first time biking, any suggestions how far to go?

  • toscuba

    Posts: 15

    May 03, 2009 2:32 AM GMT
    Sunday will be my first time on a bike in a long time. I am using to light jogging and speed walking long distances, up to 15 K, how far should I try on my first time? Can anyone suggest a good bike computer?
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    May 03, 2009 3:15 AM GMT
    I just went out and bought the cheapest bike computer I could find. I don't need anything complicated. Just need MPH and total distance (odometer). I bought the Cateye Enduro. Usually sells for $30 at most sporting goods stores.
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    May 03, 2009 4:35 AM GMT
    I'd suggest using your usual time/heart rate for running as a guide, to begin with.
    Of course, distance is relative depending on whether you're doing big climbs or riding on the flats.

    I hear there's all kinds of fancy computers these days. Personally, I haven't even put batteries in mine in about four years. My time sense is good enough to figure out what my cadence is. (Hey, ten years of marching band is good for something after all!) And I know how far things are from my house. If in doubt, I can check the iPhone.

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    May 03, 2009 12:17 PM GMT
    Agree with XRich, I look for a bike 'puter with a default display of mileage and speed and I've had decent luck with Cateye products. I wouldn't spend over $30. (...unless there's some extra feature you just have to have).
    Here's a retail selection which includes reviews:

    I'd recommend keeping your first outing fairly close...not knowing what you're ready for you don't want to bonk 10 miles from the house or car.
    And if you make yourself sore on the first ride, it may be a while before you jump in the saddle again.
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    May 03, 2009 2:08 PM GMT
    toscuba saidSunday will be my first time on a bike in a long time. I am using to light jogging and speed walking long distances, up to 15 K, how far should I try on my first time? Can anyone suggest a good bike computer?

    If you mean literally the first time in a long while, versus the first time doing a longer distance, then I would suggest fairly short, not more than about 10k/6 miles.

    Anything longer and the saddle may become quite painful, until you develop a little toughness down there. A number of shorter rides over a week or 2 before attempting a greater distance would be wiser.

    It also allows you to evaluate your bike for fit, making adjustments in seat height, fore & aft adjustment, and handlebar angle & height. Taking an ill-fitting bike on a longer ride can result in other painful consequences, especially for the knees.

    One of the most common mistakes is too low a saddle height, causing too much knee flex. A straighter line on full extension directs forces through the knee joint more optimally, and the muscles work more efficiently, too. Think of the difference between walking normally, versus walking in a deep squat, yet that's how some people have their bikes adjusted.
  • CAtoFL

    Posts: 834

    May 03, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
    I'm going to suggest listening to your heart. And that's not some metaphysical suggestion. I think that instead of a bike computer, you might consider investing in a heart rate monitor. An HRM will tell you when you're outside your training zone and stressing your heart and, when it does, you can dial back your ride.

    I WILL say that most charity events have a beginner's level of 5 miles. You should be able to do that easily - given that you have a 'normal' level of fitness.

    But before riding any distance, get your bike fitted to you. We're not *ahem* exactly as young as we once were, so getting your bike tailored to your body will save you from dealing with unnecessary injuries and pains later on. The last thing you want to do is improve your cardio at a sacrifice to your joints. Need to do a 'quick and dirty' fit yourself? Try this site:

    If you're in an urban area, you're going to run into red lights. When you get to them, take a quick assessment of how you're feeling. How's your breathing? What's your heart rate? Any pains accumulating? What's your mindset? When you do your evaluation, consider this most of all: Are you still enjoying the ride? If not, head home. You can ride other days.

    Today's Sunday and that's when you said you're riding. Have a GREAT one!!
  • toscuba

    Posts: 15

    May 03, 2009 2:22 PM GMT
    thank you, the guy at the store measured the bike for me, but stupid me lowered the seat a little, i thought it was better to have a short leg, I will fix that. I was thinking about 10K, but my acupuncturist recommended a trek that was about 15 - 20 and i was a little nervous.

    I remember when i first started jogging i started with 1 or 2 miles, now doing 5 - 8 miles, i do not even think twice. I just could not gage how far on a bike.

    Will going this afternoon, have everything ready for the net phase in my fitness.
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    May 03, 2009 6:02 PM GMT
    As you get more serious about biking and add more distance to your rides, it would help to teach yourself some basic bike repair. I think changing a tire and re-attaching a loose (or broken) bike chain are two common scenarios you might encounter.
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    May 03, 2009 6:13 PM GMT
    The great thing about biking again is it's like... riding a bike again. Har Har icon_smile.gif

    Try a warm up ride first - say a couple of miles just to see if you have any issues you may need to address before you take on a longer trip. You should be able to do around 75% of what you did before. So if it was 20 miles... try 15. Or 5, try 4... and so on. Just be aware certain muscles will talk to you, and even hate you at first... but just go for it! Of course, wear a helmet too icon_smile.gif

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 03, 2009 6:22 PM GMT
    That depends on your physical ability and what sort of terrain it is. If you're in decent shape, I'd say you could handle a 15k on bike if you wanted, but that's about an hour's ride. Carefully study your terrain. Is it on dirt, uphill, rolling hills, flats? If you're just getting back, stay off the hills unless you already have a good sense of riding out of the saddle or if you have plenty of gears to change.
  • toscuba

    Posts: 15

    May 03, 2009 7:30 PM GMT
    I just completed 10K (6 miles), considering it has been 20+ years since I was on a bike, I think I did good. After I got over what I looked like in the mirror( I did that when I wore my first jogging shorts in years), I got out there.

    At one point I was going to chicken out, then I decided to go for it. I am glad i have all the right gear(gloves, helmet and biking shorts, although I wore regular shorts over them), the only problem was I could not figure out how to attache my saddle bag, so I through it in my runners vest. I am glad I bought a good bike, jogging and biking are very different, you notice every pothole and change in grade much more. I followed the advice of another and did an active cool down, I got off the bike and did a slow and steady paced walk for .5k.

    My heart was racing the entire time, I never fell off, i managed my stops and even had enough courage to go on one of the main roads where the speeds are 80K. I have learned that riding in 25K winds is a lot less fun until the wind is at your back.

    After today I have to learn how to change gears better, have 24 options is a lot.

    Thanks all for the advice, it went a lot better than I thought, I am glad I cut back on how far I was going to go for my first ride.

  • toscuba

    Posts: 15

    May 21, 2009 1:45 AM GMT
    thanks for al the great advice, been several weeks and can now do over 20K without a second thought. Just have to remember to keep my mouth shut while biking.

    Tonight i did my first couple of off road trails, very bumpy to say the least, learned quickly how to ride standing up. Have to say my bike did great, it was not difficult at all and the bigger the wholes or dips, the easier it was.