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Help with fitness/commute

whifbangwhifbang Posts: 4
edited August 2008 in Road beginners
Hello

I am a new user and wanted some advice. I need to lose some weight. I currently weigh around 122Kg. I have 2 bikes, a Scott Speedster S2 and a Specialized Enduro. My plan is to lose weight by cycling part of the way to work. I work in Oxford and am planning on cycling from Eynsham. This would mean a distance of about 11 miles each way and am worried that I may not be able to do that distance straight away. Does anyone have any suggestions of how to build up to that distance and an idea of time it may take?

The second part of my question is which bike to use. I can appreciate that I am a little on the heavy side and my Scott has a weight limit of 110Kg in the owners manual. Should I be using my Specialized to start off with? I understand that using an MTB for a commute is not the most energy efficient but I don't want to wreck my Scott either. I could always put slick tyres on my MTB to help.

Any help would be much appreciated. :wink:
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  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    With regards to the length of your commute, 11 miles is definitely doable, I jumped into 17miles each way on a mtb with slicks 6 days a week and was fine, but I was pretty fit. The main thing to worry about is keeping hydrated, so take plenty to drink. You should be able to maintain 18-25mph pretty easily so I'd leave about an hour to cycle in and recover.

    Cant help on the weight limits though.
  • 3wheeler3wheeler Posts: 110
    I suppose the best thing would be to do some trial runs at the weekend in similar conditions to see how you feel. Maybe do 5 miles, then 8 miles then 11, bear in mind your 11 to work is each way so 22 miles in one day could be quite a lot if you're not used to it.

    The other thing you could do is to commute on one day, drive the next to recover an so on, and then the following week only have one rest day aiming for no rest days when you feel up to it.

    Depending on whether you're pushed for time but the MTB may be good to begin with.

    If you want to lose weight then it's also really important to change your diet too. But that doens't just mean eating less. I'd suggest eaitng a good healthy breakfast of something like porridge to give you the energy you need for the morning ride, otherwise you'd get to work and be hungry and want to snack. Have a decent sized lunch, and take plenty of fruit to snack on during the day and then try to eat a meal pretty soon after getting home, preferably within an hour - that way the carbs will replenish the energy you used rather than be stored away as fat for use in the future.
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Why don't you go out a couple of times at the weekend first & get used to riding 10-15 miles.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • If you're not terrifically fit, and aren't all that used to cycling, 11 miles each way, every day, might be a strain. But you can always try it and see, no? If you're still alive after doing it for a week, it will probably be OK ;)

    But, to be honest, I wouldn't commute by bicycle if my goal was to improve my fitness, unless there were other advantages too.

    In the days when I did commute (it was about 12 miles each way, as I recall), I had huge muscular thighs like Conan and became very good at cycling up hills. But my overall fitness was still sh*t, because my ride was all stops and starts, and I couldn't maintain effort of much intensity. What's more, because I cycled in all sorts of horrible conditions, cycling became a chore rather than a pleasure.

    So, in my experience, you might get more benefit taking the train (or whatever) to work and then cycling longer runs at other times. Of course, there might be other advantages to cycling to work which, taken together, make it a good idea.

    PS. What little research there is on this subject suggests that suburban commuting cyclists travel at an _average_ speed of 12-15mph (allowing for traffic lights, etc). So you might expect an 11-mile journey to take 45-55 minutes. But, of course, this will depend a lot on weather, traffic, etc.
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    You should be able to maintain 18-25mph pretty easily...

    Once again, I'm amazed (and humbled) by some of the average speeds quoted. I won't reproduce the thread I started in this section, but I can just make 16 mph over 25 miles. I think the range you quote is very demanding unless I'm a pretty poor cyclist, or missing something on technique.
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • elliebellieb Posts: 436
    I agree on the unrealistic average speeds. 10 -12 mph is a pretty good average to start with over 11 miles. You'd need to allow an hour. While commuting wouldn't be the ultimate in getting fit,it is certainly good for burning a few calories, so I say go for it on the mtb but take it easy & don't get disheartened.
  • robrauyrobrauy Posts: 252
    Also agree..

    18-25mph average for someone new to commuting just isn't right..
  • daver1daver1 Posts: 78
    Is 25 mph for a commute realistic for anyone if they are in town and obeying traffic rules? I commute about 15 miles in just under an hour in Sydney. Sydney is very hilly - I could manage close to 20 mph when i commuted in London so imagine that getting close to 25 mph is possible but wouldn't expect that many people would find it easy!
  • Gr.uBGr.uB Posts: 145
    DaveR1 wrote:
    Is 25 mph for a commute realistic for anyone if they are in town and obeying traffic rules? I commute about 15 miles in just under an hour in Sydney.

    If you had a Commodore full of bogans behind you, with beer cans ready to chuck I reckon you would get 25mph easy :D
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Gr.uB

    and in English please?
  • top_bhoytop_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    robrauy wrote:
    Also agree..

    18-25mph average for someone new to commuting just isn't right..

    Another in agreement - I'm happy to do 18-25mph when I am fit!!
  • whifbangwhifbang Posts: 4
    Thank for the info. The security at the building I work in will not let me take a bike past the security gates (miserable gits). I would have to leave my bike in the bike racks provided. I don't fancy leaving either bike in the racks. Can any of you recommend a cheapish bike for my commute and some good locks?

    Cheers! :oops:
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    At nearly 20 stone you're going to find a 22 mile commute 5 days a week very hard to begin with, if not impossible. Try aiming for 2 to 3 times a week to begin with. That way you won't hate cycling by the end of the 2nd week.

    With regard to average speeds and duration of ride, just take as long as it takes. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes you over an hour to start with. Some of the speeds being thrown about are laughable. My maths may be wrong but if you were able to do 11 miles at an average of 25mph, that would be a 24 minute 10 mile TT, which a lot of (most)experienced cyclists couldn't manage!!
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I'm moderately fit (for a commuter, not for a racer) and 25mph is my absolute top speed with a 20mph tailwind on the flat. 19-20mph is my cruising speed in neutral conditions, and 14-16mph, depending on wind and traffic, is my average speed when commuting.
  • Gr.uBGr.uB Posts: 145
    keef66 wrote:
    Gr.uB

    and in English please?

    Dave is in Australia though, hence the Aussie lingo.

    Bogans are generally rather rough types. Over here we would probably call them thugs or chavs. Chuck is another way of throwing something and a Commodore is a version of General Motors Holden - Vauxhall - model quite commonly used by Bogans. :D
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Thanks for the translation. Probably get 25mph out of me in similar circumstances.
  • W5454W5454 Posts: 133
    Peddle Up! wrote:
    You should be able to maintain 18-25mph pretty easily...

    Once again, I'm amazed (and humbled) by some of the average speeds quoted. I won't reproduce the thread I started in this section, but I can just make 16 mph over 25 miles. I think the range you quote is very demanding unless I'm a pretty poor cyclist, or missing something on technique.

    I think the technical term is "Willy Waving" :wink:
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Anyone that claims that they are doing their commute with an average of 25 mph is lying. Plain and simple.
  • I've recently started commuting to work after not being on a bike for 25 years. It's a 5 mile round trip.

    The first day I had to stop twice as I was totally knackered. When I got to work my face was almost purple. I've been doing it for almost a month now and it's been getting slightly easier. 11 miles each way would be almost impossible for me.

    I took the 'long' way back last night which was 6 miles, instead of 2½. I was finished after that and probably close to heart failure :)

    My average speed is normally between 12 & 13mph. I agree with what others have said, that you should start slowly and build it up. The distance you're talking about is beyond my capabilities at this time.

    Richie.
  • SwannieSwannie Posts: 107
    Anyone that claims that they are doing their commute with an average of 25 mph is lying. Plain and simple.

    What if my commute TO work was 3miles down a 5% hill. Even with traffic lights, I could maintain 30mph ;-)

    The way back... well... significantly slower ;-)
  • whifbangwhifbang Posts: 4
    Thanks for the replies. I think I will start doing 5 miles a day just to get used to the saddle again when I get in from work and build up from there. Hopefully it will not take to long before my fitness starts to improve. :wink:
  • Denny69Denny69 Posts: 206
    whifbang wrote:
    Hello

    I am a new user and wanted some advice. I need to lose some weight. I currently weigh around 122Kg.

    I work in Oxford and am planning on cycling from Eynsham. This would mean a distance of about 11 miles each way and am worried that I may not be able to do that distance straight away. Does anyone have any suggestions of how to build up to that distance and an idea of time it may take?

    Any help would be much appreciated. :wink:

    I know where you're coming from whifbang as I'm about 120 - 125Kg myself. The best thing to do is commit to cycle all the way but give yourself plenty of time for the ride. Plan for an hour or so for the ride with say 30 - 45 mins to cool down/shower/get changed at work. Don't pressure your self, enjoy your ride. Get a cycle computer/diary so you can log your times and see the improvements over time, I did this and it's a real buzz when you see the times coming down. Also get some padded shorts or a gel seat or gel seat cover...believe me you'll be thankful :wink:

    I've only been road riding since October last year...and now I can cover 10 miles in 35 - 40 mins.....so if I can do it so can you!!!

    You'll have to keep posting to let us know how you get on. :D
    Heaven kicked me out and Hell was too afraid I'd take over!!!

    Fighting back since 1975!!

    Happy riding

    Denny
  • Funnily enough I did my best ever average speed on my commute at 5.30 this morning, I did the 10 miles from Morden to Mayfair in 34mins & 50secs, averaging 17.2 mph (according to the Garmin).

    With all the stopping and starting and bleary eyed mini cab drivers all over the place, and in as near perfect conditions as you will ever get on this particular commute, I reckon you would be struggling to hope for much better than that. The best that I ever do on weekdays is 15.5, but usually 14 - 14.5

    I too am a big heavy fella, I started commuting daily about 18 months ago, I first made sure that I could do the distance by going out at the weekend and clocking up the mileage, before finding out the hard way on the Monday morning that it was too much.

    It was the best thing that I have done in a long, long time. I'm now a cycling nut, love riding have spent a fortune on bikes, and clock up 150/200 miles a week, I feel fantastic for it, though a little surprised that I'm still a biggun, must do something about the diet next
    weight.png
  • It was the best thing that I have done in a long, long time. I'm now a cycling nut, love riding have spent a fortune on bikes, and clock up 150/200 miles a week, I feel fantastic for it, though a little surprised that I'm still a biggun, must do something about the diet next

    The harsh reality is that cycling, particularly in commuting conditions, is unlikely to consume more than about 500 calories per hour, which one can easily replace by eating an extra sandwich :(

    The even harsher reality is that, the more you cycle and become skilled at it, the few calories per hour you will consume, even at the same speed.

    In practice, very few people who are overweight are able to control their weight by exercise alone. Ain't biology a censored ? ;)
  • Gr.uBGr.uB Posts: 145
    That is why perhaps lengthening the commute and doing some LSD training and watching your HR would pay off.
    It did for me.
    Back down to the weight I was 20 years ago.
  • I'm liking the sound of LSD training, last time I did any of that was back in 1980 at a Hawkwind gig.

    It's funny how these things come around again :wink:
    weight.png
  • The even harsher reality is that, the more you cycle and become skilled at it, the few calories per hour you will consume, even at the same speed.
    Huh? Which law of thermodynamics are we breaking today?

    If you ride at the same power (speed) then the number of calories you use in an hour is exactly the same.

    And the fitter you become, the higher the average power you can sustain and hence you burn more calories per hour (energy = power x time). If being fitter shortens the duration of your ride, you just take a detour.
  • wheelermukwheelermuk Posts: 15
    If you ride at the same power (speed) then the number of calories you use in an hour is exactly the same.

    hi alex
    i understand the e=pt concept, but say you go on a ten mile ride in a given time and power, and you do exactly the same route say a week later at the same time and power but it feels easier, what physiological changes are occuring to make the ride feel easier?

    thanks
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    whifbang wrote:
    Thanks for the replies. I think I will start doing 5 miles a day just to get used to the saddle again when I get in from work and build up from there. Hopefully it will not take to long before my fitness starts to improve. :wink:

    That's your best bet, in a few weeks you'll be up for the comute.

    Maybe even try the route, or parts of the route to work on a Sunday to get used to it. Even if you have to get a lift one way it won't matter because it's Sunday and you'll manage fine when you do it in the week.

    Remeber, the people at work who make comments about it are the ones sat on their backsides doing nothing
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • The even harsher reality is that, the more you cycle and become skilled at it, the few calories per hour you will consume, even at the same speed.
    Huh? Which law of thermodynamics are we breaking today?

    If you ride at the same power (speed) then the number of calories you use in an hour is exactly the same.

    I'm talking about commuting, not race training. Most commuters do not cycle at constant power, or even constant heart rate. They cycle at whatever speed the traffic and conditions happen to allow on a particular day.

    So as you train, if your body weight decreases, then the amount of energy required to maintain a particular speed decreases.

    No laws of thermodynamics are being broken, so far as I can see.

    Of course you can lengthen the route to increase the duration of exercise, but my experience is that, if you cycle for transport, particular in the city, it's surprisingly difficult to do that. City cycling is not particular agreeable (in my opinion) and I wouldn't want to do more of it than I had to.

    That's why I'd rather get the bus to work and cycle in the evenings.
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