How unfit were you at the

KevinMcC Posts: 95
edited July 2009 in Road beginners
Hi all you cycling lads, lasses and gender unknowns (too much riding on a bad saddle can have funny effects down there so I have heard)

Anyway, been reading and not posting on this forum for a while now in the build up to me getting a bike and I was wondering something.
Just got a very basic road bike after years of on and off short runs on a 20 stone (or so it seemed) mountain bike that was 10 years old and buggered beyond redemtion.

Sorry, rambling, back to my point (yes I do have one). How unfit were you at the start? I am 6ft and weigh 13stone 5 at last count, which is the heaviest I have ever been. five years of office work and no exercise have left me out of breath climbing a set of stairs. Alas due to family ill health and work commitments (not to mention a love of Guinness) I have the stamina of an asthmatic ninety year old.

I want to change this, hence the bike. Any of you lot in/used to be in a similar situation where you have limited time to devote to getting healthy and fit and all that jazz? Whats the best way to maximise your riding, intervals or just riding?

I do love just coasting admiring the view but thats not really going to cut much off my rapidly expanding waist! So, any advice, inspiring stories or feel free to point and laugh and say serves you right you pie eating drunkard! (Any abuse will possibly spur me on, or possible drive me to despair and I will have these 10 magners I have in the fridge and phone a curry but its worth a shot!)


  • fletch8928
    fletch8928 Posts: 794
    erm coasting!! you have to have gone and ridden up a hill to then be able to coast and admire the views.

    I passed a lad coasting yesterday on the A169 he was pointing down to whitby and was just past goathland (Aidensfield) road end and the view was fantastic, i also guessed he had been up and down some great big hills so he deserved to be taking in the views

    Go for a ride and then have the magners and curry.
    fly like a mouse, run like a cushion be the small bookcase!
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Hi, KevinMcC, and welcome!
    KevinMcC wrote:
    I want to change this, hence the bike. Any of you lot in/used to be in a similar situation where you have limited time to devote to getting healthy and fit and all that jazz? Whats the best way to maximise your riding, intervals or just riding?
    I was in a similar position at the start: Long hours at work meant a diet of takeaways / ready meals and years of smoking / drinking put me close to death's door. I bought a bike because my car fell apart.

    Commuting to and from work was my re-introduction to cycling and is probably the most efficient way to include getting fit into a busy life. As I became fitter I started going out with the local pootlers once a month, then some longer CTC rides. Build cycling into your life, eg. need something from the supermarket? Jump on the bike to go and get it. Visiting friends? ----> bike! etc.

    In the beginning, just go out and enjoy your cycling. Sowly increase the distance and explore the local area. As you get fitter intervals are probably the way to go depending on which type of cycling you want to do. Have a look in the training forum for training plans.

    When I started, I had a 2 1/2 miles to the train station and 1 1/2 miles to work. When I arrived at the station my legs were seizing up - a few years later I cycled across Canada with the Tour du Canada (4 700 miles). I'd never dreamt that such a thing was possible.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • geoff_ss
    geoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    Not very.

    My wife and I were racing small sail boats and needed to get fit so one evening I called in at Mercian's shop and had a look at what was available. The following day we bought a couple of gas-pipe framed 5 speed 'racers' - a Viking for me and a Falcon for her and started getting fit.

    After uprating the wheels (I taught myself wheel-building first) and fitting double chain sets we did our first tour of Normandy the following September 6 months or so later. Now, even 30+ years later I can't believe the hills we walked up at the beginning but we persevered and both got reasonably fit. We even got enthusiastic. Eventually I got fit enough to cycle 27 miles a day to work and back which helped a lot.

    Take heart - all you need is miles in your legs and they don't need to be hard miles to start with. We couldn't believe it when we managed over 30 miles for a day ride never mind our first 200km Audax on our tandem. Just keep plugging away and fitness will inevitably result. We didn't start until we were in our mid 30s - if we managed it, anyone can.

    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Two years ago I went out on a £30 catalogue MTB and tried to ride 6 miles, at the end of it I puked my guts up. This year I have done 2 century rides and have plans to do at least 3 more, a sub 27 minute 10mile TT and can average 19 mph pretty much as and when I like. The secret, none, just go out and ride and ride and ride until things get better. Joining a club when your a bit fitter will also help. I'm 46 yo and started out at 15 stone and 5'10", now down to 13 stone. Good luck, most of all have fun doing it.
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    10 years ago I had my 40th birthday and a trip to the doctors after a minor accident, I was told I was nearly 2 stone over weight, my blood pressure was just below that needing medication and my cholesterol level was high. Oh and I drank too much .Doing my family tree I noted all my male direct ancestors had died in their early 50s of heart attacks.
    I took stock and 10 years on I'm doing hilly sportives in just under gold time and a bit of racing at Croft. My weight is now normal as is my blood pressure and cholesterol level.
    Don't start doing special training, just get on the bike and ride slowly, enjoy it, the rest will come when you get the bug, it's like a drug, beware :lol:

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Mothyman
    Mothyman Posts: 655
    I'm 5ft11in, 14stone, got my road bike a month ago - have doen about 15 ten milers but no time to do longer rides... my weight hasnt budged...I assume you guys had to do more miles per week to get the first feeling of fitness?
  • fatgit
    fatgit Posts: 166
    I'm 6'3" and was a little over15 st when I got my bike earlier this year, I'm now still 6'3" but 14st 7lb and completed the London - Cambridge earlier today :) . My suggestion would be (assuming you eat a fairly healthy diet) eat slightly smaller portions (just enough that you don't feel any less full when you've finished) and get out on your bike, weight will start to fall, muscle will replace fat and you'll feel better in yourself.
  • Mothyman
    Mothyman Posts: 655
    just spat out the 2nd donut and will be cycling to work tomorrow..cheers
    will let you all know when feeling fitter
  • Piersy Boy
    Piersy Boy Posts: 60
    I agree with the Guinness!

    Enuf sed!

    Piersy Boy
  • MontyCC
    MontyCC Posts: 46
    Got a catalogue MTB on a BOGOF offer for £100 :roll: and cycling the 2 miles to the train station left me feeling I was gonna have a heart attack! Now I've done 50+ mile rides.
    Not there yet but getting there slowly but surely!
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Mothyman wrote:
    just spat out the 2nd donut and will be cycling to work tomorrow..cheers
    will let you all know when feeling fitter

    ... erm... if you're not going to finish it ... um ... there's a good 20 miles in one of those things, you know ...
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I'm 5'8", with a weak left leg that has limited ankle strength and movement

    When I was 39, I'm 44 now, I was nearly 14 stone!

    The I had shingles and took it as a warning, got my old MTB out and the first few miles nearly killed meI but I built it up.

    I've done the South Downs Way, MTB with my mates and I can keep up under most conditions

    On my roadie I'll do 15 miles of an evening (weather permitting) a couple of times a week and usually a 30 mile + at the weekend.

    Sometimes I'll go off roading, to stay used to that, variety is good!

    60 miles isn't a big problem for charity rides etc

    I'm 11stone 11 pounds, it's still coming off gradually

    Food wise I watch what I eat, but am not a martyer to it, smaller food portions are key

    My blood presure etc is spot on

    It works and I still enjoy it

    Giving it Large
  • Hi
    Great question..47 yo 5'8" 14.5 stone of the wrong sort of flesh - had to have a lie down after half a mile my first time out - lots of inhaler and shaking body. Thought any chance at fitness was gone after breaking both achilles tendons... but .. a couple of years on and a mix of mountain and road bike...

    I can ride up that hill and zoom along for about 20 miles no problems - getting better at steeper hills and longer distances.

    It is worth sticking at and not expecting amazing results but riding at least twice a week does the business.

    good luck
  • benno68
    benno68 Posts: 1,689
    I got a bike on my 40th birthday at the end of October and weighed around 15st (I'm 6ft), my fitness was poor so I started cycling into work and back (5 miles each way).

    I now weigh about 13.5st (still overweight I know) and I cycle most days into work about 20 miles a day and I usually go the harder way home. I feel much better for the excercise and I just love cycling, it's a shame that work gets in the way.

    I try to get out on Sunday mornings and do 25 to 45 miles which I wouldn't have thought possible 6 months ago.

    Just enjoy it! Your ability to do a greater distance and higher speed will come in time, at least that's what I tell myself :)

    Pinarello Dogma 2 (ex Team SKY) 2012
    Cube Agree GTC Ultegra 2012
    Giant Defy 105 2009
  • Marko1962
    Marko1962 Posts: 320
    I came from a very unfit background following a kidney transplant in 2005 aged 43. Early last year following a lot of advice to get fit I decided upon cycling as my chosen activity, I bought a hybrid and was absolutely kernackered first time out around the block. I took it easy going out every other day and after a couple of weeks managed 6 miles, a great milestone. :shock:

    Lots of new milestones where soon achieved, 10 miles then 20. I got the cycling bug and bought myself a Focus road bike and anyway to cut a long story short, 50 - 70 mile weekend rides are now the norm with my first 100 miler soon on its way. So far this year I have participated in the Cheshire Cat and although I walked lots of the hills it was a great ride. I did the LCL 90 miler last month (actually 86 miles) and that was a breeze except for a bit of cramp towards the end (lack of fluid).

    So during the last 18 months I have lost about a stone in weight and am still losing weight, i'm down to 173 lbs now at 5'10", don't want to lose any more I'm looking too thin now. I can now climb hills that not long ago I was walking and the hills I could climb with great difficulty I now hardly feel them. 50 to 70 mile w/e rides are the norm now with a couple of 20 milers during the week. My miles have really improved over the last year something I never thought would happen...

    I walked up Mow Cop in the Cheshire Cat last March but with my riding buddy are revisiting the route next week and expect to ride most of the hills without putting a foot down, thats the next challenge...

    Thats my story to fitness so far :wink:
  • Surf-Matt
    Surf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Errrmm - quite fit. Won an off road Sprint tri two months before getting my road bike...

    Not sure if that's allowed though?!
  • ARob
    ARob Posts: 143
    did a lot of cycling until the kids came along - then nothing for a few years until i got a road bike. first ride was flat adn 8 miles long. i stopped twice for a rest and came back having averaged less than 16 mph (moving time). 2 years later and 1-2 rides/ weeks have done 100 mile sportives and just done a 30 miler at 20 mph so it can be done, even at nearly 40.. just keep now at it, it is worth the effort.
  • KevinMcC
    KevinMcC Posts: 95
    Good to know I am not the only one!

    Must admit, my bike handling is pretty poor and this wind and rain on these bloody skinny wheels is causing me to give thanks its dark shorts I have on, hides evidence of how much I am cacking it in a strong cross wind!
  • LeighB
    LeighB Posts: 326
    Once upon a time not so very long ago (well ok it was 25 years) I did a bit of cycling and competed in a few time trials. As soon as I could afford to I started racing motorbikes and other than riding a short distance to work cycling was a thing of the past.
    Mortgage, marriage and children put an end to the motorbike racing then a change of job meant I had a van to drive to and from work; I was heading for a very sedentary (unhealthy) lifestyle.
    About five years ago I bought a supermarket mountain bike to ride with the children and started to have little rides out in the evenings on my own. My first rides were about 3 miles with a hill and I was in the lowest gear of a mountain bike finding it hard work; I was shocked with how unfit I had become. I gradually increased my mileage and three years ago bought a road bike; I found I was really enjoying my rides and could not wait for the weekend’s so I could get out in the morning for a few hours. When winter came I was terrified I would miss out on my rides so got fitted up with mudguards, wrapped up and carried on.
    I did not set out with any competitive urge I just enjoyed the country side (could be some kind of mid life thing) and my improving fitness. Whilst looking at the internet one day I came across an article about someone’s experience of riding ‘The Marmotte’ and thought I would like to have a go at completing a challenge like that; but could not justify going off on a jolly to France and leaving the family. I found a new ‘Sportive’ ride was being organised by my old cycling club so decided to enter; after completing the ride the inevitable happened and from the initial challenge of completing the course I then wanted to improve my times and standard in the results.
    In a few years I have gone from struggling up a short hill on a three mile ride to finishing the ‘Fred Whitton Challenge’ under eight hours. Ye Olde Sayings ‘’to finish first first you must finish’’ and ‘’ its not where you start its where you finish’’. Go out, enjoy yourself and before you know it you will be faster and fitter than you could have imagined.
  • Gustibus
    Gustibus Posts: 12
    I started commuting 17 miles each day about 18 months ago (when I was 38 ) after 15 years of no exercise, smoking and eating too much rubbish. Starting doing road distances at the weekend 5 months ago. Did my first metric century about 3 months ago and my first 100mile a couple of weeks back. In the meantime I've come down to 11st 10 from 13t 7 and taken about 20 points off my resting heart rate. Wish I'd started cycling years ago but better late than never :D
  • Woodchip
    Woodchip Posts: 205
    Having been off the MTB after breaking my elbow in two places 15 months ago (now pinned and wired but still gives me a lot of pain) I thought I'd be very unfit.

    I've started out with short training rides to start with and managed a 15 mile ride (two laps in my rather hilly home town on the South Downs) in just over an hour. Maybe I'm not as unfit as I thought I was.

    More shocking to me was my heart rate. It barely jumped above 80% and when it did it was only at the end of a couple of longish climps. My cadence is very much that of an MTB rider and is averaging about 75. Work on that and this whole road riding think is gonna be a breeze (he says in jest).
    I have nothing more to say on the matter.