Since I'm very skinny (but still out of shape), I thought I'd start a different thread: no offense to the "fat" or overweight riders, I just don't want to insult you by asking my body-specific queries on your threads.
I'm 34, former distance runner. 5'9", 120+ lbs on a good day. (I am not underweight--I'm healthy and have always been extremely skinny. While I have a very low BMI for my height, no doctor has ever told me there was anything wrong. Please don't respond to this telling me that I just need to eat more. I eat plenty and always have, I just have one of those small-boned, long-limbed bodies that rests below the bell curve.) I'm reasonably strong for my size, but my legs could be more muscular, I think. I took up cycling about two years ago for several reasons, (1) it's a good way to get around NYC; (2) I've always had terrible balance and wanted to improve this; (3) I started suffering some chronic tendonitis in my left (non-dominant) knee and wanted to cut down on the impact exercise and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
For the past year, I've ridden a fixed gear bike around on very low gearing, and while it's been good, I haven't really gone on many long rides, nor have I actually focused on training per se.
I'm wondering if someone could suggest some basic training rides I should work on, specifically to improve my leg's power (NOT endurance, as much) as well as my cardivascular shape. I know hills are good, but there aren't a lot of big ones here in NYC. Can anyone suggest time/distance/cadence/gearing I should use as a goal? I think on my fixed gear I was running in the low-mid 60s gear-inches, and I know that I might want to increase that. But how far?
Finally, being so thin, I don't want to lose too much weight. I know that bike riding/training will cause me to do that, but what should I look to do for increasing my leg's muscle mass/power?
Thanks in advance for any tips.