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  1. #1
    Lucille
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    When you first started back

    I remember years ago I used to bike 45 minutes a day, mostly just local or in the parks.
    I know that my performance and stamina will improve, but now after 10 minutes I called it a day.
    When you first started back after a long absence from biking, how did it go for you?

  2. #2
    Saved by Grace lphilpot's Avatar
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    After 30+ years out of the saddle, it was almost alarming how terrible I was. But improvement will happen. I can see and feel it already - Not that I'm far down the road yet, but I can tell I'm improving even at age 51.98630136986301369863013698630137.

    I rode about 6 1/2 miles this afternoon after noticing that despite what I thought, we do have a bike path in my hometown. Currently it's less than a mile, but we technically have one now. Todays ride was a quick improptu thing since I had limited time, but it was a ride nonetheless. It will be a milestone when the total recorded mileage on my bike reaches what some folks ride in a day, but I'll get there.

    Keep it up!
    Len Philpot - 2012 Specialized Tricross Sport
    I start out slow and then taper off from there...

  3. #3
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    You will come back fast - don't fear.
    3 mile, 6 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles...
    Before long, a metric then a full century.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    My first measured ride was an out of breath 6 miles.
    Had to stop three times to recover.

    To get stronger I went on a 5 mile ride plan.
    Ride 5 miles, rest, do it again.
    Rode 40 miles, 80 laps around the block one day. 5 miles at a time.
    You become much stronger each week as you ride.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  5. #5
    Lucille
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    I'd like a moment of silence for the Wally World bike. I had it stashed and was going to use it to build up riding time because it has nice big tires and a big comfy seat for my big comfy, well, you know. But the gears are not working right, and it needs so much to make it decent that I think the best thing to do would be to ignore it.
    So it's me and The Lemon, mano y mano (or something). Lemon, you are getting 20 minutes tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    I had a few false starts to returning. Eventually though, I got serious and returned for real. That was in July 2006 and I must've been serious because I started a riding log. The first entry shows a distance of 3.2 km, an average speed of 17km/hr and the comment, 'utterly stuffed'.

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  7. #7
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Starting from ground zero as many of us have you'll improve quickly, but I wouldn't set expectations based on what anyone else has done. You'll be impatient, but don't increase your mileage too rapidly. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you're trying to ride every day and you feel really fatigued, take a day off.
    Rick T
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  8. #8
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I started by doing 5 mile loops on a flat bike path. I think that was 1983. I really enjoyed that until I was corrupted by the road. I've since ridden around 150,000 miles, including 80 miles with hills today.
    Whatever you do, keep it fun and you will keep at it. Even 30 minutes 3 times a week will make you stronger.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    I was doing chemo for colon cancer when I started back in 2004. I had read a study that showed a strong negative correlation between exercise and the return of cancer, so I decided to get back into cycling. My first ride was three miles, and when I got back I spent 45 minutes on the bed panting, trying to catch my breath. A few days later blood work showed that the chemo had crashed my red blood count, and I got a couple of shots of Aranesp, a form of EPO. Believe you me, EPO is magic juice. My blood count jumped, and I felt much better.

    The cancer came back in 2005, and I started back a second time in 2006 during my third, and last, session of chemo. In looking back at my records from that time, I note a ride of 17 miles (a route that has become a standard ride) that took 1:16:12, a speed of 13.4 mph. Less than a year later my PR was 52:19 over the same route.

    There are two eternal truths about cycling: You can always get better, and there is always someone better than you.

  10. #10
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I started riding again in 1998. I bought a new Litespeed and took it up to the BRP and rode 2 miles at 6% and it was all I could do. Later that year I rode the whole Blue Ridge Parkway, 470 miles and near 50,000' of climbing on a tour. It is amazing how quickly a body can adapt and improve if you just keep at it.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  11. #11
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I started riding in March of '09, commuting to work. My route then was 8 miles, and, at each intersection, I'd hope the light would turn red so I could rest. It wasn't long before I wanted the lights to be all green. Then, I remember how it was hard to breathe enough while also drinking enough (some commutes are at 110+ degrees). That too changed, but it took a bit longer. Eventually, I started looking for ways to increase the commute distance. Then, I got a road bike and started doing weekend club rides. The first few of those were brutal, going from a max distance of 10 miles to 50-60 miles with much faster/fitter riders. But pretty soon, those rides stopped bringing me to my knees.

    IMO, there are two ways to approach getting bicycle fit. One way is to gradually increase the distance, in chunks that don't stress your body too much, never really getting wiped out or totally sore. Then there is the way I chose, which is to start doing the distance you want to be able to do, and then keep doing it until it doesn't hurt to do it anymore. That's the "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" approach, and it is what worked best for me. Until I started being coached, that is. My coach has this archaic belief that your muscles shouldn't always be sore. That's totally contrary to my motto, which is "If you aren't sore, you're losing the war."

    "To each their own" or "It's your thang, do what you wanna do!"

    My leap from 10 miles to 60 wouldn't have been nearly as painful if I had a handle on my nutrition as I started doing the longer rides. I wasn't eating enough, and wasn't taking in the needed electrolytes. I bonked bad on my second group ride: both legs cramping, unable to quench my thirst, totally exhausted, laying in the grass at the side of the road, etc. I almost toppled at a stoplight because, when I tried to unclip, my leg said "No, I think I'll just cramp up instead. Then you'll fall over, and I'll get some rest, you moron." And of course, since I was taking so long, the heat built to over 110F. My wife almost divorced me during this period, but after only a few weekends of the longer harder rides, I was able to handle them 'okay'.

    So, my recommendation is to (A) get your nutrition and fluids act together now, and then, so long as you have a green light from your physician, (B) push it as hard as you want!

    And, really, it's all about the hours.. forget about miles, and just spend as much time in the saddle as possible, at as fast a cadence as you can maintain. That is what will get your fitness up: hours at a good cadence.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  12. #12
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    My story is like the ones above -- when I first started out again, it was painful.

    I had a similar experience today -- I screwed around all day and didn't got in a bike ride, so about twilight I got my dog on a leash and started out on a walk. I decided to give running a try, so I started jogging along. I didn't get very far at all until I was in serious pain. I had to stop and think about why I felt so terrible -- I thought I was fit, after all. Seems that if were to start running, it would be just as bad as starting out biking again. Am mulling this over now. May have to start mixing in some runs into my weekly routine.
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 01-22-11 at 07:04 PM.

  13. #13
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    Your doing better than me, one block & rest! Then 10 Wheels told me how he started & that boosted me along!!
    Now the winter has set in, can't get enough courage to ride in 15* snow cover!! Not this 1st winter here.
    Use the Wally world bike as a learning curve to repair/adjust things. Plenty of people on here to talk you through
    almost any repair. Also some internet articles on the basic adjustments. Keep those wheels spinning, it does get
    easier!!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    I started again last January (at age 55.5) after a 10-year hiatus. First ride on the TREK hybrid was 8 miles and took me almost 45 minutes. By May I was doing 20 on the hills around the area and 40 miles on the rare flat-landers' ride I do about twice a month with an old high school buddy who lives about 35 miles away. My best ride of last year was 48 miles in 3 hours 12 minutes. If this old fat guy can do it, I imagine most others can too. Hang in there and just add a half mile or mile on each successive ride. You'll be doing 20, 30 and 40-milers before you know it.
    Primary rides:

    2000 BMW R1200C
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    1996 TREK 730 hybrid 21 spd
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  15. #15
    Yen
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    Hi Lucille: First of all -- welcome to the forum, and welcome back to riding!

    When we came back 4 years ago, our first ride on our hybrids was 5 miles. WOW!! We thought that was pretty fantastic, and felt good, so the following weekend we rode 11 miles --- not good... my quads quivered all night if I stopped moving. We pulled back and rode less the next weekend, and gradually added mileage each week (generally, following the 10-12% rule each week). I think it took a few months before 20 miles was our typical ride. A year later, we rode 50 easy miles with a very tough hill at the end --- prior to this ride, our longest was 30-something.

    Try to ride as often as you can, and remember the 10% rule: generally, don't increase distance/intensity/speed more than 10% each week.

    And keep it fun! If it's fun, you'll stay with it.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

  16. #16
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Hi, Lucille, and welcome.

    My wife (registered nurse and Certified Case Manager) did not start riding until in her early 60's. She had never ridden as a kid, so it was pretty much all new to her. Over the years, every now and then, she had ridden just a bit, but never more than a couple of miles.

    Several years back she was told by a physiatrist, after looking at her x-rays and MRI that she would never ride a bike again. Her back had been in terrible shape. The next summer, we sent a picture to the physiatrist and the psychologist who was supposedly teaching her to live with pain the rest of her life. The picture was of her finishing a 27 mile ride, starting at 8,800 feet and going over the top of Vail Pass (10,600 feet) and returning - down and up a pretty steep grade.

    We have been through a knee replacement - 3 years ago - and have another scheduled this Monday, the 24th - and a variety of other issues - including atrial fibrillation (and subsequent ablation) for me and a back fusion, but we still - at ages 71 (me) and 73 manage to ride. And, yes, she started out slow and just got better.

    So, just keep it up. ALso, Iknow others have mentioned this - but that bike fitting you correctly is absolutely critical to a good riding experience.

    And, you ARE Awesome. Thanks for letting us get to know you.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  17. #17
    Lucille
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    and have another scheduled this Monday, the 24th
    Best wishes for the upcoming surgery; that it be brief and effective with no complications
    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    And, you ARE Awesome. Thanks for letting us get to know you.
    Thank you. You make me smile

  18. #18
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Thank you. You make me smile
    Smiles are good.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  19. #19
    tsl
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    Plays in traffic tsl's Avatar
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    My first real ride was riding my shiny new bike home form the LBS. I had to stop and rest for five minutes halfway. I've measured since. It's 0.67 miles. So I was able to ride a whopping third of a mile (or half a kilometer) before needing a five-minute rest.

    I've since moved closer to the LBS.

    Five months after that first ride, I rode my first half-century. Okay, it was essentially five 10-mile rides strung together, but I did it.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  20. #20
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    I have a hard time responding to many threads in the 50+ forum and it's almost always due to the same reason. Let me explain.

    Two months ago I turned 62. This summer, after some years of not riding much, I started riding again seriously, more seriously than I ever rode before. It wasn't hard. I did my personal best in mid-summer, 65 miles, beating my age at that time by 4. I wanted to do a century but events conspired against it. (And all this was after sustaining a knee injury while hiking in May which still bothers me.)

    I'm not saying this to brag. There is a reason it wasn't hard. Though I am not and have never been an athlete (and never played one on TV) I have exercised almost every day for the last 35 years. I have run, done aerobics, yoga, lifted weights, canoed, hiked or just walked, or played very energetic music for an hour or more every day. For most winters my wife and I have x-c skied 4 to 5 hours a day almost every weekend. The cumulative effect of all that activity has kept us healthy and fit. So when I started biking seriously again it didn't take long for the leg muscles to respond to the new demands.

    So here's the point. It is great whenever anyone takes up a new or long lost activity, biking or anything else, and goes from nowhere to leaping tall buildings. But you can't recover the "lost" years between when you were younger and now. Of course you can't turn back your own clock, you can only start from now and improve. Okay, do it!

    What you can do however is encourage those around you, your children (who may now have children of their own), grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your friends, etc., to start early. It's like saving money - the sooner you start, the more you'll end up with. Help them break out of the rut into which modern society pushes us. It's a form of love. Tough love, perhaps, but love nevertheless.

    I've been fortunate. I count my lucky stars that my wife encouraged us both to stay fit, eat well and carefully, etc. I was motivated too because my dad died of heart failure at 52, so I've beat him by 10 years and hope to do even better. I wonder what I'd be like now without that push. If you can push others, gracefully of course, then do it! It might be the difference for someone between already being fit at 50 and just starting to become fit at 50.

    I thought hard about whether to post this. It sounds like bragging and I don't mean to. I can appreciate the accomplishments and challenges to those of you just starting a life of activity, but I can't empathize with you. However I think this message is worthwhile, worth the risk of being misinterpreted. So there it is.

    Go ride a bike! Enjoy! Be or become fit! And spread the joy to others too!
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  21. #21
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    Your experience reminded me of something that happened to my wife and me nearly 30 years ago. We were both working in town and for several months the only riding we were doing was to get to work and get groceries. Well, February came along and we realized that we should start training again if we were going to ride events like the local double century. So, off we went on what was planned to be a 35 mile ride along a local creek. Four miles in, at Road 95, we both were so uncomfortable on the bike that we just turned around and headed home. We still laugh about "Road 95".

    Keep at it. Good things will come, usually just after you have nearly given up hope.

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    My first ride was 28 miles. A group I was with decided to take their kids out for a ride and it finished with one adult for every kid on a quiet flat backroad ride for a Cup of tea and biscuits at a cafe 14 miles from home. I did not feel any pain or stiff muscles or anything on that ride till about 10 miles out and then the Butt pain started.

    The kids were aged from 8 to 11 so you can guess the pace we went at-- Yep thats right- we were struggling to keep up with the kids.

    Mind you- that 28 miles were painfull the next day and I was not the only one. Barring 2 of the other parents that pointed out to me that I should join them on a Sunday morning ride with them. That was the start of my cycling experience.

    That first ride they took me on was only about 30 miles with a few hills. First hill and I was walking halfway up- well it was a 10% hill for a mile. Second hill and I was walking sooner. 3rd hill was a gentle 3% for 2 miles and I walked most of the way. If you want to ride round here you have to have hills.

    Within 1 month I was able to cycle those same hills so things will improve pretty quickly but then they took me offroad and that was a different story. Took me 2 years before I got a bike with low enough gearing to be able to get up the first hill so there is more to cycling than your fitness- the bike plays a part aswell.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  23. #23
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    jimm - Excellent advice and exceptionally wise words.

  24. #24
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    The first week was the hard one for me. I rode everyday, but had a hard time of getting past the 5 to 8 mile mark. Then in the second week, the mileage per ride jumped to 12 to 15 miles. It was three months before climbing was anything less than torture. After that it was a matter of getting my backside used to being in the saddle for periods over an hour in length.

    As I watched my two adult sons get into riding, I saw them take a similar path. Their first week was filled with short rides, followed by a gradual (but faster than mine) ability to go longer and harder.

    The thought of giving up never entered my mind. I think it's because I rode long and hard in my 20s. I remembered the thrills, sense of accomplishment, and just general good feelings that came from riding. This is where those of us coming back to cycling have an advantage. We already know how good it can be, and we're just trying to get back there.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  25. #25
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    ... but I can't empathize with you.

    I disagree. Your posting this message shows that you do understand the feelings of others.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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