On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

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On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

Postby sticky88 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 16:01 pm

So I've got a new challenge! I'm joining a group of friends to cycle for charity next June, probably about 80 miles per day for 6 days - no details finalised yet.

I've not been on a bike for 20 years (and that was merely for short distance commute), and never been on a road bike. Two weeks ago, I bought a road bike, 2 days later got myself a helmet, 2 days after I was cycling round and round a car pack getting used to the bike. The obligatory shoulder ache was evident the following day.

A week later (yesterday), I was determined to go out again. So I went out onto proper roads, my boyfriend who's a keen cyclist came along. I don't drive, so being on a real road is even scarier for me! It was raining and cold, but we did just over 13 miles. I discovered that I don't really know how to brake properly! Fell off my bike once, apparently he said I appeared to have thrown myself off my bike!

Looks like I need to return to the car park with a bit more practice. I'm just finishing another marathon, so thought I need to plan a proper cycling training properly. Is there any resource I can get to that has some guidance to training for cycling (like they do in running)?

I'm a complete novice, so any advice is useful advice for me! Thanks! :D

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Re: On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

Postby dazza12 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 16:10 pm

The best advice to give is to just keep cycling. The more practice that you get, the better you'll be.

You seem to have the fitness, no doubt from your running. Doing 13 miles on the bike is good progress.

Get used to braking on quiet roads. Make sure there's nothing behind you and imagine a kid has just ran out - learn how to brake quickly but safely. The key is to remain in control, if you're falling off or lose balance you're stopping too quickly.

The more experience that you get, your balance will improve. If you're still finding it difficult, try adjusting the saddle so you're feeling a bit more comfortable - you may be compensating for an imbalance.

Also take a look at the Training / Fitness section on this forum - some quite good advice on there.

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Re: On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

Postby Mikey23 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 18:41 pm

Good goal. First step is getting confidence and competence. I'm from a running background and found this quite hard. After that build up endurance using similar broad principles to running. What I struggled with is the burst of uphill activity followed by the easy peasy downhills rather than the steady effort required for endurance running. I thought because I was a good runner, I would be a good cyclist which was far from the truth... I suspect that when you get into it, you will find 6x 80 miles quite easy. You will have to do a lot of winter work so will need to be togged appropriately. I thought that my running gear would be enough... Another mistake! Base layer, warm top, portable rain top, bib tights, winter gloves and overshoes will do it. Good luck and let us know how you are getting on

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Re: On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

Postby skyd0g » Tue Oct 15, 2013 21:18 pm

Regarding your mention of braking, read this http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html and practice modulating your brakes. To the newbie, it seems wrong, but once you get used to it and 'feel' your braking effort, all will become clear. :D
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Re: On the bike after 20 years - advice on training

Postby MichaelW » Wed Oct 16, 2013 08:07 am

As a newbie, avoid clipless pedals until your bike handling skills improve. Stick to plain platform pedals to start with.
Helmet and gloves should go together as cycle safety kit. If you take a slide, your hands often take a slide along the road as well.
Fit some mudguards and lights to get you through the winter.
Dress for the weather. Shorts and jersey are for summer. Wear leggings of some sort, a bright windproof and keep a waterproof handy.
Practice replacing an inner tube and carry the kit you need in a saddlebag.

As far as physical training, you have a strong aerobic base and may be tempted to use it before your body has been conditioned to the stresses of cycling. Avoid any hard riding for about 3 weeks. Get regular saddle time at a steady pace. Learn roadcraft and bike handling skills.

Check your reach to the brake lever. Shimano levers come with extra tabs to reduce the reach.

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