Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

First road bike - Observations and musings

gt8374uh9jiodpogt8374uh9jiodpo Posts: 51
edited July 2019 in Road beginners
Finally got a chance to head out on the new (second hand) road bike yesterday morning, so thought I would keep a record for my future reference and seek advice from more experienced riders, sorry if I ramble on a bit (edit yes I have). Got around 38 miles in 3 hours 5 minutes including 4 x 2min snack and rest stops. Really surprised how nice the ride was given that the tyres are much thinner than my old hybrid and PSI quite a bit more.

- Legs were totally spent at the end, burning in the quads when going up hills, however my lungs seemed fine and I dont think I reached anywhere near my breathing capacity before legs became the limiting factor.

- 750ml isnt enough for me (Also had about 1 pint of water and one coffee before setting off) even bearing in mind that it was between 7 and 10am so no hotter than 12 degrees C. Will order another bottle, luckily the bike already has two holders on the frame. Is there any merit in having electrolyte mixes for this length of ride? or would that be overkill?

- Felt I had the shakes on my final stop which was about 5 miles from home. Could that be down to not eating enough? I wanted to be out soon after waking so just had half a large Greek yogurt and 3 cereal bars on the way around. For my next ride I have got 1000Kcals worth of yogurt coated banana slices and another 3 cereal bars.

- I think I have got the idea of hand positions and when to be in what position, however I have not mastered gear changes, seems that when building speed the chain ring will not move to the large ring until I am in the smallest cog at the back cassette, if that makes sense? is that normal?

Didnt feel at all confident out of the saddle on hills, seemed to be bobbing side to side with each pedal motion. Is there any technique to this?

- Length of ride yesterday might be about the limit of what I would enjoy without padded shorts, might get some of them fairly soon, and also needed to get some proper cycling shoes to move away from flat pedals this can be quite an expensive hobby. Anyhow, next ride pencilled in for early Monday morning, might plot a route to get me over my first 40 miler.

Any advice on the above much appreciated.
«1

Posts

  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,451
    edited April 2019
    Legs will get better with more miles.

    On hot days I take 2 bottles 1 water, 1 electrolyte. I also think in advance about where I can refill. Some need more than others, you'll find your best drinking rate with practice.

    For a big ride I have breakfast an hour before setting off. Then little and often on the bike. You can digest and use about 300 kcal/hr in sugars, the other 200-300 kcals will come from your body's store of carbs.

    I think there's something wrong with your gears but I don't know what. Get a good mechanic to check them out.

    Out of the saddle put some mental focus into keeping the bike straight, don't put your foot down further than the pedal goes, try and use a smaller gear and spin rather than pushing hard.

    38 miles without padded shorts is mad. Anything over 15 miles I use padded shorts. I use padded shorts on my 12 mile commute.

    Good ride, by the way. It sounds like you enjoyed it despite the problems.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    I'm currently doing one 100km ride, plus some 4k each way commutes a week in preparation for the IOW 100k in a couple of weeks. I use one bidon 750ml of water only. I used to use various mixes and powders, Nuun, High 5 and SIS etc, but I find they all make my mouth too dry. Last few weeks have not been as hot as this weekend though. If I run out I stop and get more. I plan a sandwich or pasty stop and will usually have a couple mins drinks break whenever too.

    Build distance and power slowly, It will ramp up soon enough.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,154
    I use 2 large bottles (800ml) for a ride of that length. I use 1 1/2 SIS or Nuun tablets in each. You did well for a first ride :D
  • Good effort, welcome to the addictive world of road bikes!

    Your body will take a while to adjust to the new position compared to the hybrid as well as the longer rides. Take it easy to begin with, you'll benefit from consistent short rides done often and it wont take long till you're upping the miles. Just listen to your body and don't push the distances too much at the beginning.
  • Thanks for the advice and encouragement. Have now ordered another 750ml bottle and some electrolyte tablets. Will look into padded shorts next. Going to have another play with the gears when out tomorrow and if its still only going into the big chain ring from the small cog I will book it in with my local bike shop.

    Tomorrows route is 41 miles but have the option of altering the route at about the halfway point to bring it down to 32 miles. Just in case there is any accumulated fatigue in my legs from Fridays ride.

    Will also focus a bit of time on getting out of the saddle, probably early in the ride when less fatigued.
  • Another 36 miles done today, and popped out this afternoon and picked up some padded shorts. First mile or so was a little uncomfortable but soon settled into it. Seems the front gear does go into the large cog from any position on the cassette, last time I went out I may just have been jabbing at the up change rather than holding it a second to engage, seems gentle and controlled is the order of the day for shifting.

    2 miles less and finished in exactly the same time of 3:05. However I took a couple of additional photo breaks as the sunrise was rather stunning over the countryside and noticed somebody I knew in one of the villages so stopped to say hello.

    Fancy a bit of a blast next time out so will plot a 25 mile route and just take one rest stop for food. Probably going to be next weekend as dont really get the chance to pop out in the week due to other duties. I do get a lot of enjoyment from researching and plotting my routes on the map o meter website.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    Another 36 miles done today, and popped out this afternoon and picked up some padded shorts. First mile or so was a little uncomfortable but soon settled into it. Seems the front gear does go into the large cog from any position on the cassette, last time I went out I may just have been jabbing at the up change rather than holding it a second to engage, seems gentle and controlled is the order of the day for shifting.

    2 miles less and finished in exactly the same time of 3:05. However I took a couple of additional photo breaks as the sunrise was rather stunning over the countryside and noticed somebody I knew in one of the villages so stopped to say hello.

    Fancy a bit of a blast next time out so will plot a 25 mile route and just take one rest stop for food. Probably going to be next weekend as dont really get the chance to pop out in the week due to other duties. I do get a lot of enjoyment from researching and plotting my routes on the map o meter website.

    Superb!

    It cannot be overstated how important it is to stop and smell the coffee/roses/take pics/eat ice cream/etc.

    Keep on keepin' on
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • Thanks for the support.
    Family and weather got in the way of my proposed 25 miles.
    I really want to work up the miles and have a goal of doing a 75miler before the end of the summer, or rather until the weather turns cold again. Not that easy when I have other things taking up a lot of my time.
    With that in mind I have a 42 miles planned for this coming Sunday or Monday morning.
    Second water bottle has arrived, electrolyte tablets ditto, plenty of cereal bars on standby so ready to go.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,568
    At this stage don't get sucked into the world of energy gels, just eat normal food, fig rolls/flapjack etc.

    I very rarely take more than a single bar, instead take a debit card and stop at a shop/petrol station for food and a water top up.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • I have no interest in gels, but I understand you cannot easily replace lost electrolytes from food.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,033
    You don't need fancy electrolyte drinks and tabs and powders. All you need is plain white table sugar (2.5-3) tablespoons. Pinch of salt. Squash of choice. Top up to 750ml. Job done. Cost about 5p.
  • jrichjrich Posts: 278
    Nice to read your first road cycling experiences, takes me back to my first rides... Now you just need to find a decent sized hill and start logging you rides on Strava and you have have the pleasure/pain of trying to beat yours (and other peoples!) times. Tis all good fun!

    I do not use any sort of electrolyte powers or potions, not even for rides over 100 miles, or for races. I think they are a waste of money. Good diet off the bike is very important and I would second the advice of the above poster about sticking to real foods on the bike. My emergency food is a box of raisins but otherwise I usually I don't have to eat on rides these days (but I certainly did when I was starting out!) When you do eat, I would not eat a lot in one go - your body cannot digest food well (particularly complex foods) whilst exercising hard.

    I think it's important to only eat on the when you have hit a wall. You need to train your body to use it's own reserves of carbs/fat better and this won't happen if you are constantly providing more fuel by eating/drinking. Always carry food but if you have still got fuel in the tank then there's not point stopping to eat. And even then it's amazing how your body can surprise you when you stop listening to that little voice inside your head that's telling you to pull over...

    Having said that, it can be a good idea to build a cafe stop into your ride as you build up distance. So perhaps once you are comfortable with the 40mile rides then you could ride and stop at a cafe after 35 miles and then aim to do another 20 miles after a half hour break. And of course visiting cafes is the sole reason why some cycling ride their road bikes!

    My best advice though is not to skimp on recovery at this stage, as these rides will be massively demanding on your body. I think once per week is ample when you are first starting out, it's very easy to overdo it.

    Enjoy!
  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,678
    I have no interest in gels, but I understand you cannot easily replace lost electrolytes from food.
    If you were riding your bike in the Sahara desert for 12 hours you might need to replace your electrolytes but riding for a few hours in the UK. A normal diet will keep them topped up.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,033
    jrich wrote:

    I think it's important to only eat on the when you have hit a wall. You need to train your body to use it's own reserves of carbs/fat better and this won't happen if you are constantly providing more fuel by eating/drinking.

    That is not at all true! Your muscles feed on your glycogen stores. After 90 mins of exercise these become severely depleted. You need to replace these stores by eating carbohydrates. Sugar is the most easily absorbed and processed carb. After an hour eat little and often. Say 2-3 jelly babies every half hour or drink containing carb (sugars). You don't want food sitting in your stomach or gut making you feel heavy. Just don't wait until you bonk before eating. That is very bad advice.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    If I'm out for 4-5 hours I'll have porridge for breakfast and take fig rolls and jelly babies to eat on the way round. Longer than that and I'll have a proper picnic halfway round. Real food tastes so much better than gels etc.

    You cannot eat / digest enough to fuel the riding you're doing so you'll still be using up glycogen, just not as fast as you would if you didn't eat.

    Not eating till you bonk is a really stupid idea, even if rapid weight loss is one of your goals...
  • Third ride out today 45 miles. Set out for 42 miles but took a wrong turn half way through. and the next road was a litle longer. Felt better at the end than I did on he first ride so my body must be adapting, or my nutrition plan is better. Set off at 06:10 and got home 3 hours and 25 minutes later giving me an average of just over 13mph.

    Having the extra water bottle was a big plus, even in these cool temperatures. I feel when it gets warmer I will need to factor in a stop off at a local village shop for supplies.

    At about 30 miles two quicker riders went by, and judging by their kit they seemed to be pretty serious. I thought I would test myself a bit and managed to keep pace with them for a good three miles until they turned off, keeping back 40 odd metres as to not be crowding them. One of them kept turning back, shaking his head and would have conflab with the other chap and their leg speed would increase seemingly to try and drop me. I found it pretty funny and just kept pace for lols, though their fast pace wasnt really that special in hindsight. He may have been annoyed a chap wearing trainers, backpack and on a significantly cheaper ride was keeping pace.

    Ordered a saddle bag so hopefully that will arrive before next weekend. Afternoon with the family and snooker now hopefully relaxing.
  • step83step83 Posts: 3,866
    photonic69 wrote:
    jrich wrote:

    I think it's important to only eat on the when you have hit a wall. You need to train your body to use it's own reserves of carbs/fat better and this won't happen if you are constantly providing more fuel by eating/drinking.

    That is not at all true! Your muscles feed on your glycogen stores. After 90 mins of exercise these become severely depleted. You need to replace these stores by eating carbohydrates. Sugar is the most easily absorbed and processed carb. After an hour eat little and often. Say 2-3 jelly babies every half hour or drink containing carb (sugars). You don't want food sitting in your stomach or gut making you feel heavy. Just don't wait until you bonk before eating. That is very bad advice.

    Have to agree, if you've hit the wall you've burnt all your glycogen, your body may be converting fat to glycogen but its not a quick process by any means, your better off eating while riding I aim for 50g of carbs through liquid and food, sounds a lot but that's a fig roll or two an some swigs of drink. It works an on longer rides.
    As said, don't eat to the point you feel heavy you'll just feel sick, little an often. An ignore the waiting for the wall. You'll just feel worse.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    As you are just starting out as a road rider I would endorse the idea that your body will adapt to the demands you place on it.
    The nutritional advice above is a bit 'all or nothing' IMO. In principle you have enough glycogen for a couple of hours reasonably hard riding so three hours steady riding should be fine without needing to 'refuel' provided you have a carb orientated meal before setting off. You won't adapt your metabolism if you are bent on taking top-up carbs all the time - this is training to improve not riding your goal event - but do carry some carbs in case you do overdo it and start to feel spaced out and lightheaded (eg bonk).
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Posts: 460
    I'm not sure how often you ride, but if you can manage at least three rides a week even if 2 of them are only for an hour then you will improve faster.
    As far as nutrition goes, eat some carbs an hour or two before your longer ride, carry a cereal bar or similar with you and eat it if you begin to feel you need it, otherwise don't eat.
    Drink water on shorter rides but you could use an energy additive like Torq Energy or High 5 on the longer rides, maybe water in one bottle and energy drink in the other.
  • Only one significant ride a week at the moment. Plus a couple of mile commute a few days a week, then a few days a the gym.

    Going to stick with the one off rides so I am really looking forward to them each week. Might add in the odd evening ride over the summer months though, perhaps a 20mile loop.
  • 47 miles this morning. Set off at 6am and got around in an average time of 12.9 mph. A few stops of a couple of minutes on the way around.

    If the weather is good next weekend I fancy a 30 mile ride to get the speed up. Should be fine with just one stop to eat on that one. Really need to get a proper jersey for the longer rides so I can have food in the pockets.

    First ride with a saddle bag today, pump now attached next to the lower bottle cage. Felt very strange without a backpack for the first few miles, kept feeling like I had forgotten something.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    47 miles this morning. Set off at 6am and got around in an average time of 12.9 mph. A few stops of a couple of minutes on the way around.

    If the weather is good next weekend I fancy a 30 mile ride to get the speed up. Should be fine with just one stop to eat on that one. Really need to get a proper jersey for the longer rides so I can have food in the pockets.

    First ride with a saddle bag today, pump now attached next to the lower bottle cage. Felt very strange without a backpack for the first few miles, kept feeling like I had forgotten something.
    You really don't need to eat anything on a 30 mile ride!
    Just eat a sensible meal beforehand.
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    svetty wrote:
    You really don't need to eat anything on a 30 mile ride!
    Just eat a sensible meal beforehand.

    I used to when I first started out. Anything over an hour and I'd be really struggling without taking a breather and eating something at some point on the way round.

    Now I'll happily do 30 miles / 2 hours with nothing more than a bottle of water.

    Not sure how much of that is down to being fitter, more efficient, pacing myself better, or simply psychological?

    Unless weight loss is the main reason for cycling, it's probably better to eat a bit too much than not enough and risk bonking.
  • Weight loss not a goal here, weigh about 12`7 and lean with it.

    What would a suitable meal before a ride include? Bearing in mind I like going out early so am up at 05:20 for a 06:00 depart.

    My logic has been go carb heavy, and have allowed myself a rather "unhealthy" Belgian bun and a banana. Are fats needed too? if so I could add a tea spoon of peanut butter.

    I also need a coffee in the morning and then also have about 1 pint of water to hydrate after the nights sleep.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    My go to breakfast most of the time is a large bowl of sweetened porridge. That seems to fuel me for quite a while. Maybe in the summer I'll have bircher muesli instead if I CBA preparing it the night before. Maybe followed by tea and toast.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,568
    At the moment I'm having two slices of wholemeal toast with peanut butter and strawberry jam.

    I do like porridge but it almost feels like it swells up inside me and blows yesterdays meal out pretty sharpish.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    edited May 2019
    When starting out you ideally should aim to get physiological adaptation to take place as this is what 'makes you fitter'. By having a surfeit of carbs during your ride you won't encourage fat-burning which is what endurance riding requires.

    After a decent bowl of porridge I will generally manage 70 miles or so before needing to eat so if the ride is around 70 miles I'll just eat when I get back. On longer rides I'll eat something - flapjack etc after 50 miles or so and then keep fuelling as needed.
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,451
    I have a pot of tea before a ride. If it's a long one (50 mile, 100km) I stop for a light meal on the way round. For big events (100+ miles) I'll have poached eggs on toast for breakfast 1 or 2 hours before the start time.
  • gt8374uh9jiodpogt8374uh9jiodpo Posts: 51
    edited May 2019
    Out at 6am this morning 30 miles in just over 2 hours. So increased my average speed (14.7mph) compared to my previous longer rides, as I would expect. Increased my one off maximum spead by quite a lot after hitting 34.2 mph. I think there is a bit more in there because I wasnt at absolute full pelt.

    I think about 30-35 miles is about my favourite distance at the moment. Though potentially because im not fit enough to comfortable cycle much further without my legs feeling rock solid near the end.
  • Another thirty miles this morning, got out just before 6am. Pretty much exactly the same average speed as last time. Felt like it was just a warm up and had plenty left, well, until I decided to take the last 5 miles rather quickly. Slightly uphill and averaged just under 19mph over the last 5miles.

    Made the investment of a Selle saddle this afternoon, as getting a little tingling in the gentlemans area which needs me to stand up to reset. The stock saddle is rather basic and not the most comfortable.

    I am going to put some time into my mobility because quite frankly its shocking for my age. I am fairly fit and strong but its bad when I struggle to put my socks on some mornings. I think this is a rather important aspect of cycling that I have overlooked so far.
Sign In or Register to comment.