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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 12-29-12, 04:20 PM   #1
Old Sarge
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Lessons From My First Ride In 50+ Years

The title may be slightly misleading. Sometime around '83 or so a girlfriend and I rode a tandem single speed around Saledo, Texas. But I don't count it.

I got a bicycle for Christmas. This is an effort to become more fit and get some much needed exercise. Christmas day it snowed here and I wasn't going to get out in the wet/snow not having ridden in so many years. Today it was cold this morning but by 2 p.m., when I had finished some home repairs, it was about 40f. While going to the hardware store I had come back by a park with a MUP and I saw that it was dry. The sun was shining so I decided I would break in the new bike today....hopefully without breaking anything else.

I chose to ride in my street attire....because I have more of it than anything else and I am basically lazy. My darling bride took my picture before I left.


And as I rode off:


I rode to a MUP a few blocks from my home. It is only about .4 mile around it. Because of the design I have to cut across some grass to make a loop.....or make an impossibly sharp left turn. I got on it and rode a couple of loops. At less than a mile the top of my thighs were burning. It had been my immediate goal to do at least five miles. I was now thinking "no way." But being the stubborn old man I'm noted for being, after a couple of loops I decided to go to another park, not far from that location, where there is a MUP of .84 miles. I rode on the street to that location since there was very little traffic out. After doing a little more than a loop and a half I found an exit to a residential area that I had been looking for so I took it and it put me on a street which crosses a major intersection and becomes the street I live on. I took it to the intersection, no traffic, so I rode that four lane back to the original MUP and rode it for one and a half loops, exiting to an alley and on to a street which intersected with mine. Over to my alley and up my driveway and I was home at slightly over 5.1 miles.

Lessons learned:
I am going to wear that padded underwear or the padded shorts. Otherwise things tend to bunch up and get a little uncomfortable.

I can do five miles if I put my mind to it. I'm no speed demon (noticed most of the time I ran between 7 and 12 MPH depending on what gear I was in....most of the time was 9 to 10 MPH).

Using the various gears and hand brakes wasn't that hard. I am rough and need practice (never used them before except for a short period as a child when I had a three speed and it was not very good). I did notice that the bike was very sensitive to the slightest incline. And when I was choosing the right gear combination my thighs quit burning. I spent most of my time on the number 2 on the crank and 3-6 on the rear....did go to 1 on the crank and 2-4 on the rear on some mild inclines. Never hit the highest or lowest gear.

I also learned I am not good at drinking while riding, in fact I need both hands on the handlebars. But I also learned that I can get better and I will.

I also learned that I enjoyed the ride. So I want to thank all of you who encouraged me and gave me advice. By moderating my eating habits I have lost over ten pounds in the last month and I expect that will improve by the time I see my doctor again in February.

I wish each of you a safe and happy new year.
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Old 12-29-12, 04:36 PM   #2
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Congratulations. Five miles is a healthy and impressive ride for a "beginner." Seems like you made some excellent decisions in your riding. You will likely be sore tomorrow on various parts of your body, which simply means you haven't used those muscles in a lloonngg time. Biking specific clothes may help with the bottom problem, but it just takes time to get those nerves used to something new.

Keep up the good work and keep us informed.
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Old 12-29-12, 04:42 PM   #3
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So great to see you on the bike.

"Lessons learned:
I am going to wear that padded underwear or the padded shorts. Otherwise things tend to bunch up and get a little uncomfortable."

We don't wear underwear with bike shorts.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:08 PM   #4
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So great to see you on the bike.

"Lessons learned:
I am going to wear that padded underwear or the padded shorts. Otherwise things tend to bunch up and get a little uncomfortable."

We don't wear underwear with bike shorts.
Oh, sort of like a Scotsman with kilts? The biking shorts I got have built-in underwear/padding, like swim trunks...not like my speedo of course.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:12 PM   #5
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We don't wear underwear with bike shorts.
Oh Geez! Is that ANOTHER biker sin that I am committing?
... Is there a biker confessional around here??? Sounds like I need one!
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Old 12-29-12, 05:20 PM   #6
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Yes, Congratulations old sarge...

But maybe I can claim bragging rights as I got all the way to SIX miles on my first ride!
... But then I darn near fell off of the bike I was so worn out and winded...

But every week after that I added another mile or two. And, by the end of the summer I could actually see where my waist was supposed to be (it's quite a waist yet -- but I'm working at it). And, when I saw my physician in August he was just thrilled.

Keep it up! And don't forget to have fun while you're at it! (otherwise you'll find a reason not to do it.)

And, what are the chances that you could get your bride on a bike too? It would be good for both of you!
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Old 12-29-12, 05:23 PM   #7
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Congrats on the ride. Other than the newness of using those thigh muscles making them burn, it looks like your saddle may be a little to low. This causes the thigh muscles to stay in a semi squat position and not able to stretch out in the down peddle stroke. Kinda like doing squats but not going all the way up, just about half way. A good fit makes a world of difference.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:26 PM   #8
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Yes, Congratulations old sarge...

But maybe I can claim bragging rights as I got all the way to SIX miles on my first ride!
... But then I darn near fell off of the bike I was so worn out and winded...

But every week after that I added another mile or two. And, by the end of the summer I could actually see where my waist was supposed to be (it's quite a waist yet -- but I'm working at it). And, when I saw my physician in August he was just thrilled.

Keep it up! And don't forget to have fun while you're at it! (otherwise you'll find a reason not to do it.)

And, what are the chances that you could get your bride on a bike too? It would be good for both of you!
You beat me fair and square, GeorgeBMac. And it was fun. My pastor, a much younger man, who rides some said I would find five miles isn't near enough. I would want to go further. And I think he may be right when my body is used to the shorter distance.

At the LBS my wife liked the looks of an Electra Townie (?) but it hard to get her involved in things. I am not going to push her but as she sees me feeling better and losing weight I think it will encourage her to lose weight (she is trying right now) and become more active. She is very encouraging in my efforts. (I have even mentioned tandems to her a couple of times).
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Old 12-29-12, 05:28 PM   #9
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Congrats on the ride. Other than the newness of using those thigh muscles making them burn, it looks like your saddle may be a little to low. This causes the thigh muscles to stay in a semi squat position and not able to stretch out in the down peddle stroke. Kinda like doing squats but not going all the way up, just about half way. A good fit makes a world of difference.
Thanks, Tony. I actually meant to check that out as I rode but failed to do it (heck, I even forgot to put my sunglasses on, they were in my windbreaker pocket....took off for the pictures ). I will check out the saddle height.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:49 PM   #10
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Well done on the ride, Old Sarge. I don't think I was able to do 5 miles on my first ride. You're off to a good start. Stay with it. Keep riding.
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Old 12-29-12, 05:56 PM   #11
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Great to see that you got to ride the new bike, Old Sarge, looks like you really enjoyed it. The bike shorts with the chamois or pad, will make a difference for you, no boxers to bunch up and irritate your nether regions. Takes some getting used to but the comfort makes it easy to do. Bib shorts and tights (the long legs) might make you feel better as they are held up higher by the straps over the shoulders. That weight will fall away as you ride and the distance will come back to you relatively quick. Thanks for the ride report and the pictures, one thing though, you forgot to tell what type of Pie you had after the ride, That is 50+ tradition.

Bill
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Old 12-29-12, 06:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for the ride report and the pictures, one thing though, you forgot to tell what type of Pie you had after the ride, That is 50+ tradition.

Bill
I was unaware of that tradition, Bill. I have to say that my darling bride is one of the worlds great pie cooks (even won a pie competition at church....and the pastor loves her pies). But when I came home she fixed two small pork chops, some cherry tomatoes, and green peas for my lunch/supper (green peas being one of the few green vegetables I will eat). No pie, not on my current diet.
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Old 12-29-12, 06:14 PM   #13
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S'okay Sarge, I am in the same boat in the dietary department, just a long running theme here, Pie is the choice treat for most of us, I had to leave that one last July.

Bill
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Old 12-29-12, 06:45 PM   #14
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Good start for you! I understand it sometimes gets hot in Texas later in the year? Keep up your riding when you can, gradually increasing your distance and fitness, and that will make acclimatization to riding in the heat easier.
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Old 12-29-12, 06:49 PM   #15
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Good job, Old Sarge. I started with 5 mile rides and the first time I did 15 I thought I was awesome.
Keep it fun and you'll keep doing it.
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Old 12-29-12, 07:03 PM   #16
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My first ride on a real road bike was 6 miles. I was 25 and a very fit runner. It kicked my ass. But it wasn't long before I was doing 20 mile rides before work and 50 on the weekend.
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Old 12-29-12, 07:20 PM   #17
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The Lessons learned" list is just beginning. Well done and congratulations!
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Old 12-29-12, 07:38 PM   #18
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Congrats Old Sarge on your first ride. Hopefully you learn to love it as much as the rest of us on Bikeforums.

The way I look at it is that you have another big positive going for you. You live in Texas! If you're a native Texan then that is a double bonus!

Hope there are many miles ahead on the bike, it will do many great things for your health and mind.

Richard
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Old 12-29-12, 07:48 PM   #19
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Well done. I started with less than 5 miles in 1997, and have come a long way since. I hope you enjoy your journeys as much as I have (for the most part). There's a lot to discover and see in your own neighbourhood and beyond. A bike is one of the great ways to explore.
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Old 12-29-12, 08:35 PM   #20
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Ssshhhhhh!!






















Some of us wear jockey shorts - but don't tell anyone as they tend to get rather irate and bawl us out.
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Old 12-29-12, 09:15 PM   #21
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It's cool you've rediscovered the fun.
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Old 12-29-12, 09:35 PM   #22
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Oh Geez! Is that ANOTHER biker sin that I am committing?
... Is there a biker confessional around here??? Sounds like I need one!
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ssion-thread**
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Old 12-29-12, 09:35 PM   #23
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Good job OS! And +1 on checking your saddle height. If you want the wife to ride simply tell her that cycling is really best left to men.
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Old 12-29-12, 10:39 PM   #24
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You've made the "start" of a journey that can lead to great expectations and lot's of "Smile per Mile" rides, ENJOY!
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Old 12-30-12, 01:41 AM   #25
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Well done mate

My first ride back, after considerably less than 50 years off the bike was a massive 3.2km and the note in my riding log is "utterly stuffed"

How long before we introduce him to that other great 50+ tradition, N+1 ?
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