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Old 05-04-2012, 06:08 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
3,814 posts, read 2,307,744 times
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Default Bicycling....how long does it take to get in shape?

Ive posted elsewhere here that I recently bought a used bike at a pawn shop...a Schwinn Sierra GS or something like that.

I am a very active walker, do a lot of 3-4 mile walks, with longer 7 - 8 mile walks on weekends, so I figured getting a bike would be no big deal for me to handle. The idea was to use the bike more for errands not for longer distance rides or touring.

Yet I find myself not really being able to handle it...I can do short rides, but notice that I really can "feel it" if I do even a 3 to 4 mile ride...legs get a bit sore, can feel the exertion, and hills are tough to climb...to the point were I walk the bike on things like freeway overpasses.

So Im wondering if there is any advice about how long it will take to get in shape enough to where riding a bike is less of a chore, or any tips about HOW to get in shape for bike riding?

Right now I am thinking of riding a basic and fairly flat 3 - 4 mile course (one of my old walking routes) on a daily basis to try to build up some strenth and endurance, then work on grades, riding uphill...but I am open to suggestion and would like to hear some experience...
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:23 AM
 
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Hate to break it to you, but you need to ride at least 4-5 miles in exchange for 1 mile of walking. Cycling is great because it is low impact and it's fun to spin around. Downside is that it is completely low impact, so make sure you keep up the walking as well. Great quote that I heard off a cycling forum was from a 50 year old guy who just got back from his doctor. The guy was an avid cyclist and the doctor told him he had good news and bad news. Good news was that he had the heart of a 20 year old, bad news was that he had the bone structure of a 70 year old lady. Doctor told him to cut back on the cycling and go for a run or a walk on a regular basis.

I used to work in a bike shop and helped fit people on bikes, that makes a huge difference. Most people have their seat too low, handlebars in the wrong spot, etc... Other big issue that I saw would be people riding in too big of a gear and mashing down on the pedals. When you pedal imagine that you are trying to scrape mud off the bottom of your show, that will help you spin rather than mash the pedals.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Wine Country
2,153 posts, read 1,861,709 times
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When you are not used to riding a bike it can be alarming at how difficult it can be. You are using different muscles from walking and running so you get fatigued faster. The good news is it really does not take that long to get into the swing of things. Just keep riding. Do what you can, and then do a bit more. Before long it will be easy for you. Hills can be a challenge, but again its all about just doing them.
Use the gears to your benefit, even if you have to 'granny gear' it up hills. Do you have any friends that cycle? If so ask them for tips. Get them to look at your bike and see if the fit is right. Also ride with them if you can. They know the rules of the road and can be very helpful in general. Or you can take your bike to a local shop and have it tuned and you can get the proper fit from them.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
7,639 posts, read 5,895,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Ive posted elsewhere here that I recently bought a used bike at a pawn shop...a Schwinn Sierra GS or something like that.

I am a very active walker, do a lot of 3-4 mile walks, with longer 7 - 8 mile walks on weekends, so I figured getting a bike would be no big deal for me to handle. The idea was to use the bike more for errands not for longer distance rides or touring.

Yet I find myself not really being able to handle it...I can do short rides, but notice that I really can "feel it" if I do even a 3 to 4 mile ride...legs get a bit sore, can feel the exertion, and hills are tough to climb...to the point were I walk the bike on things like freeway overpasses.

So Im wondering if there is any advice about how long it will take to get in shape enough to where riding a bike is less of a chore, or any tips about HOW to get in shape for bike riding?

Right now I am thinking of riding a basic and fairly flat 3 - 4 mile course (one of my old walking routes) on a daily basis to try to build up some strenth and endurance, then work on grades, riding uphill...but I am open to suggestion and would like to hear some experience...
Looking at your location, I am assuming you are from Dayton, best advice is to hook up with a cycling club, maybe DCC Home Page

Your mileage will increase considerably, and in a short time you will feel that it is not even worth getting on the bike if you are not going to get in at least 20 miles.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:22 PM
 
460 posts, read 1,640,506 times
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For me it wasn't so much about leg strength as it was building up lung stamina and core strength. The thing with riding vs walking is the cardio workout is much better and you don't have the impact on joints like with running. You will get into good shape with bike riding and like anything else you'll get stronger at it the more you do it so stick with it. I'm 46 and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are real good now simply because I ride several miles 1 or 2 times a week at a semi-vigorous rate.

Also, don't underestimate low air pressure in tires because being even a little low will make it surprisingly harder. Type of bike makes a huge difference too like 10-spd vs 1 fixed gear.

PS: always ride with headlight and taillights on at night and I say that after getting hit by a car in the dark with no bike lights on and nearly avoiding disaster
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:52 PM
 
Location: NYC
7,373 posts, read 6,570,469 times
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Bought a bike at a pawn shop? I am guessing it does not fit you properly. That won't matter much if the bike is a casual cruiser - which also means you arent riding hard so you get fewer fitness bennies - but for road bikes in particular you need the right fit.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,384 posts, read 5,717,168 times
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In addition to proper bike fit, using your gears is important. If you are in a low enough(easy to spin) gear the overpasses should not be that much harder than flat ground. Pedals are important. Learn to use clip in pedals or pedal baskets and much more of your effort will go towards propelling the bike instead of keeping your foot on the pedal. Proper mechanical condition of the bike, making sure your brakes aren't rubbing, your tire are inflated properly, your chain is lubed and your gears work properly. many good tips and videos found via the web.

When I used to take the winter off from riding a 2000-3000 mile summer, a 20 mile ride would feel like a 75 mile ride when I was in shape. The butt would hurt and different leg and back muscles along with arm, neck and shoulder muscles would be sore. As I progressed it went away and any continuing soreness meant the bike "fit" was improper.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
7,639 posts, read 5,895,535 times
Reputation: 3100
I go clipless. I didn't care for toeclips.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Atlanta & NYC
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Reputation: 6298
I bike about 20-40 miles per day in the summertime everyday and it certainly develops my lower body and abs. Keeps me quite in shape.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,097 posts, read 13,147,782 times
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Results depend on frequency and intensity of exercise. If your bike doesn't have gears, get one that does. Go through a bike shop. They'll help set up your bike for your body and how to use the gears. Smaller gears will make hills easier but you'll peddle more to cover shorter distance. Large gears will make hills hard but will help you gain speed on flat or decline roads.
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