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  1. #1
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    Sore legs - Power through it, or take a break?

    So, as those that've seen my previous threads know, I'm pretty new to cycling. In fact, it's been less than a month since I started.

    The other day, I went on a trip that, while short(only about 1.5 miles each way), managed to take a lot out of me due to a combination of limited stamina, a rather large dip(maybe 25 degree angle on either side?), and the ground being at a slight tilt(enough to make me half to work a decent bit on my single speed) for a good distance after that dip. My legs have been a bit sore on-and-off since, and when I went on a short ride around the neighborhood earlier, I found my legs starting to feel it a good bit sooner than usual.

    Is this just due to having not really exercised very much at all before and I need to power through it, or is it more a sign of stress and fatigue and should be rested off before I hop back on the bike? Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer, guys.

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    The standard rule is that if the soreness goes away as you warm up, ride. If it gets worse, take time off or do an easy day or two.
    Soreness in the muscles is rarely serious. Pain in a joint can indicate trouble, especially if it worsens with use. Fatigue or "heaviness" can be a sign of overtraining, and for a beginner, it doesn't take much.
    Finally, rest days and easy days are important--they allow the muscles time to recover and build. People who go hard for weeks at a time generally improve more slowly than those who train scientifically.
    Take an occasional day off, and vary your routine--go fast for shorter distances one day, then slower for longer another day, or mix mountain biking with road riding. Millions of words have been written about this, and you can find more information than you'll ever use.

  3. #3
    Senior Member damnpoor's Avatar
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    Err on the side of more rest. If you ride tired you will get no benefit. Wait to recover then hit it again. Some days you get on the bike and your legs clearly don't want to go. As much as it sucks you've just gotta turn around and skip the ride.

  4. #4
    6 miles per taco, w00t! HappyStuffing's Avatar
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    Take the day off riding and use the opportunity to move stuff/do shopping with the car you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

  5. #5
    English Bloke
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    Just to add the excellent advice so far.

    I take it you're riding a bike with gears? Something new riders tend to do is go into the highest gear and grind the pedals around slowly believing (mistakingly) that they will go faster. Try using your lower (easier) gears instead and aim to keep your cadence (pedal stroke), at a brisk pace.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty or safety" Benjamin Franklin

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    As Limey says. "Spinning" in lower gears is not only more efficient, the effort involved is easier to recover from. If training, you generally want to spend a small percentage of your ride "mashing" a bit; perhaps climbing a short hill in a higher gear. Builds a little strength. However, for the most part you should be working on a good, brisk tempo and good form.

    Make sure your position on the bike is good. Don't be afraid to take rest days either. Highly advanced riders will take "recovery rides" after hard efforts. The day after Armstrong crashed three times and the Tour had a rest day....He went riding.
    Not many of us are in that category.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mastershake16's Avatar
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    My knees feel a bit weird. I can't describe it, it isn't pain but maybe "puffyness".
    While riding sometimes I need to stand up to stretch them out.

    Is it because I don't have my real bike and am riding my friend's, which is a woman's cruiser? It fits terribly but I just moved the seat higher. Are my knees just rusty, or is it the bike?

  8. #8
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    It may well be. Bike fit and position are critical to maintaining knee health, and is often neglected or even ignored.
    The type of bike should not matter. There are all manner of fitting guides available that should get you in the ballpark; leg not fully extended at the bottom of the downstroke, front of the knee centered over the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal.... That sort of thing.

  9. #9
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    We don't know where you live. If your cycling season ends in 60-90 days due to weather (see upper midwest) then go through it. If you've got cycling year round, then take the time and do it right. Drink, eat more protein. Chocolate milk, eggs, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yalborap View Post
    So, as those that've seen my previous threads know, I'm pretty new to cycling. In fact, it's been less than a month since I started.

    The other day, I went on a trip that, while short(only about 1.5 miles each way), managed to take a lot out of me due to a combination of limited stamina, a rather large dip(maybe 25 degree angle on either side?), and the ground being at a slight tilt(enough to make me half to work a decent bit on my single speed) for a good distance after that dip. My legs have been a bit sore on-and-off since, and when I went on a short ride around the neighborhood earlier, I found my legs starting to feel it a good bit sooner than usual.

    Is this just due to having not really exercised very much at all before and I need to power through it, or is it more a sign of stress and fatigue and should be rested off before I hop back on the bike? Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer, guys.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    take a break. rule #1 ... do no harm ...
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  11. #11
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiPHRaPH View Post
    We don't know where you live. If your cycling season ends in 60-90 days due to weather (see upper midwest) then go through it. .
    Oh come now, cycling season here is at least 200 days. We have a good 120 left and some of the most pleasant weather of the year to look forward to.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  12. #12
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    So I get sore legs sometimes also but other times I get itchy legs. Do itchy legs need a rest like soreness? Is it caused by something similar or does it mean my body wants me to ride more? I'm relatively new to biking in the last few months, up to 20+ miles 3 days a week.

  13. #13
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    I ended up taking a break for a few days due to circumstance, and the problems in my legs went away, so there was that.

    I'm actually on a singlespeed right now. It works fine for most things, though I have come to decide that I need to get around the fast route, as it was trying to pound my way through it that made my legs so sore in the first place. I'll see if I can find a better route this weekend.

  14. #14
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    I know this, and you know this... But someone who rides 1.5 miles each way and is complaining of sore legs will NOT ride when it is dark or colder than 45-50. I am glad that a deadhead and a dedhed will still be riding with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
    Oh come now, cycling season here is at least 200 days. We have a good 120 left and some of the most pleasant weather of the year to look forward to.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  15. #15
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    I'm down in Southern California. We don't get 45-50 degree winters. We get 70 degree winters.

    And in my defense, I'm JUST starting out. Spirit is willing but flesh is weak and not yet hardened up, and all that.

  16. #16
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    Many beginners get sore legs because thay have their saddle too low. Your extended legs need to reach the pedals, and not the ground. When you stop do it next to the sidewalk, lean your bike over a bit, or move forward off the saddle.

  17. #17
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    That's about where my saddle is right now. It might benefit from a few millimeters of adjustment one way or the other, but as is, it's in a pretty good spot.

    I really think it was just trying to slam a probably 30+ pound steel cruiser up an incline it wasn't intended to ever go up.

  18. #18
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    For getting up hills on a one speed bike, after standing on the pedals, the only option is to get off and walk. No shame in that - millions of chinese do it. There is one option if the traffic is very light - you can zig-zag up the hill.

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