So I just got my bike 4 days ago....if you haven't seen a picture of it, here it is!!!! lolI'm still so excited!! Anyway, today I went on my longest ride yet, 14 miles roundtrip. I'm still getting used to urban cycling. And HILLS! In SF I'm used to walking up 20% grade, but 10% on the bike killed me! It was only 1 block, and was 6.5% for 2 blocks before that. My legs were so cramped up and I suddenly became starved. I took a break at that point. That was really the only challenge though, the rest was decently easy. It took nearly 2 hours (I walked some of the narrow busy streets). My body feels tired, and I could use a nap. I also feel like I could go out again later if I wanted :D Is this the duration and challenge I want to shoot for? I don't know how to tell I've done enough for results without overtraining. Any signs in the body? Any advice helps!
Just do as much as you care for while it's still being ENJOYABLE and FUN!!! I much rather do 1 hour slow paced run/cycle everyday, than do 30 minutes of extreme cardio which won't ever be enjoyable. Consistency is the key and my trick is to make it fun.
People often over do stuff and push themselves to the limit days after they start exercising, which isn't something a noobie will enjoy and end up quitting and not exercising at all.
Sooo.. honestly, i think 2 hours is too much for you!! You gotta think and ask yourself: "is this something i'd do everyday? Or am i going to do it 1 week and than stop because i don't enjoy it?"!!!
Get what im sayin? You don't have to cycle 2 hours everyday.. unless, of course, you enjoy it! Have in mind this doesnt mean 20 minute rides is enough to be FIT but 2 hours for some1 who just bought a bike and started exercising few days ago is extreme.
Like Ricardo said, enjoy yourself and don't try to push yourself too hard at first. Gradually build up the distance/tempo.
As to a sign you might be overexerting yourself, watch out for pain in the side of the hip. I started cycling about 6 months ago, and I got some pain there. That was a sign I was overdoing it and needed to back off a bit.
You will get sore knees when you have done too much.
Then just ride around on the flat or take a day or more off as needed.
I love riding, I rode 172 miles in the last 2 days. I feel pretty good about that, considering I got started cycling a year or two ago, now I'm doing long solo rides through cities as well as through the country side.
One thing that is great about cycling is that once you ride a few hundred miles at once, it changes your perception of distance, and opens yourself up to the idea of more traveling. Where many people look a 20 or 30 mile drive, as being "a long drive", I now look at 200 miles as a relatively small distance...especially in a car. Great way to get motivated to do some world traveling in my opinion. I am also much more open to get off my butt and get out and do things now everyday.
As someone who has seen lots of crazy things happen on bikes and been in my fair share of accidents, let me please provide you some starting safety tips to help you get the most out of this amazing sport/activity. Don't be scared though, by following these rules, I've ridden several thousand miles in the last year and only been in one MINOR accident, despite riding through some of the most dangerous and challenging areas (a busy non bike friendly metropolitan area).
1. Always wear a helmet. One day you will need it. Make sure its there. That it fits snug enough to stay put on your head. A helmet can keep a minor accident from becoming something serious.
2. Always ride defensively. NEVER assume that cars, pedestrians or vehicles will obey the laws of the land. Don't put yourself in ANY situation where someone else breaking the law or driving recklessly, ends up with you in the hospital.
3. Always be aware of where ALL cars are. I am always watching where all the cars are, and I always have a plan of escape in case the inevitable swerve into my lane happens (I will launch myself onto the curb before I let someone invade my personal space).
4. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. I spent several months riding around my neighborhood in larger and larger concentric circles. It's very important to know the safest routes to and from different parts of town. Otherwise what ends up happening is you find yourself riding in an area at the wrong place and wrong time.
5. Never expose yourself to TWO dangerous conditions at once. Night riding. Rain. Slick or muddy roads. Unusually dangerous traffic. Riding while very fatigued or sick. Any one of these on their own can be managed, but when there are multiple at once, great time to really slow down, and get yourself home asap, save it for another day.
6. To start...follow other riders' best practices. For a lot of months I would go riding and just FOLLOW strangers. I'd say "Hey I'm new to this area, do you mind if I follow you for a bit". Every single person I asked said yes, and gave me lots of good tips. I would follow them anytime I was in an area that was foreign to me, to see EXACTLY what routes they took to get around.
On this note...definitely do some fun rides, club rides, and make some friends that ride who will show you the ropes as far as bike etiquette, changing a flat, riding in groups, etc.
Once you have a handle on bike safety, it becomes a great sport to enjoy. I started off riding only on street with no cars, in residential areas, then I built up to navigating light traffic. Now I have strategies to even navigate busy and dangerous boulevards...I wait until a light turns red, then I sprint a few blocks, and get off the road completely before any of the cars catch up to me, and wait for them to pass.
That having been said...whenever possible avoid all traffic, and use routes that are the safest. I have a mental map, and I've also studied Google maps for months, all the main bike lanes, bike routes, and bike paths in my entire metropolitan area. I stay on those whenever possible.
I like #6
A few last things:
-Only use U-locks. If you use a crappy or low grade lock, your bike will grow legs and walk away courtesy of a bolt cutter.
-Get a bike computer. You can either buy the computer to attach for your bike, or get a Garmin or similar for your wrist if you want it for running also: http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Forerunner-Waterproof-Monitor-Orange/d...
Great investment. With a Garmin you will be able to study the route you took when you get home, to always be improving the routes you take. You can also examine where rides or events will be happening. Plus there is a feature that shows you your current "route" so if you get lost, you can always find your way back home. A very important feature if you ever find yourself lost.
-Join Strava. It's free and will help you track everything.
Was thinking about you today on the way to work...
Not sure whether or not I said this clearly enough...WHEN GETTING STARTED ONLY RIDE IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS, OR ON STREETS WITH LITTLE TO NO CARS. PLEASE DON'T JUST HOP ON THE RODE AND TRY TO RIDE WITH CARS IN TRAFFIC...don't do that for AT LEAST a few months.
This is a mistake I see a lot of beginner riders make. A very bad idea. There is nothing worse than seeing someone riding a bike in a reckless manner in an area they shouldn't be, with heavy traffic, unaware of their surroundings.
When I first started Cycling (3 years ago) I started out at about 12 miles, 45 minutes or so. After I got comfortable with that I bumped it up to 18, then 28... 35... so on. Right now I do 35-55 each weekend day, and a few 100 miles rides every year. As summer comes my weekend rides will increase to 55-75 miles.
Just go at your own pace and progress, most importantly is that you enjoy doing it.
I love riding, doing long rides is very relaxing for me... I feel I can really think.
Are you using a HRM?
Yes I do, I think it's very important to know your heart rate.
The problem is finding a good HRM that's accurate and reliable that can also integrate into the whatever software you use to track your rides.
I use Garmin Forerunner 310XT
I find the Garmin Heartrate monitor (old one) to work reliably...getting used to it...finally using it consistently after people kept urging me "Use your HR monitor"
It has helped me keep from hitting the wall on long rides.
I have the Garmin Edge 500 with a chest strap HRM.
Many times it takes about 2-3 minutes before the HRM shows up and if I wear a jersey with a zipper it throws the rate way off, like to 240 or so.
After a while it does figure out my real heart rate, but sometimes it takes 20 minutes or more.
It does works well with Strava though, that's something I really like about it.