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notfred 07-08-05 12:16 AM

Excercise benefits of riding slowly?
Now I'll admit that I'm not very fast, I usuallu cruise around on the street between 15 and 17 mph, but lately I've been going a bit slower.

A friend of mine was injured in a motorcycle accident last summer, and he has recovered onough to walk around with a crutch, but he only has partial use of his right leg. I've been taking him cycling to get him outdoors, active, and build his leg strength back up. Now, due to his leg, he's not very fast. We cruise around at 10-12mph most of the time.

What I'm wondering is, while we're doing this - do I burn as many calories, or build as much muscle as I would going faster (assuming we went the same distance)? We usually ride 15-20 miles. Is 15 miles at 12mph going to be significantly less beneficial than 15 miles at 16mph?

I'm wondering how many other rides I should try to do between riding with my friend.

LordOpie 07-08-05 09:02 AM

You should work in some intense sessions on the days off with your friend. I would strongly suggest on the friend-days that you work on technique... work on your spin (smooth it out, "scrape your foot"), focus on sitting in the right position (back flat, elbows bent), keep your mid-section tight. That sort of stuff. Good technique is more important that raw ability.

demoncyclist 07-08-05 09:08 AM

Do some single leg drills too. That should keep you working hard at a lower speed. You could also ballast your bike. Brick filled panniers will get your intensity up.

LordOpie 07-08-05 09:19 AM

duh! I forgot those ^

Nothing improves your spin -- at least for me -- like one-legged drills.

chris_pnoy 07-08-05 09:24 AM

In general, a good cardio workout, is a good cardio workout. You're basically using the same muscles, so the intensity is just different.

Sawtooth 07-08-05 09:29 AM

Hey Notfred,
CNN had an interesting article on this yesterday. Here is a link and a summary.

Doctoral student Ray Browning and his colleagues studied 20 men and women of normal weight and 20 considered obese as they walked set distances at different speeds. They found the obese people burned more calories walking at a slower pace for a longer time than walking at a faster speed.

The effect was found in walking versus cycling and seemed to be limited to the obese group. It may have something to do with the gait of the obese group, however, thereby limiting its generalizability to other disciplines such as cycling.

steveknight 07-08-05 09:50 AM

if you go too slow then walking is actualy a better workout. but only trial and error will let you know.

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