Benefits of cycling

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:12 pm

Hi guys, Im asking this as I have just started cycling I been out twice. I mainly started because I wanted to build a bike and I did that. And now that I built it I might aswell use it. So Ive been out just 17km down cycle path, and afterwards I feel satisfied and proud of what Ive done. Im 15 by the way I use to be really active was in a soccer but the last year I havent done anything.
So I was wondering what are benefits of cycling? Ie.muscle.stamina

Thanks Jordan
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by BNA » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:47 pm

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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby human909 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:47 pm

In the context of modern health then the benefits are many and they mostly stem from the fact that cycling is an significant aerobic activity. Aerobic exercise is has drastic health benefits relating to heart and lung functions. It also helps keep people at a healthy weight which prevents the numerous health problems of being overweigh/obese.

In the context of OTHER alternative sport and aerobic activities cycling is less beneficial. It focuses on only a few muscle groups and does not generally promote or require great coordination (this might be a benefit to some). There are countless other sports that are give far more well rounded physical benefits. But if you don't enjoy them and you do enjoy cycling then who cares! :mrgreen: But as I said, the majority of the important health benefits come from aerobic activities of which cycling is one of many. Cycling generally won't help you have "bigger muscles" (competitive sprinters excepted), but it certainly will drastically improve your "stamina".

I used to play soccer but that requires commitment to a team and large numbers of teammates. It also is less forgiving to the older bodies among us. At 15 years old it may not matter, at 40 it will.

In the context of lifestyle it is a great transport. I'm double your age. I have a drivers license and a car. But for me a bicycle is faster, more fun, cheaper and healthier way of travel :D I rarely use my car to get to places, it is mostly all by bike.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby g-boaf » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:13 pm

J_L_C wrote:Hi guys, Im asking this as I have just started cycling I been out twice. I mainly started because I wanted to build a bike and I did that. And now that I built it I might aswell use it. So Ive been out just 17km down cycle path, and afterwards I feel satisfied and proud of what Ive done. Im 15 by the way I use to be really active was in a soccer but the last year I havent done anything.
So I was wondering what are benefits of cycling? Ie.muscle.stamina

Thanks Jordan


Hi - you get really, really fit when you ride a lot and put in the training to go with it.

People who knew me before I started riding can't believe how different I am. I used to be 90+kg and constantly tired/exhausted. Now I'm 58kg and still tired. But now it's a different kind of tired. Consider that I'm 174cm height.

The biggest changes are my heart rate has gone a lot lower and my breathing is really, really good now. When I first started out, it didn't take much to get my breathing going crazy and getting tired quickly. Now that doesn't happen. :)

But why cycling and not something else? It's the only sport I enjoy, and probably also the only one I'm half decent at. It just needs some okay bike handling skills and a decent motor to spin those pedals, and a good resistance to suffering.

I''m just a few years over double your age, and I've never been fitter. Feels great. :)
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby wombatK » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:45 pm

Cycling moves the largest muscle groups in your body and is a great cardio work-out, without creating the wear-out that
many other sports or exercise activities produce.

I know lots of life-long cyclists older than 60 years with all-their-own-knees and hips. But every long distance runner and footy
player I know of that age (doesn't matter what code) has had joint replacement surgery and suffers arthritis in other joints.

Your making a great move !
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:17 pm

Big benefit? I get to leave home before the family is awake. :mrgreen:
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:40 pm

Thanks everyone, I am looking to join another soccer club but I think Im really going to enjoy cycling. Its a way to get out of everythingvand just feel alone. Im also hoping to gain fitness for soccer. Although Im finding single speed kind of difficult, didnt realise freeway cycle path was so hilly
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:43 pm

J_L_C wrote:...
Although Im finding single speed kind of difficult, didnt realise freeway cycle path was so hilly


What? Hilly in Perth. It's all relative and, given a bit of time, you will see most of it as flat.

On the other hand, that Freo doctor!!!
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:54 pm

Its not really hilly just kind of flows up and down but on my single speed it feels a lot worse :)
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby human909 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:53 am

J_L_C wrote:Thanks everyone, I am looking to join another soccer club but I think Im really going to enjoy cycling. Its a way to get out of everythingvand just feel alone. Im also hoping to gain fitness for soccer. Although Im finding single speed kind of difficult, didnt realise freeway cycle path was so hilly


I personally loved the freedom and independence a bicycle gave me as a kid. I was riding and exploring the neighbourhood from the age of 6 and that has continued ever since. Many kids don't feel the same independence until much later when they get their license. Unfortunately some don't treat that independence appropriately though thus we end up with so many hoons and dangerous P plate drivers.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:35 am

Yehh thats right, Im not really sure If Ill be able to afford to drive so maybe I should keep pushing on my bicycle :)
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby bychosis » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:52 am

If you want to get more upper body workout, get a MTB and get out on the trails. I commute whenever possible on the road bike, and after a good MTB ride my arms and shoulders really feel it, while my legs think it is normal.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby westab » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:03 am

Couldn't agree more with human - it gave me freedom when I got my first bike at ten and the good news it still feels like that. Riding is fun and for me is something I can enjoy as I get older.

I used to love playing cricket - still do realy but at 42 and having been a fast bowler the knees, shoulder, back...... would have been had it if I was still playing. On the other hand I can continue to ride to work, stay fit for my age, enjoy it, and allow my kids to play their sports (netball, athletics, soccer, & swimming) from the savings from not having a 2nd car and gym membership.

As a dad it also encourages my family to be active - without a word being said.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby TTar » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:12 am

Gotta second the human's and westab's comments -- the freedom, independence and sheer unalloyed joy of cycling never goes away, kid. There's a purity and ease in cycling that is unique. Unlike say surfing, team sports or tooling about in a gym, with cycling, you just step outside at any time and go. You're not reliant on others, gym schedules or conditions. The only thing as pure is jogging or walking, but how boring is that!?

Furthermore, you can ride on a machine you've built yourself. A machine that is almost organic, an extension of yourself.

What you should do next, young man, is compile a stable of bikes. Your SS can become your pub bike... er, your milk bar bike and get a roadie for the long rides, a knockabout MTB for graffiti expeditions, a cruiser for the beach etc etc etc.

Just think, you might still be riding your current bike in 50 or 60 years time. With medical advances, maybe even more. You'll be a superstar in this forum's "retro" section. :P
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby Dirty32 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:57 pm

Good on you, young man! What you've written is great to read, not only because you've gone out and built yourself a bike, but that you are interested and clever enough to seek out a place such as this to ask your questions. High 5 to you!

At 15, I had a bike that I used to ride to school, but couldnt have cared less about building one and even though I was probably curious enough / had a few questions on various things in life, probably didnt care enough to go ahead and actually ask anyone, much less found a resource such as this forum. What you've shown there is a good initiative and I have a feeling that it'll serve you well in future!

I only echo a lot of what everyone else has said, but I also play soccer at a pretty decent level (still... I play in the WA state league. Im close to double your age and will be coming to an end in the next few years but have played since I was a child) and feel I could probably add to a couple of the points that have been made...

Firstly - as others have mentioned cycling is good for your aerobic fitness and stamina. This is good for your soccer and good for your general wellbeing... I have also found that it'll build up a little bit of lean muscle (although not so much anything upper body), and although you've not stopped growing yet, you'll probably find it will help you maintain a healthy weight.

Specifically for your soccer, I have found that I am more comfortable seeing a game out strongly, my fitness is better and my muscles are less fatigued coming into the end of a game. I can run stronger for longer basically. Cycling & swimming are very low impact excersises (unlike many other activities) and as others have mentioned, wont do much (if any) damage to your joints etc. This mightn't be important now, but as you get older your body will thank you for it! While I probably wouldnt have thought it a little while ago, I have also found that going for a little spin on the bike (or in my case, commuting to work the following morning) the day after a game or training gets rid of most of your muscle soreness or any little niggles, aches or pains. For me, this has been a godsend to be honest. Again, something you'll appreciate when your older if you are still playing sport.

Other than that and generally in life, I think you'll find you'll be a little bit more independent and able to get to school, or work as you get a bit older. You'll find that you will work out how to / make sure you can get to places (whether its by bike or not!) that other people in your age group may find too difficult or not be interested in etc. Again, you wont realise it yet, but you'll almost certainly be a better driver when you get to that age as a result of things you might see out on the road too! I have found cycling to be good for my mental wellbeing, a bit of alone time and good to clear the head when I need it. If your the type to set yourself challenges with your cycling (whether it be increasing your speed, or distance you cycle), you'll probably find that you'll begin to do that with your work and other aspects of life when you get to it. Being in good shape, fitness, stamina, feeling confident and comfortable at your age is a good thing, and definitely wont do your chances any harm (as you'll probably find out over the next couple of years and as you start hitting your 'going out' age... if you know what I mean!) and with various things in life. All positives!

Anyhow, that is enough for now - but it's clear that getting into an activity such as cycling can have a massive impact on all areas of your life. Im happy that you are finding it now... Let us know how it goes! Let us know if you feel it is doing what we are saying, or it's helping in other areas. Keep at it!
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby bychosis » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:43 pm

My first bike, at 10yo was a birthday gift that dad had stripped down and left in a treasure hunt all over the house. He helped me build it up as a great introduction in how to maintain a bike. I've still got most of the parts (no wheels or saddle) and it's waiting for a spray paint and reassembly. Dragster bike for the win!

As above, they are definately a freedom machine for a kid.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby briztoon » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:28 pm

Well for me it's all about controlling weight. I don't eat particularly healthily, if I did, I'd probably be a whippet. It's slowly building my leg muscles. I can see the two main muscles on the front of the thigh are larger, and so to hamstring, and calf muscle. I didn't even know I had a muscle down the front of my shin bone before. But the best thing, buns of steel you can bounce a coin on.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby phineas » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:44 pm

Great for general physical health and wellbeing, but in this day and age, maintaining mental wellbeing is so important.

I hope you've never been affected, but if you ever are in the future, a cycle is so good for easing depression and anxiety :)


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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:05 pm

To be honest, I havent been seen by a Dr but Im pretty sure I have an anxiety disorder, mainly social. Which is one reason why I find this forum awsome.
Im sure if I have a real bad day I can just go for a ride and feel better about myself. But not to be glum...

I find when I ride the first maybe 3km it hurts the top of my thighs and a bit of my calfs, is there a way to warm up these muscles before I ride?
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby g-boaf » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:11 pm

I've no idea what bike it is that you have or the fit, but that shouldn't happen.

The calf muscles shouldn't hurt (is it a cramp, or just sore), nor should your quads, hamstring muscles or the ITB and adductor. The way to get going is to go easy for the first 5 minutes, just spin over the pedals at low intensity until you warm up.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby AKO » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:17 pm

My legs burn for the first 5 minutes (mainly quads) but they settle down. I think I go out too hard and is probably the main cause. I cracked my first metric ton a couple of weeks ago and purposly took it easy from the outset. I noticed my legs didn't get sore till well into the ride. So try taking it easy for the first 5 minutes and see how that goes.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:24 pm

J_L_C wrote:I find when I ride the first maybe 3km it hurts the top of my thighs and a bit of my calfs, is there a way to warm up these muscles before I ride?

Spin those pedals.

Like many newbie and occasional cyclists you may be equating pressure on the pedals with good cycling. Cycling should not be hard on your legs, certainly not over 3kms. Many people pedal TOO SLOWW, below 60rpm cadence. Your pedaling should feel almost like there is nothing there, just spinning. Aim for 80rpm cadence to start with (trained road racers easily do 100+rpm). Once you begin to feel pressure through the pedals it is time to change down a gear and spin again. At the same time, once you crest a hill for a descent, don't forget to change up. Roll over in your higher gear and soon the bike will gather speed for the descent.

But did I say, spin those pedals ???

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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby J_L_C » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:30 pm

Thanks for the advice but I have a single speed so changing gear is not possible but I feel I have the right gearage for average riding.

Jordan
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby g-boaf » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:44 pm

il padrone wrote:
J_L_C wrote:I find when I ride the first maybe 3km it hurts the top of my thighs and a bit of my calfs, is there a way to warm up these muscles before I ride?

Spin those pedals.

Like many newbie and occasional cyclists you may be equating pressure on the pedals with good cycling. Cycling should not be hard on your legs, certainly not over 3kms. Many people pedal TOO SLOWW, below 60rpm cadence. Your pedaling should feel almost like there is nothing there, just spinning. Aim for 80rpm cadence to start with (trained road racers easily do 100+rpm). Once you begin to feel pressure through the pedals it is time to change down a gear and spin again. At the same time, once you crest a hill for a descent, don't forget to change up. Roll over in your higher gear and soon the bike will gather speed for the descent.


Why would you ride at 100+rpm? And for some hills, it can be better to just stand and pedal that way. On a single-speed, you've got no other option. I do know why you'd use 100+rpm, and I've done it for various reasons (and then changed back to slower cadence), but I'm interested in your thoughts.

J_L_C wrote:Thanks for the advice but I have a single speed so changing gear is not possible but I feel I have the right gearage for average riding.


Ah, that explains it. You could get some rollers and try those with your single speed. You can swap chain-rings and rear cogs if you have to. You'll eventually adapt to those.
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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:49 pm

J_L_C wrote:Thanks for the advice but I have a single speed so changing gear is not possible but I feel I have the right gearage for average riding.

Jordan


So what's the gear? 65-70 Gear Inches is a good average gear for a young bloke. Juniors are required to race on restricted gears, so need to learn how to pedal fast.

Chainring/cog * 27 = Gear inches. e.g. my Fixed Gear is a 39/16 * 27 = 65.8

This gear is good enough to travel at 28 km/h comfortably and is just a little short above 30 km/h (which is intended, since the reason I ride a fixed gear bike is to work on my pedal speed).

More to the point It is still possible to climb hills on this gear.

Young riders should be capable of riding a 65" gear into the 40s.

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Re: Benefits of cycling

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:52 pm

g-boaf wrote:Why would you ride at 100+rpm?

Sustained high speed with greater efficiency for longer timespan. Personally, I am not a racer, but I am most comfortable riding above 90 cadence, especially on long climbs. I can hold this sort of cadence for 10-15kms and more of climbing. Drop it to 60-70 and I will be panting and slowing badly after 3-5kms.

g-boaf wrote:And for some hills, it can be better to just stand and pedal that way. On a single-speed, you've got no other option. I do know why you'd use 100+rpm, and I've done it for various reasons (and then changed back to slower cadence), but I'm interested in your thoughts.

For sure there is merit in varying your cadence and position on some hills, especially long climbs and/or variable gradients. Short climbs may be better climbed at speed by honking out of the saddle. This is generally less effiicient than seated climbing over a longer climb though. It is simply of value occasionally for the variety to your muscles.

Watch the cadence of the TdF riders and other pros. Generally they spin at high cadence, much higher than the ordinary 'bloke on a bike'. Juvenile riders are gear-restricted in races on track and road for just this reason - to train them into good pedalling habits.
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