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Old 05-20-11, 10:57 PM   #1
ParkingTheBus
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Tips: How can I cycle faster and longer?

Sorry if this is in the wrong section or is a dumb question , I am new.

I have recently purchased a Diamondback Insight 1 Hybrid Bike (2011 version) for general commuting to and from work/school. On average, I will probably ride about 4 miles (7k) a day, with the odd day averaging up to 10-20 miles. My max has been 25 miles.

I have trouble keeping a good speed. I average maybe 15.5 MPH, going up to 17-18 mph for short periods of time, however I feel the burn! My legs fatigue fairly quickly I must say. I ride at level 2 with the gear at 5 for flat roads (mostly), 6-7 when I feel like going fast and 4 for going up hills. My seat is placed up high and I am riding on pavement.

Its pretty frustrating because I am not a fat guy at all... I'm about 195 pounds, 6 foot 1 and I play soccer. I can easily run 8-10k. I want to cycle consistently at around 17-19 mph for longer periods of time. Getting a new bike is not an option... I started going to the gym with a focus on building my leg muscle.

Any Tips?
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Old 05-21-11, 04:05 AM   #2
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Read Bicycling Magazine.
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Old 05-21-11, 07:54 AM   #3
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Keep a high cadence and do it as much as you can everyday (unless you start feeling any pain then you should take a break) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAYw42fATnU
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Old 05-21-11, 08:52 AM   #4
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I am going to assume you are new to bicycling. As your speed increases your wind resistance increases and above 15 mph it takes most of your labor to fight the wind. If your bike doesn't have drop bars you are sitting too upright. Have you had your bike fitted to you? This can really help. Post a photo of your bike setup and people could help.
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Old 05-21-11, 10:13 AM   #5
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Riding a bike requires the use of different muscles than biking. So they will be sore faster, and the muscles will have a different stamina than the ones you have been working on with the running.

The gym wont be the best way to fix this, the better idea is to ride more and focus. If you have the time and the desire ride a lower "softer" gear and try to maintain the same speed you were. It will cause you to pedal more, and spin your legs faster which will help you build the leg stamina, which is probably more of the issue than their strength.
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Old 05-21-11, 12:23 PM   #6
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I was trying to get faster for a longer ride this spring. A couple of things seem to have helped. One is riding 900 or 1,000 miles a month. One is riding with a group that is going almost too fast for you, or is going too fast for you.

I think a part of your issue is perception. You're averaging 15.5 mph, and feeling like that is slow. But rest assured, I've ridden lots of rides that didn't average that fast. So you're not exactly slacking off as is.
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Old 05-21-11, 12:43 PM   #7
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Correct that 15.5 is not a slow average. How long/how many miles have you been riding? It takes a while to build up your cycling muscles.
If you ride on the middle front chainring (2) all the time, that will make it harder on steep hills and keep you from going faster down hills on flat stretches.
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Old 05-21-11, 01:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParkingTheBus View Post
Sorry if this is in the wrong section or is a dumb question , I am new.

I have recently purchased a Diamondback Insight 1 Hybrid Bike (2011 version) for general commuting to and from work/school. On average, I will probably ride about 4 miles (7k) a day, with the odd day averaging up to 10-20 miles. My max has been 25 miles.

I have trouble keeping a good speed. I average maybe 15.5 MPH, going up to 17-18 mph for short periods of time, however I feel the burn! My legs fatigue fairly quickly I must say. I ride at level 2 with the gear at 5 for flat roads (mostly), 6-7 when I feel like going fast and 4 for going up hills. My seat is placed up high and I am riding on pavement.

Its pretty frustrating because I am not a fat guy at all... I'm about 195 pounds, 6 foot 1 and I play soccer. I can easily run 8-10k. I want to cycle consistently at around 17-19 mph for longer periods of time. Getting a new bike is not an option... I started going to the gym with a focus on building my leg muscle.

Any Tips?

Sorry to say but your expectations/goals are unrealistic. Lower your sights just a bit to find success.
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Old 05-21-11, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParkingTheBus View Post
Sorry if this is in the wrong section or is a dumb question , I am new.

I have recently purchased a Diamondback Insight 1 Hybrid Bike (2011 version) for general commuting to and from work/school. On average, I will probably ride about 4 miles (7k) a day, with the odd day averaging up to 10-20 miles. My max has been 25 miles.

I have trouble keeping a good speed. I average maybe 15.5 MPH, going up to 17-18 mph for short periods of time, however I feel the burn! My legs fatigue fairly quickly I must say. I ride at level 2 with the gear at 5 for flat roads (mostly), 6-7 when I feel like going fast and 4 for going up hills. My seat is placed up high and I am riding on pavement.

Its pretty frustrating because I am not a fat guy at all... I'm about 195 pounds, 6 foot 1 and I play soccer. I can easily run 8-10k. I want to cycle consistently at around 17-19 mph for longer periods of time.

Getting a new bike is not an option... I started going to the gym with a focus on building my leg muscle.

Any Tips?
Plan on riding at least every other day (you need miles to improve and need to be fresh enough so that they can be hard enough of the time), get a high-intensity training plan (you don't have 20 hours a week to spend riding like a professional cyclist and need to make the most of what you have) incorporating both intervals and periodization with a sustainable ramp rate and rest days/weeks/months, have the discipline to follow the plan both holding back on your easy days and riding painfully hard when called for, and keep a training log so you can adjust to suit your personal physiology.

Things which you'd naively assume to work well won't. Trying to always 'go fast' will leave you both slow and tired because your training stress never drops low enough for you to really go hard and improve your fitness. Riding with a faster group will limit how hard you can work either because you're always riding hard (and you can work a lot harder in 5-10 minutes than you can for an hour) when you're very unfit or you're spending too much time sitting on someone's wheel to get a good workout (with equal fitness you might be working 70% as hard as the guys pulling but would work up more time at 100% intensity if you could pull when you wanted (solo) rather than when you get to the front of the pace line).

The Time Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week is a good read. You don't need to be that rigid about it to get results. Maybe there are a couple of approximately 3 mile stretches without traffic lights each way on your bike commute where you end up with the equivalent of 4x10 intervals somewhat past your one-hour power on hard days. Maybe there are some landmarks like city-limit signs you can sprint for, highway overpasses, or traffic light sets you need speed to make on which you can apply your 30 second power.

A heart rate monitor or power meter helps to go slow when you should but are feeling fresh and hard when your legs are tired but digging deeper is still possible.

Leg muscle mass isn't your problem - cycling doesn't take much strength except when sprinting and even then power delivery is more about speed than how hard you can stomp on the pedals (the mechanics of the situation mean you can't push with much more than your own weight; although doing that at 140 RPM is going to deliver 140% of the power you get at 100 RPM).

You need a more powerful heart, bigger and more powerful mitochondria, and more capillaries so you can convert more glycogen to power.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 05-21-11 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 05-22-11, 12:01 AM   #10
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Plan on riding at least every other day (you need miles to improve and need to be fresh enough so that they can be hard enough of the time), get a high-intensity training plan (you don't have 20 hours a week to spend riding like a professional cyclist and need to make the most of what you have) incorporating both intervals and periodization with a sustainable ramp rate and rest days/weeks/months, have the discipline to follow the plan both holding back on your easy days and riding painfully hard when called for, and keep a training log so you can adjust to suit your personal physiology.

Things which you'd naively assume to work well won't. Trying to always 'go fast' will leave you both slow and tired because your training stress never drops low enough for you to really go hard and improve your fitness. Riding with a faster group will limit how hard you can work either because you're always riding hard (and you can work a lot harder in 5-10 minutes than you can for an hour) when you're very unfit or you're spending too much time sitting on someone's wheel to get a good workout (with equal fitness you might be working 70% as hard as the guys pulling but would work up more time at 100% intensity if you could pull when you wanted (solo) rather than when you get to the front of the pace line).

The Time Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week is a good read. You don't need to be that rigid about it to get results. Maybe there are a couple of approximately 3 mile stretches without traffic lights each way on your bike commute where you end up with the equivalent of 4x10 intervals somewhat past your one-hour power on hard days. Maybe there are some landmarks like city-limit signs you can sprint for, highway overpasses, or traffic light sets you need speed to make on which you can apply your 30 second power.

A heart rate monitor or power meter helps to go slow when you should but are feeling fresh and hard when your legs are tired but digging deeper is still possible.

Leg muscle mass isn't your problem - cycling doesn't take much strength except when sprinting and even then power delivery is more about speed than how hard you can stomp on the pedals (the mechanics of the situation mean you can't push with much more than your own weight; although doing that at 140 RPM is going to deliver 140% of the power you get at 100 RPM).

You need a more powerful heart, bigger and more powerful mitochondria, and more capillaries so you can convert more glycogen to power.
This sounds very reasonable. However, riding every other day is going t be a challenge as I am often preoccupied with work, school, soccer and the gym. Going biking about 3-4 times a week for about 15 miles sounds reasonable though.. The beauty of where I live is just north of this big suburb are massive stretches of country road.
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