Guide to starting cycling for fitness for the overweight nearly 40s?

Discussion in 'Health, Fitness and Training' started by Donnie, May 23, 2010.

  1. Donnie

    Donnie Guest

    Right, seem to be getting out a bit more on the bike by myself and
    every couple of days getting a 9 to 12 mile run in and it's knackering
    me though enjoyable.

    Only been taking water with me though and tonight thought I remembered
    something on here on another thread about pain after a ride and
    replenishing lost electrolytes etc with something like lucozade sport
    or similar, so bought a bottle and have had it.

    However, I have come to realise I need some form of direction /
    organisation / knowledge so does anyone have any links to a site that
    would provide me with a "guide to cycling for fitness" or similar?

    Ive had a look too at the local CTC website for rides etc but the easy
    rides are 20 - 25 miles and I know I'm not near that level yet but
    that's what I would like to at least build up to if that makes sense?
    Donnie, May 23, 2010
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  2. Donnie

    Clive George Guest

    Yay :)
    We find bodies pretty good at telling you what they like. Eg the bag of
    crisps at the end of today's walk felt fantastic, which shouldn't be
    entirely surprising given the weather :)
    There's guides to cycling for racing, but that's not the same thing.
    Singletrack have been doing a couple, and the essential story is ride
    your bike a bit more, and if you're a bit chubby, eat a bit less.

    The important thing is to keep at it, and make sure it's always fun.

    (hills are probably the quickest way to gain strength).
    You might surprise yourself. They'll take those rides at a fairly gentle
    pace, and with the encouragement from riding with a group, chances are
    you'll make it round and have a good time. Not for nothing is the CTC
    sometimes known as the Cake and Tea Club - they're out to have fun on
    their bikes, so won't hurt you :)

    (I reckon if you can do 9-12 miles on your own, 20-25 miles in a group
    will be no problem)
    Clive George, May 24, 2010
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  3. Donnie

    Simon Brooke Guest

    If you can do ten miles on a regular basis you can do twenty miles
    occasionally. Try one of these runs, I expect you'll surprise yourself.
    The important thing is to make sure you're comfortable on your bike;
    there are plenty of websites which give advice on bike fit, but the key
    things are that your saddle is almost certainly too low, and very
    probably, for longer rides, too soft.

    The biomechanical reasons for this is that the more your knees are bent
    the more pressure you're putting on them, so that at the bottom of the
    downstroke your leg should be almost /but/ /not/ /quite/ straight; and if
    your saddle is soft, your ischeal tuberoritis (sit bones, bottom of the
    pelvis) sink into it transferring weight onto bits of plumbing which
    really are not designed to take it. Hard saddles are /initially/
    uncomfortable, and so are uncomfortable for casual cyclists; but sit
    bones get used to hard saddles quickly, and in the longer run your gonads
    will thank you.
    Simon Brooke, May 24, 2010
  4. Donnie

    Donnie Guest

    Straightforward enough :)
    Living in Bedford there's hardly a hill for miles :-/
    Hmmm tempting, Ill keep at it for a while longer, try to establish a
    bit more of a routine over the next few weeks and reassess I think :)
    Donnie, May 24, 2010
  5. Donnie

    Jim A Guest

    I noticed one of the cycling mags on the newsstand yesterday which had
    an article on that topic. I can't remember which mag, but you'll find
    other stuff at

    I confess I don't bother too much with all this advice. Getting out on
    some rides I get to chat with cyclists who give all sorts of advice
    (most of which I ignore) anyway.

    My main fitness regime is simply to cycle to work every day. It's
    amazing how soon the hills seem to get easier.

    My local club, Chippenham Wheelers, run shorter rides at an easy pace
    which are my sort of thing.

    I've heard that in Bath, there's a regular Sunday ride called "Recycle
    Your Sundays" which is at an ambling pace with frequent stops. I don't
    know what would be 'local' to you though.

    I expect you'll be surprised how quickly you can build up to 25 miles -
    my advice is pace yourself nice and slow at first (so you're not at all
    out of breath sort of slow) then you won't tire too quickly. You can
    build up the speed as you get fitter. You should find the shorter CTC
    rides are paced to the slowest rider anyway so there should be no
    worries about keeping up with them.
    Jim A, May 24, 2010
  6. Donnie

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Wot Clive sez: CTC rides are at the pace of the slowest and you will
    /not/ be dropped (out with serious training rides, folk who can't keep
    up will be dropped off the back of the group and left to make their own
    way home).

    The local group here took beginners out and, as above, they really
    surprised themselves with how much they could do, building up to 50 mile
    rides over the course of a summer. And most routes round here tend to
    involve some "interesting" climbs too.

    Because CTC "easy" groups aren't usually too sportive you're also quite
    likely to find someone else happy to join you for amenable trundles on
    other days. IME it's quite a bit easier covering miles with a friend or
    two than if you go it alone.

    Peter Clinch, May 24, 2010
  7. Donnie

    nmm1 Guest

    Yes and no - you may like a hard saddle, but many (particularly the
    more elderly and/or bony) people can't handle them. I had to give
    up leather for padded plastic.
    That's an over-simplification. It is better if your leg COMPLETELY
    straightens (and some people really need it to), but the danger of
    that is of it 'overshooting' and locking - and that can cause serious
    damage, even happening just once. Walkers straighten their legs
    completely. So your rule is probably correct for high cadences
    but not for low ones - and a traditional upright, low cadence style
    needs a significantly higher saddle than a crouched, spinning one.
    No way, Jose! That problem is purely an artifact of your crouch.
    Ride upright, and you simply don't have that problem.

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, May 24, 2010
  8. Donnie

    bugbear Guest

    Unless you're highly motivated, I'd cycle for pleasure.

    The more enjoyable your cycling is, the more
    likely you are to keep doing it.

    The fitness follows as a consequence, more or less.

    bugbear, May 24, 2010
  9. This of course is the standard advice, but I've never been quite sure
    how to implement it - firstly, does this mean with a flat foot, or
    with ankling, or with whichever you do; and secondly, it always seems
    to me that the determining constraint on how high I can put the saddle
    is the ability to put a foot down when stopped. I could probably raise
    another centimetre without having a completely straight leg on the
    down stroke, but I don't think I'd be able to stop comfortably.
    Julian Bradfield, May 24, 2010
  10. I don't understand. If you have a foot on the ground when stopped, why
    do you still need your rear on the saddle?

    Brendan Halpin, May 24, 2010
  11. Donnie

    Donnie Guest

    Bookmarked for later:) Though initially it looks a very busy site so
    may have to dig about a bit.

    As for the mag, Ill pop into WH Smiths and have a gander.
    Donnie, May 24, 2010
  12. Because it's always seemed to me that getting out of and back in to
    the saddle is a potentially delay- and instability-inducing operation
    and there are lots of junctions where in rush hour it's desirable to
    be away and through them before the cars.

    But perhaps it would cease to seem so if I were to practise more?
    Julian Bradfield, May 24, 2010
  13. Donnie

    Nigel Cliffe Guest

    Some people find the "slide off saddle whilst stopping" trick very
    difficult. They prefer to stop and remain seated. This then requires
    ability to touch down at least on one side. If they then find touching down
    with just toe tips to be unsatisfactory (for them), the saddle needs to be
    lower. Problem made worse by mountain bike frames where the bottom bracket
    (and thus pedals) are higher.

    This puts the saddle height requirements for start/stop at odds with the
    requirements for reasonably efficient riding (assuming a lean-forwards

    - Nigel
    Nigel Cliffe, May 24, 2010
  14. Donnie

    Donnie Guest

    I was sat looking at the Sheldon's website last night poring through
    some of the info and did come across the saddle issues, I was surprised
    about the old way we used to ensure that your saddle was the right
    height by making sure that you could touch the floor with your toes!
    Thats out the window so im going to raise my saddle this evening when I
    go out.
    I have to admit to being guilty of changing the saddle to a softer one
    too, kept the old one though just in case so I shall again do some
    experimenting I think :)
    Donnie, May 24, 2010
  15. Donnie

    bugbear Guest

    Actually, it's pretty normal NOT to be able
    to do this; I can *just* about get
    one toe tip to the ground to balance
    at traffic lights, but that's about it.

    For any extended period, you get off the saddle.[email protected]'s-dire-2240.jpg

    bugbear, May 24, 2010
  16. Donnie

    nmm1 Guest

    That one's easy - with ankling or whatever.
    The traditional guideline is that, if you can get a foot down while
    sitting on the saddle, your saddle is FAR too low and needs to be
    raised by several inches. That's for an upright position, of course.

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, May 24, 2010
  17. Donnie

    nmm1 Guest

    That rule was for children learning cycling only, and the rule was
    that you should raise your saddle by several inches (to avoid knee
    problems, and for performance) as soon as you were comfortable
    getting out of the saddle when stopping.

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, May 24, 2010
  18. I would think so (unless you're one of the people Nigel is talking

    And contrary to your thoughts about delay, I find that the restart (when
    you put your weight onto the front pedal to simultaneously get going and
    get up on the saddle) is actually faster.

    Brendan Halpin, May 24, 2010
  19. Donnie

    Alex Potter Guest

    I found that sitting on the saddle with my leg straight with the /heel/
    on the pedal put my saddle in nearly the right position. I think I had to
    raise it about 5mm or so after that, to get it "right".
    Alex Potter, May 24, 2010
  20. Donnie

    Simon Brooke Guest

    I can't easily get a foot down when stopped; one tiptoe at most, and if
    the camber is adverse I have to get off the saddle. I certainly can't
    ever get both tiptoes down. My feet are small, which is part of the
    problem, but it doesn't greatly bother me. I have had occasional pratfalls
    off stationary mountain bikes in consequence, but never off a road bike.

    Your leg should almost straighten when you are cycling normally for you.
    I do ankle quite a bit, and habitually cycle with a slightly toe-down
    foot position, so my saddle is a little higher than someone of my height
    who pedals with his feet flatter.
    Try it. You'll get used to it quickly, and it could mean significantly
    greater comfort.
    Simon Brooke, May 24, 2010
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