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  1. #1
    Peter Sibley
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    Starting again ...after 10 years .Any advice ?

    Introducing myself ! Hi .

    I'm new here for the very good reason that I haven't riden my bike more than 5 miles in years .I'm 61 ,'working fit ' ,5'7'' and 70 kg (155 pound) ,BP 125 /70 .Resting pulse 65 .No problems that I know of .I ride an old steel mountain bike on slicks and can't afford anything newer .....but it was an expensive bike 20 years ago and it's very good if heavy .

    I used to commute 7 mile to work ,another 7 back and occasionally ride 15 or 20 mile for the fun of it .That was 10 years ago although I still do the occasional ride to keep my legs working .The time has come get a bit of fitness back .

    I want to do this properly ,not hurt myself and gain fitness over say the next 3 months .I don't want to race ,I have a heart rate monitor and have been doing short sharp hills trying to keep my heart around 140 .


    Can anyone offer a bit of GENTLE newby advice ?

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Ride gently- gradually increasing the miles and the effort. Try to ride often but Not every day. Give a bit of time for the legs to adjust to the "Extra" strain you are going to put on them.

    Doesn't matter what bike you have right now- providing it works and will not break down. In a few months time though- you may feel it does so start saving.

    They say 30 minutes exercise 4 times a week over here to Keep the fitness you have. Milage doesn't matter but as you will find out- Milage will go up as you re-find your fitness.

    So get riding and enjoy yourself.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Peter Sibley
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    How about the heart rate thing Stapfam ? Is there an optimal heart rate to maintain ?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    How about the heart rate thing Stapfam ? Is there an optimal heart rate to maintain ?

    In the absence of stapfam, the answer to this is probably yes but we can't tell you what it is without knowing your lactate threshold or functional threshold power and the HR it takes to maintain it. However, there's really no need to get too scientific about this. If you are using a HR monitor to keep your pulse at around 140 on the hills, and you are able to maintain that for several minutes without too much distress, you probably aren't doing much wrong. You sound as if you're in reasonable shape, so if you want to get fit as fast as possible, I'd recommend finding a level of effort/HR that you can maintain for about an hour - but not much more - and ride at that pace. You'll be surprised how rapidly your speed increases for a given HR over the same route.

    Alternatively you could just ride. Even without a HR, you'll know when you are challenging yourself a bit and when you're just riding along - it's similar to the difference between jogging and walking. The more time you spend doing the former, the faster your fitness will improve. And hills are great. Going up and down hills is effectively interval training.
    Last edited by chasm54; 10-17-10 at 03:38 AM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
    Peter Sibley
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    Thanks Chasm , I live in quite hilly country , 7 km takes me up and down about 250 m ,so hills are hard to avoid ! I find 140 quite comfortable but don't want to see it over 160 ,it is disconcerting .That's what I get if I push hard up a long hill...in this case about 1 km rising say 80 m ?

    When I was young my HR was around 40 ,but I'm half as fit these day .

    ''I'd recommend finding a level of effort/HR that you can maintain for about an hour - but not much more - and ride at that pace. You'll be surprised how rapidly your HR comes down for a given speed over the same route.
    ''...OK ,thanks ,I'll do that .But I think I'll have to find a bit of flat road to ride too ,the hills are hard all the time !

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    ''I'd recommend finding a level of effort/HR that you can maintain for about an hour - but not much more - and ride at that pace. You'll be surprised how rapidly your HR comes down for a given speed over the same route.''...OK ,thanks ,I'll do that .But I think I'll have to find a bit of flat road to ride too ,the hills are hard all the time !
    I too live in a hilly area. I'm 56, so not that much younger than you. Unfortunately none of that helps much with guidance about HR, because the theoretical max HRs are just that - theoretical - and vary hugely from person to person. Speaking for myself, the theory - 220 minus age - says my max HR should be 164, but in fact I quite often get it into the 180s. On hills I start to back off when it's in the 160s, because I know from experience that I can maintain 160 for quite a while but much over 170 and I'll be cooked pretty soon. Your figures will be different and I'm afraid there's no substitute for trial and error to find what works for you.

    Anyway, don't worry about the flat ground. Hills are great for fitness, like I said. Just make sure you're taking them at a speed that feels testing, but isn't causing you to blow up. Maybe a perceived effort level of about 7, where 10 means you'd have to stop and get off? Then use the downhills to recover, rinse and repeat. You'll be a grimpeur in no time.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
    Peter Sibley
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    grimpeur ? I had to Google that one ! I'm horribly monolingual !

    Thanks for the advice , very much appreciated ! I'll come back and report as I progress .

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    How about the heart rate thing Stapfam ? Is there an optimal heart rate to maintain ?
    Providing it keeps beating- it's OK. Heart rate monitors are an aid to tell you things at the start. Later you can use it better. If you can reach 140 comfortably then stay at that for a while. As fitness comes you will find it will go higher. It will go higher now if you push it- but mentally you may not want to work that hard..

    63 and fairly fit and I treat my Max as 160- but everyone is different. I like to ride at 135 to 140 as this keeps me in the zone of where I am working hard enough to get fit but not hard enough to wear myself out quickly. At 135 with the occasional excursion higher- I can do a Metric Century (62 Miles) in 4 hours.

    But get riding for the time being. Get the muscles adjusted to cycling- Get the Butt attuned to the saddle and clear the lungs out so you will be able to work harder and longer.

    Heart rate monitors are good. They tell me when I am working too hard- and that last hill I reached somewhere near my max. It also tells me when I am slacking and ought to put more effort in. But why should I all the time. Some rides are for the scenery
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  9. #9
    Peter Sibley
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    Thanks Stapfam ,in a couple of years I might be able to keep up with you !


    Maybe .

  10. #10
    Pat
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    You are starting from a low base.

    As far as heart rate, I am a couple of years younger than you are. I don't use a heart monitor on the road, but I do it for indoor training. I figure over 130 is an aerobic pace. I can sustain over 150 or even 160 for quite some time. Over 160 is reasonably intense. I think for just cruising for you at the start 120-140 would be OK. You can push over 140 but I don't know if I would center on that especially until you get your leg muscles adapted to cycling.

    Don't expect much too soon. Just go out and ride. Don't go farther than is comfortable. If you turn your bike into an instrument of torture, you will eventually develop an aversion to it and stop riding (unless you are suitably perverse). Try to go out and enjoy rides. I would not worry about "pushing" yourself much until you get a fair number of miles in.

    Do not increase your mileage too quickly. The old rule of thumb is to increase mileage about 10% per week. I think you can increase it faster than that. But the thing is not to worry about where you are going to be next month, but where you are going to be next year. This whole thing is a process and it takes time. Persistance over time is going to produce far more results than anything else.

    Another thing is try to track several different measures of improvement. You should see improvements in distance you can ride comfortably, avg speed, max speed, hill climbing, maybe waist size and all sorts of things. The more things you look at the less fixated you will be on one measure and the more likely you will get a feeling of progress.

    Once you get comfortable with 20+ mile rides, then you can start cranking up the intensity.

    The main thing is go out and ENJOY your rides. If you enjoy the rides, you are far more likely to persist. Sticking to it is the most important thing. I know riders who progress to a certain point and are happy with that and stay there. They are in good shape and can comfortably reel off a 50 mile ride. They have no desire to do a century or climb a moutain or win a race. But hey, they are not couch potatoes anymore either.

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Easy way to see how you are improving. Do a ride that is not easy- but one you can do . Take in the hill you have and note a couple of things. Write it down otherwise you will find a failing that some of us have- Less memory than we used to.

    Note your heart rate at the top of the hill. Note the speed you are getting to on a flat section. and the total time for the ride.

    Then in a few months time do the same ride again and compare. Can guaranty that there will be an improvement.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  12. #12
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Whatever you do don't take our advice. We'll have you on a $10k bike and doing centuries in 6 months.
    Ride your Ride!!

  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Smiles per mile - or in your case, Smiles per kilometer. That's my training guide.

    Welcome and enjoy. I started bicycling at age 58, so you will have to pedal fast to catch up!

    Truly, don't punish yourself, unles you are in the masochism sub forum of the 50+ forum (and we have a few of those, I believe). Keep it fun and you will bicycle forever. (Well, almost).
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Welcome. I agree with much of what's been posted already. I'd reinforce the concept of make sure you are enjoying yourself. As long as that remains intact you'll likely stay motivated.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  15. #15
    Peter Sibley
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    I just did a little ride , as I mentioned I live in the hills and I have to go some distance down hill to find flat ground .

    I rode 8 km over 30 min on dirt , with 3 x 1 km of climbs ( about 80m over the km .) The HR monitor sat at 150 to 154 climbing .I really think I need to find some flat bitumen if I'm going to enjoy this ,my hills are too long ! The 30 minutes was about all I felt like doing .

    Someone to ride with would be good too .

  16. #16
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    I also suggest getting a wireless cycle computer with cadence. Practice increasing your cadence until you are comfortable with a smooth 90 rpm.

    I really enjoy my Garmin Forerunner 305. I can upload my riding stats to the Garmin Connect website. This is a good way of monitoring improvements.

    I am also 61. I am still interested in going faster and have been able to accomplish that goal. I also wanted to ride longer distances and did my first century this year.

  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    I just did a little ride , as I mentioned I live in the hills and I have to go some distance down hill to find flat ground .

    I rode 8 km over 30 min on dirt , with 3 x 1 km of climbs ( about 80m over the km .) The HR monitor sat at 150 to 154 climbing .I really think I need to find some flat bitumen if I'm going to enjoy this ,my hills are too long ! The 30 minutes was about all I felt like doing .

    Someone to ride with would be good too .
    Those hills you have-And the dirt- will not give you an enjoyable ride right now.

    But watch out- A bit more training to acclimatise the body and you will be looking for Taller hills. The dirt though- I will agree is not pleasant.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  18. #18
    Peter Sibley
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    Thanks mate ,yes I'll go and find a bit of nice smooth bitumen tomorrow .
    Aims ? Yes ,there is an 800m climb nearby that I usd to be able to get 2/3 the way up 15 years ago ..

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