Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Cannondale R700 (2005)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I too ran into this same problem. I got addicted to cycling, and started seeing my muscle mass in the upper body decrease. I think one could ride a road bike for fitness, and still gain muscle if the only riding was done at a very controlled pace, and only done to compliment your fitness level (in other words, you would not really be a cyclist, but more a fitness rider). At first, that was the point of riding for me. I want to tone up, and after a few spinning classes, found it fun and bought a bike.
However, almost immediately after buying the bike, I became addicted to cycling. It was not enough just to go out for an hour to burn 500 calories. Especially after my first hill climb, lifting became secondary. I wanted to be able to ride like the guys at the front of the group, and zip up the mountain as effortlessly as they made it look. I have since lost about 15 pounds from 166 to about 151 and now use weight lifting only to keep up a toned look up top.
Am I somewhat sad about losing the weight? Yes to some extent. But just this Saturday I had my best ride in the mountains here in CO. I powered up from Lyons to Ward without leaving the big ring, and dropped a few people on the way. This coming from someone who this spring had the granny gear it (on a triple) on roughly the same route.
And that is why I would not recommend cycling to someone who is just looking for an alternative to cardio at the gym. I could stair climb all day long, and never would I care if my time or my results improved, just as long as I burned calories. Even if the guy next to me is going at a million miles an hour, I feel no sense that I need to improve. He is always going to be next to me, and there is not the ability to visually see the difference in fitness as there is during a group ride.
Once you get outside on a bike, and start to see the level other riders are at (as they leave you in their dust), you just want to improve, become faster and stronger). And once you shoot down the mountain at 50 mph, the rush cannot be replaced.