advice as to how to start getting fitter/faster on my bike?

by racefaceec90   December 19, 2012  

apologies for cut/paste (have asked this on singletrackworld forum also).

since getting my road bike last month,i would like to start to be able to get fitter/faster,so i can ride it as it was intended.the problem is that i am really unfit/slow (partly due to depression/laziness).my last ride of 27 miles took me 3 hours Crying on the road bike (i know).

the thing i don't understand also is when i used to drink/smoke i was a lot faster on my bike Surprise (i don't ever plan on going back to drinking/smoking by the way i used to be able to ride 100 miles plus (this was when i did smoke/drink!) (around 2002-03 when i was 27-28).

i don't plan on racing by the way,i just want to be able to ride my road/mtb a bit faster. thanks in advance for any help/advice Big Grin

28 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Get a heart rate monitor. Read "Time Crunched Cyclist" by Chris Carmichael. You need to build a base which is done by riding at low intensity and will help body to use oxygen efficiently. Don't know when u quit drink/ smoke or the amount of exercise and type you do but these things take time...especially the base. However, if you were riding high mileage in 2002 (not just a 100miles every now and again but weekly your body will re
member.) Just give it time. And HAVE FUN. Also, we all have to remember that age does diminish the body's capability so things might take a bit longer. Consider your diet too...the Paleo diet makes good sense and has changed how my body utilises the macronutrients I ingest...I use fat much more efficiently. Hope this helps and apologies for spelling errors as I'm using very small keyboard!

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [177 posts]
19th December 2012 - 10:34

3 Likes

Buy load of really expensive carbon components.

(Do not do this)

Only eat sports food.

(Do not do this)

Follow all the rules.

(Do not do this)

-

The Paleo diet

(Do this)

Long, steady riding until February

(Do this)

Go out with a buddy

(Do this)

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1730 posts]
19th December 2012 - 10:46

2 Likes

Also- when the cycling gets to much or just boring or tiring- try cross training,swimming or a little running,you dont have to do much to make a difference and doing something different can really help...ask any triathlete.

How about joining your local CC? they can help you improve in a more social way too. and they will make you get better..

keith roberts's picture

posted by keith roberts [184 posts]
19th December 2012 - 10:57

3 Likes

I would just ride more to start with. There is plenty of time to get worried about all the other stuff later on.
Get clothing that allows you to ride comfortably in all weathers and ride several times a week. Ride consistantly and you will get fitter. DOnt hammer it all the time, but equaly dont bimble either.

At low levels of fitness it really is as simple as ride more.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
19th December 2012 - 12:00

3 Likes

Don't get too hung up on numbers either. Get out and ride and enjoy, the rest will come.

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
19th December 2012 - 12:28

3 Likes

Keep things simple, especially to start with. You need to make riding part of your routine, this way other things won't get in the way. This time of year can be hard to get out with the rubbish weather and cold but get your kit on and get straight on the bike without giving yourself the chance of talking yourself out of it. When you get home you'll be chuffed that you did it.

Time in the saddle is whats important and you need to be willing to push yourself as well. For starters find a loop, 10 miles or so and time your ride, this then becomes your benchmark and you can test yourself on it once a fortnight/month to highlight any gains in fitness.

just ride as much as you can and the gains will take care of themselves. Keep this up throughout the winter and by the time you get to the spring you'll be in a much better position to start concentrating on specifics and a more scientific approach.

I ride 220+ miles a week in all weathers mostly thanks to a 40 mile daily commute and its become such a routine I haven't used the car for work in the last 8 months. I eat what I want, drink what I want and that all adds to the enjoyment. Most of all have fun Big Grin

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [313 posts]
19th December 2012 - 12:35

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Just to add to what I said before, I see on STW someone said 'put away the computer' and that, in essence is what I was talking aboout.

When I stopped 'going for a ride' and started 'training' it can become a focus of figures - just staring at the computer, etc.

In turn, that can be demoralizig to anyone, all the more so if you have depression to contend with. (my sympathy on that score btw)

So to reiterate - ride and enjoy! The rest will come.

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
19th December 2012 - 13:47

2 Likes

thanks everyone for the replies Big Grin

i intend to start riding 2-3 times a week and just start to get my base fitness back. i will try and push myself once i feel fitter on the hills (try some fartlek training also).BUT as others here/on st replied,i will mostly be enjoying riding my bike Big Grin

posted by racefaceec90 [46 posts]
19th December 2012 - 16:19

3 Likes

Just ride more, either solo or in company. Hooking up with others will suit some people as it stops them putting it off each time. Some people just like to do their own thing.

Provided you are comfortable on your bike, have some decent padded shorts/tights and other appropriate clothing, it's a case of getting out there and riding regularly. And frequently. If you've had a few years off the bike it will take time to come back but it will improve.

A healthy diet is important. Eat less of the starchy carbs, more fresh fruit & veg. Sports nutrition is a convenient substitute for real food - handy but not essential.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1965 posts]
19th December 2012 - 16:22

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Would agree with everything above; if you want to get quicker/better you need to enjoy riding (right equipment, clothing). Then do it as much as possible, there is a lot to be said for 'training smarter' but without good base mileage you will only go so far, even with the best coaching/technique. If you ride regularly, you will improve, then stop improving (plateau)... You then identify why you have stopped improving (usually not enough mileage) and on to the next plateau! I do not believe in short cuts, but, there is more to riding a bike than points and prizes. I just enjoy riding, despite the irritating minority of other road users who try to spoil my fun (and even when it is raining/windy). I find that I do not feel 'right' unless I get enough hours in. Now; its dark, wet, cold, windy and I need to get to work! F*** the car keys.....what can possibly go wrong? Joining the right club for you when you are ready is a great step forward.

posted by SideBurn [808 posts]
19th December 2012 - 18:22

2 Likes

racefaceec90 wrote:
thanks everyone for the replies Big Grin

i intend to start riding 2-3 times a week and just start to get my base fitness back. i will try and push myself once i feel fitter on the hills (try some fartlek training also).BUT as others here/on st replied,i will mostly be enjoying riding my bike Big Grin

Good for you mate.

Did you see my comment on your YouTube video about your bike in cycling plus btw?

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
19th December 2012 - 18:28

2 Likes

yes thanks Super Domestique Big Grin i have to agree with the review Wink the bike is great.the first thing i'm going to buy for it though is some clipless pedals/shoes,once i've finished paying it off (then some proper cycling gear Big Grin

posted by racefaceec90 [46 posts]
19th December 2012 - 18:41

2 Likes

Cool.

Not sure if you'll be on a budget or not but my first shoes were dhb and great vfm.

For pedals, I started with shimano rl540 spd sl which are also gray in the vfm stakes.

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
19th December 2012 - 18:48

2 Likes

Hi,
I had only ever commuted until this year. I signed up and did the Great Manchester Cycle 26 miles and will be doing longer Sportives next year. You should set yourself some targets SMALL targets.

Don't get a HRM, unless you are a pro or really keen the data won't mean anything. Just get a small bike computer like this:

http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/Pro-DIGI-5IVE-5-Functio...

bargain. Set it to Average speed, after 15 minutes down the road, every 0.1 is a point, push to increase your average.

I have a 40km route I do regularly and it can vary between 1h10 and 1h30 depending on the weather and traffic. I keep a note of the distance and speed, keep a dairy. Remember you are only trying to beat yourself, don't worry if you get overtaken. Get comfortable with the distance and watch your speed climb.

Find a nice route that takes you out into the country and avoids traffic and traffic lights(where are you?) 5 miles with no stops will really get you feeling like you are moving.

Save going further for next spring, if your rides is taking too long make it shorter and try to go faster. You do need to get your speed up first before going for long distances or you will be slogging away in the cold for hours without feeling any progress. Oh, yeah and think in kph, the smaller units will give you a boost.

Well done on quitting the fags; if you never touched your bike again you've already done the best thing you could ever do for your health. Er, but, do get on your bike.



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1294 posts]
19th December 2012 - 18:56

2 Likes

visit lvrc.org and download the training pages book (its free) but only start on intervals etc when you have a good base also go to the gym (or swimming pool) to get and increase core stability/strength and flexibility. This latter will assist with comfort and positioning and help you to recover from longer rides.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
20th December 2012 - 9:26

2 Likes

pepita1 wrote:
Get a heart rate monitor. Read "Time Crunched Cyclist" by Chris Carmichael. You need to build a base which is done by riding at low intensity and will help body to use oxygen efficiently.

A heart rate monitor and long, low intensity rides (65%-75% of threshold) is great advice. You'll find it really slow to start with but as your body improves efficiency you'll go faster and longer in the same heart rate zone, which will improve what you can do when you push yourself to higher intensity. As Greg LeMond put it, it never gets easier, you just go faster.

As well as long, low intensity rides, short bursts of very high intensity i.e. intervals are also great for improving your fitness. Most people without a training plan will naturally cycle in between those zones at a middle/high intensity and find it doesn't improve their fitness much and that they plateau.

I'd personally recommend the British Cycling sportive training plans that are part of the membership packages.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
20th December 2012 - 12:08

3 Likes

I'd say just ride your bike as much as possible. See where you can fit it in. If you can commute to work by bike then do it. It doesn't have to be every day. Make time for the bike wherever you can, even if it's just an hour here or there. Map out some routes that you enjoy and work things out so that the wind blows you home on the last bit if you can. There's no shortcut to success on this but if you stick with it the results will be clear to see come the summer. The more hours that you put in, the faster and fitter you will get. It is as simple as that. If you're ever in doubt about whether to go out just remember that there's no such thing as a bad turn of the pedals and that every minute you spend riding now will pay you back in improvements later in the year. Good luck and enjoy that new bike.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [312 posts]
20th December 2012 - 19:45

2 Likes

Have to agree with most of the comments above Smile

I had to get radical 18 months ago ....approaching 50 (too fast)' at least 4 stone over weight..!!
I sought advice from my LBS and invested in a decent hybrid..... and to make sure i kept to my own promise about cycling to work every day I SOLD my car.!!!!
(wifey has got one though....for the really wet days Smile )

Now nearly lost the weight on my 6 miles each way to work....bought bits of kit as I could afford...some cheap but good winter stuff via Aldi etc etc....

I haven't invested in a computer but time myself ( usually see the same people/cars at certain points on route but as I start out at 6am its dark...and country lanes for 4 miles)...I love it.

Might even invest in a 'proper' bike this year !

The advice and enthusiasm from the chaps here on Road.CC though is brilliant Smile

colhum1's picture

posted by colhum1 [98 posts]
21st December 2012 - 0:03

3 Likes

colhum1 wrote:
Have to agree with most of the comments above Smile

I had to get radical 18 months ago ....approaching 50 (too fast)' at least 4 stone over weight..!!
I sought advice from my LBS and invested in a decent hybrid..... and to make sure i kept to my own promise about cycling to work every day I SOLD my car.!!!!
(wifey has got one though....for the really wet days Smile )

Now nearly lost the weight on my 6 miles each way to work....bought bits of kit as I could afford...some cheap but good winter stuff via Aldi etc etc....

I haven't invested in a computer but time myself ( usually see the same people/cars at certain points on route but as I start out at 6am its dark...and country lanes for 4 miles)...I love it.

Might even invest in a 'proper' bike this year !

The advice and enthusiasm from the chaps here on Road.CC though is brilliant Smile

Thats great, nice one.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
21st December 2012 - 11:54

0 Likes

colhum1 wrote:
Have to agree with most of the comments above Smile

I had to get radical 18 months ago ....approaching 50 (too fast)' at least 4 stone over weight..!!
I sought advice from my LBS and invested in a decent hybrid..... and to make sure i kept to my own promise about cycling to work every day I SOLD my car.!!!!
(wifey has got one though....for the really wet days Smile )

Now nearly lost the weight on my 6 miles each way to work....bought bits of kit as I could afford...some cheap but good winter stuff via Aldi etc etc....

I haven't invested in a computer but time myself ( usually see the same people/cars at certain points on route but as I start out at 6am its dark...and country lanes for 4 miles)...I love it.

Might even invest in a 'proper' bike this year !

The advice and enthusiasm from the chaps here on Road.CC though is brilliant Smile

Applause Nice one - you know there will be all sorts of suggestions as to which new bike to go for when that time comes from all road.cc faithful!

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
21st December 2012 - 14:25

0 Likes

Get the saddle height right keep your tyres at the right p.s.i.and spin the cranks.A common mistake with new riders is pushing big gears while sitting low in the saddle,just to watch makes my knees hurt! Crying Don't shy from climbing just do it in an easy gear and the fitness gains will come fast.Cycling is all heart and lungs when your starting out your legs will improve by default

big mick

posted by big mick [178 posts]
21st December 2012 - 22:35

0 Likes

big mick wrote:
Get the saddle height right keep your tyres at the right p.s.i.and spin the cranks.A common mistake with new riders is pushing big gears while sitting low in the saddle,just to watch makes my knees hurt! Crying Don't shy from climbing just do it in an easy gear and the fitness gains will come fast.Cycling is all heart and lungs when your starting out your legs will improve by default

+1 for the big gears. I drove past a rider recently, I wanted to stop and tell him to change down! But I did not; I did not think it would go down too well Thinking

posted by SideBurn [808 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 10:21

0 Likes

Wise words Sir Velo

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 11:16

0 Likes

Big Grin

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1730 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 14:40

1 Like

colhum1 wrote:
Might even invest in a 'proper' bike this year !

Hey, you deserve one! Well done. Cool

Every person who writes here of how they took up cycling and has some measure of success - loses weight, completes a long charity ride or whatever - it's really cheering to read each story. To read how lives are changed or the pleasure each takes in the act of riding is such a terrific endorsement for cycling as healthy way to happiness. It really is great to read, and is a great antidote to some of the 'bad news' stories.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1965 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 17:38

1 Like

For sure cycling becomes a joy that nothing can match but getting bike fit takes time and people don't always reach the joy point.Every time some fool cuts me up in a car i pity them chasing their tale about watching football playing golf what a sad life and they think us cyclists are mad.What can you do?

big mick

posted by big mick [178 posts]
25th December 2012 - 0:27

0 Likes

Ride as often as you enjoy it. Push yourself and try new things.

I could tell you what worked for me, but it is finding what works for you is important.

Little story took up riding a few years ago to get fit to ride motorbikes again

Found I enjoyed cycling more. Never got a motorbike.

Also found the endorphins or whatever, released when riding meant I didn't need to keep taking anti-depressants.

I did have a heart attack cycling, but I look at it this way. One of the people I worked with, same age, same bad lifestyle (except I rode 50 to 100km per week) also had heart attack, he died, I didn't.

Change my lifestyle, stopped smoking, better food, lost 14kg & rode more (100 to 200km a week).

This year took up racing, I don't worry too much about what I eat , drink in moderation and ride (200 to 300km a week). I am fitter and lighter (I could do with losing 5kg for climbing purposes) than I have been for decades I am 52 .

Just bought myself a TT bike for christmas and today in TT mode rode 22km at 38kph. Then rode to the nearest decent coffee shop 12km away, it was closed so 8km to the next, got a coffee and rode home 40km.

I have come along was in 5 years and still have some distance to go.

posted by nickobec [260 posts]
26th December 2012 - 14:36

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I tried to get a decent level of fitness when i got into my late 30's, its hard work just exercising to get fit.
Never really progressed much to be honest.
I then lived in spain for 2 years where i discovered the joy of road cycling.
i started of on 15k runs which would take me about an hour 15. I then progressed to going further afield and low and behold i started getting fit as a by product of the amount of miles i was putting in.

If your main goal is to get fit and lose weight, just forget about all that other stuff for the time being.

Just get out on your bike, gradually increase the mileage/ time of ride and enjoy yourself. You WILL get fitter, you WILL lose weight. You wont even think about it, it will just happen.

Then when your fitness level is pretty good you can start looking at specific training or HR monitors or any of the other slightly more scientific methods.

Don't rush it though, going too hard too soon and it will feel more like a penance than a treat.

Cool

posted by stepho [102 posts]
26th December 2012 - 15:23

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