Got a bike recently and started riding for fitness. I was looking for an aerobic workout for my cardiovascular. Problem is, my thighs are giving up way too early for an adequate aerobic workout.
I'm riding on a bike course in a park with some low rising
inclines. I find that the bike is going too slow and I
have to pedal too hard. My bike is a hybrid 21-speed by Giant.
I try changing gears but then I'm peddling too fast and not
going anywhere. Is there a problem with my bike's gears or
have I just got the wrong type of bike?
Hi, I don't think there is anything wrong with your
bike or the gears. I too have a Giant Hybrid and it is a great bike for all round riding. Try just changing the gears one at a time to find the combination that will give you what you want. A heart rate monitor is an excellent way of
keeping your pulse rate where it should be. It sounds
like you're going into the anearobic phase if your
muscles are getting tired too soon. Take it easy and
try and keep your heart rate in the training zone. As
a general rule take 220 minus your age, and your heart
rate should be within 60-85% of that figure. To start
with use the lower end and as you get more fit work up
to the higher figures. Do this for at least 20 minutes,
to an hour and you should get a good aerobic workout.
Try for at least three times a week. Good luck!
You will encounter much prejudice against hybrids... not so much on these forums, but very much in LBSs, in bike press, even in accessory catalogs.
Ignore the philistines.
I ride hybrids exclusively... I have three of them, all very well used. My Trek 7900 rainbike has 63,500 miles on it from new, and has been all over europe and north africa, as well as many insane rain-rides to work & back.
A hybrid is faster than a mountain bike on pavement, and better suited for off-roading than a roadbike. It'll do whatever you ask of it.
Your likely has a 13-30 cassette... i.e., the large rear cog has 30 teeth, and the smallest has 13. This combination, along with the triple chainring up front, should give you all of the gear ranges you need for a good cardio workout.
Here is something your bike will excel at: climbing. Find yourself a moderate grade hill, one that might take you, oh, three to five minutes to climb. Go to the bottom, turn round, and pedal back up... repeatedly. Try different gear combos, try standing, try cruising up in the lowest gear you have... experiment. Climb that hill eight or ten times... Repeat regularly, incorporate it into your rides. This is one super aerobic workout... plus, after some practics, you'll be shameing the road riders with your 'bouc de montaigne" (mountain goat) climbing abilities.
OK, I am going to take a different tack here. For the first 2-4 months just ride. Have fun. If you start wearing yourself out before you even get somewhat proficient at the process of riding it won't be fun, and you will stop doing it. As someone else said, find a gear combination that is comfortable. Assuming you have the same bike I do, try something like 2 front 5 or 6 rear. Use the gears. Don't try to start off in a high gear. That will wear you out. The main thing is to have fun. Establish the habit of riding. Make it easy on yourself. Experiment with the gears. In a few months you will be more familiar with with your bike and riding. Meanwhile do some reading. Then start worrying about the aerobic aspects. You will be ready. What's the hurry?
Please email me at RainmanP@att.net
Chris the reason your thighs are burning is probably due to a couple of reasons, none related to the type of bike you have. (One of my favorite bikes to train on is an old one speed Schwinn.) I'll list some reasons and the "cures"-
You need to get used to riding the bike before you can expect a very good workout. See if you can find someone to help with your technique and/or find a some good books, (by Greg LeMond or Bernard Henault etc.).
If you aren't stretching after your rides, do so, it's very important. Get some advice on good technique from a Modern Dance or Ballet instructor or from a library book on the subject. If you don't stretch properly you can hurt yourself. If "bouncing" the stretch is recommended, find another source. Always be "warmed-up" first.
You are most probably using a gear that is too "high", as a novice the gear you need to use will not feel like you are going to get a "workout" from it. Don't feel like the "Lone Ranger it's a common mistake. You need to train yourself to use a gear you can "spin" your pedals at 90 rpm COMFORTABLY, 100 rpm is better beacuse when you're not thinking about it the rpm drops by 10. This will take some time to learn-be patient. This "spinning" is very important as it will balance the load between your legs and lungs and will keep you from developing injuries you will be sure to get if you do not learn to spin.
After you learn to spin then apply the "workout" pressure.
If you get to be a "serious" rider you will need to work on your hamstring strength as well because a lot of "hard" riding will overdevelop your quads and pull your kneecap off track if you don't, a 3 to 2 ratio of quad to hamstring is recommended for injury prevention.
At the beginning of every year I work on my spin myself until I can spin at at least 160 rpm comfortably. I do this to keep my technique smooth, so my muscles will "fire" more efficiently and as the year goes on one's spin slows down. There are some "experts" who recommend 60 rpm, ignore them the research was flawed.
Work on how you pedal as well, push forward across the top, down of course and then pull back, like you're trying to scrape something off the bottom of your foot.
You may have your saddle positioned incorrectly, possibly a bit low, have a shop check it for you, both height and fore-aft. e-mail me if you can't, I'll give you some things to check.
Well that's more than plenty to start with....
As mentioned above HAVE FUN!
Good Luck and welcome to the fold!
I found cycling great for cardiovascular fitness. Just give yourself time to adapt. In time, you will become a true cycle-motor!
As to your getting tired too soon, you may be in too high a gear. Learn to "spin", as they say, faster in an easier gear, and you will learn you can keep it up longer without fatigue. And give your body time recover between workouts: take a day off every other day, until you can handle more.
Someone else also suggested doing some upper body exercises so that your muscle development will be more proportional.