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Old 07-16-08, 11:58 AM   #1
joelh
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How long to get in "Riding Shape"?

I just started riding again after about 25 yrs. In January, I began spinning at the local Y a couple of times a week and really enjoyed it and it reawakened the desire to ride. I thought that I was in pretty decent shape, but went out for a 10 mile ride on my new bike and it kicked my butt! How long did it take you folks to get back into shape?

My new bike btw is a specialized sirrus. I have found it to be really comfortable compared to the old old road bike that I rode in college.
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Old 07-16-08, 12:04 PM   #2
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Its hard to say how long. The important thing is to keep a regular riding schedule- not just on the weekends. If you can put in even just one mid-week ride that close in intensity to your weekend
rides it will really speed up your conditioning.
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Old 07-16-08, 03:59 PM   #3
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It varies by the individual. The thing is to not to overdo it, esp since it's summertime...would map out a route that has more shade or ride in the morning hours when the weather is cooler. Riding shorter distances are more enjoyable in the beginning and starts toning up the muscles. Then on the weekends, go on a longer ride to see where your current limits are. Riding to a friend's home is a good alternative and allows some rest/recovery time or even a ride home...lol. Bring and drink plenty of liquids or stop at a 7-11/local store whenever you feel thirsty and stop if you feel overheated and rest somewhere to cool off. Many find or stop at a local dive/fast food place and cool off that way while eating and/or drinking something. There's no need to wind it out either or taking on long and steep hills in the beginning, just ride at a pace that's comfy for you and enjoy the scenery.
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Old 07-16-08, 05:19 PM   #4
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I guess that I was a bit surprised at how much more taxing real riding is rather than spinning. I spin twice a week for 1 hr. and I thought that I could just hop on the bike and ride 20 miles. Mornings are a good time for me to ride. I can do 10 miles before getting ready for work several times a week.
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Old 07-16-08, 10:38 PM   #5
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Old 07-17-08, 11:35 AM   #6
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I guess that I was a bit surprised at how much more taxing real riding is rather than spinning. I spin twice a week for 1 hr. and I thought that I could just hop on the bike and ride 20 miles. Mornings are a good time for me to ride. I can do 10 miles before getting ready for work several times a week.
Spinning class effectiveness is entirely up to the individual. I used to do 3+ classes a week. I would usually push myself as hard as possible, while there were always people in there taking it easy - and way too often holding a conversation with the person beside them.

If riding is that much harder than your class, I'd suggest turning your intensity up a couple of notches in class.
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Old 07-17-08, 11:53 AM   #7
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I came back after at least that long away, and read (I think on this board) to think in terms of a three year plan.

First year just ride for fun. Second year do lots and lots of miles without worrying too much about performance. Third year start working on improving your weak spots and doing more challenging rides.

Pretty much the plan I'm following and it's worked amazingly well so far. I tried pushing last year (year 2) and almost gave up in frustration. Worked over the winter on building strength and cardio and this season I'm getting pretty good, steady improvement. Work on getting your base miles in, have fun and the rest will come. Good luck
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Old 07-17-08, 05:57 PM   #8
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Spinning class effectiveness is entirely up to the individual. I used to do 3+ classes a week. I would usually push myself as hard as possible, while there were always people in there taking it easy - and way too often holding a conversation with the person beside them.

If riding is that much harder than your class, I'd suggest turning your intensity up a couple of notches in class.
You make a good point. Once I am past 50% resistance in spinning, I am usually standing. Most of the riding that I have done so far seems to be at a resistance level at least to that 50%. I am still learning which gearing is appropriate.

The three year plan has a lot of merit. Thank you for the suggestion. My current goal is to do 10 miles at least 3 days per week and to try for a 20-30 mile weekend ride.

One quick equipment question. My bike is equipped with toe clips. I am accustomed to those and I think that they are fine for now. Is there any advantage to biking shoes since I am using the toe clips?

Last edited by joelh; 07-17-08 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 07-17-08, 06:34 PM   #9
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You make a good point. Once I am past 50% resistance in spinning, I am usually standing. Most of the riding that I have done so far seems to be at a resistance level at least to that 50%. I am still learning which gearing is appropriate.
Don't stand. Spin! Spin the lowest gear you can stand. If you do only that for a year you will eventually be effortlessly spinning pretty darn fast.

Quote:
One quick equipment question. My bike is equipped with toe clips. I am accustomed to those and I think that they are fine for now. Is there any advantage to biking shoes since I am using the toe clips?
The *rigid* plastic sole of bike shoes I think is definitely helpful in making sure that all the power in your foot goes to one point, and not into just bending your foot, say.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:08 AM   #10
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When I got back into it, I started with a 12.5 mile ride. Next week, I added 5 miles to it. The following week, I added five miles, and added one more ride during the week.

Before too long, I was riding 30-60 miles in a shot, and averaging 75-110 miles per week. Now I ride at least four times a week. The shortest ride is 12.5 miles. And the longest is in the 45-60 range. As I keep adding base miles, I am working toward a century next month.

Start easy and work your way into it. It will come if you're dedicated.
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Old 07-22-08, 06:58 AM   #11
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If you're really serious about getting into good shape, try adding hills.
A few years ago I added this to my riding schedule. I was riding 25 miles 4-5 days a week. After I added hills (10-20 miles of hills + the 25 miles) I lost 20 pounds (and was eating everything in sight) and was riding with the youngsters. I was 59 at the time.
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Old 07-24-08, 02:42 PM   #12
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I just started riding again after about 25 yrs. In January, I began spinning at the local Y a couple of times a week and really enjoyed it and it reawakened the desire to ride. I thought that I was in pretty decent shape, but went out for a 10 mile ride on my new bike and it kicked my butt! How long did it take you folks to get back into shape?

My new bike btw is a specialized sirrus. I have found it to be really comfortable compared to the old old road bike that I rode in college.
I started riding regularly a year ago also after years of barely using the bike.

I started commuting to work and it is 5 miles each way. For the first month or two I could realy feel my legs. It wasn't a bad pain, but they were clearly getting used to the new daily load. As the ride got easier I started to ride faster. At first the commute took a descent 30 minutes. Now I pretty much always do it in just under 20 minutes (as long as the wind is not too bad). This Spring I got a road bike and then I started to add 30 mile rides twice a week. For a few weeks I again could feel my legs. At this point I've been riding all year round and my lung capacity has improved greatly. I've also learned to feel when I am starting to go anaerobic. Once you go anaerobic you'll run out of steam quickly.

Don't give up and certainly don't think you are terrible. You muscles need to get used to a new activity, and that does not happen overnight. Once you get comfortable it tends to be time again to raise the efforts to a new level.

Learning to sprin is also very good. You don't want to be mashing your pedals hard. This is hard on the bike and hard on your knee joints. Spinning will make the cycling a lot easier and will allow you to ride much further as well. You don't need to be Lance Armstrong, but try to to keep the pace up a bit (at least 65 pedals per minute).

As far as toe clips go, they work fine. I've been using toe clips forever and they work great. I bought a road bike this Spring and needed to get pedals, and that is when I upgraded to clipless (SPD). I then also upgraded my hybrid so that I could use my bike shoes. I honestly an say that toe clips vs. no clips at all is a huge differance, but toeclips vs. SPD is not nearly as significant. I like to know that I will never slip off the pedal (that can be VERY painfull), but toe clips work fine for that. My biggest improvement came from switching the use of sneakers to very good breathing hiking shoes (low cuff). Having non-sweaty feel is very good. I do have a slightly better connection to the pedal with the SPD shoes, but for a beginner/amature I would tell you to save your money for a while.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 07-25-08, 06:24 AM   #13
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Just to give you guys an update. Today was my ninth consecutive day on the bike. I rode 15 miles in one hour and 2 min. I even added a really tough hill. I felt really good when I got off the bike. My goal is to be in good enough shape to participate in a group ride without embarrassing myself. Thank you all for you suggestions and support. It feels good to be moving in the right direction.
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Old 07-25-08, 07:45 AM   #14
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Awesome. Keep at it and keep us informed.
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Old 07-25-08, 07:48 AM   #15
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Depends on your goals and riding terrain. To develop some degree of bike legs, I'd say about a month. First do flat work. Gradually speed up that flat work and when a little stronger take on some hills. That was my approach to having some sense of bike fittness.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:29 AM   #16
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Really depends on your goals and time available to ride. Increase your total miles by 10% each week that you can, find some hills, climb them, repeat....think about doing intervals on the ride and include rest days, your legs will need recovery to build strength. A friend of mine says its a 2 year process to really improve. I think a solid foundation of base miles early in the season, then workout rides added later will give you massive improvement.
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Old 07-30-08, 02:31 PM   #17
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Did it kick your butt aerobically or anaerobically?

Does your real bike fit your body the same way that your spinning bike does, or do you have to stretch/bend/move in different ways?
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Old 07-30-08, 04:03 PM   #18
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I started 8 months ago. 66 y/o at 223 lbs.
500 miles for legs to get strong.
1000 miles, ready for group rides
6000 miles, y/t/d, can ride 400 miles a week.
Go slow, ride for seat time, don't be concerned about FAST.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:46 PM   #19
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I would have to say that I felt it more anaerobically. I was (and still am getting pretty good leg burn at the top of a good climb. The posture is quite a bit different on the bike from the spinning bike. I am in a more forward position on the bike. I rode 150 miles last weeks and am beginning to to feel a lot better. I am riding 15 mile in the mornings and feel really good. I did a 25 mile ride on Sunday and my legs felt pretty dead for most of the day. I am going to try a couple of 25 - 30 mile rides this weekend to see if I am improving.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:11 PM   #20
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I would have to say that I felt it more anaerobically. I was (and still am getting pretty good leg burn at the top of a good climb. The posture is quite a bit different on the bike from the spinning bike. I am in a more forward position on the bike. I rode 150 miles last weeks and am beginning to to feel a lot better. I am riding 15 mile in the mornings and feel really good. I did a 25 mile ride on Sunday and my legs felt pretty dead for most of the day. I am going to try a couple of 25 - 30 mile rides this weekend to see if I am improving.
My legs have never burned. You may be trying to hard.
Make sure you Take One Day each week to rest the legs.
I take off two days in a row and feel strong when returning.
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