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  1. #26
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    erig007, we're not talking about spinning bikes, we're talking about riding in real life. Yeah sure, you might want to stand up and put on a burst of speed on a spinning bike to keep things interesting ... but when you ride outside there's enough to see out there to have enjoyable rides.

    BTW - I am aware that there has been a plethora of "let's get a quick burst of exercise in so that we don't actually have to devote any time to this horrible exercise thing" studies going around. Get rich quick. Get fit quick.

    As it happens, "endurance training" in the form of getting on a bicycle and riding for several hours is very enjoyable and attractive.
    True, but if one just wants to get in shape quickly, intervals might be a quicker way to get there than long hours of riding. Could it be that endurance and cardiovascular fitness is but a secondary or tertiary benefit of cycling? If all one wants is the health benefit of exercise, it may be that hours or days long, or even multi day long rides are overkill? I don't have the answer, only asking the question as I see this whole get in shape through cycling question asked often. It may be that 10 or 15 minutes of intervals (or less) 3 or 4 days a week might yield the same benefits as 10 or 15 hours of bike riding at an endurance pace, but that the person who does that is missing the real point of cycling, which is that it is an enjoyable activity in its own right.

  2. #27
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    I can't go long hours of riding. Currently I'm huffing and puffing too much after only half an hour. I was actually asking the best way to work myself up to long hours.
    The main question was, do I do short hops and rest frequently to add up to a long trip, or do I go as far as I can in one go and head back so I'm completely exhausted?
    The former would add up to a longer trip and would be what I prefer, but I recall something about overload when in gym class back in high school along with something about a minimum workout time to be effective and I'm not sure if I'd actually improve without hitting at least the 30 minute mark, or was it 45 minutes? For some reason the numbers 30, 45, and 90 minutes stand out in my head, but I could be remembering wrong, and it's been half a lifetime for me since they talked about it in high school.

    As much as I'd like to, I can't go 5 miles in one go either. I don't think I've gone that far in over 10 years.
    I'm trying to work my way back up to it.

    So again, short I go a short distance until I feel a little tired and strained, rest and get a second wind, and repeat a few times until I get a longer trip, or should I just go until I've done all I can do and start heading to the nearest place I can sit and rest, then head home as best I can exhausted?

  3. #28
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    True, but if one just wants to get in shape quickly, intervals might be a quicker way to get there than long hours of riding. Could it be that endurance and cardiovascular fitness is but a secondary or tertiary benefit of cycling? If all one wants is the health benefit of exercise, it may be that hours or days long, or even multi day long rides are overkill? I don't have the answer, only asking the question as I see this whole get in shape through cycling question asked often. It may be that 10 or 15 minutes of intervals (or less) 3 or 4 days a week might yield the same benefits as 10 or 15 hours of bike riding at an endurance pace, but that the person who does that is missing the real point of cycling, which is that it is an enjoyable activity in its own right.
    I'm advocate of mixing it up.

    In slickrcbd's case, he just needs to be able to get so he can ride what many of us would consider a short distance without as much effort as he is putting in. So for that, he needs to get on his bicycle 4-5 days a week, and just ride. When he gets comfortable with riding about 10 miles (which is not a long endurance amount), then he might be in a place to start thinking about mixing it up.

    When he gets comfortable with 10+ miles then variety can become the spice of life.

    In a week, include a couple longer rides, a couple rides focussing on speed/strength (i.e. intervals, hill climb repeats), a medium distance fast ride, and a recovery ride.

  4. #29
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slickrcbd View Post
    I can't go long hours of riding. Currently I'm huffing and puffing too much after only half an hour. I was actually asking the best way to work myself up to long hours.
    The main question was, do I do short hops and rest frequently to add up to a long trip, or do I go as far as I can in one go and head back so I'm completely exhausted?

    As much as I'd like to, I can't go 5 miles in one go either. I don't think I've gone that far in over 10 years.
    I'm trying to work my way back up to it.

    So again, short I go a short distance until I feel a little tired and strained, rest and get a second wind, and repeat a few times until I get a longer trip, or should I just go until I've done all I can do and start heading to the nearest place I can sit and rest, then head home as best I can exhausted?
    That one ... "go a short distance until I feel a little tired and strained, rest and get a second wind, and repeat a few times until I get a longer trip"

    Only, each time you go out, go a little bit further on your short distances, even if it is just to the next tree.

  5. #30
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    If you are just riding for general health and wellbeing rather than athletic performance, then start out accumulating saddle time. Dont worry about speed or distance too much. Start out with 10 min rides and gradually increase the time over a week or 2.
    Saddle time will condition your body to being on the bike without over-stressing and causing injuries.
    Pedal with an easy style, probably in a lower gear and higher spin rate (cadence) than feels comfortable. 80 rpm is a good aim.
    After about 3 months of just riding along you will be fit and conditioned enough to start using the bike for athletic training. Note you need to be fit to train; this seem the wrong way around to most people who train, but they are already fit.
    If you want to do errands and shopping on your bike, fit a rack and panniers or basket. You can do a surprising amount of riding running errands and it will keep you fitter than most without ever having to don lycra.

  6. #31
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    Well, I'm doing it for both general health and to save money on gas while I'm looking for a permanent job. Using the bike costs nothing. However, there is no way I can do grocery shopping with it considering the amount of space I use in the trunk even if I had a basket.

    I'm not just doing the bike, I'm trying to mix in some situps and push-ups. I'm not sure what else I should do without joining a gym that I can't afford until I get a permanent job.
    I just got a rejection letter for a company that I had a second interview with, so I'm sorry if I'm depressed and ranting. At least they let me know, some just leave you hanging and ignore your calls, letters, and e-mails when you inquire about the position after a couple weeks.

  7. #32
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slickrcbd View Post
    Well, I'm doing it for both general health and to save money on gas while I'm looking for a permanent job. Using the bike costs nothing. However, there is no way I can do grocery shopping with it considering the amount of space I use in the trunk even if I had a basket.
    Does the bicycle have a rack? If you're using it for shopping, you'll probably need to go to the grocery store at least 2 times a week. And you'll likely have to be selective about what you buy.

    For years I did a 2 km round trip walk to the grocery store 2-3 times a week. Because I was carrying my groceries, I had to be very selective about what I bought ... only what I really needed. I dropped a lot of weight in those days from all the exercise and eating better.


    Quote Originally Posted by slickrcbd View Post
    I'm not just doing the bike, I'm trying to mix in some situps and push-ups. I'm not sure what else I should do without joining a gym that I can't afford until I get a permanent job.
    I just got a rejection letter for a company that I had a second interview with, so I'm sorry if I'm depressed and ranting. At least they let me know, some just leave you hanging and ignore your calls, letters, and e-mails when you inquire about the position after a couple weeks.
    I know how you feel.

    Mix in a bit of walking ... maybe start with half-a-mile to a mile each day, and in a week or two, start increasing that distance 2 or 3 days a week. Can you include a hill in some of your walks? Or sand at the beach? Or snow in winter?

    What about stairs? Can you walk up and down a flight of stairs a few times each day?

    And, of course, cycling ... 4-5 days a week. Just keep plugging away at it, gradually increasing your distances. See if you can ride 5 miles without a break in a couple week's time. Remember, you can slow down a bit if you're really struggling.

  8. #33
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I'm advocate of mixing it up.

    In slickrcbd's case, he just needs to be able to get so he can ride what many of us would consider a short distance without as much effort as he is putting in. So for that, he needs to get on his bicycle 4-5 days a week, and just ride. When he gets comfortable with riding about 10 miles (which is not a long endurance amount), then he might be in a place to start thinking about mixing it up.
    "Mixing it up" gets my vote too.

    1. Quit before you get completely pooped out. Leave a little in the tank for tomorrow. Otherwise you risk losing your enthusiasm.
    2. Try to find a different route every time you ride. You can link two short routes together and mix or match combinations of routes. Don't let yourself get into a same-old same-old rut.
    3. Focus on frequency. Farther and faster will happen once you develop a base.

  9. #34
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    Update and a question

    I thought I'd post a bit of an update and ask for a slight clarification.

    Several people mentioned I should get to where I can go 10 miles on the bike. Is that all at once or total with rest stops?

    On Sunday I estimate I went a little over 8 miles total between 3 and 5:45, , but took quite a few rest stops. I stopped at the end not because of exhaustion but because it was dinner time and I was getting really hungry.

    Today I estimate I went about five miles but with very little rest. I made a couple of quick stops to run a couple of errands and a pit stop, plus I pulled over to answer my cell phone which was only a couple of minutes. I don't think any stop lasted more than 5 minutes except possibly the second of them, but it was less than 10.
    I came home early after only 5 miles because of the phone call as my mother was asking for help and I needed something from home before going to help her. I needed the car for cargo capacity to carry some tools even though it's close enough to walk.

    I might be able to make 10 miles with rest stops, but I seriously doubt I could go for 10 miles nonstop. Five miles is pushing it. I'm considering trying to make it to the community college in one go, but I hesitate because I have to ride on some busy streets with sporadic sidewalk and I was nervous the few times I did ride there back in the late '90s.
    On the other hand, I'm pleased that I'm able to make it as far as my old high school. I decided to go by it today just to see if I could make it. It's 2.6 miles via car or 2.3 miles via a bike-only shortcut through some parks & parking lots from mom's house to the high school (my speedometer/odometer broke in either 2000 or 2001, I can't recall which so I can only estimate based on distances I clocked in the past or clock with my car or Google Maps), and I'm only a couple of blocks away from mom.

  10. #35
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    If you need to stop and rest, by all means stop and rest. Find some place fun to ride where you feel safe. Don't focus on the distance, or the exercise, or any of that noise. Look around and enjoy the world you're traveling in. I lost 30 pounds and fixed a plethora of health problems (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, sleep apnea, acid reflux) riding that way for the last 10 months. When I started 2 miles would wind me. Now I can ride 35 miles without a rest, and I feel fantastic at the end. Just find a way to enjoy it and you'll do it a lot. I'm pretty sure that's all there is to it.

  11. #36
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    What memebag said. You'll automatically know when to take fewer breaks. Trust everyone who says so here, and let your body tell you when you really don't need as many. It sounds like you'd really like to make cycling a part of fitness and possibly utility, so make sure you do what you need to to keep it from becoming undesirable, whatever that might mean to you. For me, it's when something turns into nothing but a joyless chore. That's the fastest way to get me to quit doing it, but everyone is different.

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