falcon road bike with drops - that places the centre of gravity further forward - almost over the chainwheel bearing, so there is little weight on the saddle.
I must admit I hanker after a road bike (an Audax or a light tourer?) so I can get more comfortable, And I am sure I would be using my energy more efficiently balance above the axis of the pedals.
But at 6ft3in and still 15stone I guess I would have to choose carefully.
Yeah, call Mercia. They sound experienced and flexible.
They could whip up a custom that's just the thing.
Is that a supplier in USA?
Originally Posted by late
I live in UK