Too much of a good thing?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by J-P.S, Aug 25, 2003.

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  1. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    A quick query regarding other people's experiences of regular long cycle rides.

    I am about to start a job ten miles away from my house. I find I can get there in about forty
    minutes of a morning, implying 15mph. For the past two weeks I have been temping a hundred yards
    from my new employer, and while it's been OK generally, my knees have ached and, on one of the trial
    runs, I rushed to get home (partner unwell) and ended up getting heat exhaustion. Previously I've
    been cycling perhaps eight miles a day maximum, typically fiveish.

    How healthy (as opposed to fit) am I likely to be, doing a hundred miles' cycling a week? Generally,
    are my muscles likely to get lopsided? Will my walking tendons suffer, and will I get any joint
    trouble because of it?

    Three years ago I spent a year crippled because the tendon on one side of my knee wasted away
    (favouring leg owing to minor cartilage injury) and my kneecap started mis-tracking across the
    joint. Am I inviting any tendon trouble?

    How much do people cycle here, generally? What precautions do you feel you need to take: muscle
    tone, exercise, diet? My partner reckons I've lost weight noticeably (although only slightly) in two
    weeks: how much more do you think I should be eating to keep e.g. my protein up?

    J-P
    --
    You lock me in the cellar and feed me PINS! ... PINS!
     
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  2. Tim Woodall

    Tim Woodall Guest

    On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 08:30:56 +0000 (UTC), j-p.s <[email protected]> wrote:
    > A quick query regarding other people's experiences of regular long cycle rides.
    >
    > I am about to start a job ten miles away from my house. I find I can get there in about forty
    > minutes of a morning, implying 15mph. For the past two weeks I have been temping a hundred yards
    > from my new employer, and while it's been OK generally, my knees have ached and, on one of the
    > trial runs, I rushed to get home (partner unwell) and ended up getting heat exhaustion. Previously
    > I've been cycling perhaps eight miles a day maximum, typically fiveish.
    >
    10 miles each way shouldn't be a problem. It might take several months before it becomes "easy" and
    you can choose a gentle ride that you stay cool or a hard ride and get sweaty.

    But your knees shouldn't hurt. This is probably one of two things. Either your saddle is too low (or
    possibly too high but this is less likely) or you are using too high a gear or both. You know your
    average speed so calculate your average cadence from the wheel size and the typical gear you use.
    You want to aim for a cadence of 90ish ideally. This will probably feel exhausting to start with but
    in the long run should be better for you.

    Tim.

    --
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    http://tjw.hn.org/ http://www.locofungus.btinternet.co.uk/
     
  3. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > A quick query regarding other people's experiences of regular long cycle rides.

    detail snipped.

    (I am assuming a 'normal' type of commute without excessive hills). For a normal, reasonably fit
    person I doubt that 100 mile a week would be 'excessive' -- though I also doubt that one should be a
    slave to cycling every day. Sometimes you may just not feel like it and then the availability of an
    alternative is invaluable.

    Muscles will certainly develop -- that is the nature of the beast -- and, especially with your
    history, joints will need to be protected very carefully (lower gears, higher cadence and all that,
    obviously -- but also, perhaps some supervision from a relevantly qualified person).

    Generally, I suspect we are over concerned about the 'health' (as opposed to fitness) effects of
    moderate exercise. While cycling 20 miles a day might be seen as 'a lot' but, presuming your job is
    not a heavy manual one, it is probably only 'low to moderate' in evolutionary terms of what the
    human body might be expected to do.

    As for diet, eating and sleeping etc. the body has been provided with some pretty fancy feedback
    mechanisms. If they say eat more or sleep more fine. Otherwise, why worry unduly?

    Good luck.
     
  4. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    j-p.s <[email protected]> wrote:

    : How much do people cycle here, generally? What precautions do you feel you need to take: muscle
    : tone, exercise, diet?

    To answer this bit of the question as well. I'd say that an average person should feel very healthy
    on 100 miles a week and you'll also get pretty fit. The really important point is to

    ***** BUILD UP SLOWLY ******

    Indeed, the second most important point is

    ***** BUILD UP SLOWLY ******

    The standard recommendation is to increase you milage by no more than 10%/week and to have one week
    in four or so doing less miles till you get used to it all.

    FWIW I do about 30 odd miles a week commuting etc and 110-200 miles a week on top racing/training (I
    vary the amount so not overdo it).

    That's probably less hours on the bike than you might think since the non-commuting miles are quite
    fast. The commuting on the other hand I do nice and slowly since I do enough other fast stuff that I
    want that to be as near a rest as possible.

    Arthur
     
  5. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    Tony W <[email protected]> wrote:

    : Muscles will certainly develop -- that is the nature of the beast -- and, especially with your
    : history, joints will need to be protected very carefully (lower gears, higher cadence and all
    : that, obviously -- but also, perhaps some supervision from a relevantly qualified person).

    You may, or may not, also need to do some stretching to keep the hamstrings from getting
    overly tight.

    It depends on how naturally supple you are, how much/hard cycling you do and how much other exercise
    you do (e.g. walking which would help to stretch them out a little)

    Arthur
     
  6. Andy Koppe

    Andy Koppe Guest

    j-p.s wrote:

    > How healthy (as opposed to fit) am I likely to be, doing a hundred miles' cycling a week?
    > Generally, are my muscles likely to get lopsided? Will my walking tendons suffer, and will I get
    > any joint trouble because of it?
    >
    > Three years ago I spent a year crippled because the tendon on one side of my knee wasted away
    > (favouring leg owing to minor cartilage injury) and my kneecap started mis-tracking across the
    > joint. Am I inviting any tendon trouble?

    Others have said it already, but it can't be stressed enough. Key to avoiding knee trouble is high
    cadence, i.e. pedalling faster in a lower gear.

    Inexperienced cyclists tend to pedal at something like 60 rotations per minute (RPMs), while really
    they should aim for about 90 RPMs. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it's not hard to do as you
    don't actually have to do more work.

    The laws of physics say that if you pedal 50% faster, you need 33% less force to achieve the same
    speed. And it's high forces that hurt your knees.

    Especially at the start of a ride, when your knees are still "cold", it's better to spin and not use
    a lot of force.

    Andy
     
  7. Doobrie

    Doobrie Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > A quick query regarding other people's experiences of regular long cycle rides.
    >
    > I am about to start a job ten miles away from my house. I find I can get there in about forty
    > minutes of a morning, implying 15mph. For the past two weeks I have been temping a hundred yards
    > from my new employer, and while it's been OK generally, my knees have ached and, on one of the
    > trial runs, I rushed to get home (partner unwell) and ended up getting heat exhaustion. Previously
    > I've been cycling perhaps eight miles a day maximum, typically fiveish.

    i work 15 miles away and have recently started cycling again ... im also trying to get my commute
    off the ground too

    i have pushed myself to higher miles much more quickly than i probably should have but havent really
    suffered as a result, that i know of

    last week was my first week of seeing what i could do with regards to riding either to or from work
    ... i managed 4 trips of 15 miles in 5 days (each trip on a different day, i didnt manage to ride
    both directions in 1 day, not upto that yet) - my route is really a collection of small hills with
    one or two longer ones so its not that easy for me. theres not any flat sections where i just amble
    along comfortably - im either going up or downhill for 15 miles

    i also felt a little knee ache but it wasnt much and went away fairly quickly .. i was going to
    experiment with moving my saddle up a little and see how it goes

    try different saddle heights to help with knee's and as others say a higher pedling speed (cadence)
    rather than pushing slowly on the big gears .... and dont push it, ride at whats a comfortable speed
    for you - you know if your pushing it or not, try not to - just do the miles and see how you go
     
  8. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 09:08:11 +0000 (UTC), Tim Woodall scrawled: ) But your knees shouldn't hurt.
    This is probably one of two things. Either ) your saddle is too low (or possibly too high but this
    is less likely) or ) you are using too high a gear or both.

    They don't hurt: they ache, which is similar to the ache I got when I first got this bike. I got all
    worried about it and after a few weeks it went away. So maybe I shouldn't worry about this. I /will/
    increase the cadence though, because thinking about it I know of a couple of points in the journey
    where my cadence is way, way too low.

    Cheers, J-P
    --
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    power: namely that the greatest threat to world peace is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The
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  9. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    On 25 Aug 2003 11:00:04 GMT, Arthur Clune scrawled: ) Indeed, the second most important point is ) )
    ***** BUILD UP SLOWLY ******

    :) A good point. Perhaps I should spend the first couple of months doing
    two and then one day a week by bus to do this. At the same time I can do a bit of cycling at the
    weekend to make it a more gradual 10% per week. Plus the hamstring stretches: I worry I don't walk
    enough and I'm definitely stiff back there.

    J-P
    --
    "We have footage, too alarming to show you, of a little boy being interfered with by a penis-shaped
    soundwave generated by an online paedophile." --Kate Thornton
     
  10. Doobrie

    Doobrie Guest

    > They don't hurt: they ache, which is similar to the ache I got when I first got this bike. I got
    > all worried about it and after a few weeks it went away. So maybe I shouldn't worry about this. I
    > /will/ increase the cadence though, because thinking about it I know of a couple of points in the
    > journey where my cadence is way, way too low.
    >
    > Cheers, J-P

    on my journey too the cadence goes way too low but ive also run out of gears by then too ... need
    someone to gimme a push!!
     
  11. D Hall

    D Hall Guest

    "j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Generally, are my muscles likely to get lopsided? Will my walking tendons suffer, and will I get
    > any joint trouble because of it?

    Not sure if the tendons will suffer, but your muscles definitely change.

    This summer I started cycling to work, averaging about 100-120 miles a week after spending the
    winter and spring exclusively climbing mountains. Before I started doing loads of miles on the bike,
    doing a 10 mile hike with about 4000ft of ascent was trivial, now if I do that I get severe lactic
    acid aches in my thigh muscles. In the space of 3 months my muscles have transformed to such an
    extent that a previously comfortable walk is now quite an effort (especially afterwards), even
    though I'm now much fitter, and about a stone lighter.

    I think as long as you keep up any activities, such as walking, whilst doing the cycling then you
    won't have any problems. As others have said, build up slowly and look after your knees by having
    the correct set up and keeping the rpms high.
     
  12. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 08:30:56 +0000 (UTC), "j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I am about to start a job ten miles away from my house.

    I ride 15 miles round trip, so about the same order of magnitude.

    >I rushed to get home (partner unwell) and ended up getting heat exhaustion.

    Bummer. Remember to keep drinking - thirst is inadequate as an idicator, you won't feel thirsty
    until far too late.

    >How healthy (as opposed to fit) am I likely to be, doing a hundred miles' cycling a week?

    In general, that amount of riding should make you as strong as a horse and as fit / healthy as
    someone ten or more years younger.

    >Generally, are my muscles likely to get lopsided? Will my walking tendons suffer, and will I get
    >any joint trouble because of it?

    Only if you grind the gears or have your saddle too low. Bike fit is crucial to long-term comfort.

    >Three years ago I spent a year crippled because the tendon on one side of my knee wasted away
    >(favouring leg owing to minor cartilage injury) and my kneecap started mis-tracking across the
    >joint. Am I inviting any tendon trouble?

    I would say that would be most unlikely.

    >How much do people cycle here, generally? What precautions do you feel you need to take: muscle
    >tone, exercise, diet? My partner reckons I've lost weight noticeably (although only slightly) in
    >two weeks: how much more do you think I should be eating to keep e.g. my protein up?

    I try to do a minimum of 100 miles per week; I take no special precautions and do no particular
    preparation. I eat what I like (probably more carbs than most - ten slices of bread per day as well
    as other food) and I take my cue from how hungry I am.

    One of the more amusing sights at the York (cycle ) Rally was the number of incredibly skinny people
    eating the British Heart Foundation Breakfast (fried everything) - and the breakfasts were big, I
    can tell you! You'll probably be burning 500 calories or more just getting to and from work, and
    those calories have to come from somewhere after all.

    I wouldn't worry about protein and such for 100 miles per week - the only thing which would concern
    me is keeping the carbs up, as any failure to do this tends to result in an energy nosedive known to
    Merkins as "the bonk."

    But a 10 mile each-way commute at 15mph is not an athletic feat, so I wouldn't be incined to get
    into sports nutrition stuff unless you really feel your normal diet is not doing it for you - i.e.
    you are crashing out more often than you would expect.

    Guy
    ===
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    Improved!! Now with added extra Demon!
     
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