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Beginner Cycling Help

Old 04-19-16, 11:11 PM
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Beginner Cycling Help

Hello, I am an 18 year female who is trying to get healthy. I'm not terribly out of shape, but not where I'd like to be. I decide to start cycling because it is easier on my joints. However, since I have been trying to bike a few days a week I have only met disaster. I don't know why this happens, but whenever I start to go very quickly I get throbbing pain in my head as if it is going to blow up or something. I can barely go a few minutes of riding before the pain starts, I usually keep going but sometimes the pain gets too strong and I stop riding since a biker with tears flowing isn't the best. I stay really hydrated, and I focus on breathing properly as I go. I have no idea what to do. I didn't know if anyone here has experienced this and could help me. I really want to start biking more than a mile before I can't move with the pain. Please help.
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Old 04-20-16, 01:35 AM
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How's your blood pressure?

First, do no harm. If bicycling causes you to get serious headaches I'd have that looked into before I did any more bicycling.

Once you get a medical all clear, you can go back to bicycling but take it easy. You have the rest of your life to get into shape so doing it a little at a time is perfectly OK. Make progress, rather than perfection, be your goal.
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Old 04-20-16, 02:11 AM
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No rush, take it easy. Easy I mean very easy. The speed comes with time.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:25 AM
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The suggestion to rule out medical issues is a good one. That said, you do not need to cycle "quickly" in order to derive benefit towards health or weight management. If you are able to consistently peddle easily, and also able to carry on a conversation (count quietly to yourself if you're out alone), this is a good place to start, and will ensure that the activity can at least be pleasant and something you are more likely to repeat. If you're not able to find a gear (if your bike is geared, versus a single speed) that can be peddled easily, it could be that your bike needs a tune up at your local bike shop.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:28 AM
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I second Retro's advice to see a doctor. You might also pedal more slowly. Go at a comfortable pace. Don't worry about "fast". But the headaches are worrisome, so visit a doctor for some sound advice.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:53 AM
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Doctor visit +3. It is possible something related to your riding is triggering migraines. Could be anything from allergies to aneurysm that's why a doctors input is so important.
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Old 04-20-16, 09:46 PM
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Great suggestions. ^^' I think my blood pressure is normal, but I'll schedule an appointment anyways. In the meantime I'll try slowing down to see if the pain lessens. Thank you all very much!
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Old 04-20-16, 10:09 PM
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I'll add my name to the see a doctor advice. I expect it's probably not serious and probably related to the suddenness of you're taking up the exercise.

But let me add another suggestion. If the initial visit doesn't show anything, schedule another and bring the bike. before the exam ride the bike until the headaches come, then see the doc before they go away. Seeing the actual problem before it goes away will probably be helpful to his getting a handle on it for you.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:00 PM
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Sounds very familiar. Mine was exertion stress related migraines (and asthma). Just take it easy, warm up gradually, rest when you feel tired. If you feel okay after resting, start again -- sometimes I feel much better after a restart, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours later.

I consider 30-60 minutes a warm-up ride. Seriously. I'm a very slow starter and if I plan to ride more than 10 miles in a single day I take it very easy and slow the first half-hour to hour. After that I'm usually good for 30 miles, and gradually working toward longer rides.

But after I resumed cycling last August it took my two months just to make five miles without bonking. So keep plugging away, but don't force it. You'll get there. You'll probably have some plateaus where it feels like you're not making any progress. But keep riding, at your own comfortable pace.

Enjoy it without expectations. On days when you feel really good, push a little farther, a little harder, a little longer. On days when your body fights back, just take it easy.

And be sure your bike fits and suits your body. I can't ride drops anymore, due to permanent neck disability from a car wreck. I need the bars slightly above saddle height or I'll end up with a severe neck ache and subsequent headache. That's not going to change, so I make sure the bike suits my body, not the other way 'round.
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Old 04-21-16, 06:13 AM
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My friend is in really bad cardiatric health and that happens to him as well when he is riding (he's 325 pounds). His jaw hurts as well. I would get checked out at a doctor for sure.
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Old 04-21-16, 06:22 AM
  #11  
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See a doctor, internet medical advice is worth what you paid for it.

FB has a good suggestion. Also you may want to get a stress test.
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Old 04-21-16, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Sounds very familiar. Mine was exertion stress related migraines (and asthma). Just take it easy, warm up gradually, rest when you feel tired. If you feel okay after resting, start again -- sometimes I feel much better after a restart, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours later.

I consider 30-60 minutes a warm-up ride. Seriously. I'm a very slow starter and if I plan to ride more than 10 miles in a single day I take it very easy and slow the first half-hour to hour. After that I'm usually good for 30 miles, and gradually working toward longer rides.

But after I resumed cycling last August it took my two months just to make five miles without bonking. So keep plugging away, but don't force it. You'll get there. You'll probably have some plateaus where it feels like you're not making any progress. But keep riding, at your own comfortable pace.

Enjoy it without expectations. On days when you feel really good, push a little farther, a little harder, a little longer. On days when your body fights back, just take it easy.

And be sure your bike fits and suits your body. I can't ride drops anymore, due to permanent neck disability from a car wreck. I need the bars slightly above saddle height or I'll end up with a severe neck ache and subsequent headache. That's not going to change, so I make sure the bike suits my body, not the other way 'round.
My bike is just the one I inherited from my mother. I assume it fits me because I can reach the pedals and whatnot. If there are other factors to fitting (Gods I am such a newb), where would I go to get some help on determining it? Just a bike store?
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Old 04-21-16, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LeaKerr View Post
My bike is just the one I inherited from my mother. I assume it fits me because I can reach the pedals and whatnot. If there are other factors to fitting (Gods I am such a newb), where would I go to get some help on determining it? Just a bike store?
You can find a ton of videos on youtube about bike fit. This way you will have an idea what the bike shop is talking about!
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Old 04-21-16, 03:33 PM
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After going to a doctor like previously said,
Don't care too much about speed. Try to start cycling at a speed that maybe doesn't even require you to "focus on breathing properly" or something like that. If you're that new to cycling and maybe even to your bike (idk), you have to get comfortable with your bike first.
Only when you've really got used to cycling enough, you should start (slowly - like with everything regarding our body) using all kinds of techniques like what you mentioned to get faster, stronger muscles etc.

Also: Check if the bike fits you and if it's set up properly for your height / leg, arm length etc..... !!
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Old 04-21-16, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrettsin View Post
You can find a ton of videos on youtube about bike fit. This way you will have an idea what the bike shop is talking about!
Thanks! I'll go digging. So far haven't been able to set up an appointment. Doctor just told me to stop biking until I can see her. ^^"
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Old 04-21-16, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by LeaKerr View Post
Thanks! I'll go digging. So far haven't been able to set up an appointment. Doctor just told me to stop biking until I can see her. ^^"
Read all you want, and make plans for things like a fit, or maybe a new bike.


BUT

Listen to the doctor and do nothing until you and your doctor work out whether there's anything to worry about or (hopefully) not. If there's nothing life threatening to worry about, all the rest can be managed and worked through. But take it one step at a time.

BTW - if you can't get an appointment soon, tell the doctor to get off her stick and make it happen. After all you're 18 and your time is limited.
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Old 04-22-16, 02:46 AM
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How about brisk walks ?? Easier on the joints than running. And easy to control the pace.
You could see if you have the same symptoms, which might add to your information pool.
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Old 04-22-16, 05:44 AM
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Helmet too tight?
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Old 04-22-16, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Helmet too tight?
I was thinking vision impairment? Sometimes it's hard to realize you need glasses and a vigorous jaunt on two wheels might be extra taxing on a beginner's senses. Eyeball headaches are tough to diagnose, without reading eyecharts in the dark.
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Old 04-24-16, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
How about brisk walks ?? Easier on the joints than running. And easy to control the pace.
You could see if you have the same symptoms, which might add to your information pool.
Never liked walks much for some reason. xD

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Helmet too tight?
Helmet is uncomfortable, but fits!

Originally Posted by Gritter View Post
I was thinking vision impairment? Sometimes it's hard to realize you need glasses and a vigorous jaunt on two wheels might be extra taxing on a beginner's senses. Eyeball headaches are tough to diagnose, without reading eyecharts in the dark.
Actually you may be on to something there, Gritter. I do have eye troubles. The muscles are weak, especially the left. I have trouble reading because I cannot get them to focus properly. However, I cannot wear glasses because the eye doctor said that the corrections would be too harsh for my eyes and only cause more damage. I do get headaches from the strain of reading text, maybe the wheels are stressing it too much and causing the extra pain I am not used to. Hm...I've got an appointment set up soon, I'll have to suggest this. ^^'
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Old 04-25-16, 08:12 AM
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Yeah, the doctor visit has to be the first step. We could guess at a million possible causes but we can't know which ones are right.

If you're going to keep riding before you see the doc, here are a couple of things you might try:

1. Protect your eyes - wear sunglasses to reduce the wind pressure &/or irritation on your eyes
2. Warm up with light aerobic exercise before you ride - try jogging in place for a few minutes to get your pulse rate up. Does this cause headaches too?

It's hard to believe that your symptoms are cycling-specific and not just being caused by a sudden increase in your heart rate.

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Old 04-25-16, 07:15 PM
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Are you well hydrated? I get headaches when i don't drink enough water, which is all too often. The other day an 11 mile ride with no water before brought one on. I read an article the other day saying that women need to hydrate BEFORE exercise more so than men. Not sure how serious to take that advice, but it's worth a try.
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Old 04-26-16, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LeaKerr View Post
Actually you may be on to something there, Gritter. I do have eye troubles. The muscles are weak, especially the left. I have trouble reading because I cannot get them to focus properly. However, I cannot wear glasses because the eye doctor said that the corrections would be too harsh for my eyes and only cause more damage. I do get headaches from the strain of reading text, maybe the wheels are stressing it too much and causing the extra pain I am not used to. Hm...I've got an appointment set up soon, I'll have to suggest this. ^^'
The best thing you can do is just close your eyes when you ride. It feels like flying and might be disorientating at first, but once you get used to it, it's very relaxing for your eyes. I'm just kidding. I really hit the eyeball on the pupil with my internet diagnosis there, like a doctor!

Weak eye muscles? Can't wear glasses? I'm afraid this reaches beyond my pay-grade, young lady. I would probably wear a patch over one eye, so the weak eye could work harder, to get some exercise. Then trade which eye wears the patch, then I would look over here, then I would look over there, then under there. I would focus on a close object, then quickly focus far away, then on my peripherals. I would exercise my eyes and wear eye-pillows stuffed with fairy dust and aromatherapy odors when I slept on trains or busses. I would eat carrots.
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Old 04-26-16, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LeaKerr View Post


Actually you may be on to something there, Gritter. I do have eye troubles. ..... I'll have to suggest this.'
It was old standard to get a full medical history before attempting even what appears to be a simple diagnosis.

BITD - a doctor may spend as much as half an hour in conversation, leading it along with questions to get people to talk about things that they may not be aware are somehow linked to the issue. My old doctor who was trained before WWII used to say he could get more information talking to me across his desk then with a battery of tests. He did all the workups, like BP and drawing, blood himself, using the time to keep the conversation going. Usually he'd have formed a theory before even sending stuff to a lab, and would only order tests that would confirm or challenge his theory.

Unfortunately, these doctors want to allocate most of the patient workup to assistants, and limit direct contact to something on the order of 5 minutes. So, unless you take the initiative to force a discussion of all related and unrelated conditions, the doctor won't have enough to work with and test for one or two possibly dangerous conditions, ie. a possible heart issue, while completely missing important relevant info like your eye problems.

BTW - your doctor may never invest the time to discover the cause of your problems, but once he/she rules out anything immediately dangerous and gives you an all clear you may become your best diagnostician. Ride, and make notes of whatever is going on, experiment with thing like dark sunglasses, for example, or pre-ride diet until you begin to get clues, then you can home in and address whatever problem you have.
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Old 04-26-16, 04:51 PM
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