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Fitness tips before beginning cycling.

Hey,

I've decided to start cycling properly this summer (late May/June-ish) and want to be in some kind of reasonable shape before I do. My knowledge of exercise and fitness is minimal at best, and that is why I'm asking for some help. Where to start? Serious advice would be preferable :p

Also, any cheap-ish bike suggestions? (£450~ limit) Don't want to start another new thread for that.

Thanks :eek:
 
Jul 23, 2009
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luckyboy said:
Hey,

I've decided to start cycling properly this summer (late May/June-ish) and want to be in some kind of reasonable shape before I do. My knowledge of exercise and fitness is minimal at best, and that is why I'm asking for some help. Where to start? Serious advice would be preferable :p

Also, any cheap-ish bike suggestions? (£450~ limit) Don't want to start another new thread for that.

Thanks :eek:

dimspace had a similar thread for an all around bike in the 500-700 pound range. There may be some suggestions in there that suit what you are looking for in a bike.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Not to sound pithy but... the best way to be fit for cycling is to start cycling. Whilst at beginning levels general fitness is transferrable you body adapts to that which it does, ie: if you cycle a lot you will get better at cycling.

As mentioned there is plenty of information here and on the web for beginners programs to help you on your way. Don't worry about being "fit enough", we all had to start at the beginning at one point.

My biggest piece of advice would be 1) don't spend too much first up, 2) when you do get a bike ensure you get a good fitting, it will make the biggest difference, and will set you up for many hours of enjoyable cycling.
 
Yeah I thought that, but don't people run/do other stuff as well? Thanks for the link pedaling squares :)

Thanks Tapeworm. There are some great (and cheap) bikes on Gumtree, but if you buy 2nd-hand, you don't get fitted. That'd probably be a bit of a gamble then. And I'll nose around this sub-forum too.

Should mention that I'm aiming to join a CC sometime towards the end of the year or the start of 2011 - whichever is more realistic.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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now is about the time of the year when the bike shops are trying to get the last few 2009 model year bike out of inventory. The pickings are usually slim, but if you have time to shop around, you can easily find deals on a bike for 40% off or more.

As for fitness: the more you exercise, the more fit you will get. The more fit you get, the more you will need to exercise. Cycling at least makes it fun.
 
Apr 10, 2009
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luckyboy said:
...

Should mention that I'm aiming to join a CC sometime towards the end of the year or the start of 2011 - whichever is more realistic.

I have gone the same way as dim, but still lurking.

My small contribution is ...
lurk/join veloriders.uk which has more knowledge than you will ever find here in comprehensible English, They may have classified ads too, or look at ebay for your preferred type of bike i.e. road/vtt/cx but I assume road.
Buy the best 2nd hand you can find, save money for shoes and clothes, very important.
Join a club, watch listen and learn. Get the miles in, it will come.
I assume you don't smoke or drink to excess - if so, stop!
Good luck.
 
Apr 10, 2009
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luckyboy said:
Ah ok thanks :)

Yeah that does sound the best thing to do (2nd hand)

Last time I drank was New Years, never smoked :cool:

Nothing useful on Gumtree. Don't know where you are in London and I have been gone for 7 years so it has probably all changed. I'm a happy Condor rider.
PM me if you want.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Welcome to the cycling ranks! The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the sport. The first thing to achieve this aim is a comfortable, well fitted bike. The bike doesn't need to be thousands of dollars to achieve this aim, in fact there are lots of bikes out there for you to test ride in your price range and for your LBS to dial in your fitting. Just be patient and make sure you test ride all the options.

In regards to fitness, as others have said, just jump on the bike. Get some base miles in and then as you get your cycling legs, try longer distances, hills and intervals. There are coaches and trainers on the CN Forum and they would be better to advise you on how to start a training program, but getting up to 50+km regularly on weekend rides should be achievable in your first year I would think. There are plenty of resources for interval work (Bicycling Magazine and their website is just one of many examples), but this is a little further in your future, as will be upgrades, new bikes, heart rate monitors, and perhaps even power meters. You can well and truly get sucked into the cycling world! Beware.:)

As far as other sports or cross-training, it really depends on what you get enjoyment out of and your expectations. Personally, road cycling is my main exercise, but I also mountain bike and/or cyclocross at least once weekly, as well as strength and core work, yoga, indoor climbing, swimming, trail and street running, and hopefully martial arts soon. In the winter, I also skate and cross-country ski. I like the variety and also working my upper and lower bodies, but many others will just cycle. You'll find what works best for you in due time.

Good luck and happy cycling.
 
Mar 26, 2009
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Just start riding. Don't overdo it. Get a bike that feels right to you. Maybe have a friend who is a cyclist advise on the purchase - maybe look at the bikes with you and advise on fit. The main thing is to start riding! Keep us posted on how it is going...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Fit

Get Fit. No Not fitness, position. Make sure you start from a good neutral position based on your body and not a pro. Find a good fitter in your area. He will look at your natural attributes of flexibility, body proportion, how your feet naturally go, etc. Use their experience to get a good bike and fit. Then the rest is easy ride your bike regularly. Add distance as you get endurance and strength. find a group to ride with and watch them. this more than anything will teach you to go fast and hold a line. Listen to your body and rest when you get deeply tired. recovery is part of gaining fitness and the biggest mistake most riders make is riding when resting is more important.
As long as this all is fun you will do fine.
Other activities keep your mind fresh and help maintain cardio but if you want to be a good bike rider then ride a bike. Running and swimming are good for the heart but unless you are going to do triathlons they won't make you a cyclist.
Now have fun.
 
Mar 18, 2010
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hiiiii

Cycling, both outdoors and on a stationary bicycle, are a great cardiovascular exercise and a perfect alternative for those that don't like walking or jogging or who have orthopaedic limitations to weight bearing exercise.

Cycling is a good exercise for a variety of fitness levels. Stationary cycling or outdoor cycling on level ground, works well for anyone, more hilly terrain can provide a more intense workout for those already in better shape. Benefits include increased cardio respiratory (heart and lung) health, decreased body fat, decreased risk of heart disease, lower risk of injury, and improved low back muscle endurance.

Adjust the height of the seat so that the leg that is on the bottom of the down stroke is almost but not quite completely extended when the foot is on the pedal. If the seat is too low, your leg muscles will fatigue more easily, limiting your performance. Use toe clips, if available, they improve pedalling efficiency. Sit comfortably on the bike seat with your back straight, either upright or leaning slightly forward. Rest your hands on top of the handlebars and relax your shoulders.

The pedalling speed can vary depending on fitness level and comfort, but 50 / 70 revolutions per minute (rpms) usually provides a good workout for beginners, with advanced between 70 / 90 at a higher level.

Always warm-up, stretch, and cool down during your outdoor/stationary cycling session.

Begin each exercise session by pedalling against very low levels of resistance for 5-10 minutes (warm-up) and then stretch your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and low back muscles (refer to the stretching component for the principles and techniques of stretching.) After your exercise session, cool down by pedalling at a very low resistance for 5-10 minutes and then stretch the same muscles as before. Be sure to drink fluid regularly throughout the exercise session, carry a water bottle with you.

It's good advice to wear a proper fitting helmet when cycling outdoors, and at night have lights and reflective material on.

It is also important to gradually increase the duration (the time you spend in each session) before you increase the intensity. That is, when beginning a cycling program, be more concerned with increasing the number of minutes of the exercise session before you increase the intensity. The intensity can then be increased gradually by either increasing your speed or cycling on a hilly terrain.

Interval training i.e. a minute fast then a minute easy will help improve your fitness level, and also take out any boredom factor. Refer to the aerobic exercise tips for your correct level of exercise.

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