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Distance?

Chris-rourkeChris-rourke Posts: 9
edited January 2014 in Road beginners
Hello my names Chris and I reside in Cheshire, England.

I have recently been bitten by both the exercise bug and the cycling bug and a few months ago I decided to buy a road bike. I haven't ridden a bike properly, other than the odd commute, in about seven years and when I did ride it was always MTBing.

So, my question to you all is, as a 23 year old (in good health) weighing in at 13 stone and 6ft 2 in height, how far should I be aiming to ride, or more to the point, what would you suggest as a realistic goal?

At the moment, I am finding that even riding 8 miles is difficult for me at an average of 13-15mph. What is the best advice you can give me in being able to ride further and faster (besides simply saying "ride more").

Any help would be appreciated, many thanks!

Chris

Posts

  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Hi Chris,
    Glad you're enjoying your cycling.
    You answered your own question really. Ride more. We've all been in your position and we (fellow roadies) will likely tell you lots of different training methods we used to improve.
    Average speed is not a good indication really, so I would be focusing on increasing distance. If your average speeds drops a little I wouldn't worry. Unscientific as this is, try and get a feel for your percieved exertion (rpe), how hard are you working, your probably going at what you feel is the maximum pace for your ride. Drop back on the rpe, your goal is 10 miles and completing all 10 (not dying at 8). Then keep increasing the miles, your body will cope, if your 23 and in reasonable condition, you will adapt to the increase in mileage quite quickly.
    Don't shy away from rides with big hills, try and encorporate a nice hill into your ride. Challenge yourself when you go up it, you might not make it up, thats cool, next time try and get further up it.
    I'm sure other people will prefer intervals during your 8 miles. But personally I would just concentrate on going further for now. Once your mileage starts to increase and your spending longer in the saddle, then I would look at a more disciplined training regime if you still wanted to keep improving.
    Make sure you rest between rides, sleep properly. Eat properly. Then get out there and enjoy your rides.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    Commute to work daily for your base miles so you are riding routinely. I'd been doing just that for around three years and managed 140 miles and over 10000 foot of climbing in a single day last year.

    Once you are used to your commute use the ride in as a time trial. On a good day with a tail wind and luck with traffic and lights I can break 20mph average on an 8 mile ride. Use the ride home for interval training, find a safe, flat, straight section do 20s high cadence, high intensity, then 20s rest for as long as you can or until conditions make it unsafe or you recover too much. Consider extending your commute as you get faster.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • Thanks guys for some great advice!
    I'm hoping I can get in good enough shape to take part in some cycling events this year. Cycling runs in my family, I have an uncle out there in his sixties who still wins races all the time in his age group. One of my other aims is to be able to go out on rides with him.

    How often should I be getting out on my bike then, is 3 to 4 times a week enough?
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    As often as you can physically do it ...

    The more you ride the better you'll be ...

    I can recall when I was in my late teens - riding a 9 mile ride reasonably quickly but being knackered at the end of it. I could do the same ride now at the same pace, with ease ...
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    What is the best advice you can give me in being able to ride further and faster (besides simply saying "ride more").

    You have just ruled out the best advice. There is simply no substitue for putting in time on the bike.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • buzzwoldbuzzwold Posts: 197
    Chris
    As others have said, just ride more. But best advice I was given was not to worry about speed of distance but go for time on bike. If you rode for an hour 2/3 times per week and then put in an hour and half on a weekend you'll find that both speed and distance will increase. Give that a go for three weeks and then make the weekend session two hours. This is standard sportive type training, but it works. I reckon within 4-6 weeks you'll find 30 miles is fairly easy.

    I'm 53, and only got back on bike 2 years ago. Last year completed the London Revolution - just shy of 200 miles over two days. Good luck. At your age you'll be doing tons (i.e. 100 milers) no problem and no doubt smashing out 5 hour times as well.
    Someone's just passed me again
  • Hello my names Chris and I reside in Cheshire, England.

    I have recently been bitten by both the exercise bug and the cycling bug and a few months ago I decided to buy a road bike. I haven't ridden a bike properly, other than the odd commute, in about seven years and when I did ride it was always MTBing.

    So, my question to you all is, as a 23 year old (in good health) weighing in at 13 stone and 6ft 2 in height, how far should I be aiming to ride, or more to the point, what would you suggest as a realistic goal?

    At the moment, I am finding that even riding 8 miles is difficult for me at an average of 13-15mph. What is the best advice you can give me in being able to ride further and faster (besides simply saying "ride more").

    Any help would be appreciated, many thanks!

    Chris

    As a complete beginner then riding 8 miles will indeed be difficult. But that's to be expected, as long as you keep riding your fitness will increase quickly. It's entirely realistic to be thinking of regular metric centuries (100km/62miles) before the end of the summer, 100 mile rides if you want to push it.

    "ride more" is the best, and only advice in your situation, so get to it :)
  • You're young and not overweight so you should find that your fitness improves quite quickly. Then things will start to 'click'. I got back into cycling a few years ago in my late 30s. When I first started going up hills I was so unfit I could only get to the top using maximum effort then I would limp home because I couldn't fully recover! Before long you'll find you can choose your speed on a climb depending how you feel and you can recover for another one. As you go further you can be more adventurous and not have to worry if you can get home. I once was so knackered I had to go to a shop 2 miles from home for a drink and food, I'd only done 20 miles! Now if I'm 20 miles from home and tired I'm thinking "nearly there".

    However, I'd wait a bit before going out with your uncle. In my experience guys in their 60s and over are like machines and will destroy you!
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    mattbabs wrote:
    However, I'd wait a bit before going out with your uncle. In my experience guys in their 60s and over are like machines and will destroy you!

    And be particularly wiery of one who rides a fixed gear - they are aliens who eat cyclist for breakfast/dinner and tea....you know who you are!!!
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • Don't focus much on average speeds as it depends on your ride and terrain. You can use it if you want to push yourself more on a particular distance however. For example I do a short 20mile loop but try and push it every time to beat the average. I'm up to 19mph at the moment on it, but a 60 mile rode last week was only 14.5mph in the Bowland hills.

    Average speeds of rider A in Welsh Mountains would be lower over 50miles than rider B on the Norfolk flats.

    Just keep riding regularly and increase your distance one step at a time.
    Don't be put of my people going on about 100-200mile rides. They have built up over years or train more for long distance riding. Again 100miles in one region is 50miles of pain in another.

    Short, highly intensive stuff is as good for fitness and burning the gut as long stuff.
  • 1. Get a proper bike fit so you are not wasting energy and risking injury.
    2. Forget distance, forget speed. They are not important yet.
    3. Ride your bike for one hour at whatever speed and terrain you can handle without killing yourself so much you do not want to ride every day.
    4. Gradually increase the time on bike until you are happy doing three hours.
    5. Once you can do three hours increase the severity of the ride by adding hills, going a little quicker the whole time, or doing little short sprints when you feel like it.
    6. Wear a HRM and carry a GPS or phone. Log all your rides to Strava or something. You don't have to show it to anyone but it will prove to you that your strategy is working. I did this last summer when I started riding again. I can see that I have gone from wasting myself doing rides of less than an hour on flat terrain at 15km/hr to comfortably doing three hour rides over hilly terrain at 25km/hour. Not going to win TDF but it's personal satisfaction and improvement that matters.

    One last thing. Spend loads of money on clothing and accessories. Should you become a successful cyclist without doing this we will all hate you. :lol:
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    You just need to build up distances by riding more. Coming from mountain biking it took me about a month to properly set up and get used to the handling of a road bike. Over three months I built up my distance to fifty miles and am now faster and stronger on road. It helps the mountain biking as well.
  • motogullmotogull Posts: 319
    Chris. I'm a lot older than you but was were you are a couple of years back. What helped me was finding the nearest toughest hill then working to conquer it. Try and aim at a specific event. For me it was the 50ish mile London to Brighton. Then plan to train for it.
  • Guys, thank you very much for the advice!
    It seems like the general consensus basically is just to ride more, so ride more I will do!
    Hopefully my fitness should pick up really quickly as I also run, swim and use body weight workouts to help with strengthening my core.

    After going for a ride in Staffordshire today with a friend, I've come to the conclusion that riding with others helps me (not from drafting, just a morale boost).

    My main aim from now is to complete around 50 miles solo and then to join my local club, Weaver Valley. According to my uncle even the short rides are 60 miles.

    Best get training eh!

    Many thanks,
    Chris
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    I found that starting from zero I was worrying about all sorts of things and this distracted me from the important things.

    Basically if you just get out there and work on setting a pace that is comfortable (so that you can sustain it) you can ride for longer.

    It helped me to ride without a computer telling me lots of numbers, instead just concentrate on turning the pedals at a good cadence, about 85-90 (this number is different for everyone), changing gears regularly as necessary to maintain this. If that meant I was constantly in the small front chainring then so be it.

    Effective time is the saddle is THE crucial element, not how far you go or average speed, there are just too many variables on these to matter.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • jordan_217jordan_217 Posts: 2,580
    If by any chance Smidsy's message hasn't come across clear enough - RIDE RIDE RIDE!!!

    Time in the saddle is much more important than distance, speed, etc. If you're going to think about spending money on kit ('upgrades') then buy kit that will make you more comfortable on the bike, not things that you think will make any difference to your overall speed AND DO NOT use average speeds to gauge improvements.

    Enjoy the feeling of turning your pedals and getting outside. Joining your local club is a good idea. A great way to get the miles in this time of year when the thought of riding solo in crappy weather doesn't appeal to many. There will also be a wealth of tips and knowledge for you to learn from the more experienced riders.
    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
  • Schoie81Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Chris - I started out on my road bike in mid-July last year, 10yrs old than you, a little overweight and not particularly fit. My first ride (I remember it like it was yesterday) was 4.5miles and it felt like I was going to die when I got home (although in my defence it did include a nasty hill). I slowly increased my distance up to 10miles, 15, 20 etc.. and by the end of September last year, I completed a 41mile ride in less then 2 3/4 hours. So don't worry that 8 miles seems tough to start with, just keep riding, and slowly increasing your distance - I'm sure you'll find it easier than you fear! Just wait until summer and the decent weather, you'll be wanting to do 30+miles every day!!
    mattbabs wrote:
    However, I'd wait a bit before going out with your uncle. In my experience guys in their 60s and over are like machines and will destroy you!

    And this is dead right! I set off to tackle a, not particularly steep, but pretty long climb last autumn. I got about 1/3 of the way up and had to stop and give the legs a little rest. As I was taking a swig of water at the roadside, a guy who must have been over 60 quite calmly floated past me on his bike, not a bead of sweat and not a hint of heavy breathing. He cheerily said something along the lines of "tough one this, isn't it?" (not sure if he was sympathising with me, or being sarcastic...I assumed the latter). I got back on the bike but after he went around a corner in front of me, I never saw him again. I put it down to his greater experience and retirement allowing him more time to train!! :?
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
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