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first proper ride. opinions and questions

oliver261oliver261 Posts: 11
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
got my road bike last summer on a whim but used it v infrequently (when i could overcome idleness) on the same route in a pancake flat part of hampshire.

i now live in around loch lomond, scotland and im trying to get fit. seeing as ive put so much money into cycling, i feel it should play a large role. just thought id post some thoughts, and look to get a few questions answered.

i did 35km and have noticed that scotland is bloody hilly. even on a compact in first gear i was ground almost to a halt. it became immediately apparent that i am the country's weakest cyclist. the lack of power in my legs only matched by the weakness of my back. which is incidentally, cripplingly inflexible. the wind was also a major new feature. i couldnt believe how much i was getting buffeted about as the rolling hills exposed the roads i was on.

and the roads, they might as well just use cobbles. my feet were killing me due to vibration. or they would have been had my freezing cold toes not distracted me.

positively. the views are fantastic (i think this will change when the dreary grey resumes), the roads are quiet, there are no traffic lights to stop at, and my assos shorts are v comfortable.


a few questions.

what tyre would you recommend for softening the roads im on shimano rs eighty rims and vittoria rubino 700-23 tyres atm.

are there any exercises i might not have come across in a normal gym routine for cycling (going to get back to the gym after 18 months of complete idleness).

has anyone taken any cycling coaching as a beginner? i presume its good to get an efficient position/technique from the start. but i dont know if coaches are worth it just for those competing?

cheers for any feedback.

oliver

Posts

  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    edited November 2009
    Hi Oliver,

    A lot of the problems you encountered are ones common to any new cyclist or one returning to the sport.

    Basically your doing something your body isn’t used to and therefore isn’t very good at. The plus side of this is that as a newbie, you can make big improvements very quickly.

    The best advice you can get at this stage is to get out and ride whenever possible. There are specific training exercises you can do such as interval training (which makes you faster), but I would leave these until next Spring. In the meantime, ride as much as you can. Find a local hill that is difficult and time yourself up it. Ride it once per week / fortnight and keep timing yourself up it. You may be pleasantly surprised how quickly you start to knock chunks off it.

    As for the gym, I suggest doing some core exercises and maybe some lower back exercises, such as hyperextensions, if you feel your back is a weak point. It’s my opinion that gym work for legs only has a minimal benefit for cycling. For example, squats may give you bigger thighs, but even a high rep set of 25 reps is nothing compared to climbing out of the saddle for 3-4 minutes, which even at a 60 RPM cadence would be 180-240 reps!

    It's a tough time of year to be starting out, so don't lose heart!

    EDIT: Decent bike shops often offer a bike fit service for £50 - £100 if you are really concerned about your position.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Keep pedalling staedy mate, train and rest well and get some good nutrition and hydration. Keep it up. :wink:
  • thanks for the replies and encouragement.

    ill stick to what your saying and use cycling as a leg workout rather than the gym.

    ive got a good log going to see if im improving in the short term and have set myself a long term goal for a long distance cycle between family houses for the summer.

    as for nutrition, i think that might me a stumbling block. i struggle to walk past a chippy.

    anyone got any recommendations on the tyre front. i understand that my rims use 700C (19C-28C) clincher tyres. would picking a wider tyre at the same pressure ([email protected] 7-10bar) soften the ride significantly. or should i be looking at something that operates at a lower pressure

    cheers
  • teagarteagar Posts: 2,100
    oliver261 wrote:
    thanks for the replies and encouragement.

    ill stick to what your saying and use cycling as a leg workout rather than the gym.

    ive got a good log going to see if im improving in the short term and have set myself a long term goal for a long distance cycle between family houses for the summer.

    as for nutrition, i think that might me a stumbling block. i struggle to walk past a chippy.

    anyone got any recommendations on the tyre front. i understand that my rims use 700C (19C-28C) clincher tyres. would picking a wider tyre at the same pressure ([email protected] 7-10bar) soften the ride significantly. or should i be looking at something that operates at a lower pressure

    cheers

    No need to have more than 7 bar.

    If you're finding the vibration particularly bad in your hands etc, you could always try double wrapping your grip-tape or getting some gel pads that sit underneath the tape.
    Note: the above post is an opinion and not fact. It might be a lie.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    first, you luck devil living there for cycling. its a much laboured point but get the rpm up. you dont have to go mad. seems unatural to start but biggest begginer mistake.saw a man yesterday riding racer in jeans straining at about 40 rpm.no good.riding will do more good than any gym to lower body i think.
  • ill try 7 bar (the min pressure) on my current tyre's tomorrow and see how it feels. ive always pumped them up to 8.5-9 ish previously.

    then see how i get on and then assess buying new tyres. ill be on the lookout for a good LBS (still not familiar with the area up here) and see what they have to say on the matter.

    i think ill do some short, sprint sessions in the hills during the week. then try longer rides on the flat over the weekend. in order to establish a base level of fitness. then assess it again in the new year.

    cheers

    Oliver
  • dawebbodawebbo Posts: 456
    The 23mm tyres are what most people ride. I use 110-120psi, not sure what this is in bar. You want to be careful about having the pressure too low, as it can lead to pinch flats.

    The strongest recommendation I can give is to try a club run at a local cycling club. Most clubs will have a steady group, so don't worry about being left for dead - though it may be worth contacting them in advance. The other riders will give you all the advice you need on ride position / technique / which gear to be in.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    If you are new to cycling you should introduce your body to the new activity gradually. If you are an athlete, then 1/2 hr rides at moderate pace for about a week should do the job. If you are a non-athlete then its a completley different story and you have to work up your distance more slowly.

    Check your riding position, most road bikes come setup for conditioned cycling athletes, with quite a low bar position. Low bars are not compulsory and many riders find higher ones more comfortable. The default hand position is usually on the brake hoods, not the lower drops.

    Learn to use your gears effectively to overcome gradients and headwinds and learn to pedal at a rapid cadence (RPMs).
  • petejukpetejuk Posts: 235
    All good advice here. Keep it enjoyable and don't push yourself too hard or expect performance to improve consistantly. Write a training programme to include building up distances slowly and gradually. Work out what time you have and try to stick to your programme. Put in a sprint session once a week to mix it up.
    Get plenty of rest. If in doubt rest some more.
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