Starting out tips?

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:23 am

Starting out tips?

Postby clance65 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:46 am

Hi guys, and gals. I've just started doing some riding, at 48, it's mostly for exercise and to build up some fitness. Bought a new bike a few weeks back and been riding as much as I can. As silly as this sounds, I'm wondering if I'm doing it, that does sound silly.
I'm fairly unfit at this point, but can manage 20k's at a time, pretty much on the flat roads, but I'm wondering if there's a right or wrong way to go about it, ie should I ride in a lower gear at a higher cadence, or in a higher gear and work a bit harder?? Should I give some hills a go too? or, do I simply ride where it's comfortable, but in saying that, I want to feel like I've had a decent work out.
As I was just starting I didn't go straight for a road bike, I bought a hybrid/flat bar road bike to ease myself into it. Kinda wish I went for the road bike already, but that can wait till I get a bit more into it..

User avatar
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 11:01 am
Location: Snug, Tasmania

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby rangersac » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:23 am

For what it's worth I reckon you've done the right thing by starting with a hybrid. If you had've gone straight for the drop bar roadie, you could've easily become disheartened as you would've felt considerably more uncomfortable to begin with and had more aches and pains from muscles that aren't used to the new regime. As for doing it right I think you are being entirely sensible. Do what you feel is comfortable, and when you are ready tackle a slightly longer distance, and start doing some moderate hills. Don't expect miracles, it will take time, but I bet you now feel a hell of a lot better then you did a few weeks back. With regard to cadence, defintely ride in a lower gear with a higher cadence. This builds endurance in your legs and lungs, and is a more efficient use of muscle power. Aim for between 80 - 100 rpm and don't be scared to change gears frequently to achieve this.

Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby TraceyG » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:39 pm

Keep it fun. You will only continue riding, and therefore continue to reap the fitness and exercise benefits, if you keep it fun. Go too hard too soon and it will get too hard and you'll give up. Increase your distance as your ability and circumstances allow. Look for social riding groups to join. Look after your bike and gear. Enjoy!

I'm 49 and only got serious about 18 months ago and am loving it. Started with a hybrid, now also have a roadie but it's definitely horses for courses. Attempted the Great Vic Bike Ride last year but crashed out on day three. I now commute (30km each way) twice a week. Week after next am doing a 460km multi day charity ride.

User avatar
Posts: 2320
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:07 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby MattyK » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:42 pm

You should ride however you want to and however you feel comfortable with. Cadence be damned, but the rule of thumb is: if your legs hurt, shift down; if your lungs hurt, shift up. Just enjoy it and don't feel like you have to conform to what is most efficient for an athlete. Mixing your cadence will provide a range of leg strength and aerobic exercise.

Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:01 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby george-bob » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:25 pm

you will have bad days/weeks/months where you dont feel like riding, sometimes it is tough. whenever you feel like that just jump on your bike and go for an easy spin with no goals in mind. ride around the block or around the whole city! whatever you feel like, think of it as a mental rest.

User avatar
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby Spaniel » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:38 pm

+1 the other posters re ensuring you enjoy your riding and have fun.

Don't push too hard too soon, but set acheivable goals and establish a bit of a regular ride program. If you are keen, keep track of key data on your health and rides so you can track your progression - this in turn will motivate you more as you see the results e.g. weekly weight, blood pressure (mine was out of control), avg speed, Kms etc.

Initially I found Joel Freil's book "Cycing Past 50" really useful. Contained everything I was looking for, very motivational and made me realise what is possible for the older rider.

User avatar
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:11 am
Location: Fremantle, WA

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby SquareWheels » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:57 pm

I am 44 this year and also started out on a flatbar roadie (my bluepig avanti blade 1.0 with some clip on aeros :D ) about 4 months ago [finally got a roadie :P upgradeitis kicked in early].

One thing I really recommend is sloooowly upping the distance rather than just smashing out a massive effort because you think you can. I also made sure that in most cases early on I would have at least a day between my rides (either commute or weekend). That really helped and the kilometers just when up themselves on my weekend rides over a 4 month period. I have now started actively seeking longer routes on my work commute because the base level fitness has gone up enough (and without undue stress) in tandem with the speed to warrant it. Stretch after rides if you can. I found my 'getting old and tired' muscles really appreciated this. I also found it better to not focus on how fast other folk on bikes are as well. Was a bit demoralizing at first but after being blasted past by guys/gals who appeared to be 55+ it just gave me a long term goal to be the blastie somewhere down track (man some of those guys absolutely hammer along).

As much as I was hesitant toward the dreaded lycra I found it to be invaluable in terms of comfort and practicality. I love jerseys and the whole pockets in the back thing. If you can alter your routes to avoid headwinds then do it. I find them soul crushing.I don't know about your weight but I have dropped 7kgs and that has made me feel really good and its all down to being on the bike. I don't know if you are riding early in the mornings on the weekend where you live but here in Perth their are just bikes everywhere in groups/singles etc (before the traffic really gets cranked up) and I really found that to be quite inspirational and a good reason to get out there plus its a beautiful time of day.

And lastly if you do find yourself getting the addiction as I have...then don't let the missus know how much you are spending on bike gear :P

Posts: 9642
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:40 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby jasonc » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:58 pm

+1 to make it fun. also make it part your routine.

User avatar
Posts: 5510
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby bychosis » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:16 pm

Definitely keep it fun. Just being out enjoying riding you will increase your fitness.
If you are trying to increase your fitness/endurance don't push hard on every ride, take some time for a cruise ride occasionally.
Pedalling cadence doesn't matter much, but try to keep your legs spinning at a comfortable rate, not pushing hard. Top gear may not be the fastest one.

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:23 am

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby clance65 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:47 pm

Thanks for the tips guys. From what you're saying, just sticking to my own pace and ability seems about right.
Just got back now from doing 20k's. As I said earlier, even in my somewhat unfit state, I can manage 20k's. Today's 20 hurt as it didn't seem what direction I turned, it was into wind :(
I'm really enjoying it, and I actually think I'm feeling better for it, even only after a month or so..

User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
Posts: 28993
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:07 pm

clance65 wrote:Thanks for the tips guys. From what you're saying, just sticking to my own pace and ability seems about right.
Just got back now from doing 20k's. As I said earlier, even in my somewhat unfit state, I can manage 20k's. Today's 20 hurt as it didn't seem what direction I turned, it was into wind :(
I'm really enjoying it, and I actually think I'm feeling better for it, even only after a month or so..

Annnnd that's another one seen the light 8)

G'Day clance, welcome outside :D
Good to see people pushing the underlying fun-ness of it. THAT'S what gets you back out tomorrow even if today hurts.

Have a ball in the wind mate, us old (in years, not attitude :wink: ) peoples gotta have our fun.


Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:44 am
Location: Sutherland Shire, NSW

Re: Starting out tips?

Postby jgon286 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:52 pm

If it's for general fitness why don't you use your heart rate to gauge your workout intensity? Even if you don't want to fork out $100 for a base model HR monitor you can take your pulse at 15 sec intervals, say at lights or at a corner while stationary.

At 48 your theoretical max HR is 172 bpm. If you do 3/4 of that, so around 130 bpm then it's doing you good. Without a monitor you can count around 32-33 beats per 15 secs and you're in the zone. This way you can slow down up a hill or speed up on the flats to maintain the intensity.

You'd be surprised at how your heart then adjusts and the rate goes down on the same stretch of road as your heart gets fitter.

Good luck.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AdelaidePeter, CoffsGal, StevOz