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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took up cycling six weeks ago. I've been typically riding every other day, riding between 6 and 11 miles in my neighborhood each ride during the week, and then a longer ride on the weekends.

My long rides during each weekend have been: 5.28 miles, 11.07 miles, 21.02 miles, 30.31 miles, 15.00 miles, 25.00 miles, and 41.00 miles today (I didn't ride this past Wednesday-Saturday in anticipation of this long ride today).

Compared to how my knee (microfracture surgery 2012) feels after playing tennis, it feels great after my rides. Sometimes I have a bit of discomfort in my left hip and in my wrists, but overall not much pain at all.

But even in the absence of pain, I'm wondering, am I increasing my miles too quickly?

Background info: 49 yo, 6'3", 195 pounds, have played tennis (minus the year after knee surgery) since I was 5, in pretty good overall health, riding a 2000 Gary Fisher Mamba mountain bike (3x7) with Bontrager 26x1.5 'road' tires, area where I ride is neighborhoods and hilly

Also, when I was in a bike shop previously and told the gentlemen what I was riding, he made a comment about "that's a lot of miles on that bike, it would be a good bit more if you were riding a road bike."

So, is it true that if I were riding a road bike instead of my mountain bike I would be traveling further with the same amount of energy? If so, is it because of the bike or the size of the wheels?

Thank you very much for your help.

TripleB
 

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I took up cycling six weeks ago. I've been typically riding every other day, riding between 6 and 11 miles in my neighborhood each ride during the week, and then a longer ride on the weekends.

My long rides during each weekend have been: 5.28 miles, 11.07 miles, 21.02 miles, 30.31 miles, 15.00 miles, 25.00 miles, and 41.00 miles today (I didn't ride this past Wednesday-Saturday in anticipation of this long ride today).

Compared to how my knee (microfracture surgery 2012) feels after playing tennis, it feels great after my rides. Sometimes I have a bit of discomfort in my left hip and in my wrists, but overall not much pain at all.

But even in the absence of pain, I'm wondering, am I increasing my miles too quickly?

Background info: 49 yo, 6'3", 195 pounds, have played tennis (minus the year after knee surgery) since I was 5, in pretty good overall health, riding a 2000 Gary Fisher Mamba mountain bike (3x7) with Bontrager 26x1.5 'road' tires, area where I ride is neighborhoods and hilly

Also, when I was in a bike shop previously and told the gentlemen what I was riding, he made a comment about "that's a lot of miles on that bike, it would be a good bit more if you were riding a road bike."

So, is it true that if I were riding a road bike instead of my mountain bike I would be traveling further with the same amount of energy? If so, is it because of the bike or the size of the wheels?

Thank you very much for your help.

TripleB

TripleB,

To answer your question, how long is a piece of string?

Let’s face it, cyclists are inherently snobs, see Velominati ? Keepers of the Cog if you question that. :) The “gentleman’s” comment was designed for multiple things as I see it.

1. Convince you that you needed a new flashy bike
2. Make you feel bad about what you’re currently riding
3. Be impressed because he couldn’t do it on a mtn bike.

Reality, when you are riding something lighter the same effort has greater yield. When I first got back into cycling, I was riding my 2010 Fisher Cobia mtn bike, I worked almost 2x as hard as my friends on their road bikes. Think about it, 35lb mtn bike vs. 19lb road bike, huge difference. With all of that said, annually I do the American Diabetes Association’s New England Classic Tour de Cure the 2 day event. Thus far in the last 4 years, there was a woman who did the 150 miles on an ellipticigo, a couple beach cruisers, various mountain bikes, you name it.

The best bike to ride for your chosen distance is the one you ride. I choose my 2012 SuperSix.

Ride your ride, nobody else’s. everyone has an opinion, when it comes to you and what you do, your’s is the only one that matters.

EEC
 

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TripleB,

To the question raised by the bike shop guy about whether you need a new bike, a road bike:

tl;dr version: some new tires can make a big difference in your ride.

I shifted over from mountain biking to road biking on the same bike, my 1986 Shogun Prairie Breaker Pro.

This was in the early to mid 1990s, after my local trails got too crowded with bikes.

I had always used two sets of tires and wheels -- one for riding on the trails, and a set of slicks for the commute into downtown Philly I was doing at the time.

Long story short -- I had started riding with a roady buddy or two, but the fat slicks weren't giving me the speed and ease of road riding I wanted.

What I did to let me keep up with the roadies I rode with was to get a set of Panaracer Pasela tires -- thinner and lighter than my 2.25 slicks, and fast and easy to ride on roads.





About the aches and pains:

The wrist pain could be coming from a stressful position due to incorrect position of the handlebars and/or seat. Also, in my experience, building your core muscle strength, both stomach and lower back, will lessen your tendency to lean on your handlebars, and put too much weight on your hands, wrists and arms.

Working on your core strength could also lessen the pain you're feeling in your left hip. Also note -- pain on one side in your foot, knee, leg and hip can be the result of one leg being shorter than the other. My left leg is about 1/2 shorter than the right. I got left knee pain until I found the correct adjustment of cleat position on my left shoe.

Good luck. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TripleB,

To answer your question, how long is a piece of string?

The “gentleman’s” comment was designed for multiple things as I see it.

1. Convince you that you needed a new flashy bike
2. Make you feel bad about what you’re currently riding
3. Be impressed because he couldn’t do it on a mtn bike.

Ride your ride, nobody else’s. everyone has an opinion, when it comes to you and what you do, your’s is the only one that matters.

EEC
If you're referring to hamstrings, mine's not very long...doc laughs at me every time I get a physical because of my lack of flexibility :D

I love #3! This guy seemed real honest...advised me to get a $600 bike when they had the same model but with better components for $1050...said most people didn't get the $1050 one because if they were going to pay that much they go ahead and spend $1500 and get a carbon frame. Said go with $600...if I stuck with cycling sell it and move up. If I didn't I wouldn't be out a great deal.

Anyway...thanks for the help!

About the aches and pains:

The wrist pain could be coming from a stressful position due to incorrect position of the handlebars and/or seat. Also, in my experience, building your core muscle strength, both stomach and lower back, will lessen your tendency to lean on your handlebars, and put too much weight on your hands, wrists and arms.

Working on your core strength could also lessen the pain you're feeling in your left hip. Also note -- pain on one side in your foot, knee, leg and hip can be the result of one leg being shorter than the other. My left leg is about 1/2 shorter than the right. I got left knee pain until I found the correct adjustment of cleat position on my left shoe.

Good luck. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the tire advice...here is what I have on my Mamba (not great, but didn't want to put too much money into them knowing my intention was to move to a road bike): Bontrager H2 Hybrid Tire | Trek BikesDefinitely agree with you about the too much pressure on my hands. I raised the seat a good 2 inches when I started riding longer rides...found my legs just weren't getting stretched out when pedaling like they should have been. Didn't raise my handlebars so I'm sure they are probably a bit low.

Thanks for the advice on core strength...once I get this fat belly out of the way maybe that will help :)

I think a couple of items that may contribute to the hip pain as well is I think I still go easy on my left leg because of the prior surgery and I don't think my pedaling is as smooth as it should be. Right now (and something I did a lot of today) is keeping my knees more in and making sure my pedaling is smooth. Especially downhill I seem to go wild with my pedaling trying to get as much speed to go up the next hill instead of concentrating on going down the hill I'm on.

I appreciate all the advice!!!

TripleB
 

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You will go faster/farther on a road bike. lighter weight, narrower tires, more hand positions for comfort, etc.

A $600 road bike to start is a good idea. I did the same (trek 1.1) and by the time I moved up to fancy shmancy carbon/11 spd I knew there would be no regrets. If I had decided road biking wasn't for me I would've had a lot less $$ laid out and might've lost $250 or so on the experiment after selling the Trek.
 

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TripleB,

Whatever you choose to do, buy new road bike or keep riding your current bike, do yourself a favor, get a proper fit. It's worth the money, I've had 2 surgeries on my left knee and since I went to get professionally fit my pedal stroke is stronger and better tracking for my knees.

EEC
 

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TripleB,

To answer your question, how long is a piece of string?

Let’s face it, cyclists are inherently snobs, see Velominati ? Keepers of the Cog if you question that. :) The “gentleman’s” comment was designed for multiple things as I see it.

1. Convince you that you needed a new flashy bike
2. Make you feel bad about what you’re currently riding
3. Be impressed because he couldn’t do it on a mtn bike.

Reality, when you are riding something lighter the same effort has greater yield. When I first got back into cycling, I was riding my 2010 Fisher Cobia mtn bike, I worked almost 2x as hard as my friends on their road bikes. Think about it, 35lb mtn bike vs. 19lb road bike, huge difference. With all of that said, annually I do the American Diabetes Association’s New England Classic Tour de Cure the 2 day event. Thus far in the last 4 years, there was a woman who did the 150 miles on an ellipticigo, a couple beach cruisers, various mountain bikes, you name it.

The best bike to ride for your chosen distance is the one you ride. I choose my 2012 SuperSix.

Ride your ride, nobody else’s. everyone has an opinion, when it comes to you and what you do, your’s is the only one that matters.

EEC
All of this is very true except for the 2x as hard part. It will be harder for sure, but certainly not by a magnitude of 2. 2x the bike's weight does not amount to 2x the effort.

This all being said, if a lighter and faster bike will motivate you to ride more miles and try different routes and hillier terrain, then it's worth it!

TripleB,
Whatever you choose to do, buy new road bike or keep riding your current bike, do yourself a favor, get a proper fit. It's worth the money, I've had 2 surgeries on my left knee and since I went to get professionally fit my pedal stroke is stronger and better tracking for my knees.
Absolutely! I couldn't agree more!
 

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All of this is very true except for the 2x as hard part. It will be harder for sure, but certainly not by a magnitude of 2. 2x the bike's weight does not amount to 2x the effort.

This all being said, if a lighter and faster bike will motivate you to ride more miles and try different routes and hillier terrain, then it's worth it!
Lombard, the engine driving my bike sucked at the time, so it was easily 2x the effort. I speak only of my experiences with me, nobody else. :)

EEC
 

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So, here's the deal. You've been playing tennis all your life. I played tennis into my 20s. If you are competitive, it's a good workout. So, I'd say doing a 41 mile ride after only 6 weeks of riding (and a lifetime of tennis!!!) is just fine so long as you feel good the next day. As for your hip and hands, that has to do with the fit of your bike. You may just need to make an adjustment to the seat height and position. I found that near the end of some long rides (30+ miles) one of my hips would start to feel sore and my feet would start to feel numb. Believe it or not, lowering my seat half an inch solved both those issues.

But you also have to consider how hard you are riding. How long does it take you to do 41 miles and how much climbing is there? And how do you feel at the end of the ride?

As for the question of sticking with the mountain bike or getting a road bike, I faced that same question earlier this year. After two years of using an upright exercise bike and occasional road biking (on a hybrid - 700x40c wheels, flat bar) I started road riding in May. And I started group riding the end of June (with the "easy" group). And I had people telling me I needed to get a road bike. Near the end of August, I finally test rode some road bikes and was amazed at the difference. Still, part of me thought, "hey, the hybrid is more of a workout and that's why you ride, for the exercise." But I got the road bike anyway.

Here's the thing, the road bike is lighter than the hybrid, and I am in a more aerodynamic position. So yes, to cover the same distance in the same amount of time as I did on the hybrid is easier with the road bike. But, I can push myself just as hard on the road bike and go farther in the same amount of time, and get the same workout. And with the club rides, I've advanced from the "easy" group to the "D" group to the "C" group, and I can take my turn on the front of the echelon with no problem.

Here is the other thing, I enjoy the road bike a lot more than I did the hybrid, so I ride more and I go further when I ride (and I can move my hands around, so I don't get pain or numbness in my hands anymore). I actually find myself leaving work early to go for a ride.

So, at least give the road bikes a test ride and see how you like it. The difference between today's road bikes and the one I had in the early 1980s is like night and day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Believe it or not, lowering my seat half an inch solved both those issues.

But you also have to consider how hard you are riding. How long does it take you to do 41 miles and how much climbing is there? And how do you feel at the end of the ride?

But, I can push myself just as hard on the road bike and go farther in the same amount of time, and get the same workout. And with the club rides, I've advanced from the "easy" group to the "D" group to the "C" group, and I can take my turn on the front of the echelon with no problem.

Here is the other thing, I enjoy the road bike a lot more than I did the hybrid, so I ride more and I go further when I ride (and I can move my hands around, so I don't get pain or numbness in my hands anymore). I actually find myself leaving work early to go for a ride.
My seat was, what I felt like, low so I raised it a bit...it felt really good...my hips hurt after one ride so I lowered it just a bit. But I noticed that when I get tired, if I push myself towards the back of my seat, my legs feel better stretched out like that...but it doesn't feel like I'm getting quite as much power out of each push when I'm in that position.

It took me 3 hours and 50 minutes to go 41 miles...so about a 10.7 mph pace (slow I know). Where I rode was a lot of hills...although not large ones. Data says my min elevation was 942 feet and max elevation was 1060 feet. Overall elevation gain was 1139 feet and elevation lost was 1141 feet.

Cannot wait to see what a true road bike feels like! Going to use my bonus this month for hitch and bike rack. Going to use my bonus early next year for the road bike!!!

Congrats on the progression on your club rides...fantastic!!!

Thank you for your input and advice...it is greatly appreciated!

TripleB
 

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10.7 mph may be slow for some, but you went over 40 miles!!! And 1139 feet of climbing isn't peanuts. I think lots of little hills is harder than fewer bigger hills. You don't get a chance to establish a rhythm going up the hill and you are down to the bottom and heading up the next hill before you have a chance to fully recover. It's like trying to pedal on a roller coaster track.

Everyone moves on the saddle. But saddle position is very important. If you decide to stay with the mountain bike, I suggest you take it in to the LBS and have them fit it to you properly. Mention the issues you have. If you get a road bike, they should fit you as part of the process. Also, there is no one-size-fits-all saddle. A saddle that is too wide can cause hip issues and/or lead to a sore butt. You may need a different saddle. Your LBS can help with that, too. And don't underestimate the affect of a good pair of biking bib shorts.

I suspect that you have turned to biking primarily for fitness. You might consider getting a heart rate monitor as a means to gauge the amount of effort you are putting into your rides. It would also allow you to target specific heart rate zones and help you maintain or improve aerobic capacity. And once you determine your Max heart rate, it can help you keep from overdoing it. I've been using one for three years now and I don't exercise without it. OTOH, after a lifetime of tennis, you may be much more in tune with your body's level of effort than I am.

BTW, I'm 51 and started riding (mostly with an upright exercise bike) when I was 48. And I would not have dreamed of going 41 miles at any speed back then.

-*fiz*
 

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If you're on the bike for an extended period of time, keep in mind that with the drop bars on a road bike you have multiple positions for your hands. Changing position every once in a while may help with the wrists, and also neck/back, etc.
 

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Distance is relative. What's short for one is too long for another. Important thing is to listen to one's own body. What ever your goal its wise to build to it over time. Would add that if you are feeling pain or discomfort (not soreness) then a professional fit may not be a bad idea to make sure everything is properly positioned for maximum comfort, performance and enjoyment.
 

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TripleB, welcome to wonderful world of cycling! I wish you may happy miles and years. Others have already offered lots of great advice. With regard to your original question about increasing your mileage too quickly for your knees, just listen to your body. Muscles will always hurt but any pain, or even significant discomfort, in joints should ring alarm bells. But, as others have said, it probably indicates issues with bike fit rather than excessive mileage. Happy and healthy pedaling!
 

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TripleB, my answer is any bike you own and ride is a good one. Ride it as much and as far as you like (and your body tells you that you can) and if you find you want to do more, but feel you are being held back by the bike, then is the time to consider going to something else. Yes, for road riding, a road bike will be easier / use less energy per km....but you won't be able to hit the multi-use trails or single track with the road bike.

There are things you can do if you find you are riding a mountain bike more on the road to make it more efficient until you decide that you want a road specific bike.

In my case, I came over from a mountain bike background and now do a mix of cycling...road, mountain and even handcycling. My first Imperial Century and subsequent longest ride to date were on my 2006 Gary Fisher Cake 2 DLX full suspension mtb with no lockouts. My longest ride was a 201 km self-supported ride in a single day using 26x1.5" slicks on the mtb. Sure, it was exhausting (what 200 km ride won't drain the tank), and it would have been easier on a road bike...but I wasn't to the point of doing enough road riding then.

"Run what you brung" is certainly fine until you get to the point where you want to bring something else. That's up to you, not the guys at the shop or the guys on the street.

Just my opinion :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
TripleB, welcome to wonderful world of cycling!
Thank you very much!!! It is such an amazing feeling being out there on the road cycling...wish I would have started it 25 years ago instead of waiting until I was 49. I'm loving it everything about cycling right now!!!

Ride it as much and as far as you like (and your body tells you that you can) and if you find you want to do more, but feel you are being held back by the bike, then is the time to consider going to something else. Yes, for road riding, a road bike will be easier / use less energy per km....but you won't be able to hit the multi-use trails or single track with the road bike.

"Run what you brung" is certainly fine until you get to the point where you want to bring something else. That's up to you, not the guys at the shop or the guys on the street.

Just my opinion :)
Thanks for the advice...and great advice it is!

Once I get the road bike I'm going to put the knobby tires back on my mountain bike so I can have both a road bike and a trail bike.

I plain on riding my mountain bike through next March...once Spring hits my area I'm going to move to a road bike.

Thanks for everyone's help and advice so far!!!

TripleB
 

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I plain on riding my mountain bike through next March...once Spring hits my area I'm going to move to a road bike.
I actually got a road bike more for winter riding! The trails can get to muddy to ride without causing a bunch of damage to the trails. I even rode on tightly packed snow and icewith my road bike last year! The slicks didn't have much of an issue and I was pretty surprised how much grip I had for braking. It was still a fraction of what you have on good pavement but do-able.
 

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TripleB,

For the same amount of energy, a road bike will be easier than a mountain bike. Whether or not you need a road bike depends on yourself and why you are riding. If you look at riding as just for pure exercise and needing to expend energy and break a sweat, there's really no need to change to a road bike.

For myself, I don't ride for the exercise. I ride cause it feels good. The exercise, cardio capacity and physical benefits of riding are just a consequence of what I enjoy doing. I prefer a road bike not cause it can get be farther than a mountain bike for the same level of energy exerted, but cause the position I'm in feels better to me and the lightness of the bike makes it feel more free. Every individual is different. You put me on a mountain bike and I just can't get the smiles out of it like a road bike. However I have plenty of friends that swear by the fun they get on a mountain bike. To each their own. You should go try different bikes and see how they make you feel. It's not about the distance, speed or watts but the ear to ear grin you get from doing it.
 
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