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I have quit for 25 years and got back, what to expect?

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I have quit for 25 years and got back, what to expect?

Old 06-29-20, 06:47 AM
  #1  
cubewheels
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I have quit for 25 years and got back, what to expect?

I used to bike a lot when I reached 11 years old. I simply went around the neighborhood over and over, hours on end with my single speed bmx bike. By time I was 13, I've been riding around the city for around 3 hours, 50 kms a day, on a Raleigh road bike (too big for me at that time but it didn't matter). What limited me from going out the city is simply the fear of being too far away from home.

Indeed at one point, I was riding my 26" MTB and a gang stopped me and took my bike away from me. That forced me to quit.

Since that time and now, 25 years, later I haven't exercise but kept my weight light with diet and somewhat a high metabolism.

How should I expect my progress would be in building stamina and strength? Would my old cycling muscles get fired up again and help speed up the process? Would my age matter?
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Old 06-29-20, 07:03 AM
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In my limited experience, your old cycling muscles don't exist. But you can build them again from scratch if you ride at least 3 times a week, even if those are fairly short rides.

The other thing is, your hands and butt and maybe your neck, are going to hurt a while as you build up your cycling strength. Be easy on your knees as well, by getting your seat height right and picking a gear to let your legs spin easy as reasonably possible until your leg strength is built back up.

I'm not as hard core of a rider as most here, but I can tell you that if I can get in 4 short rides a week my strength gets better and biking is more fun. 3 rides a week keeps me more at a "maintenance" level. If I slide down to 1 or 2 rides a week, my leg strength falls dramatically. I was born with chicken legs in the mid-1960s, so take that into consideration.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:11 AM
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By the way, when I was in my teens up to my early 30s, three months of solid hard exercise got me back into top shape. Nowadays, my efforts to get in top shape are perpetual.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:14 AM
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Start slowly, and build up endurance and distance as you go. Don't try to do too much at first, you don't want to burn out so that you aren't enjoying riding again. Find a bike that fits the type of riding you'll be doing and which fits you. Just don't rush back in and expect immediate results. Don't get frustrated that you may not go as far or as fast as you want, it will come as you ride more. Your butt, shoulders, legs, and various other parts may get sore at first, but stay with it. Welcome back to the cycling community, and have fun with it!
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Old 06-29-20, 07:39 AM
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Everyone is different.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Everyone is different.
This^^^^^

When I first got into riding bikes as an adult (late 20ís) with a few of my friends, we all saw gains at very different rates.

But we all DID get stronger and faster. Thatís all that really matters.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:00 AM
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You can do it

Great to hear you're getting back in the saddle. Get a bike, get on, take it slow and keep doing it, because it freaking rocks.

Hearing about your desire to get back into bicycling after a long hiatus reminded me of my own experience doing the same. I wrote a little something about it at the time. I reposted it on my site (bykeithbrown.com) Check it out, if you're interested. More importantly, just keep riding.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by eyemkeith View Post
Great to hear you're getting back in the saddle. Get a bike, get on, take it slow and keep doing it, because it freaking rocks.

Hearing about your desire to get back into bicycling after a long hiatus reminded me of my own experience doing the same. I wrote a little something about it at the time. I reposted it on my site (bykeithbrown.com) Check it out, if you're interested. More importantly, just keep riding.

Keith,
Great write up on restarting bicycling. Thanks for sharing !
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Old 06-29-20, 09:02 AM
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There are similarities OP and my story. As a kid to age 16 I rode a lot, literally every day and 10-20 miles/day. From about age 17 to after college very little bicycling.


At around age 30 I restarted the hobby, this lasted for about 6-7 years, did a handful of half and metric centuries each year. Then wife/kids, a 25 year bicycle vacation. True I did do a very small amount of rail trail riding about 10 or 15 years ago but flat and level and didn't really get it going.


Restarted about 18 months ago, age 60. So my age is probably more of a factor than yours assuming you are younger. But like you I've always been skinny. When I got the bright idea to start cycling again, the first thing i did was replace the old tires and tubes on my road bike, also the brake pads. I also put in a new battery and fired up my old Avocet bike computer. Having now exhausted all of my excuses to delay, off I went.


My street is 6-8% grade so hilly but my first ride lasted about less than a mile. It was really that bad. Undaunted I tried again and again, each time going further. Finally today 18 months later I'm doing centuries on the flats and half centuries with considerable climbing.


So what should you expect? It has already been suggested that it depends on the individual. I agree with this. But still expect this to be painful. Heart pounding, low speed, gasping for breath, legs feeling like jelly, butt and hands sore. Unless you are on a flat surface and moving at a rate little faster than a walk, you will be in discomfort at first. How much discomfort and for how long depends. If your goal is to get in shape then you will need to keep pushing the limits, going farther and faster as you continue. You will not, the first ride do anything like what you did as a kid, speed or distance.


When I restarted cycling I kept a log. I didn't put an entry in for the amount of pain or discomfort but looking back at it and the miles I rode I'm thinking that after about 6-8 weeks of starting slow but ratcheting up the effort and riding every day put me in a position where I could get on the bike, ride 20 miles over a few hills and not feel terrible about it.
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Old 06-29-20, 12:43 PM
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Just do it like you did the first time, as a kid: ride a bunch as long as it's fun, expand your range as your abilities increase.

As far as what to expect, drivers are worse than they were when you were last on the road.
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Old 06-29-20, 05:34 PM
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I started back up after that long as well at 58, I was doing 45 min. a day on an eliptical machine, but re-starting biking was a little tougher. At first I did about a mile a day, then I started using recumbent bikes and my mileage and stamina improved. I do about 5 miles a day on a bike trail near me, and 30 miles on the weekends. I was trying to kill it too much at first, too fast. I learned to slow down and enjoy the ride and scenery. I started working on my hill climbs, use the granny gear and pace myself, I started going further and logging more ride time as well. I'm about 12 weeks in and I feel much better. Consistency and pacing myself worked well for me. Few months ago I never thought I could knock off 20 miles on a bicycle.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:24 PM
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Your cycling muscles haven't been in hibernation for a quarter century. That's not how muscles work.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:23 PM
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The big change in road bikes has been GPS and power meter training, and Strava, which is Facebook for GPS and power meter training.

In mountain bikes, bikes got bigger and more stable. Rear suspension has been pretty much solved with an endless variety of four-bar linkages.

There is a fad for all-road or gravel bikes, which are a variety of road bikes with bigger tires.

There is a fad for e-bikes.

There are still tandems and recumbents. Tadpole trikes gained popularity

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Old 06-30-20, 02:09 AM
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Do some warm up before your ride.
Although I didn't do warm up as I was a kid, I need to do it to protect my muscle.
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Old 07-01-20, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
In my limited experience, your old cycling muscles don't exist. But you can build them again from scratch if you ride at least 3 times a week, even if those are fairly short rides.
I'm not as hard core of a rider as most here, but I can tell you that if I can get in 4 short rides a week my strength gets better and biking is more fun. 3 rides a week keeps me more at a "maintenance" level. If I slide down to 1 or 2 rides a week, my leg strength falls dramatically. I was born with chicken legs in the mid-1960s, so take that into consideration.
I've been riding again for 7 days a week but I only have 1 hr riding window per day, 12pm to 2pm. So I try to ride really hard in the very limited time frame

I live in the middle of a crowded city so plenty of braking..... can be difficult to change lane instead as you're usually sandwiched between two motorcycles on both sides in the same lane! Really gets you pedaling hard as you try to take back lost momentum.

I've already increased average speed by 50% within 3 weeks of being back in the saddle and able to stay at much higher gears.

The other thing is, your hands and butt and maybe your neck, are going to hurt a while as you build up your cycling strength. Be easy on your knees as well, by getting your seat height right and picking a gear to let your legs spin easy as reasonably possible until your leg strength is built back up.
Right on the money!

My neck hurt for two days when I removed all the spacers on the steerer tube and inverted the stem - to have the least bar height as possible.

The painful butt did not went away until I changed the saddle into something that has deep groove in the center. No pain on the hands but they get numb if I'm starting to get short on oxygen. Numbness to the hands seem related to oxygen intake and I wear bandanna (face covering) to avoid getting fined or possibly beaten up or get my bike impounded by police or solders if they catch me without or improperly worn face covering. Bandanna stays, even how much hate it especially when pedaling hard.

Numbness on the hands goes away quickly if I ride for a couple seconds with one hand off (alternating between hands, holding the bar). Another solution is pedal a bit harder at a constant pace for a period of time. The stronger pedaling, takes the weight off my hands and takes away numbing.
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Old 07-01-20, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Amber1988 View Post
Do some warm up before your ride.
Although I didn't do warm up as I was a kid, I need to do it to protect my muscle.
I also stetch my leg muscles but sometimes forget and just stretch them on the pedals while riding. I warm up on the bike too by first going slowly or in low gears (no time for separate warm up due to my limited 1 hr riding window per day)

But the bike warm ups are dependent on the start of my route and I only have two. There's one where I had to pace the cars going uphill which throws away the warm up routine. I had to do it to be safe (blind spots for motorists, unless I match their speeds)

I get pretty worked up and gasping for air within 5 minutes!
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Old 07-01-20, 06:06 PM
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I'm glad to know I'm not the only one jumping back in after a long hiatus. In my case, its been 35 years since I rode the streets of town for hours on end. At 51, I'm jumping back in head first, but my body can only do so much right now. A 15-20 minute ride is about all I can manage, but I'm gaining strength quickly. I have high hopes for us both!
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Old 07-01-20, 07:45 PM
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A few years ago when I started cycling for weight control I did it the way my Cross Country coach taught me in high school. Train hard for 2 days a week the other days of the week jog, but for the rest of the week take it easy and enjoy yourself go slow and make it easy on yourself...make jogging fun for yourself. He also had us do hill training twice a week with intervals. We had a pretty good cross country team, our team was always ranked in the top 10 in the state every year.

I kind of followed the model my cross country coach had us as runners do and converted the aproach to bike riding. When I first started out I was like 85 lbs over weight and I could not even ride a huffy mountain bike at 5mph. Heck I could only ride the bike like 1- 2 miles and then I would quit. I got rid of the unreliable huffy that kept shifting wrong and chain locking up for a used Schwinn mountain bike a co-worker sold to me. I lost about 50 lbs on that bike and got up to being able to do 20 miles in 2.5 -3 hours. I rode easy most of the week, and did hills a couple days a week with interval training. Then I got a hybrid Tek Fx2 and lost another 30 lbs. I lost about 85 lbs in 5 months of cycling and following a high protein/ low carb diet.

Unfortunately, because I love to eat and my wife over feeds me ( she is against me losing weight because she is afraid other women will get interested in me). I have put almost all that way back on and have to go back on a weight loss plan...Surprisingly even with the weight gain I have kept my speed and stanima on the bike and have actually gotten faster even though I have gotten really fat again lol. I recently rode a 20 mile route I use to do on my hybrid in about 1 hour and 35 minutes (use to take me 2.5-3 hours) and when I have gone on 1 hour rides I can ride about 14 miles in an hour. Im hoping if I lose again 70-80 lbs like I did before it will equate to even faster times on my hybrid.

I usually only cycle outside during the summer months, the other months I am indoors at a health club doing stationary bike, walking on treadmill, and weight training.

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Old 07-01-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by theDirtyLemon View Post
As far as what to expect, drivers are worse than they were when you were last on the road.
You're absolutely right here! Most of our city don't have bike lanes so we share the lanes with motorists.

Ironically, I still get the horn even if I'm accelerating faster than the cars and cruising at the same speed!

Just do it like you did the first time, as a kid: ride a bunch as long as it's fun, expand your range as your abilities increase.
I can certainly expand the range but must not be more than 1 hour out in the streets. This means to expand my range, I'll have to increase my average speeds. Eventually my goal is to "sprint-stop" the entire route around the city. I'd be going the same speed as the motorcycles if I did.
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Old 07-01-20, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
The big change in road bikes has been GPS and power meter training, and Strava, which is Facebook for GPS and power meter training.

In mountain bikes, bikes got bigger and more stable. Rear suspension has been pretty much solved with an endless variety of four-bar linkages.

There is a fad for all-road or gravel bikes, which are a variety of road bikes with bigger tires.

There is a fad for e-bikes.

There are still tandems and recumbents. Tadpole trikes gained popularity
I have kid's MTB (20" sized wheel). Totally out of fad. I have my reasons for getting one. If can ever move to a safer neighborhood, I'm thinking of putting together a "proper" bike. Something I need to get assembled. Basically, a full suspension MTB frame with gravel or extra wide hybrid wheels, low ground clearance (using short cranks) and drop bars. I intend to use it for the road, NOT to hit the trails. The quality of the roads in our city is terrible and a typical road bike will not survive it if ridden hard and you can't just swerve around road bumps if you're sandwiched by two motorcycles at the same lane! It'a tight, chaotic, lawless, incredibly neglected roads I ride in. The 20" kid's MTB suffice for now, incredibly agile, the 20" wheels are tough, and doesn't attract gang's attention, scorn maybe. But that's better than attention to steal it!
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