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Cycling and fitness?

  • 16-07-2022 8:20pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    So folks, Q for ye,.. i'm a hiker - and v fit on the hills..

    But put me on a bike, and I struggle.. did 54km on the flat yday (greenway) and I had to work hard.. sore all over today.. rental bike..

    Why is this? am I using such different muscle groups?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭secman

    Hiking and cycling uses quads, hamstring, calf muscles. But the intensity would be quite different, revolutions of pedals could be anything between 60 and 100 times a minute whereas hiking walking would be considerably less. But you would have a good base to start with and would get stronger with practice.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,877 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    what was the wind like? and as per secman's question, what cadence were you using?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    there was only a little wind at one stage,.. nothing significant..


    there wer 4 of us cycling.. those on their own bikes wer way more able than me.. they said it was little effort.. whereas I felt I had to work hard..

    today I am sore up around my shoulders, obliques and undercarriage,.. the latter to be expected I guess

  • Registered Users Posts: 209 ✭✭sham58107

    As above did you use mountain/road bike ? did you have proper shorts . very hard on rental bike as could be wrong set up.

    and as above using completely different muscles.

    Get a cheap bike road/ mountain/ commuter and get out and enjoy, small efforts to start. but you have a good fitness base already . Was that your first ride ?

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,877 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    there wer 4 of us cycling.. those on their own bikes wer way more able than me.. they said it was little effort.. whereas I felt I had to work hard..

    the RPM of your pedalling; you can 'grind' - i.e. pedal slow and hard, or 'spin' which is pedalling fast and easy. kinda akin to driving at maybe 60km/h and doing 1200RPM in fifth gear, or 2500 RPM in third gear. if you choose the fifth gear; high gear, slower RPM and working harder for each RPM, you'll drain the tank more quickly.

    slow and hard is more a strength thing, fast and easy is more aerobic and plays more into stamina. the sweet spot between the two for many people is pedalling at around 80-90RPM, i.e. three full pedal strokes every two seconds.

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  • Sounds like what I'd expect from a decent length first outing OP. If you plan on sticking to the rothar for a while there's definitely good advice to be had here. 50km was probably a 2 and a half hour trip for yee so you're going to feel that first time out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    twas on a greenway - so tarmac.. mostly flat..

    no i didn't have cycling shorts..

    have done a few of em over the years..

    no idea what my RPMs wer.. I adjusted the gears according to the gradient..

    thanks all

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    @sham58107 what's the diff in muscle groups in use - hiking/versus cycling?

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,649 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Probably not many different to be honest, just using them differently. I imagine another main issue is if you just hoped on a bike is it might not be fitted well, so you could be working certain groups too much or ineffectively.

    Sore shoulders / neck - leaning on them and letting them take too much of your weight

    Your core - from above, at the start you would have been using it and then you got tired and started relying on your arms /shoulders

    Knees -saddle is to high or two low can cause numerous issues oevr time, fine on short spins, not on long ones

    Hips/lower back - if saddle is too high, same with ankles

  • Registered Users Posts: 72 ✭✭YakerK

    RPM = Rotation per minutes, basically how many times in a minute you do one complete rotation of the pedals. As the previous poster said you can “spin” which is to do many rotations per minute (e.g. greater than 90) or “grind” which is to do small amounts of rotations per minute (e.g. less than 60)

    There’s no right or wrong answer to what you should be doing, but typically a higher cadence/RPM will be more efficient and therefore feal easier over a long spin. You will have a lower cadence naturally once you start going uphill.

    On fitness – aside from the bike fit issues already mentioned which will make a difference, you also mention distance but not pace. That is also going to make a big difference. On a decent road bike, I could do 54k flat in 2.5 hours and it would be very easy, I could do it in 1.5 hours either (maybe – if the wind wasn’t strong and the road surface was good) and I could guarantee you I’d be dying for the next day or two.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,989 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    If it's any consolation, I'd be relatively fit on the bike and a long hike would leave me with DOMS (when I've done things like the moonlight challenge). Same muscles, but differently.

    Bike fit and set up would make a big difference too - I'd imagine hire bikes on a greenway to be "robust".

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    apparently we did the 54km in 3 hrs but not sure if that included stops of which there wer many...

    i just honestly felt like I had to work hard all the time.. obv more on incline..

    On RPM - I adjusted gears so I didn't have to grind too hard/feel like I wasn't loosing control of the bike - inclines/declines respectively

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,087 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    could be the rental bike - if you did a 10k hike in borrowed boots the wrong size, how would that feel.

    what type of bike? if it was a mountain bike that would be a challenge.

  • Registered Users Posts: 888 ✭✭✭monkeyslayer

    I do a lot of both and find the only real crossover is the cardio, different excercises otherwise, but find the two compliment each other really well. A good hike up a mountain can work wonders if the legs and back are feeling a bit jaded from the bike, and vice versa.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yes, I also think cardio is the only crossover really. I made the mistake one time of cycling 30 minutes to a football game.

    I could not run like I normally would. It felt like I had a tire strapped to my waist. Never again...I don't know how triathletes cope.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    i think it was a hybrid..

    I went for a wee spin on my mates €1000 bike and it was way easier

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina


    sorry.. dunno the name of her bike.. but its a good one.. better than my rental no doubt

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,877 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    here's a random cycling fitness question, and in a sense i'm hijacking the thread.

    say you do 60km at an average of 30km/h, and for the sake of argument we'll assume the entire effort is uniform in speed, power, etc.

    but the first 30km are relatively easy, and the second is tougher, as you start to tire you ramp up perceived effort to maintain pace. is there any difference between the first and second half of the spin in terms of building fitness? or, to phrase it a different way, if you're training, will you gain more from the second half than you will from the first half?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    prob best start your own thread (to maximise replies)

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,455 ✭✭✭✭ted1

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,552 ✭✭✭✭Squidgy Black

    Yep so this is where a heart rate monitor comes into play, you’ll be in a different heart rate zone, the more energy you exert the higher the heart rate.

    You usually break it into 3 zones, 50-70% of your max heart rate is the fat burning zone, 70-85% is cardio, 85-95% is anaerobic/high intensity.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,877 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    You say 'the more energy you exert, the higher the heart rate' - but in the example given, energy output remains static; it still would take X watts to maintain 30 on the flat whether fresh or tired?

    Will read ted1's link in the morning...

  • Posts: 0 Maeve Plain Ramp

    Sounds like the first part is Zone 2 endurance and the second half is zone 3 or tempo. You'll get more from the first half in that case.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,877 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    the question was partly based on hearing a couple of times, advice along the lines of 'you're better off going out three times a week and doing 50km than you are going out once and doing 150km'.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20 chuckles1

    better off in what respect? the ability to cycle 50k or the in the longer term the ability to cycle 150k?

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,649 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Context is everything, if your goal is only to do 150km a week, then doing 3 x 50km is far easier and less strenuous. If thats your only goal you might be better off doign 25km a day and taking a day off, much easier. If its to get fitter, then decide in what respect you measure fitness. If its endurance, then slowly build up longer rides with break days in between. If its speed, then go faster every time until it hurts, wait for it to stop hurting then go again. If its simply to do 150km, then figure out what time you have and just do it when you can.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,494 ✭✭✭cletus

    In fairness, your question is pretty much answered. There's a small amount of crossover in base level of cardiovascular fitness, but the way in which you're using the muscles, combined with a bike that probably didn't fit very well, caused you to fatigue.

    Similar fatigue levels can be expected when a practitioner of any given activity tries an activity they've not done before. None of it is surprising.