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Suck at biking

Old 10-25-09, 06:02 PM
  #1  
Mineblaster
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Suck at biking

I started biking after 10 years, so maybe I'm expecting too much, but I absolutely suck. It took me one hour (!!) to do 6 miles today. I walked around 1.5 miles because the hills got too steep. Admittedly, there were hills and my bike is only slightly better than trash (I bought it at a garage sale). It would be nice to blame my speed (or the lack of it) on the crappy bike and the traffic lights, but I doubt they had that much of an effect.

I want to bike because it's an exercise I actually like. I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and also lose weight (well, go from 25 BF% to around 15%, eventually). But it seems that I suck at biking. Hopefully this is something that I'll improve on in a reasonable timeframe?

Any advice? Should I attempt other methods of exercise and come back to biking after I lost the weight or should I continue biking in the hope that I'll eventually be able to go at 15MPH? My main worry is that it will take a long time to start seeing improvements; I don't want to get depressed and stop. I have no will power to speak of, I'm afraid... :-(
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Old 10-25-09, 06:17 PM
  #2  
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It always takes a long time to see improvements. That's the thing that sucks about improving; time.
Heres what I think you've got going for you:
1. You found something you like.
2.**********????
3.**********????
4.**********????
5. Nothing else matters because you found something you like, and no one or no thing should make you hesitant to do something you enjoy (i.e. thinking you "suck", thinking other people are watching you...) If you like this it will work for you more than something you do not like.
Plus, if you keep biking as you lose weight, you'll be able to smoke ALL OF US with all the power in your legs from when you were heavy.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:18 PM
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when i am depressed i go for a bike ride. just do it. it gets easier! oh yeah, don't forget to enjoy yourself.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:09 PM
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You did six miles. Now go do seven. Avoid the hills until you get into reasonable shape. Finding something you enjoy is a huge part of the battle. Enjoy!
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Old 10-25-09, 09:41 PM
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Biking is probably one of the best exercises you can do for yourself, at any fitness level. Don't be too hard on yourself. Try some easier routes and be patient with your body. You'll see improvements faster than you'd imagine. Just be consistent and have fun! When you save up a bit of cash, buy a bike that feels solid and fits you well. You'll enjoy the experience much more if you're not fighting with your equipment.
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Old 10-25-09, 11:17 PM
  #6  
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You didn't say that anything was sore when you were done, so I'm assuming your bike fits you ok. If that is the case and you trust it to get you home, stick with it. That is all that is important in an exercise bike.

Now try what DeweyJuice suggested, try to go a little farther next time. If you can bike 2-3 times a week, push it on one ride and then go on a relaxing ride for one time a week. You will get faster.

But if your main goal is to loose weight or get trimmer, you will have to watch what you eat, too. Exercise will get you into shape strength and conditioning wise, but it will also spark your appetite, and unless you limit your intake on both ride and non-ride days you may not loose any fat.
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Old 10-25-09, 11:47 PM
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As a Certified Sports Nutritionist, I will say that a ripped body is made in the kitchen, not in the gym or on the road. The road and gym are tools, and can become a passion. Bad habits in the kitchen can undo all your good work.

Avoid hills for a while, start looking at bikes at BIKE SHOPS, not the chain stores. A Hybrid is a great way to get a good workout, a comfortable ride, and these bikes are geared for the big hills. They will not cost an arm and leg.

When you feel the need for speed, there is a road bike out there for you. I have a Specialized Hybrid, a Kona Tourer, and a Cannondale Road Rocket. I enjoy them all. They all have their place.

There is a fine line between hobby and obsession. LOL
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Old 10-26-09, 06:12 AM
  #8  
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Just ride, its awesome this time of year. Stop looking at miles and look at the clock on your wrist. Ride until you want to head home and enjoy it. The rest will come.
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
....

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Old 10-26-09, 07:51 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Mineblaster View Post
I started biking after 10 years, so maybe I'm expecting too much, but I absolutely suck. It took me one hour (!!) to do 6 miles today. I walked around 1.5 miles because the hills got too steep. Admittedly, there were hills and my bike is only slightly better than trash (I bought it at a garage sale). It would be nice to blame my speed (or the lack of it) on the crappy bike and the traffic lights, but I doubt they had that much of an effect.

I want to bike because it's an exercise I actually like. I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and also lose weight (well, go from 25 BF% to around 15%, eventually). But it seems that I suck at biking. Hopefully this is something that I'll improve on in a reasonable timeframe?

Any advice? Should I attempt other methods of exercise and come back to biking after I lost the weight or should I continue biking in the hope that I'll eventually be able to go at 15MPH? My main worry is that it will take a long time to start seeing improvements; I don't want to get depressed and stop. I have no will power to speak of, I'm afraid... :-(

You've done one ride and you have already decided that you suck? Everyone sucks on their first ride, especally if they are out of shape. The good thing is that you improve fast when you're starting from an unfit state. You just have to keep at it.

Don't say you'll come back to riding when you have lost weight. Chances are you won't lose weight, so you'll never come back. Even if you do lose weight, when you start riding again you'll still be slow and unfit, just a bit lighter. You might as well start now, so you can begin improving and lose weight while doing it.

Don't focus on your speed. If you compare your average speed to what's posted on forums you will never be satisfied, because most posted "average" speeds are lies. In fact, you should remove the bike computer if you have one. You don't need it. Just go out and enjoy riding.

BTW, you can change the gearing on your bike so that you can ride up hills instead of walking. They make a lot of low gearing options now.
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Old 10-26-09, 10:33 AM
  #10  
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Suck, lemme tell you about suck. My first ride after 20 years off the bike resulted in a trip of about 1/2 mile culminating in me laying in a neighbors yard flat on my back trying not to get sick while still attemting to get enough air. The next day I didn't have to lay down......
Keep going and forget about results it gets better, much better. I did 52 miles yesterday and felt great. It's best when you go out and really enjoy the countryside in a way no other transportation can duplicate. Besides stationary exercise sucks .
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Old 10-26-09, 10:48 AM
  #11  
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Two years ago when I first started cycling I was so out of shape, my first time out I rode less than two miles and I thought I was gonna die. Now I am planning on doing my first century this may. Just stick with it. Try to fit in a few short rides a week. Don't over tax yourself. Try to maintain consistency and slowly build up your base. Soon you'll be riding for miles and miles.
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Old 10-26-09, 12:04 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Mineblaster View Post
I started biking after 10 years, so maybe I'm expecting too much, but I absolutely suck. It took me one hour (!!) to do 6 miles today. I walked around 1.5 miles because the hills got too steep. Admittedly, there were hills and my bike is only slightly better than trash (I bought it at a garage sale). It would be nice to blame my speed (or the lack of it) on the crappy bike and the traffic lights, but I doubt they had that much of an effect.

I want to bike because it's an exercise I actually like. I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and also lose weight (well, go from 25 BF% to around 15%, eventually). But it seems that I suck at biking. Hopefully this is something that I'll improve on in a reasonable timeframe?

Any advice? Should I attempt other methods of exercise and come back to biking after I lost the weight or should I continue biking in the hope that I'll eventually be able to go at 15MPH? My main worry is that it will take a long time to start seeing improvements; I don't want to get depressed and stop. I have no will power to speak of, I'm afraid... :-(

Cycling is a great sport. One of the reasons is that with perserverence and persistance any virtually any healthy person can ride easily ride a distance that non cyclists view as incredible.

A friend of mine related the following story to me. She got out of breath shopping in the supermarket. She had her husband drop her off at the front so she did not get gassed walking across the parking lot. She was advanced middle aged and plump to boot at this time. So she got a bike. She got out on a local bike trail. She rode 100 yards. She was out of breath. She stopped, gasped, drank some water and started again. Pretty soon, she was riding a slow speeds reasonably comfortably. She met some other riders and started riding with them. She started riding a bit faster and farther. But she never got to anything that was remotely fast. She formed "Team Turtle". She and her team decided to do a century. The goal was to do it, no matter how slow, but they were going to do it. And they did. So she went to being a plump middle aged lady who was hopelessly unfit to being a plump middle aged lady who was spry and fit. I would call that an accomplishment.

The point is that you have to stick with it. It is not where you start that is important. It is where you end up. If you keep riding, the improvements will almost inevitably follow. Just be patient.

How long will it take you to improve? That depends on how often you train. If you train just a couple of days per week, you will not see much for quite some time. If you do it daily, you should notice an improvement in less than a week. Maybe you will not see a big improvement, but you will see one. It takes some time to get up to a decent speed and distance on a bike (15 mph + and over 30 miles). But if you train diligently about 6 weeks.

Losing weight is more about diet than exercise. I figure it takes me over 70 miles of hard riding to burn a lb of fat. And that is if I do not eat anything more because of the exercise and that never happens. Unless you are riding big miles each and every day, the exercise will not cause you to lose weight. There is another problem here. Many people ride say 50 miles and then figure that they burnt so many calories that they can eat whatever they want. No matter how much you ride, you can eat more than enough to negate it. If you want the exercise to increase your weight loss, you will have to be pretty careful with your diet. That is all there is to it. I have lost weight by cycling but that was doing big miles every day and keeping close control on my food intake. You gotta do both.

On keeping with it..... one of the advantages with exercise is that you have a number of things you can see improve. Weight loss is often so slow as to be terribly discouraging.

Do a log. Keep track of your daily miles, max speed, avg speed and any other mile posts or notable events that show improvement such as climbing a given hill. The good thing about exercise is that you have a number of different measures that you can see steady improvement in: endurance, power, speed, how you feel etc. You are not a slave to the scale.
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Old 10-26-09, 02:46 PM
  #13  
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Maybe if you adjust your bike settings it will be easier for you also
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Old 10-26-09, 08:03 PM
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I've been cycling since I was a kid, but I did take about a 5 year break from it. I thought I was still in pretty good shape because I walked a lot, but when I decided to start riding again, my first ride was exactly 2 miles long ... and I had to stop for a rest after the first mile. But the next day I went out and did the whole 2 miles all in one go. And I kept building up my distance, and working on my speed ................

........................ and I got into racing, randonneuring, 24-hour races, and touring.

Here's my story, on my website: https://www.machka.net/aboutme/aboutme.htm


And yes, make sure your bicycle is set up properly for you.
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Old 10-30-09, 03:29 PM
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What kind of bike do you have?
Is it geared and how many?
You might want to consider posting a pic of you on the bike.
With some more info people here might be able to suggest some changes that might help now. Mostly though, just keep putting one pedal infront of the other and eventually you will see yourself do things you couldn't before. Most important make sure you keep enjoying it. If you don't enjoy it you will stop doing it. Also one good thing about hills is that they go down as well as up.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:03 PM
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Who are you comparing yourself to? FInd some recommendations for a training program and work on making improvements. You don't state your current age or condiditon. It can take a while to show improvement. And it will take a lot of work :-) Don't believe those tv ads that claim you can have a six pack in no time with three 20 minutes sessions a week. You are in this for the long haul, I hope, not just for the near term.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:10 PM
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Start reading the Commuting threads. You'll see the same gripe. You're weak now, eventually, you'll become strong once you put in the investment.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:19 PM
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You suck at cycling? Join the club.
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Old 11-01-09, 08:42 AM
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My story is like many here. I got away from cycling for too long. In Jan 08 I moved closer to work. 5 miles away. "Great," I thought. "I can bike to work now." That 5 mile ride would kick my butt! I was so PISSED OFF that I could not ride when I used to ride 40 miles daily plus run 6 3x week, plus everything the military required. I remember the day a kid on his BMX passed me on a hill.

I just kept at it. The diet had already been changed -- I just watched it a little closer. Rode every day. Did not worry about speed.

Before I knew it, I was doing my first organized century. Then I found myself doing 50 miles a day. And my friends were commenting on how much weight I'd lost. Especially those I did not see very often.

Just keep riding. And look at what you put into your body.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:43 PM
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We all start somewhere. There are lots of people who started where you did.

A few bits of advice.

First, plan your workouts based on time rather than distance.

Second, slow down. Almost everybody works out too hard initially. You should be fairly comfortable for the whole time that you're out.
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Old 11-02-09, 07:16 AM
  #21  
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You averaged 6mph! That's not bad at all for the first time out in 10 years. Don't beat yourself up over that! Keep at it; you'll be fine. You're not training for races and riding the bike is just plain fun. Ride only every other day at first. You're off to a great start Mineblaster!
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Old 11-02-09, 03:45 PM
  #22  
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stop looking at the clock and the other riders. add walking to your training program
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Old 11-02-09, 09:02 PM
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Dude - if you like it, don't stop because you suck. You will get better. Biking for me has helped me lose 31 pounds so far. When you have found an exercise you like, continue to do it! It is so rare to find exercise that you like. Do a little bit every day and you'll see some results.

Set little goals for yourself. For me it was 5 miles after work for a few weeks. Then on a weekend I tried 7 1/2, then 10. My workplace was 15 miles away one way, so I worked toward that and now I commute a couple 2-3 times per week. I have another job on Saturdays that is 20 miles away one way, and I've done that twice now. Each milestone feels great!!

You'll see, you can do it!
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Old 11-04-09, 10:09 PM
  #24  
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+1. Train flat, then work up to hills. I started mountain biking from scratch on serious hills after laying off the cardio for years. I sucked. In retrospect, I had no business whatsoever starting out on such inclines, coulda killed myself. Switched to road and slowly worked (working) myself up to steeper hills.

As far as will power, find a partner to get on your ass. And find fun places to ride.

Originally Posted by DeweyJuice View Post
You did six miles. Now go do seven. Avoid the hills until you get into reasonable shape. Finding something you enjoy is a huge part of the battle. Enjoy!
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Old 11-04-09, 10:21 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Bikenator View Post
+1. Train flat, then work up to hills. I started mountain biking from scratch on serious hills after laying off the cardio for years. I sucked. In retrospect, I had no business whatsoever starting out on such inclines, coulda killed myself. Switched to road and slowly worked (working) myself up to steeper hills.

As far as will power, find a partner to get on your ass. And find fun places to ride.
+2. If you took up running instead of cycling, you wouldn't expect to run 10 miles at a 6-minute pace right off the bat. Just keep riding on a regular basis and you'll get stronger and faster.
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