Complete beginner and some questions...

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by claroj, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. claroj

    claroj New Member

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    Hi

    Hope you don't mind me joining you, I am a complete beginner at cycling and feel a bit daft posting on here cos I am just using cycling to try and lose weight (but am very much enjoying it!)

    I have a few questions:

    - can you really lose weight cycling? I feel a lot fitter but not sure whether it is affecting my weight. I am 3 stone overweight and recovering from a c'section (that's why i started cycling cos i can't do any impact sports yet). I have a mountain bike and am doing an hour's ride 3 or 4 times a week but really pushing myself! Do you think this will help my weight loss (am on a diet aswell!)

    - Is it just me or do all women cyclists have permanently sore nether regions? I feel bruised and somedays can't sit down - my husband keeps saying he never feels like that when he's been on a bike? Is this a woman thing?

    - I have a cheap mountain bike (£150 - 4 yrs ago), would a more expensive bike be more comfortable or is it just something you have to get used to?
    Are there any tips for protecting my 'undercarriage' (lol!)? creams/padding?
    Might me being so overweight be making it worse?

    Thanks very much for any advice
     
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  2. cjmpe

    cjmpe New Member

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    Hi there, welcome to the world of cycling - no reason to feel daft - there are lots of cyclists out there who do it for just the pleasure and fitness aspects.

    Weight loss - I'm sure that you have heard this before, but weight loss is simply a function of burning more calories than you eat..........so, yes you can (and probably will) lose weight - I've personally lost 15 lbs since I started. The real issue might be a question of duration and intensity. The hour long rides are an excellent start and really should be all that you can expect initially until you get used to the bicycle (the pain you mention is a primary issue). Long term, you need to set some identifiable goals - find out your max heartrate - some may debate this, but for your purposes, 220-age is a good first estimate. For fat burning, you want to try to get your ride duration above 90 minutes and you want to keep your heartrate in the 60-70% of maximum. Say you are 40, then your max heartrate would be about 180, and your fat burning heartrate should be around 108-126 beats per minute.

    Pain is not just a woman thing - I went through 3 different saddles until I found one that was really comfortable. My wife had endless problems until we purchased a womens design bike seat - Trek and Specialized both have after market seats available that are specifically designed for women - they have a cutout in them to take some pressure off the tender bits. Trek in North America has a guarantee that if you are not satisfied, return the seat within 60 days for a refund, but any good specialty bike shop should be able to help you.

    Next - do you have a pair of suitable bike shorts - these are the shorts with the pad in them. Thay also make a big difference and also provide protection against chafing as you spend longer periods on the bike. Here in Canada anyway, you can also buy padded underwear to put on under normal shorts - but I wouldn't consider this an ideal solution.

    Bike - where do you do your riding (roads, paths, dirt trails)? There are obviously lots of bike options, some of them not too expensive (hybrids, road, etc)- but they are still quality bikes. Changing from a mountain bike to a hybrid might be the best choice - I assume that you are in the UK - pick up a copy of Cycling Plus from a news stand - I also recommend that you look into joining their discussion groups - (cyclingplus.co.uk) - don't forget the www in the front - and check out the cake stop section - there are a lot of very active women on that site who can probably give you better pointers than I can.
     
  3. MsMittens

    MsMittens New Member

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    Yes! From last year July to Today I've lost 40lbs (210 --> 170). I figure by the end of the season, with my long tour coming up, I'll probalby be down to 160lb. I did discover that after losing my initial weight last year and then doing the same cycling this year wasn't good enough. My body had become efficient (and faster on the bike). So I had to extend my cycling "commute/training" time from 60 minutes (round trip) to 2 hours, 15 minutes round trip (add more KM on the way to work). :)

    And cjmpe is right. I had stayed with my original bike saddle and was quite fine with it, especially after winter training. But when it broke I got a new one (bit of padding with a slot in the middle -- designed for women). I love it. Feels nice even on longer trips! I do agree on getting decent shorts. I'll go cheap on shirts, socks, etc but bike shorts and shoes are a must to get best and best fitting.
     
  4. pam_in_sc

    pam_in_sc New Member

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    My weight loss slowed when I started bicycling, but I figure it is because I am building muscle. My clothes continued to get looser. Bicycling should not just burn calories but also be high enough intensity to up your metabolism. Make sure you are getting enough protein.

    When I first started riding again after many years I rode my husband's bike, but I bought a new saddle. Turned out that one wasn't wide enough for my sit bones even though it was a woman's saddle (my pelvis is wide--I had a 10 lb. baby by natural childbirth). At the moment I'm riding the leather saddle from my 30 year old bike (it would have cost too much to fix up the bike) and waiting for a new women's Brooks leather saddle. I tried one modern saddle that was wide enough but my sit bones felt like I had been sitting on a rock for hours. So I'm going for a leather saddle because it is hard on the surface but gives a little when your weight really hits it. If your sit bones are properly supported but your soft tissue hurts then I would think a saddle with a cutout would be the thing to try. A mountain bike may have a larger squishy saddle which may actually put more pressure on the soft tissue than a harder saddle would.

    I knew I wanted to ride on the road, not on trails, and wanted to try to go fast to get more exercise, so I bought a road bike. That bent over position actually puts part of your weight on your hands, which means less weight on your seat.

    Pam
     
  5. bjhkmf

    bjhkmf New Member

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    Yes! Definately yes, you will lose weight cycling. You'll also tone up--build muscle--I'm starting to see my legs and thighs turn back to the form they were when I was younger (I'm 46). It's great. Keep with it. I've lost 53 pounds since January.


    As for your pain--get yourself a woman's saddle. I've used Serfas saddles for years--before I became so obsessed with cyclling and was just a casual "around the block" rider. I recently purchased one of their Rx models with the slit in the middle--it is WONDERFUL.

    Keep at it. You'll love the rewards. :)
     
  6. Karenemt

    Karenemt New Member

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    You can definitely lose weight cycling - I am down 25 lb now since March by cutting back on sugar and cycling - and feel great! I am too struggling to lose the baby weight from my 2-1/2 yr old still, but it's at least coming off slowly now.

    Just go slow - you did have major surgery and don't want to overdo it. How old is your new little one?

    See if you can try several saddles then you can make a decision. My local bike shop has "test ride" saddles of all shapes and sizes. I had a 10-1/2 lb baby naturally as well and since then I need a saddle with a LARGE cutout to accommodate my anatomy down there. Ever since I've gone to a saddle like this I've had no pain/problems in this regard.
     
  7. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    In my experience, and of those in my cycling group - not much. You will certainly get fitter, and you may even tone up a bit, and perhaps lose a little weight. But certainly not the vast amount you might think based on the huge miles you might cycle.

    I found I was losing almost nothing, so decided to go from doing shorter rides (about 50-60km) to 120-200km rides. Even one 320km ride. Have not lost one ounce on any of these rides. And I go pretty hard and fast - trying to average around 30kph all the time.

    I am still not losing any more weight. I have become a bit tired of the long rides - so am now doing rides around 100km, which is a lot more comfortable and fun. No change in weight loss amount (none).


    Well, it never gets really easy, I don't think. Even Lance Armstrong says he gets a sore ass. After a while you get used to it, or your muscles toughen up. I rarely feel much now until about 100+ km, when it does start to get a bit sore. In my experience - you need to find a seat that suits you. So you need to try them out for a few rides - and do a few miles to get a good feel. I also use an anesthetic creme on the really long rides - adds a bit of lubrication that I think helps just slightly.

    Basically, you take a sore butt with all the other problems of cycling - the abusive car drivers, rain and punctures. It is just part of the scene.

    I started off with a heavy mountain bike too - because I was so overweight I did not think a road bike would hold my weight. It probably couldn't have done either. But now I have lost 25kg, it is not so bad. I now have a topline road bike, and it is a lot better.

    My theory is that when you start off, you get a cheap bike as you are not too sure if you want to keep it up. And these bikes generally come with 'tractor seats'. These are fairly good for very short rides (10-30km), since this is mainly what these sorts of bikes are built for. After 30km, the tractor seat becomes a liability, and you butt actually becomes sorer.

    I think is almost a linear equation - the longer the ride - the narrower the bike seat. You look at any group of cyclists - the newcomers or short distance riders generally have tractor seats. The experienced and/or long distance riders all have skinny seats. Think about it.
     
  8. adapa

    adapa New Member

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    I've found the weight thing to be kind of problematic. To explain, I use to rock climb & was a stage hand both activities were very physically demanding. When I looked to be in my best condition I weighed 140 pounds, being 5' 2" a lot of people would have considered that to be over weight. My strength to weight ratio was great however & my endurance was phenomenal. I was in med to large size cloths.

    I don't weight myself but do keep track of how my clothes fit!
     
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