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Old 10-15-04, 08:34 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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Any advice for former biker returning to biking?

Here's the situation:

1. haven't biked in over 15 years
2. used to bike daily
3. last short bike ride was about 6 blocks test riding bikes, and I was sore in the seat for 2 days afterwards.

Goal is to be able to commute 10 miles to work, but I don't want to kill myself.

Other than working up to speed slowly, is there any wisdom you can offer about things to
be sure to do or things to be sure to avoid?

Thanks

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 08:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
Here's the situation:

1. haven't biked in over 15 years
2. used to bike daily
3. last short bike ride was about 6 blocks test riding bikes, and I was sore in the seat for 2 days afterwards.

Goal is to be able to commute 10 miles to work, but I don't want to kill myself.

Other than working up to speed slowly, is there any wisdom you can offer about things to
be sure to do or things to be sure to avoid?

Thanks

Huff
You have noted that you must start slowly and work up to
your goal. However, the bicycle and it's equipment that
you choose is equally important. Choosing the correct bike/equipment
package for your needs will take some time and study or trial
and error to get just right for YOU.

So a couple of points that will help you decide what you need.

Point one.....

you don't have to buy an expensive bike to commute. (try a used bike first)

Point two.....
STAY AWAY FROM THE *MART OR BIG BOX STORE BIKES AS THEY ARE
ALL JUNK.

Point three.....
Spend some time reading here on the forums before you spend
any money to get a feel of what you might need. It will be
time well spent. Also spend time here......

www.sheldonbrown.com

for more indepth bicycling info.

The point of all this study is to get you on a bike that you
truly like to ride and look forward to riding everyday. A
poorly fitted bike or the wrong bike will kill the joy in a
hurry.

All the best and enjoy the ride as much as we all do, mate.
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Old 10-15-04, 09:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for those hints. I have been at Sheldon much these last 2 weeks. I had to relearn what gear inches were. Fun, fun, fun.

I got a Giant OCR touring. It was rough fitted last night and will be final fitted today.
I got a touring bike as I wanted a more trouble free bike and disk brakes were essential for me.

I swapped out the rear 11..32 for a 12..23 as I plan to do commuting or bike trail riding and not mountain riding.

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 09:20 AM   #4
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Huffy,

First off, I agree with Tightwad completely. Second, you may want to look into a "Bent" rather than DF. The reason is simple, comfort! Most "Bents" are more comfortable than DF's, bigger seats, no haunching over, no groin issues, etc. Even if you do purchase a DF, make sure you check out and test ride a few "Bents" (Yes, before you ask I do ride a Bent, EZ Sport Ltd. and I love it). Third, I'd be willing to bet you wind up doing more than just commuting, so you need to keep more than commuting in mind in your purchase.

Try a number of LBS, see what each has to say about the bikes they carry. See what they have to say about the same bikes. Read all you can about the different bikes (DF's, Bents, etc.). Get up on the manufactures Web Sites, read what they say, request info from those manufactures you are interested in. Ask questions on this Forum, there are some very well informed riders more than willing to share their very honest opinions, just for the asking. None of whom have any vested interested in whichever bike you choose.

Good luck!!!
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Old 10-15-04, 12:19 PM   #5
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I just returned to cycling, too, and there are a couple things that have worked for me. The most important element has to do with the maturity that comes with age (not much for me, but enough to protect myself).

You're going to want to push yourself and try to get back to a level that you once had - be careful and aware of what your body is telling you.

If you sense you are breathing too hard, back off or gear down.

If something starts to hurt, get it checked.

Make sure you have a physical checkup before you start any type of regimen - you don't want any surprises occuring when you're miles from home.

Take your time to get the muscles in shape before you start working on the weight.

Find a few different routes that challenge you and that are different distances.

Make sure your bike fits you. (Sounds like you have that covered)

Eat healthy.

These are some of the things that helped me get back into cycling. It took me about 1.5 months of riding to get my muscles in good enough shape to really push things a bit. I've started to lose some weight now. My rides started at 5 miles - that's all I could handle at first. I increased that to 10 miles, and now my short ride is 14.2 miles (with hills) that I cover in less than an hour. I try to do at least one 25 miler a week, but since winter is coming, I'll have to make some changes.

Once the baseline fitness is attained, you'll be surprised at how easy your 10-mile commute will be. Just go slowly and pay attention to your body's signals. And have fun!

Dean
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Old 10-15-04, 12:48 PM   #6
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Dean,

thanks. My hope of getting in shape a bit in one month sounds too aggressive, I'll rescale to 2 months+.

With winter coming it will be challenging to keep on keeping on.

Yes, I do have a treadmill scheduled for next week, just to be safe.

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 01:23 PM   #7
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Sounds exactly like me. I used to race CAT III/NORBA, was off the bike a generous 15 years or so. Started back last July 21st.

--Go by time in the saddle, not distances. My first 2 weeks was limited to 30 minute rides, with plenty of hydrating and stretching. (I'm now riding 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week).

--Don't get discouraged comparing how you were with how you are now-- use that as a goal, i.e., "If I was there once I can get there again."

--Keep us informed about your comeback!

Dave
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Old 10-15-04, 01:26 PM   #8
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It looks like Bop Bop beat me to it on suggesting a 'bent. This spring I came off of a 7 year cycling hiatus. Switching to a recumbent made cycling new again. No more hurts, period. Not even recumbutt. The road bike has not been ridden since I got the 'bent. Best bike money I ever spent!

'bent Brian
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Old 10-15-04, 01:38 PM   #9
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What a great idea, measure success by saddle time and not distance. Hey I like that. Probably be safer on the old bod.

So that's what a bent is. Wife got a Revive, kind of a cross between a recumbent and hybrid. I'll ride her's just to see, but I don't like for me: 1. the weight, 2. only 7 gears, 3. the riding position.

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 01:41 PM   #10
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Opps, got interrupted in middle of a post.

What about those cycle shorts/jumpers/tights?Are they really necessary?

I would just as soon start with jeans. Nothing looks worst that a spiffy racing outfit and an old dude struggling to get going.

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 03:27 PM   #11
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Huffy,

Do not know what part of the country you are in, I'm in AZ and ride in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. While I see plenty of people in full biking attire (on both DF's and Bents), I do not feel I need it. Once the 90 degree temps break, looks like this week and we get AZ's version of winter (Dec & Jan, night time temps mid to low 30's, daytime 50's & 60"s) I'll put on a light jacket and maybe a pair of sweat pants, but thats it. I may not look like the most chic thing on two wheels but I'm comfortable.

Bnet, sorry!!! But like you, I do not think I will ever return to DF. MY EZ Sport while not the lightest is great. I'm thinking about getting something lighter in about a year, but at this time it's just a thought I better not share with Mrs. Bop Bop if I value what hair I have left.
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Old 10-15-04, 03:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
Dean,

thanks. My hope of getting in shape a bit in one month sounds too aggressive, I'll rescale to 2 months+.

With winter coming it will be challenging to keep on keeping on.

Yes, I do have a treadmill scheduled for next week, just to be safe.

Huff
Truly, getting in shape is a lifetime activity.

I started biking again when I was 58, am almost 65 now.

I am still working on getting in shape and staying there.

Don't forget the value of resistive exercises - extremely important for the prevention of osteoporosis and upper body muscle loss. I weight lift 3-4 times per week.

Rather than preventing osteo, bicycling promotes osteo.

ALso, cross training. I walk 3 miles fast pretty regularly.
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Old 10-15-04, 03:43 PM   #13
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Colorado: denver-boulder area, pretty good number of bike trails and groups are working to improve this. Fall and spring are very very short here. It's either riding in the cold or the 90 degree temps during commute part of the day. Rain/snow should knock out about 60 days a year. Usually it comes in 2..4 day waves with riding opportunities between. Even with the heavy 6 foot snow last year, it was all gone in 2 days and it would have been possible to go riding.

Don't know all the jargon yet, what's a "DF"

I figured I could just do as before and wear jeans until late spring, when my using the bike would justify trying some cycling pants.

Huff
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Old 10-15-04, 04:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
Colorado: denver-boulder area, pretty good number of bike trails and groups are working to improve this. Fall and spring are very very short here. It's either riding in the cold or the 90 degree temps during commute part of the day. Rain/snow should knock out about 60 days a year. Usually it comes in 2..4 day waves with riding opportunities between. Even with the heavy 6 foot snow last year, it was all gone in 2 days and it would have been possible to go riding.

Don't know all the jargon yet, what's a "DF"

I figured I could just do as before and wear jeans until late spring, when my using the bike would justify trying some cycling pants.

Huff
I biked every month of the year last year in Parker, CO. Had some 60 degree days in January and February, etc. 50+ temp is fine for biking with proper clothing - in fact, it is fun, especially if the sun is out.

Otherwise, I have an indoor trainer and also use the stationary bike, treadmill and elliptical at the gym.
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Old 10-16-04, 12:06 AM   #15
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Huffy,

DF's are Diamond Frames, uprights as opposed to Bents for Recumbents.

Was up in Winter Park, Estees, Grand Lake area a few years ago. It was August, the country was great! Do not remember the last time I saw that much green (at the time I was living in the concrete and steel jungle called NYC). Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, it was like the man above came down to paint a picture, it was spectacular.

Biking in the Phoenix area of AZ is year round. Even with the very high summer temps, you do it early in the AM or late in the PM. The sponsored rides are done from late September to May.
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Old 10-16-04, 01:46 PM   #16
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Ok, went for first ride. Again, the suggestion of setting for a time and not distance was great. My goal was 30 minutes, and I settled on 25 min. Good enough for a start. Great day for biking, about 59 outside, perfect. Most of problems I had were just learning what had changed, etc.

1. Shifting
Shifting in the LBS and around it on the test ride was so easy and I did not do an adequate test. My hands have been cold sensitive and so I threw on a pair of work gloves. Well, shifting was a very humbling experience just going around the block with gloves. Remember I came from the old 10speed and 2 shift levers. Those I can handle without thinking, but 4 levels is a totally different experience. Finally I looked at the levers and figured out the little lever had to be pressed separate and I had to concentrate on not letting part of the glove catch on the larger lever. Too many times of expecting to go to a higher gear and going 2 lower, that was not fun.

I don't think shifting will be automatic until I get about 10 times in the saddle.

2. stop signs
This I have not figured out yet. I'm usually in a medium front and med-high rear when I stop. A few times I was in a high front. Needless to say, it is interesting to try to start up in those gears. I don't know what the method is of experienced riders. Do you shift down and stop way way before the stop sign, or hit the brakes to drop speed and shift down. I don't like the run the stop sign option.

3. gears
Gears seem ok, I haven't tried yet on a steep hill. Good grade on long hill is fine. Since my lowest is 23 {Or it is 12, I don't have my chart here.** and I am out of shape, I was down in the bottom. The big surprise is the highest gear seemed a little short. 52x the top gear [12 or 23] is a tad weak. I was tooling down a hill and would have shifted to a higher gear if had it. Oh well, the gear progress is soooooo smooooth. I really like how easy it is to find the right gear for a point in the ride. One hill I had been concerned about from the car was nothing on the bike. another hill that was nothing in the car was a where's those low gears at the end of the ride. Big excitement
was going thru a city radar detector. It said I was going 25. Sounded great to me.

4. Dogs
Opps, saw a few with their owners, whew. But realized I didn't have any good ideas on how to handle dogs. One was a Rott.. and the other was about the same size and build, probably a settler. Good links or quick hints?

5. Shoes
I tried to save a few bucks and NOT get cycling shoes. Don't think this will work. My pedals have platform on one side and clips on the other. I kept on finding my shoe was on the wrong side.

6. Legs
Legs weren't too bad, but definitely felt the acid build up and took it easy. I only went about 1/3 the distance I had hoped for, but hopefully I will be able to get the distance before too long. I don't have a cyclometer yet and thought it might be tacky to pull the old speedometer from the Schwinn out of the basement and put it on the new bike. So unfortunately at this point I have no idea how far I went.

7. exercise
Ok, Now I can see why this is popular. My father had his first heart atttack at about this age, and this is the only exercise I enjoy.

Enough typing. I'm going to see about a trailer hitch and hitch type bike rack so we can both take the bikes out.

Thank you all for the encouragement.

Huff
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Old 10-16-04, 08:44 PM   #17
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Huffy - I also have a Ocr Touring. Really like it especially during cold weather. I put on warm clothes & 'have at it'. Best advice already given - I always say to myself: "please let me have the strength to go easy". Its easy to get caught up in total miles, speed, etc and hurt yourself.
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Old 10-16-04, 10:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunabayashi
--Go by time in the saddle, not distances. My first 2 weeks was limited to 30 minute rides, with plenty of hydrating and stretching. (I'm now riding 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week).
Hmmm.. I took just the opposite approach.
I think I did about three miles on my first ride and maybe eight by the end of the first week.
I just took a break whenever I began to get tired. I didn't really care if I only averaged 5mph including rest stops.

Started having a light meal before I went out and made sure I kept myself hydrated.
Within a couple of weeks my "short" rides were 10 miles and I was doing 20 to 30 on the weekends.

I'm sure it's different for everyone but a ten mile commute within a month sounds perfectly do-able.
The most important part is to listen to your body. If you're totally pooped out you're pushing too hard.


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Old 10-17-04, 10:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
Ok, went for first ride. Again, the suggestion of setting for a time and not distance was great. My goal was 30 minutes, and I settled on 25 min. Good enough for a start. Great day for biking, about 59 outside, perfect. Most of problems I had were just learning what had changed, etc.

1. Shifting
( No comment other than dont be afraid to move the levers to
a point on the bar [if you can] that is best for you.


2. stop signs
This I have not figured out yet. I'm usually in a medium front and med-high rear when I stop. A few times I was in a high front. Needless to say, it is interesting to try to start up in those gears. I don't know what the method is of experienced riders. Do you shift down and stop way way before the stop sign, or hit the brakes to drop speed and shift down. I don't like the run the stop sign option.
(For town use suggest that you avoid the front derailer and
just use the rear gears only. Also get used to shifting down
before you get to stops. The fact that you have all those
gears only means YOU get to choose the gears you want not
that you must use them all all the time.)

3. gears
( As I said YOU choose what gear you use that is the most
comfortable......at the time.

4. Dogs
Opps, saw a few with their owners, whew. But realized I didn't have any good ideas on how to handle dogs. One was a Rott.. and the other was about the same size and build, probably a settler. Good links or quick hints?
(Other than carring a large bore hand gun I'd suggest that
as best you're able avoid dogs. Mace may work but avoiding is
best.)

5. Shoes
I tried to save a few bucks and NOT get cycling shoes. Don't think this will work. My pedals have platform on one side and clips on the other. I kept on finding my shoe was on the wrong side.
(depending on how you ride shoes.....might....matter. I don't
ride in a manner that clips would help so I don't use them.
I also feel that clips, for me,are an unsafe no-no as I will
not have anything on my bike that ties me to it in case of a
fall [which with joint implants would be very bad].)

6. Legs
Legs weren't too bad, but definitely felt the acid build up and took it easy.
(very good. LISTEN to your body as you are. As to the how far
you go you could do what I did and drive a loop that you ride
and use that odometer reading to know how far the loop is. If
you want to pamper yourself and get a bike meter,very OK, but in
the mean time my suggestion will work.

7. exercise
Ok, Now I can see why this is popular. My father had his first heart atttack at about this age, and this is the only exercise I enjoy.
(Exactly why I ride. The more we "OLDER" folk's ride and use
our bodies the better. Ride on ,mate.)

Huff
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Old 10-17-04, 12:01 PM   #20
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I tried to save a few bucks and NOT get cycling shoes. Don't think this will work. My pedals have platform on one side and clips on the other
Your feet will quickly adapt to the 2 sided pedals.

Cycling shoes are not a necessity, but you will likely want to consider them later on.

Also, it is a very easy job to remove the two-sided pedals and replace with some inexpensive platform pedals, if that is more comfortable.
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Old 10-18-04, 10:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Also, it is a very easy job to remove the two-sided pedals and replace with some inexpensive platform pedals, if that is more comfortable.
Duh, thanks. I don't know if I will do that, but that is definitely a solution to try before cycling shoes. thanks.

It is not so much a matter of comfort as not getting full benefit from strokes.

My goals for this week are to get in 3 thirty minutes rides. It will be tight as we have a cold snap coming and not sure if I am ready for 45 degree temps.

Huff
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Old 10-18-04, 09:45 PM   #22
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What to look for when purchasing a bike ?
Number one.......SIZE.
Regardless of the type of bike you purchase or the money you spend, get one that fits you properly.
Don't take the recommended size from the LBS. Ya have to look into it yourself. There are plenty of on-line fit kits that you can look at. "Colorado Cyclist" ( an on-line supplier) has a good formula. It follows most. If the bike doesn't fit properly, you'll get discouraged from riding regardless of the money you spent.

Check this out........http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/

Good luck !
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Old 10-19-04, 07:55 AM   #23
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I kinda of agree. More important than size is fitting. The problem with the online fitting guide is they assume you are using the standard bike geometry. They do not work with Giant frames as they started the compact frame sizing concept, at least according to their PR. According to the online size charts I should have had an XL frame. When going for sizing, the XL was a tad too big and the L fits perfectly.

But for the perfect fit, it meant about 30 minutes of adjusting variables until everything fits right. Find a LBS that will take the time to adjust and adjust until reach, arm bend, and saddle position all work together for you.

Huff
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Old 10-24-04, 06:06 PM   #24
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J___ K___ P_______ !!!



































































































Just Keep Pedaling
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Old 10-24-04, 06:49 PM   #25
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Well, I'm just about one year shy of 50, and I got back into cycling a couple of years ago after, um, a few years off (my, doesn't time fly!), so I'll try to make a few observtions.

Set your own goals, but engage others on occasion. If you let others set your goals for you, you'll lose interest quickly. If you never ride with others, you won't push yourself.

Be prepared to see something you never expected to see at our age - physical improvement. When I started serious riding two years ago, I established a 20 mile loop, with moderate grades. It has become my benchmark for progress. My first runs were pretty weak - average speed of 13 mph. Last month, I achieved a landmark for myself - 20.1 mph over that same route.

Once I started seeing improvement, it put the hook in me. I'm getting stronger. As long as I'm seeing improvement, then I'm not decaying.
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