Newbie with multiple questions

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by graye2, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. graye2

    graye2 New Member

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    Hello and thank you in advance for any advice. I am new to cycling (2 months) I have been riding 26mile rides and averaging 15mph. I started cycling to get in better shape and now I want to get faster. I am riding a hybrid Trek 7.2FX.

    My first question is: If I was to buy a road bike how much faster should I be on my ride and what is an acceptable mph to shoot for?

    My second question: I run 5 x per week for 3.5 miles (6mph) should this help my cycling or will it hurt it.

    I used to lift a lot of weights and I am 6ft 217lbs so I could afford to lose about 20 more pounds or so. My legs are fairly strong from all the weights but I don't know quite how to work that to my advantage.

    Any tips on how to get faster will be appreciated. There are a lot of cyclist that seem to blow by me with what appears to be less effort. It may be my bike or it may be the way I am riding it. I mostly stay in 2nd gear and then shift between 3-7. Any advice on shifting would also be appreciated.

    Again I am new to this sport so any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. rob of the og

    rob of the og New Member

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    wrt the bike, first thing to check is whether you have slick tyres or big knobbly mountain bike ones. Slick ones will speed things up a lot. I don't know anything about your bike, but a 'proper' roadbike will be more comfortable over longer distances and be a little quicker, but upgrading the engine will always bring the best speed improvements ;)

    The running will help at this stage when you're just starting out cycling. Once you get good and if you decide to start racing etc, then you'd be better off spending that time cycling. For now, it's all improving your cardio fitness which is good.

    It all sounds good for now, I'd say just keep it up and you'll keep getting better. Remember that those other guys aren't using any less effort: as Greg Lemond said, 'it does get any easier, you just get faster.' It's hard to advise on gears or average speeds, because those are both dependent on so many things. Just use a gear you're comfortable in for your cadence.
     
  3. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    For the time being (as an 'new' cyclist) the bike will not make lots of difference, with the obvious point made by the other poster (get slicks!).

    If you are serious about riding, then RIDE! Unless there are specific reasons (enjoying it, triathlons, etc) why don't you limit/eliminate your running and dedicate that time to riding.

    Remember, what will make the difference in terms of your cycling performance is the amount of time and quality of your training. As someone relatively new to the sport the emphasis should be on regular riding, as often as possible.

    This is, of course, to be taken in the context of someone who is serious about riding (and not about general fitness, in which case your current programme looks good to my very untrained eye).

    For the time being do not try to catch the fast guys. Work on your riding style, and don't worry much about what gear you are in - worry instead about maintaing a good cadence - try to keep it around 80 rpms if you can. I see many new riders trying to ride far too 'heavy' gears for their fitness and power levels.
     
  4. House

    House Banned

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    Don't worry about an "acceptable mph" as there is no such thing unless you are trying to race. Just ride. Ride fast, ride slow, however you want to ride that day. You will get faster just have fun.
     
  5. jcbarnett

    jcbarnett New Member

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    Although not new to cycling as I used to ride 2-300 miles a week and do triathlons and biathlons about 15 years ago, on August 1, I quit smoking (pack a day) and drinking (beers evey night) and started cycling again in earnest to improve my health and lessen the tire that has accumulated around my waist! I have a Trek 7500 FX Hybrid also (which I bought last summer when I told my wife I needed a "heavy duty comfort bike" to start riding since I was too overweight to ride my Trek 5900 until I had lost some weight) and I rode it for my first two rides of 16.5 miles with an AVS around 12.5 mph. I decided to take my LeMond Zurich out of the upstairs spare room and clean it up and ride it instead of the T7500 to see if it would increase my AVS. Well, the first ride on the Zurich posted an AVS of 12.9 (almost a mph faster) and my second ride was in the 13.6 mph range over the same course and distance. Within one week I was comfortably riding in the 14.5 mph range and now that I've been riding the 5900, I'm over 15 mph and rapidly approaching 16 mph. What I'm saying is that a lighter weight bike can dramatically increase your overall AVS. You are riding 26 miles at 15 mph now on the Hybrid. I'd expect you'd be able to do 16-17 easily on a lighter weight road bike with all other factors being kept constant. If you want to get even faster, concentrate on your spinning technique and using more of the gears available when the terrain changes/warrants using them. I too have more seasoned riders "blowing by me" with what appears to be less effort than I'm putting in, BUT they are spinning those gears at a much higher cadence than I currently can given my sad state of fitness (although it's getting better each and every day I ride!). You might also want to consider doing "intervals" to increase your overall speed. Just visually pick a point out up the road and then from a chosen starting point on the road, pedal as hard as you can until you reach that other point and then spin comfortably for several hundred yards to let your leg muscles recover. You can do this as many times as you like and increase/vary the distance whenever you want. Another thing you might want to consider is scheduling one LONG ride into your schedule each week. Yesterday morning I completed a 50 mile ride and it sure does wonders for the motivation and self-satisfaction one gets. BTW: you will more than likely get faster and faster, irregardless of the bike you're on, with the loss of excess weight and the improved state of fitness that continual riding provides. IMO:eek:)
     
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