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  1. #1
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Struggling with what should be an easy ride...GRRR

    It's pathetic how LITTLE I can ride at this point, at least when you add hills into the mix. Don't get me wrong, I haven't been riding daily or anything but geeze, 2.7 miles with some hills shouldn't kick my butt! Sure I am totally out of shape and turning 36 hasn't helped my metabolism .

    I just took a 2.71 mile ride through my general neighborhood. I live at the foothills but where it's flatter. Those damned slight grades KICK ME IN THE TUSH! I better start doing more riding if I'm ever gonna beat this! Here's the route I took http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/ca...24776721816209

    Are any of you newbies or out of shape and are struggling with what seems like it should be an easy ride?
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

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    Make sure you are using your gears (assuming you have gears). Don't try pushing big gears, tires out your muscles before your cardio is done in. Aim for 60-80 rpm cadence, maybe 40-60 up hills. Your cadence should be smoother and probably faster as you get used to riding.

    Your rear may hurt on following days but keep riding and that will (should) go away. It will feel tender like a bruise maybe with hotspots. After 5 or 10 minutes of the initial hurt you won't feel it as bad.

    Keep at it, the improvements will follow. 36 is still young

  3. #3
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post
    Make sure you are using your gears (assuming you have gears). Don't try pushing big gears, tires out your muscles before your cardio is done in. Aim for 60-80 rpm cadence, maybe 40-60 up hills. Your cadence should be smoother and probably faster as you get used to riding.

    Your rear may hurt on following days but keep riding and that will (should) go away. It will feel tender like a bruise maybe with hotspots. After 5 or 10 minutes of the initial hurt you won't feel it as bad.

    Keep at it, the improvements will follow. 36 is still young
    Hi and thanks!

    1. I use the easier gears but I go on comfort. I have a Trek WSD 7000, lots of gears. I usually have it sent (on the left) in 2nd and then work my range depending on how I feel.

    2. I have NO clue how to track/follow cadence and I'm so new and don't do long rides that that prob. is little concern for me right now.

    3. My tush feels fine! Did I write "pain in the tush", I literally meant, what a pain! LOL. Funny.

    4. Yes, 36 is young, I'm just super duper outta shape. The goal is to get comfy enough to do my little commute a few times a week. I teach so I have summer off and work is only an 8 minute ride. Going is a slight grade down the whole way, coming home is the opposite (obviously).

    Thanks for the advice and positive thoughts. I feel like a doofus.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

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    Quote Originally Posted by TamaraEden View Post
    Hi and thanks!

    1. I use the easier gears but I go on comfort. I have a Trek WSD 7000, lots of gears. I usually have it sent (on the left) in 2nd and then work my range depending on how I feel.

    2. I have NO clue how to track/follow cadence and I'm so new and don't do long rides that that prob. is little concern for me right now.

    3. My tush feels fine! Did I write "pain in the tush", I literally meant, what a pain! LOL. Funny.

    4. Yes, 36 is young, I'm just super duper outta shape. The goal is to get comfy enough to do my little commute a few times a week. I teach so I have summer off and work is only an 8 minute ride. Going is a slight grade down the whole way, coming home is the opposite (obviously).

    Thanks for the advice and positive thoughts. I feel like a doofus.
    Don't feel like a doofus at all.

    The rear pain was just a heads up. It didn't sound like you had experienced it yet, but wanted to warn you in case you do.

    Don't worry too much about the cadence. But this video talks a little more about it. I didn't time or count it but it looked like they were doing 90+. A bike computer can automate showing your cadence or you can use the clock/stopwatch of the computer to count your rpms (like counting your heartbeat). A little computer is nice to have to show your speed and distance. Not a bad accessory to have. Your probably doing okay on your cadence for now. Beginners often will have too low of a cadence. As you progress, try to measure what yours is and up it to the 60-80 rpm range if not already there. It's the same technique spin classes have adopted, higher sustained rpms. Similar to low resistance/high reps in any other type of workout.

    For you ladies, comfort can be very difficult to find sometimes. Saddles are one of the biggest problem areas. After that, backs and necks seem to give you all the most problems. If you are not running into any of these problems, you are well ahead of the game.

    It feels good after a nice ride, doesn't it? You have the advantage of that SoCal weather too .

  5. #5
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post
    Don't feel like a doofus at all.

    The rear pain was just a heads up. It didn't sound like you had experienced it yet, but wanted to warn you in case you do.

    Don't worry too much about the cadence. But this video talks a little more about it. I didn't time or count it but it looked like they were doing 90+. A bike computer can automate showing your cadence or you can use the clock/stopwatch of the computer to count your rpms (like counting your heartbeat). A little computer is nice to have to show your speed and distance. Not a bad accessory to have. Your probably doing okay on your cadence for now. Beginners often will have too low of a cadence. As you progress, try to measure what yours is and up it to the 60-80 rpm range if not already there. It's the same technique spin classes have adopted, higher sustained rpms. Similar to low resistance/high reps in any other type of workout.

    For you ladies, comfort can be very difficult to find sometimes. Saddles are one of the biggest problem areas. After that, backs and necks seem to give you all the most problems. If you are not running into any of these problems, you are well ahead of the game.

    It feels good after a nice ride, doesn't it? You have the advantage of that SoCal weather too .
    I do have a little bike computer, we haven't put it on yet but don't think we got one that does cadence. I ride a hybrid so I'm not going for ultimate perfection. I do think it's time to go get a first time adjustment though. I think I need to rotate my bars a little closer to me. Luckily the seat is suited for girl parts

    Thanks again for the info. And our "nice SoCal" weather is near 100 right now, BLECH!
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

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    Haha, I am glad I am not the only one. I gave up going fast and far for now. I use to wonder why I was so slow, but I have come to the conclusion that everyone is just too fast.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  7. #7
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folder4life View Post
    Haha, I am glad I am not the only one. I gave up going fast and far for now. I use to wonder why I was so slow, but I have come to the conclusion that everyone is just too fast.
    THAT'S IT! Everyone is too fast. And what about those crazies who think hills are FUN
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  8. #8
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    Problems with hills require buying more bikes LOL. I bought a Trek Lime... then realized it was too slow and cumbersome... so I bought a Jamis Explorer, and for a while, I could get up hills, but then winter came and after a long layoff, I could no longer get up hills... so I bought a Trek 7.1 FX and wow, I can get up hills and I don't die after every bike ride.

    Don't get discouraged... the more you bike, the more you learn about your options...

  9. #9
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    I love you guys. Bike Forums, although there may be some nutty folks, has the nicest members ever.

    Not sure if you guys even looked at what I'm calling a hill. If you click my MapMyRide link, you'll see, the elevation is not big, it's really about my health. It's not even about my bike which is a comfy fit hybrid and nothing for speed or hill climbing
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  10. #10
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I started riding my mountain bike around the neighborhood bike trail. There were two little grades on it that I had to slow down and huff and puff up. But after a while, I got to where I could go right up them, then could go up them in high gear, then could go up them in high gear without slowing down, and finally rode over one of them without noticing I was doing so. Hang in there, it gets easier.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  11. #11
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    The first month is rough. My wife and I managed (read nearly died trying) a 1.5 mile ride our first time out.

    Seat hight is the first step, a seat to low makes things very, very hard.

    Cadence is a rough one when starting out (I've yet to get good at spinning fast.) If you're having to push the pedals down with anything but light pressure on your feet you're probably in the wrong gear. Does bad stuff to your knees and will wear you out quickly.

    Being slow is not a bad thing. As long as it's giving ya a workout you're doing it right.

  12. #12
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    !!

    Quote Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
    The first month is rough. My wife and I managed (read nearly died trying) a 1.5 mile ride our first time out.

    Seat hight is the first step, a seat to low makes things very, very hard.

    Cadence is a rough one when starting out (I've yet to get good at spinning fast.) If you're having to push the pedals down with anything but light pressure on your feet you're probably in the wrong gear. Does bad stuff to your knees and will wear you out quickly.

    Being slow is not a bad thing. As long as it's giving ya a workout you're doing it right.
    No doubt I get a workout! I was feeling all confident because I was just on a cruise and went to the gym and rode 10 miles in 28 minutes. My husband reminded me that was on a stationary bike Funny.

    Another thing I should look into is getting reassessed for my asthma. I was diagnosed when I was 9. Now I'm 36. I take no meds and do nothing to work with it. I don't get wheezy and pannicky, but I'm sure that's partly because I don't push to where it might get ugly.

    My only wish now is for the heat to go.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  13. #13
    billyymc
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    When you have the time, go out and do a few repeats on those "hills" -- get in a decent gear and just push your envelope a little up and over the top, turn around and go back and do it again.

    Your general riding ability will improve pretty quickly anyway, but doing this kind of exercise will help a lot.

    On my commute (27m round trip) which I ride 3 or 4 times a week, things that used to seem like hills to me seem like just light grades now. Where I used to struggle to stay at 10mph, I now cruise at 19/20.

    Keep it up, don't get discouraged because you have the hardest part (starting) behind you already! Don't get obsessed with mileage yet, just establish the habit of riding regularly.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
    When you have the time, go out and do a few repeats on those "hills" -- get in a decent gear and just push your envelope a little up and over the top, turn around and go back and do it again.

    Your general riding ability will improve pretty quickly anyway, but doing this kind of exercise will help a lot.

    On my commute (27m round trip) which I ride 3 or 4 times a week, things that used to seem like hills to me seem like just light grades now. Where I used to struggle to stay at 10mph, I now cruise at 19/20.

    Keep it up, don't get discouraged because you have the hardest part (starting) behind you already! Don't get obsessed with mileage yet, just establish the habit of riding regularly.
    Thanks for the feedback! I can follow your "pushing" over the little grades/hills. But going back and doing it again...Hmmmm. And you are right, riding more often is my goal, not distance.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

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    Glad you're out and trying. Another thing to check is adequate tire pressure because too little air can make you feel like you're riding through sand. Hope it feels easier soon.

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    Someone had a sig line here to the effect that my bike is slow, but the earth is patient.

    Don't try to mash up a hill in your higher gears. Spin in a lower gear. If you do not have a computer on your bike with cadence don't worry about it. Find a comfortable pace for yourself to pedal.

    Here is a link that I don't know if anyone showed you yet. There are many good articles for "beginners" or anyone who wants to learn a little more about cycling. Give it a look over, you'll be glad you did.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  17. #17
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Danw View Post
    Someone had a sig line here to the effect that my bike is slow, but the earth is patient.

    Don't try to mash up a hill in your higher gears. Spin in a lower gear. If you do not have a computer on your bike with cadence don't worry about it. Find a comfortable pace for yourself to pedal.

    Here is a link that I don't know if anyone showed you yet. There are many good articles for "beginners" or anyone who wants to learn a little more about cycling. Give it a look over, you'll be glad you did.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html
    Hi Mr. DanW,

    Thanks for the kind words. I definitely don't try to 'mash up' a hill. Seriously, what I'm calling hills, many of you would call a slanted street. But it's those long stretches that can wear you out the worst. I definitely switch to the easier gear when doing those.

    Can you (or someone) tell me what is considered a challenging grade versus a minimal, etc etc? I can't be the only one or two folks on here that find those slight grades challenging. For example, the elevations are listed here. The graph makes it visually seem like I went up a huge hill, but I didn't. Ok, I'm not an idiot. I'm a high school teacher even, but I need to study up on how to read and understand an elevation chart.

    Link: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...24776721816209
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  18. #18
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    When I first got back into cycling I purchased a brand new mountain bike and decided to take it over to a local greenway where I used to ride with my dad when I was younger to try it out. I got a couple miles up the trail and I was so winded and exhausted that I honestly thought I was going to have to walk my bike to the nearest road and call my wife to come pick me up. It was embarrassing and humbling to me that I was that out of shape at 21y/o.

    There is hope though...

    I stuck with it and now, a couple years later, I'm in great shape for cycling. So much so that I got rid of my car and now bike pretty much everywhere I need to go. If you keep at it I'm sure you'll get stronger and climbing hills will get easier too. Good luck and happy pedaling.

  19. #19
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    When I first got back into cycling I purchased a brand new mountain bike and decided to take it over to a local greenway where I used to ride with my dad when I was younger to try it out. I got a couple miles up the trail and I was so winded and exhausted that I honestly thought I was going to have to walk my bike to the nearest road and call my wife to come pick me up. It was embarrassing and humbling to me that I was that out of shape at 21y/o.

    There is hope though...

    I stuck with it and now, a couple years later, I'm in great shape for cycling. So much so that I got rid of my car and now bike pretty much everywhere I need to go. If you keep at it I'm sure you'll get stronger and climbing hills will get easier too. Good luck and happy pedaling.
    THANKS! Out of shape and married at 21? Good thing you kept riding! I'm out of shape in a bad way and married and 36
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  20. #20
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    You should find a riding buddy. It really helps to be able to encourage each other along the way. When you are in a bit better riding condition (not that I'm in spectacular riding condition) you can get on the regional forum here and find a "no drop" social ride. No drop means nobody gets left behind. A frequent poster on BF, Chipcom, put one together for last Memorial Day near my hometown. My son(21) and I(45) went just to see if we could do the distance. Chip made sure no one got left behind and we all had a good time...and ice cream. Group rides all seem to have ice cream.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  21. #21
    Senior Member TamaraEden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Danw View Post
    You should find a riding buddy. It really helps to be able to encourage each other along the way. When you are in a bit better riding condition (not that I'm in spectacular riding condition) you can get on the regional forum here and find a "no drop" social ride. No drop means nobody gets left behind. A frequent poster on BF, Chipcom, put one together for last Memorial Day near my hometown. My son(21) and I(45) went just to see if we could do the distance. Chip made sure no one got left behind and we all had a good time...and ice cream. Group rides all seem to have ice cream.
    Damn it, my husband should be my riding buddy! But, as many of you know, sometimes hubbies and wifies aren't on the same schedule. Plus, with it being so hot, it's hard for both of us to get out. Neither of us has an interest in riding when it's 95 out, not even a mile in our hood.

    My plan tomorrow is to go to the bike store for a couple adjustments and then out to the beach to ride along a beach path. Wel'l see if the latter happens.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

  22. #22
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TamaraEden View Post
    THANKS! Out of shape and married at 21? Good thing you kept riding! I'm out of shape in a bad way and married and 36
    Technically, "married at 22", she was my then-girlfriend, now-wife. I was very much out of shape though. I dropped out of college and worked office-type jobs for several years where all I did was sit around all day and go to "business lunches" which usually involved calorifically delicious foods.

    It feels like a long slow road toward building up strength and stamina on a bike but it's totally worth it. my legs look hawt now.

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    My wife got back to cycling a year or so before me. Give him time, he'll catch on. In the mean time I'll bet one of your friends would ride with you.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  24. #24
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    I remember when I first got my folder. I thought is was soo fast (Dahon Mu C9)! until I looked behind me and saw a high school kid on a "mama chari" bike (big heavy bike that kids in Japan ride to school with) catching up to me! I started to pedal faster, but after a few minutes he rode by me......and the kicker was he was text messaging on his phone!
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  25. #25
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    Have you checked to see that the bike was assembled properly?
    In order to get maximum ride for the least effort, the bike needs to be properly adjusted. If you lift a wheel and spin it, does it spin freely and slowly come to a stop with the valve in the lowest position? That's a test for properly adjusted axle/bearings. Do the brake pads rub against the rim as the wheel spins? Either of these can make the bike harder to ride. One good test is to ride along side someone of similar weight with a good bike on a slight downhill and see which of you goes faster without either of you pedaling. It's a good test of the bike and its components.

    BTW, the first thing that should wear out on you bike should be the rear gear cable. Shifting gears frequently to get a comfortable cadence gets to be second nature and will make the ride a lot more pleasant.

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