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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 09-28-10, 08:11 AM   #1
starwin
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New to cycling...

...and honestly, I'm not really "cycling" yet, as I don't have a bike.

So I'm interested in getting into road cycling eventually, but I'm trying to get in better shape before committing to a big purchase. I've gotten back to the gym and lost around 10 lbs over the last month, with a variety of light cycling, running, and weight training. Now I'm focusing more on the cycling aspect, and need advice.

I'm doing roughly 20-25 miles daily (60-70 min) on a stationary bike, but I also have the 'spin' bikes available to me at my gym. I'm researching as we speak about training programs, but would like some personal advice as well. I'm 6'3", 247lbs, overweight obviously, but not completely out of shape. I'd like to eventually compete in semi-competitive racing, but nothing terribly serious.

I'm very comfortable with my diet, so I'm really looking for any newbie training advice anyone would be kind enough to share... Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-28-10, 10:43 AM   #2
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Old 09-28-10, 11:44 AM   #3
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Everyone is different, but I took an approach almost opposite of yours. I made the commitment to ride, and bought a bike that would help me maintain that commitment. Your first bike will probably not be ideal for you, as the selection process has many pitfalls, especially for taller people. So don't spend a fortune; just use it as part of the learning process. Find a used or cheap road bike and get cranking.

As far as training goes, focus on maintaining a high cadence (90-100 rpm), and getting your heart rate up to a significant percentage of your maximum rate. Anything you can do to monitor your heart rate, and to determine your max, will be a big step forward. You will need to be training with a heart rate monitor (and/or with a power meter) if you want to compete at any level.

Good luck - I hope you take the plunge and that it works for you. Cycling can be a true life-changer.
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Old 09-28-10, 01:18 PM   #4
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Good luck and keep it up. But don't be surprised if you find your real biking slower than indicated by the stationary bikes. Those things are notoriously inaccurate on the high side. I work with a guy and saw him at our rec. center on a bike. Told me he was at 30 mph... looked like he was taking a short trip to the 7-11 for a Slurpee. I got on the bike when he was done, and tried to simulate my 20 mph pace (a hard pace for me to maintain). The bike said 40 mph.
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Old 09-28-10, 03:03 PM   #5
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I would suggest getting a bike and start riding it, that's what I did 10 months ago. Now I can't go more than a couple of days without going for a ride. Riding a stationary is only similar in that your legs go round and round. Riding an actual bike is completely different animal, starting, stopping, turning, cars, hills, wind, cold, hot, road savy, it all makes for a much more highly involved sensory and neuro-muscular experience.
Also, your are really big guy, you are going to find that hauling that weight around is something you didn't have to deal with in the gym. You'll really notice it the first climb you do. OTOH, if you're pretty strong, you should move fine on the flats.
So get a bike, any bike, and get going, time is a wasting.

Last edited by Stig O'Tracy; 09-28-10 at 03:06 PM. Reason: grammer & clarity
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Old 09-28-10, 07:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I realize that actual cycling will be quite a bit different than riding the stationary, but it's better than nothing. I'm planning on getting a bike after the holidays, so I should be able to make a smart decision by then. Hopefully I'll work my way up to being able to effectively ride the actual bike when I get it.

I guess I'll keep going along with what I've got for now and keep reading the forums for tips!
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Old 09-28-10, 10:18 PM   #7
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Just get a bike now and ride it. It's a lot more fun than stationary bikes. More fun means you'll spend more time at it which means you'll lose weight and get in shape faster.
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Old 10-05-10, 06:03 AM   #8
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Let me play devil's advocate for a moment here:

In my morning bike commute I go to the gym (halfway between home and work) for an hour of cardio. This may sound ******** (probably is) but when I'm not training for distance, the gym allows me to get the absolute maximum out of an hour of exercise, and helps me truly enjoy my morning commute.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:46 AM   #9
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I would suggest that you get some time in on the spin bikes that you can use. Resistance bikes do not have any "momentum". They just do not have much of a bike feel to them (at least for me).

Spin bikes have a large freewheel. That produces momentum and they feel quite a bit like riding a bike on the road (again, at least for me). The other thing is they are direct drive so you pretty much have to learn how to handle a constant cadence which is a good thing. As mentioned above, working on getting your cadence up to or above 90 rpm is a good idea.

There is a problem with this. You can get into really good shape by just working out in the gym on these things. It used to be that when most people went out on a group ride, the highest speed they could sustain was about 15 mph. In other words, they were too slow to really get themselves into trouble. They learned how to ride in a group at low speeds and gradually moved upwards.

The problem with the spinning phenomenon is that one sees neophyte cyclists who can sustain speeds of 20 mph which is fast enough to get into a crash in a group ride if you make a small error in judgement. So if you go out into a group ride, be careful until you learn the ropes.

You mentioned about getting involved in semi-competitive racing. There is no such thing. Even just ordinary rides that go at high speeds can get crazy competitive. But you will probably find that one out too.

Good luck to you.
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