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Beginner REALLY in need of guidance

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Beginner REALLY in need of guidance

Old 08-07-19, 01:45 PM
  #51  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Read the o.p. again to see where I got the 'magic' 20 mi. figure. Since you use a gym you 'get it'. That disqualifies you from criticising my advice. At least I am not a hypocrite. This "I'm o.k., you're o.k" only helps those who are really o.k. Averaging 12mph is not as easy as it sounds. My numbers are realistic. Of course it doesn't have to be a gym but ... dumbells? Is that what works for you? I keep asking you to put me on ignore. I might have to insist.
You're free to ignore me if you don't like being disagreed with. You can't insist I do squat.

My whole point in pretty much everything I post is that it has to be sustainable for the person doing it, and that's usually going to be something completely different from what I do. You probably couldn't do all the things I do, I'm pretty extreme. I'm doing 200+ solo miles per weekend or if the weather isn't permitting I'm doing 6+ very hard hours of workout at the gym, this in addition to 4 nights a week workouts or rides after work. And I'm a hell of a lot faster than 12 mph over those long distances.

Y'know what makes me qualified to criticize your post? I was in the position of the OP a few years ago, and I kept getting rigid advice like yours. I ignored it and figured out a program for myself, and you know what? I did it very gradually, first introducing cardio, then some months later, some weights. Biking for me reentered my life a few years later when I was burning out on the gym in the summer. I'm quite sure that if you saw my workouts at the beginning of the process, you would have been jumping in there telling me it wasn't "ok".

I don't know if dumbbells will work for OP or not. They work for a lot of people, and they're very adaptable. I use them a little bit myself, thanks for asking.

If you go to the gym, you know the New Years resolution phenomenon where a bunch of people who hate the gym sign up, go for a few weeks, and then you never see them again. OP just told us she hates the gym, where do you think she'll end up if she forces herself to go? This isn't rocket psychology.
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Old 08-07-19, 09:56 PM
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Homebrew01- Well now I know! I haven't had a chance to try it out yet this week because I've had a funny virus with some stomach issues, but I am eager to get back on my bike.
noimagination- it has not been easy for me to even start getting into shape, because I feel like I've fallen so far! lol but it is getting better and I thank you for the encouragement

anon06- Yes, hydration and having some carbs on hand, just like 15 grams, is important for a diabetic. I am glad I'm not the only one who thought that by working harder I could get stronger faster. It did not work this way, though; instead I was just so tired and sore after each ride it took me a while to get myself back on the bike!

livedarklions- yes, I really do not find the gym motivating. In a way I always think it's silly, people locomoting on machines that don't move! Its a good idea to use it for transportation. I find just bringing a planet and lying in the grass reading at a park to be a pretty rewarding destination! But yes, I like this having the mindset of fun versus "training". There is something so freeing about being a bike! Also congrats on your amazing weight loss. I need to lose about 50 lb and seeing all the inspiration here is so motivating. Also I am kind of a rule hater so I could see your more free range approach working well for me.

Kedosto - Very smart advice. I guess I thought, man I must be doing this wrong because this sucks way more than I thought it would! I was thinking of being like 10 years old when I would bike all over my hometown, up steep hills with no trouble. The other day I was at the beach with family, and there are a super steep sand dune - kids were just bopping up this thing like it is nothing! So I have to remember my 32 year old bike life is going to be different than biking as a kid. It's still pretty fun, though! I just want to be able to build on my ability to ride distances so I can do more fun things via bike!

ev780 - Hopefully if I lose some body mass the diabetes will get better. I've had it a long time, so there's always the possibility my pancreas is fried. I hear you so much on the gym thing - gyms are just yucky and smelly and stale. I would rather exercise in winter when it's -7 than be in a gym!

bruce19- I think maybe just understanding the idea of cadence might help me be a better rider. I've had those moments where I maintained a consistent rhythm and it can be helpful. I'm not approaching it in any sort of dogmatic way, just want to understand how it works.

LaurieD- Congrats on getting on the bike! Like you, I can sometimes overthink things myself and need to be challenged sometimes to enjoy the moment more and think about it less! For me, I am really struggling with my health and I think it's going to take time to get me back to where I need to be. I had T2 diabetes and problems with bulimia and binge eating that have made a low carb diet really hard to follow, plus digestive issues that effect how I absorb food. So it's taken nearly a year of tweaking food and exercise to have me feeling even semi decent- it may not be the carbs that are causing low energy and instead, it's just a hard road back to health. I do eat lower carb, not super low but under 100 grams/day which is a good spot for me where I don't feel compelled to binge eat but I feel ok diabetes wise. I do use a little insulin - it's all a delicate balance here. One thing I hear loud and clear is that pushing myself too hard and being excessively critical is not going to make this any more fun! It is actually fun, so you are so right about not taking the joy out of it.

SpectrumTI- Thank you for that very motivating and supportive reply. Low and slow is how I usually do well with exercise, even in my prime I was long and slow in running and was never much of a sprinter. I do notice all sorts of interesting things happening to blood sugar after I ride - sometimes it tanks and I need to eat, sometimes it just goes down marginally, but then I find it will pop back up again. I have a really stubborn liver that just wants to keep pumping sugar in- I get bad Dawn Effect, too. Stupid thing. But what you are saying about frequency vs. intensity makes a lot of sense for diabetes.

DarthLefty- I know, I am so impatient. My wife just said that to me today- hey honey, you're not going to be riding 20 miles overnight!

Daniel4- My work is actually really close to me right now, less than 4 miles roundtrip. So provided the weather cooperates, I could definitely try commuting. I sweat a lot but even I will not be horribly sweaty after 2 miles lol

Last edited by KittyBikes; 08-07-19 at 09:59 PM. Reason: no spaces in original post; nightmare to try to read
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Old 08-07-19, 10:09 PM
  #53  
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Leisesturm - I do actually like weight lifting and even though the gym is not my favorite, once I get a bit more skilled at cycling and I'm not sore, I would like to get into the gym or do a home routine. I have always had an absurdly easy time building and maintaining muscle, so I think a home routine could probably be adequate for me.

ev780- I do think if you truly HATE the gym, though, you should find other ways to get exercise, even weight bearing exercise. Last year I worked as a Paraprofessional in a special education classroom with kids with disabilities and I was lifting and helping them all the time, so I feel like I got a good amount of weight bearing exercise. We all have to do what works for us and I think if you really hate something you won't do it.

Daniel4 - I agree. In Michigan it often snows sparsely in December and the really snowy season is from January-March. I don't mind the cold all that much, so if I can find a way to bike all year around, I will.

friday1970 - When you say the "chain rings" do you mean the gears?

CAT7RDR - Do you find that weight training would impair your ability to ride due to soreness? Maybe I need to just chill out on the weight equipment a little, as I usually work pretty hard at it, lift heavy. I won't give up because I can't - I have to do something about my health or I will not be around as long as I want to be. I am SO sorry to hear about your brother. I struggle hugely with eating issues, binging, emotional eating and it's been a beast to tackle all that; in a way I think exercising is the easiest part!

livedarklions- I have to agree that it's important to have something you will stick with. While weight training is good advice, I do feel using a simple home set up with some hand weights and benches is probably adequate. I build muscle easily, and I have never sustained any fitness inside a gym. It's just not for me.

Thank you SO much to everyone who replied to help me. It really did help - I feel more motivated, have practical tips as well as philosophical things to ponder about biking.
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Old 08-08-19, 05:45 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by KittyBikes View Post
Leisesturm - I do actually like weight lifting and even though the gym is not my favorite, once I get a bit more skilled at cycling and I'm not sore, I would like to get into the gym or do a home routine. I have always had an absurdly easy time building and maintaining muscle, so I think a home routine could probably be adequate for me.

ev780- I do think if you truly HATE the gym, though, you should find other ways to get exercise, even weight bearing exercise. Last year I worked as a Paraprofessional in a special education classroom with kids with disabilities and I was lifting and helping them all the time, so I feel like I got a good amount of weight bearing exercise. We all have to do what works for us and I think if you really hate something you won't do it.

Daniel4 - I agree. In Michigan it often snows sparsely in December and the really snowy season is from January-March. I don't mind the cold all that much, so if I can find a way to bike all year around, I will.

friday1970 - When you say the "chain rings" do you mean the gears?

CAT7RDR - Do you find that weight training would impair your ability to ride due to soreness? Maybe I need to just chill out on the weight equipment a little, as I usually work pretty hard at it, lift heavy. I won't give up because I can't - I have to do something about my health or I will not be around as long as I want to be. I am SO sorry to hear about your brother. I struggle hugely with eating issues, binging, emotional eating and it's been a beast to tackle all that; in a way I think exercising is the easiest part!

livedarklions- I have to agree that it's important to have something you will stick with. While weight training is good advice, I do feel using a simple home set up with some hand weights and benches is probably adequate. I build muscle easily, and I have never sustained any fitness inside a gym. It's just not for me.

Thank you SO much to everyone who replied to help me. It really did help - I feel more motivated, have practical tips as well as philosophical things to ponder about biking.
You're more than welcome! I think these threads are great because you are asking the sort of questions so many other people have, and a lot of us have practical experience in how we make this sort of change work. I want to offer my two cents on the question you asked @CAT7RDR Other than unweighted squats, I don't do weight training that focuses on my legs For a couple reasons. One is that I do think at some point overuse of a particular set of muscles is probably not a good idea and I think my biking pretty much maxes that out, but more importantly, I find if I don't focus the weight training on my upper body and core, that those muscles tend to get progressively weaker as my leg muscles get bigger. I don't know if this upper body focus is sound from a preventing osteoporosis perspective, but the science doesn't seem to give a definitive answer on that.

Long story short, the upper body workouts don't cause soreness that makes cycling harder.

In general, though, I think the science is very clear at this point that soreness is a side effect, and that you don't need to make yourself sore to get gains from weight training. The notion that you need to actually harm your muscles to encourage hypertrophy has been thoroughly debunked at this point, and overtraining is a real thing that actually works against muscle growth. Some soreness is probably inevitable, but it definitely should not be seen as necessary.

As always, this is the answer that works for me, and I don't know whether it will for you.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:15 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by KittyBikes View Post

friday1970 - When you say the "chain rings" do you mean the gears?
Yes. The gears up front are commonly called chainrings. Like yours, I have one bike with a triple chainring set up front. On that bike, I rarely use the 3rd, the largest, unless I'm going downhill and I have run out of gearing in the middle chainring.

I noticed you are also in Michigan and looking to bike in the winter. I usually bundle up, and use bike shoe covers and a good set of gloves. I also only ride outside when the pavement is bare dry and mostly free of salt. I'm good to about 25'F. Any time else, I either use a "turbo" trainer or my set of rollers. I find the rollers seems to give me a more intensive exercise session. I also felt that by using rollers, my pedaling technique seemed more efficient when I got back out onto the road. I started using rollers last winter and I can tell they have helped me become a more efficient cyclist. They are tricky to use at first, whereas on a turbo trainer, you can just relax more without having to worry about balance.

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Old 08-08-19, 12:04 PM
  #56  
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I forgot to say that I like your profile pic, Kitty!

I'm also not a big fan of exercising indoors, due to stale air and because I start to feel bored and a little restless, cooped up indoors, for a long period of time (although, I occasionally do cycle indoors, when it's too hot or too cold and dark, outside).

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Old 08-08-19, 05:21 PM
  #57  
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Kitty,

The short answer is my weight lifting is moderate only at 10 to 15 reps with 25 to 35 lbs dumb bells. At 55 y/o I have tendonitis/rotator cuff issues and arthritis in my hips and lower back from an old football injury. I lift to build muscle in my shoulders, back, arms, glutes, hammys and quads. I found that I am a much stronger climber because I am more physically fit. I am 6'2" and weigh 220 lbs. Muscle soreness does not have to be to a point that you are injured but only sore for a couple of days.

When I first started road cycling I had terrible overuse muscle spasms because of weak hamstrings. I incorporated lunges and dead lifts to address this and it is no longer an issue.

Find what works for you. Sometimes a day off to rest is all you need to recover. We are all different. As you progress you will dial in and fine tune what adjustments to make.

This is truly an awesome sport for people of all ages.
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Old 08-08-19, 07:23 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by KittyBikes View Post
...

Daniel4 - I agree. In Michigan it often snows sparsely in December and the really snowy season is from January-March. I don't mind the cold all that much, so if I can find a way to bike all year around, I will.....
Hello, Kitty: That would be awesome if you kept up the bike commuting right through winter.

Another thing I learned doing squats and dead lifts at the gym - form. If you climb hills on a bicycle using the same form as squats and dead lifts (straight back, butt out) you'll be using your butt and hamstrings to climb too, not just your quads.
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Old 08-09-19, 07:09 AM
  #59  
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All I can say is, don't feel bad about doing 6 to 8 miles a time, if that's all you can do. Remember, you're just starting out. When I first started, 3 miles was about enough for me, but then I was on a heavy, ill-fitted mountain bike. But I started pushing myself to go further, to climb more hills, and stretch my endurance. I got to where I would ride 10 miles every morning (which is still my usual morning workout), and then riding longer distances on the road. I started setting goals, first was a half century (50 miles), then a metric century (100 km/63 miles), then a full century (100 miles) which I've done twice now. Maybe some day ride across my state, and who knows? Maybe eventually ride across the country. I also set goals with climbing local hills. There are not many hills around here I haven't conquered.

But the point is that, as a beginner, expect to have to build up your endurance. Set small goals. First, try a 10 mile ride. Then push yourself to do a 20 mile ride. Then maybe 30. Before you know it, you'll be riding half centuries often and climbing small hills at 15 MPH in high gear.
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Old 08-09-19, 07:26 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Maybe some day ride across my state, and who knows?
If you don't mind my asking, which state? I often cross Massachusetts twice in one day, but it's definitely the short way (north/south). In my case, it's one of those things that sound impressive, but are really just geographical tricks. Being in New England, I can get away with a lot of those (riding in 3 states in one day, having done rides from my house through six different states two years in a row, etc.),
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Old 08-09-19, 07:47 AM
  #61  
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keep pushing and dont forget to have fun
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Old 08-09-19, 08:39 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If you don't mind my asking, which state? I often cross Massachusetts twice in one day, but it's definitely the short way (north/south). In my case, it's one of those things that sound impressive, but are really just geographical tricks. Being in New England, I can get away with a lot of those (riding in 3 states in one day, having done rides from my house through six different states two years in a row, etc.),
Kansas, which is slightly larger than Massachusetts. Every year they have a Bike Across Kansas (BAK) event. My sister has done it, but it's kind of hard for me to take a whole week off and do something like that since I run a small business.
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Old 08-09-19, 08:45 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Kansas, which is slightly larger than Massachusetts. Every year they have a Bike Across Kansas (BAK) event. My sister has done it, but it's kind of hard for me to take a whole week off and do something like that since I run a small business.
Where I am, I could cross about 6 states in a week. "Slightly larger" is a masterpiece of understatement.
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Old 08-09-19, 10:53 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Where I am, I could cross about 6 states in a week. "Slightly larger" is a masterpiece of understatement.
Like I said, the annual BAK event lasts a whole week. And I think they tend to do from 60-80 miles a day.
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Old 08-09-19, 11:15 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Like I said, the annual BAK event lasts a whole week. And I think they tend to do from 60-80 miles a day.
I'm pretty sure I could get from NH through NJ and into PA/Delaware in that time. Might have to up the pace a little, but still... States in the east are just a totally different scale than in the west.

Did you stop posting for a while? I was missing you. Maybe we were just hanging out in different threads.
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Old 08-09-19, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Did you stop posting for a while? I was missing you. Maybe we were just hanging out in different threads.
Yeah, I've been off here for a while. Very busy with life this summer.
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Old 08-09-19, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Yeah, I've been off here for a while. Very busy with life this summer.
Always enjoy your posts. Hope the busyness is of the good kind.
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Old 08-09-19, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm pretty sure I could get from NH through NJ and into PA/Delaware in that time. Might have to up the pace a little, but still... States in the east are just a totally different scale than in the west.
Easily. Last year I rode from Deerfield, MA to Philly in 7 days with full camping and cooking gear. One day I rode in MA, CT and NY. (Chester to Millerton.) Because of the way camping was spaced and because I was in no hurry, a couple of the days were not long.

Started that tour in St. Albans, VT. Took the train up there with a friend. He did his own credit card tour to his country home in Schuylkill County, PA, about 30 NE of Harrisburg. Doing higher mileages I don't think it took him a week.
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Old 08-09-19, 12:16 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Always enjoy your posts. Hope the busyness is of the good kind.
Yeah, it was. Mainly business, getting the kids ready for the county fair, an occasional trip, and other stuff like that. Plus with all the crazy weather we've had this summer with all the rain (and subsequent flooding) it's been hard to put miles on my bike.
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Old 08-21-19, 06:58 PM
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I enjoy weight training a lot and tend to get caught up in the intensity of it, and overdo it. Also, just from the weight on my bike handles, my arms are super muscular and my quads are growing quite a bit too. I'm just a husky person, kinda fat, kinda muscley. Goal is to lose the fat, which is why my focus has been more on cardio, but I do find weight training fun so I'll probably get back into it soon. I wish I had more home equipment, I think I would do more if I did.


Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
You're more than welcome! I think these threads are great because you are asking the sort of questions so many other people have, and a lot of us have practical experience in how we make this sort of change work. I want to offer my two cents on the question you asked @CAT7RDR Other than unweighted squats, I don't do weight training that focuses on my legs For a couple reasons. One is that I do think at some point overuse of a particular set of muscles is probably not a good idea and I think my biking pretty much maxes that out, but more importantly, I find if I don't focus the weight training on my upper body and core, that those muscles tend to get progressively weaker as my leg muscles get bigger. I don't know if this upper body focus is sound from a preventing osteoporosis perspective, but the science doesn't seem to give a definitive answer on that.

Long story short, the upper body workouts don't cause soreness that makes cycling harder.

In general, though, I think the science is very clear at this point that soreness is a side effect, and that you don't need to make yourself sore to get gains from weight training. The notion that you need to actually harm your muscles to encourage hypertrophy has been thoroughly debunked at this point, and overtraining is a real thing that actually works against muscle growth. Some soreness is probably inevitable, but it definitely should not be seen as necessary.

As always, this is the answer that works for me, and I don't know whether it will for you.
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Old 08-21-19, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
Yes. The gears up front are commonly called chainrings. Like yours, I have one bike with a triple chainring set up front. On that bike, I rarely use the 3rd, the largest, unless I'm going downhill and I have run out of gearing in the middle chainring.

I noticed you are also in Michigan and looking to bike in the winter. I usually bundle up, and use bike shoe covers and a good set of gloves. I also only ride outside when the pavement is bare dry and mostly free of salt. I'm good to about 25'F. Any time else, I either use a "turbo" trainer or my set of rollers. I find the rollers seems to give me a more intensive exercise session. I also felt that by using rollers, my pedaling technique seemed more efficient when I got back out onto the road. I started using rollers last winter and I can tell they have helped me become a more efficient cyclist. They are tricky to use at first, whereas on a turbo trainer, you can just relax more without having to worry about balance.
What is a set of rollers? I have an indoor cycling bike that is more or less like a regular bike, but weirdly, has handles you push. So I imagine sometimes I'll be using that or the exercise bikes at the gym.
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Old 08-21-19, 07:11 PM
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anon06- Thanks! My wife was sure to let me know that I am a huge dork when she saw it lol

CAT7RDR- Working the hamstrings make sense- I feel like my quads are growing, but I am not seeing much in my hamstrings, and they saw quad-dominance is an issue for a lot of women anyway. My biggest issue right now is that I am out of shape cardiovascularly (if that's word) which is why I am focusing on that right now. But I can definitely understand the idea of building up those legs to give more strength.

Daniel4- That makes sense, I wonder if building my legs might help me climb better, because I am pretty bad at it!!

Milton Keynes - I hate the hills! I just die on them so bad...they're not huge here but they're squiggly so you're always up down, up down. My goal was to do 15 miles by September 29 because I am doing a short ride (the ride is the Apple Cider Century but I am not doing the Century- there's also a 50 and a 30 I think?) but I am not on the path to being able to do that without a break...I think I'll try for 10 and then get off my bike, eat a snack, recover a bit worst case scenario. I do think I can do the 15, it just won't be pretty. I can do 8 miles with enough steam left to actually finish my day - cook dinner, laundry, ect.- so I figure I'll just go all out on the 29th. Pray for me! LOL

orewatsuyoi- Thank you!! I am trying

Maybe someday I can ride Michigan from the UP But that would be a multi day trip.
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Old 08-22-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by KittyBikes View Post
What is a set of rollers? I have an indoor cycling bike that is more or less like a regular bike, but weirdly, has handles you push. So I imagine sometimes I'll be using that or the exercise bikes at the gym.
Rollers are like a treadmill for your bike. They are 3 rollers that you set your regular bike on, and you then pedal and balance as if riding outside.

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Old 08-22-19, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Rollers are like a treadmill for your bike. They are 3 rollers that you set your regular bike on, and you then pedal and balance as if riding outside.

https://youtu.be/peT2gOHaX_g
How interesting! I've never seen anything like that before. It does look kind of challenging.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:13 PM
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I finally managed to increase my mileage to 9 miles! I was able to increase because I was using my gears more effectively, I think- so thank you all SO much for all the advice!
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