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Old 12-29-05, 11:42 AM   #1
keith_aquino
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Any advice?

Hey guys, my name's Keith. I just finished my first bike ride on the road (not just cycling around like some kid). I have some questions (especially on cramps!). This morning, I we left for a place that was 13km from there. I used a bike where everybody kept saying "that bike's crazy!". I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought it was something with the gears. For a third of the trip I had no idea what was wrong with it. At that time, I was telling myself that I was a really slow biker. I somewhat found this surprising since I'm the fastest runner at school (and proud of it! ). Anywayz, I found out that the reason why this bike earned such a notoriety was that it was really slow. To reach the speed of the other bikes, you had to place twice the effort. It like I was going uphill all the way!

Since the seat was high, I had to tip-toe just to stop. Stopping gave me cramps and I avoided it at all costs. Does the seat being high have a relationship with the having cramps? Another situation that came that night was the worst of all. As I was cycling at the side of the busy road, my legs started to freeze. I couldn't cycle anymore. The cramp's pain was too much. I almost fell of my bike and landed on the road. As I stood, my legs started to freeze again. It was hard to bend them back. The pain as I stand or stretch my legs were excruciating. I wasn't tired and I had alot of stamina left. My muscles weren't tired as well. This kind of cramp hasn't happened to me in any marathon I've joined or training. I noticed that my muscles felt "tight" even as I rested. I stretched them by pulling my feet up to my back. I found it wasn't adequate. My quadriceps still didn't feel stretched all the way. Did anyone experience this? How do I remedy it? Is this a big problem?

Thanks in advanced!
Keith
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Old 12-29-05, 12:36 PM   #2
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In response to the cramping: Aside from stretching and warming up, you'll just have to just get used to riding. Eventually you'll build up the muscles that you use for cycling and you won't ache as much when riding. 13km is a decent distance for just starting.

In response to the bike: The seat is supposed to be high enough so that your leg is almost fully extended when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your seat is at the right height, you shouldn't be able to sit on the seat and put your feet on the ground at the same time.

check out http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter1a.htm for an explination of how you start/stop (and a bunch of other things)

Your bike might have been slow if you were either in a really low gear or a really high gear. The best way to build up speed is to start in a low gear (where it's easier to pedal) and slowly shift up to the next gear as you go faster (and then shift back to a lower gear when you come to a stop).
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Old 12-29-05, 12:44 PM   #3
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You also should learn how to start and stop correctly since your proper seat height won't allow your feet to touch the ground.

To start, straddle your bike with your non-dominant foot on the pedal which is at the 10 o'clock position. Your other foot is firmly on the ground. You are not sitting in your saddle. Next, stand up on your pedal which will push you forward, maintain your balance, and allow you to sit in your saddle.

To stop, do the opposite. Slow down and right before you come to a dead stop, stand up on your non-dominant foot with the pedal in the 6 o'clock position, move forward off the saddle, and stand on the ground with your other foot.

It took me a couple days of practicing with my clipless shoes to get it right. Good luck!
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Old 12-29-05, 12:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCNJ2UofM
Your bike might have been slow if you were either in a really low gear or a really high gear. The best way to build up speed is to start in a low gear (where it's easier to pedal) and slowly shift up to the next gear as you go faster (and then shift back to a lower gear when you come to a stop).
Yep, I thought it was just the gear positions. It wasn't though. It's a heavy cheap bike. I'm planning to get a better one or to change the parts. I'll try to post to post some pics of the bike on a different thread for that problem.

What other stretches are there for the quadriceps? By the way, thanks for the link. It's really useful!

Keith
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Old 12-29-05, 01:07 PM   #5
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I don't know of any other stretches. You might just try to some relaxed riding as a warm up before you start riding hard.
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Old 12-29-05, 03:32 PM   #6
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Seat height shouldn't make a difference in starting and stopping. You're not trying to stay while keeping your butt on the seat are you? In which case, the seat's most likely too low!

Cramps? Try lower gears that's easier to spin...
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Old 12-29-05, 03:39 PM   #7
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How much did you have to drink before and during the ride? The main cause of cramping is dehydration.
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Old 12-29-05, 10:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Machka
How much did you have to drink before and during the ride? The main cause of cramping is dehydration.
Okay, I'll have to admit that I didn't drink alot of water. I had no idea that dehydration can cause cramps. Thanks!
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Old 12-29-05, 10:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Seat height shouldn't make a difference in starting and stopping. You're not trying to stay while keeping your butt on the seat are you? In which case, the seat's most likely too low!

Cramps? Try lower gears that's easier to spin...

The seat height's actually too high. You'll have to tip-toe just to stand! Anywayz, thanks guys. There's probably nothing you can do about it except more training.
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