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Absolute Beginner after advice

willowswillows Posts: 3
edited March 2009 in Road beginners
Hi :)
I've just bought a bike with the ultimate intention of cycling to work (it's roughly 7 miles each way).
However, I am very unfit and a couple of stones overweight. I haven't cycled in years and want to build my fitness up before I start commuting on the bike. At the moment, I don't do any proper exercise either so when I say unfit, I really mean it :wink:
Can anyone point me in the direction of a good programme I could follow that would help me work up towards my commute distance?

What sort of time should I be aiming to do this commute in? At the moment, it takes me about 25 - 40 mins to drive to work depending on traffic.

Any advice is appreciated.

Posts

  • LeighBLeighB Posts: 326
    I am not sure if any specific training programs exist but my advice would be to start off with a few short rides and just keep gradually increasing the distance. Rule of thumb is don’t exceed your longest distance by more than 10% and remember to rest . The importance of rest is often neglected, to get stronger we are using our muscles and this breaks them down; rest lets the tissues repair and grow back stronger (I’m not too scientific but its something like that). The biggest mistake I have made is not taking a basic tool kit to repair a puncture and having to walk miles home (this was pre mobile phones), I now take a mobile and a few pounds for emergency pies/cakes/sandwiches/drinks. Regarding the time issue I would see what time it takes for you to cover the distance and set off to work in plenty of time so you allow for problems that can arise i.e. punctures.
  • carefulcareful Posts: 720
    Good advice from LeighB. Progress takes time and you will probably only stick with it if you enjoy it. Therefore it is best not to push yourself too hard at first, and maybe avoid going out on wet or very cold days at first Four or five flattish miles might be a good start. Eventually you will probably be able to do the commute in 30 min or less. Reaching this level may take several months. Weight will be slow to shift at first, but as your range gets greater you will notice the difference. Main thing is - enjoy it!!
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,163
    Comutting is a great way to get fit ....it also saves time and money .....a few tips

    Get decent shorts, Gloves, - take a drink...

    get as much stuff to work the day before - less to carry

    Easter is coming up - this would a great time to start - no school traffic on the roads

    Don't go for more than twice a week at first , as others have said !
  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    The time it should take you is a hard question to answer, as we all have different levels of fitness. Also, your time over a ride of that length can be greatly affected by traffic lights, etc. Why not ride it at the weekend to give yourself some idea of your time. Then you can factor this in to your plans for the commute.

    Good luck - and enjoy!
  • gtitimgtitim Posts: 225
    +1 for what bobtbuilder said. Just try riding it one weekend. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly you can do it.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    As others have said, just start riding. Perhaps try heading out along a railway track, go as far as you can to work out your own endurance and then take the train back? Or head out having arranged for someone to come out and pick you up in a car when you can't go any further.

    You're probably fitter than you think. 7 miles is not that far. Just head out at a slow steady pace and slowly build up. I used to smoke up to 25 fags a day and was a stone or 2 over, now I cycle up to about 130 miles per week. When I started I didn't bother building up, I just started cycling and steadily increased pace and distance. My legs and backside hurt a lot to start with, but you soon get used to it.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • eel28eel28 Posts: 6
    As others have said, just start riding. Perhaps try heading out along a railway track, go as far as you can to work out your own endurance and then take the train back? Or head out having arranged for someone to come out and pick you up in a car when you can't go any further.

    You're probably fitter than you think. 7 miles is not that far. Just head out at a slow steady pace and slowly build up. I used to smoke up to 25 fags a day and was a stone or 2 over, now I cycle up to about 130 miles per week. When I started I didn't bother building up, I just started cycling and steadily increased pace and distance. My legs and backside hurt a lot to start with, but you soon get used to it.

    best keep a good look out for trains :lol:
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    eel28 wrote:
    As others have said, just start riding. Perhaps try heading out along a railway track, go as far as you can to work out your own endurance and then take the train back? Or head out having arranged for someone to come out and pick you up in a car when you can't go any further.

    You're probably fitter than you think. 7 miles is not that far. Just head out at a slow steady pace and slowly build up. I used to smoke up to 25 fags a day and was a stone or 2 over, now I cycle up to about 130 miles per week. When I started I didn't bother building up, I just started cycling and steadily increased pace and distance. My legs and backside hurt a lot to start with, but you soon get used to it.

    best keep a good look out for trains :lol:

    You know what I mean!! :wink:
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • fatbloke8fatbloke8 Posts: 36
    Willows,

    My forum name and the amount of posts I have made should indicate that I share your pain. Just build up slowly and follow the good advice the other posters have said and just get out and do it, you will surprise yourself and may find that the 7 mile commute is not as daunting as it sounds. I recently stopped smoking circa 20 fags a day, I am overweight at 14&1/2 stone and 5'11 :oops: , didn't really do much exercise apart from walking, and decided that for my first proper ride it would be a good idea to cycle from Thorpe bay via Chalkwell to Rayleigh (if you know the area, if not, it is along a flat sea front then slight hills leading back to Rayleigh) about twelve miles (didn't seem that long in the car :roll: ).

    Yes I was tired at the end and I had to walk the bike up a hill towards the end, but I recovered fairly quickly and surprised myself. I was on a Halfords cheapie bouncy mountain bike (still looking for my road bike) and done it in about 50-55 mins. (not quick by these guys standards but I was chuffed I actually made it)

    Good luck
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,163
    fatbloke8 wrote:
    Willows,

    My forum name and the amount of posts I have made should indicate that I share your pain. Just build up slowly and follow the good advice the other posters have said and just get out and do it, you will surprise yourself and may find that the 7 mile commute is not as daunting as it sounds. I recently stopped smoking circa 20 fags a day, I am overweight at 14&1/2 stone and 5'11 :oops: , didn't really do much exercise apart from walking, and decided that for my first proper ride it would be a good idea to cycle from Thorpe bay via Chalkwell to Rayleigh (if you know the area, if not, it is along a flat sea front then slight hills leading back to Rayleigh) about twelve miles (didn't seem that long in the car :roll: ).

    Yes I was tired at the end and I had to walk the bike up a hill towards the end, but I recovered fairly quickly and surprised myself. I was on a Halfords cheapie bouncy mountain bike (still looking for my road bike) and done it in about 50-55 mins. (not quick by these guys standards but I was chuffed I actually made it)

    Good luck

    Great post.
  • willowswillows Posts: 3
    :D Thanks for all your replies; they have been really helpful and encouraging!
    Unfortunately, I am away now at a work conference until the end of the week but will definitely be getting out on the bike at the weekend.

    Thanks again!
  • If i was you, dont think too much how long it should take, just cycle. Push as hard as you feel comfortable to start with and you will soon see your average speed goes up. Your speed/time will vary from day to day dependant on weather, traffic, and wether or not you were on the ale the night before :)
  • markmodmarkmod Posts: 501
    Hi Willows,

    I have been through your same journey (no pun intended) I was unfit and slightly overweight. I decided to cycle to work, a distance of 7 miles (as yours is)

    I did a number of runs out on my MTB gradually increasing the mileage, and after a couple of weeks felt confident of a run out to the office. I gave myself a whole hour - so no pressure to get there fast, and just took my time. I got there in half an hour, pedaling most of the time and freewheeling down to rest on the hills. I continued maybe for a couple of months, pedaling harder/ faster and getting there faster and faster if possible.

    I then bought a road bike (two infact- winter and summer!) and have been riding regularly most days I can. Recently i decided i needed a holiday and decided on a biking holiday in Majorca.

    Teaming up with a much fitter group whilst away (i went on my own- partner had work commitments) i was pushed to greater and greater distances over the week.

    One day I actually did 70 MILES!! If you had said I could have ridden 70 miles in a day a couple of months ago I would have thought you had lost your mind- no way could i have done 70 miles.

    All this goes to show you, if you build up to it slowly, don't over do it, the sky's the limit.

    I reckon cycling is a real hook- I won't be riding tomorrow (work commitments) I already have the withdraw symptoms!!
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