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Biking needs to take a back seat for a while

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Biking needs to take a back seat for a while

Old 10-26-20, 11:00 PM
  #1  
MarcusT
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Biking needs to take a back seat for a while

My 2 passions are biking and hiking.
I have been doing both for well over 40 yrs, though biking in the last couple years has been my main hobby.
The other day some friends invited me for a hike in the mountains. I said sure, knowing I have been riding quite a bit, so I should be in shape.
Well, did I get slapped in the face with reality. My legs were not as nimble as they used to be and I was huffing and puffing uphill where my friends had to constantly wait for me.
The worst was the down hill, my knees and thighs were screaming at the end and I had difficulty walking the following day.
I know that hiking and biking do not use the same muscles, but what a shocking lack of strength.
So for the next couple months, the bike needs to take second fiddle to getting my hiking legs back in shape.
I hope the biking gods forgive me.
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Old 10-27-20, 01:03 AM
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Six+ years ago, I was 61, in fairly good shape, not overweight and with no aches and pains. I thought hiking the Appalachian Trail would be a good thing to do. I rapidly acquired some aches and pains, and swollen ankles, but made adjustments and continued. Tendonitis in my right knee gave me a larger concern because I didn't know if I was doing permanent damage. Recuperating at home for two weeks gave me time to do some online shopping and I bought a bike on sale at REI, ending my 12 year hiatus from riding.

I still hike occasionally, but when I want to be really humbled, I visit the mountains and ride gravel roads. The huffing and puffing and the cumuppance of being not in as good a shape as I thought I was is very similar to what I get from hiking, but I don't damage my body parts. If you must hike, load your pack and hike the local high school football stadium bleachers, to condition your muscles, ligaments, etc.
​​​And take ibuprofen regularly, if you can tolerate it, while you are training and hiking. I'm not saying that you're making a mistake by hiking instead of bicycling, because that's a personal value judgement. But you can cover more miles per day on a bike and your body won't suffer as much as from hiking. But you can hike in places where you can't take a bike, so there's that. Good luck.
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Old 10-27-20, 01:18 AM
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Yeah, I've been walking more recently, cutting back just a little on cycling. Rather than 2-3 hour rides I'm doing 2-3 rides a week of 60-90 minutes at hard effort. An old neck injury makes it uncomfortable to ride much longer. So I'm walking to make up the difference.

Usually I can handle 3 miles, no problem. Around 3-4 miles it gets uncomfortable -- lower back and hip pain. Around 5 miles the mid-back starts complaining (scoliosis, related to other injuries). Last week I walked 8 miles on a beautiful sunny afternoon and could hardly get out of bed the next day or walk farther than the bathroom.

And that's just walking on mostly level ground, not hiking up any climbs or rough terrain.
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Old 10-27-20, 05:23 AM
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I had a really good friend who hiked the AT end to end taking a couple weeks of vacation time at a time to do it. Before he completed it he took up cycling and it was an easy transition. He started hiking the trail out West but unfortunately a heart attack took him in his late 50’s before he could complete it. He had a heart attack after finishing a group bike ride with some of his locals.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:42 AM
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I used to hike a lot with my wife but life gets in the way (kids, work, etc...) so it just became an occasional thing. Since mostly cycling, I find hiking or walking in general, difficult. When ever she asks if I want to go for a walk, I reply "why, walk when we can ride?"
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Old 10-27-20, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
So for the next couple months, the bike needs to take second fiddle to getting my hiking legs back in shape.
I hope the biking gods forgive me.
They'll give you a pass, but they might let you suffer with a sore butt for a week or two when you return to riding. <grin>
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Old 10-27-20, 09:26 AM
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You have discovered why professional athletes cross train. My nephew's daughter swam competetively from about age 8 to 12 or so. I challenged her to arm wrestling once. I was astounded by how strong she was. Swimming is a great sport because all the muscles come into play.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:30 AM
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When it's not raining and the snow has melted out in the mountains, my wife and I try to hike a mountain trail once a week, 3 to 8 hours. It's my impression that this practice improves our cycling performance, especially long distance riding. Walking OTOH doesn't seem to do much. The hardest thing every spring is relearning the reflexes necessary for correct foot placement. Hiking is all about foot placement. During hiking season, I take the day off after the hike and then ride most other days of the week. We also usually do strength training once or twice a week for an hour or so. With this schedule, every year I can do a long event ride with 10,000' of climbing and also a 10-day unsupported backpack in the Cascades with my wife. We once did the event on our tandem but she said, "never again!" We've been dong these annual backpack trips for about 40 years. 75 y.o.
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Old 10-27-20, 04:43 PM
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I have also learned over the years that fitness for one activity often does not translate to another. Here's an interesting example within
the confines of cycling: I occasionally push my bike up a steep hill, and I have found it is GREAT exercise in itself! Loosely speaking,
cycling is quad-oriented, while walking a bike uphill really hits the glutes and hamstrings. This makes me much more willing to bike in
difficult terrain, and not feel like it's a 'failure' if I can't stay in the saddle the whole time.

For example, recently a friend and I, both in our 70's, rode and pushed our way up to a mountain lake, hiked around the lake, walking
(and carrying) our bikes as a courtesy to other hikers we encountered, and rode home, mostly downhill. It was a really well-rounded day of exercise
and we felt fantastic!
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Old 10-27-20, 05:28 PM
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I did a 12 mile brisk, hilly hike last week with a friend. She kicked my arse good.

Of my lifetime top 10 arse-kickings, backpacking figures very prominently. Oy.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:13 PM
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Expanding on post 8, we've had the best success with a hilly3-5 hour tandem ride, then the hike in the mountains the next day. Rather astonishing to us when we first tried it, the bike ride didn't seem to bother our hiking performance, in fact over the weeks, it helped. I carry ~20 lb. pack and my wife a Camelbak to even things out better - and give me an edge for backpacking . . . The next day though, our legs are toast. We keep ramping it up to keep getting that effect.
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Old 10-28-20, 04:37 AM
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I've been doing a mix of hiking and biking for many years, really never had to force one to take a back seat to the other - just keep it mixed.

I've found biking hills does keep me in pretty decent shape for walking up hills but you are right about those downhills! Similarly, a 3 hour hike is great for your legs but does nothing to keep your butt in shape for 3 hours on a bike seat...

I hiked and biked weekly with a guy for over 20 years who stopped biking when he retired, but did a lot more walking. His ability to hike up hills declined dramatically - could have just been age, but I think the loss of the bicycling cross training had an impact.
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Old 10-28-20, 07:15 AM
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Heh. I had sort of the opposite experience back in 2003. Spent a week backpacking the backcountry of Glacier National Park. When I finally got home and got back on the bike my legs felt deformed from all walking and no cycling.
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Old 10-28-20, 08:37 AM
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I'm not a walker, hate it. Too slow! But I know loads, inc my father and bro in law who love it. And have had to pack it in. Knees, and hips unsurprisingly seem to be the problem, and keeping up with the leaders seems to be an unhealthy preoccupation with some of the oldies. they learn to their cost.
Since taking up cycling in my forties, my dodgy hip (m'bike accident) is fixed. Gym work and better riding posture (upright; looks stupid I know) seems to keep my kneck and shoulders sweet.
Best thing about walking is usually the pub at the end of it! Or was.
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Old 10-28-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
" why, walk when we can ride?"
That's the same as my wife's reply when I suggest going for a walk - but then she knows that my walks have the tendency to become longer than "just a short walk".

Speaking of cycling taking a back seat ... I had great plans to ride a LOT this last summer. Somehow cycling was replaced by waterskiing. Not that I'm complaining, it was a great summer and we slalom skied almost every day. Now that the ski is put away it's time to ride, if I can put up with the earlier snow than usual and cooler temperatures. There's always next year.
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Old 11-06-20, 02:40 PM
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My experience is opposite to op. But maybe due to most of my rides being routes with lots of climbing. My son hikes more than me and is stronger than me in most every way but does not ride much. We went backpacking on a route that went down hill on the way in and up on the way out and his legs were screaming at him on the way out while I was cruising. We each had 30+ lbs on our backs. I think the primary movers for hiking up hill are the same as cycling. But I am no kenesiologist.
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Old 11-11-20, 09:56 PM
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I find that hiking uses my leg muscles differently than biking. I rode a lot this summer but when we took a trip to the Smokey Mountains. We alternated biking, hiking, biking, hiking. The hiking left my legs very sore but they didn't hurt at all riding the next day. Well, they hurt to walk, but the riding didn't hurt at all! And, yes, the downhills are the worst. One thing I did notice, though, I recently bought a pair of Adidas hiking shoes which I like a lot. Very sneaker-like but with shallow cleats instead of tread. My legs did not hurt as much the day after wearing them as they did the day after wearing "proper" hiking boots. I'll be experimenting more with them the next time we head out for the trails which should be over the Thanksgiving weekend.
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Old 11-11-20, 11:45 PM
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Every morning, Mrs RSBob and I walk the Poodley-Doodley 3 miles. Then after grabbing a bite, I hit the pedals. Seems to work well for the dog.

Actually I have been an avid hiker, and biker, for years because I love physical activity and being outdoors. Typically hike 8-10 miles and climb 3000’ because nothing is flat around here and I enjoy the cardio. Typically one day hiking on Saturday and bike on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....take a rest day somewhere. Great combo
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