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Fitness The Bicycle Thread
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General Mayhem Offline
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Post: #1
The Bicycle Thread
The weather was great this morning, so instead of hitting the gym I hopped on my bike and rode 20 miles through the city.

I was wondering if anybody here is into biking and if they benefit from it from a fitness standpoint?

I'm not about to get into biking as a hobby, but I might start doing it more often. The city I live in has a great system of trails, and It's a great way to explore the city in the daylight.

I took off on a trail and never really knew where I was going, and on my route back I took a byway that I didn't know was all uphill. My legs are killing me right now. I feel like I just did a heavy squat workout.
06-21-2014 05:13 PM
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Goldmund Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Biking in Your City
Glad to hear someone has found the joys of biking in the city.

I do it all the time in NYC. Its a big rush flying down 5th avenue, tailing a cab, pedaling as fast as you can to keep up with traffic.

There are lots of fun rides right outside the city as well. The hills on Palisades side of the Hudson have some serious inclines. After a 50 mile bike from Brooklyn, over the GW bridge, up the Palisades, into Jersey and back--my legs are on fire.

Crazy thing is that after those big 50+ mile bikes I have tons more energy than usual and can drink and fuck all night.

Love biking.
06-21-2014 05:58 PM
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Yeti Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Biking in Your City
Yeah. It is a great way to keep fit. I bike to work. I have done so since late March this year and I am in much better shape now.

As such, I no longer need to do any other exercise and I am still in great shape. I really recommend it.

On average I bike a couple hours each day.

On days when it rains, I take public transport. (Other players can drive to work and that's fine.) I check the weather forecast each morning. If it is raining in the morning, but will clear up later, I carry my bike on public transport. As a result, my arms are nice and tight (moreso than before, anyway).

What I give up by staying fit this way: listening to podcasts (lifestyle podcasts, language acquisition, career-related, etc.) because it is too dangerous to listen while biking in a city. You need to be aware.

I give up the opportunity to meet people at a gym. Or on public transport. I don't really meet people on the road.

Besides a good body, I get a few things in return though, by biking everywhere.

I have a folding bike, so people are always coming up to me and commenting on the bike. Mostly guys and older people. So you can still meet people.

And there's nothing that beats being able to exercise right after work. It clears the head. I finish work, get on a bicycle, enjoy the weather if it's summer, and am able to process the day's events through some moderate cardio - it works out pretty well. The mental exertion followed by physical intensity are a good complement (I need to focus on the city roads so that I don't get hit by a car and die).

The folding bike is key. I spent a good amount (less than $1,000) to get a really good bike that goes up hills well. It has many gears. Folding it takes less than half a minute and it fits under my desk. Generally I have found people in my city to be very accommodating with the folding bike scenario. I was at a higher-end bar downtown with a girl and stepped off the elevator with the folded bike after work - she quickly let me put it in their closet. At more formal institutions where I don't really want to be seen with a bike (after-work career functions, trainings, etc.), there's always a closet or space to put it. I even carry my lock (weighs about a pound) if I want more security - it dangles off the handlebars without getting in the way.

I have become very tan as a result of riding everywhere. I wear swim shorts and go shirtless on the way to and from work. Before arrival, I put on a white shirt. Upon arrival (I arrive a bit early to give myself time), I use the bathroom to change. Pants don't really wrinkle - get some wrinkle-resistant work shirts and your clothes don't really wrinkle at all if you fold them and put them in plastic bags, then change at work. Get a bike rack with panniers (rear bicycle bags) and you can carry a lot of gear. Attach a water bottle holder at the lower front of your bike, under the handlebars, for easy access.

Biking everywhere has been an excellent lifestyle decision for me. I was planning to write a post, so I gusss this is it. I have some more info to share so if no one else does, I will write about that later.
(This post was last modified: 06-21-2014 06:12 PM by Yeti.)
06-21-2014 06:07 PM
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birdie num num Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Biking in Your City
What a coincidence. I'm about to leave on a vigorous bike ride. Aside from biking around town, I take 3 intense rides every week, along with one day of squatting at the gym. My routes are through the Oakland/East Bay hills in the San Francisco Bay Area, thus it's easy to get in a 10-20 mile hill ride. One hilly neighborhood has several sets of staircases and it's perfect for interval training. I'll throw the bike over my shoulder and hike up to the next street, ride down and then do the next set of stairs for a total of 7-9 staircases, depending how I feel.

Mentally it is a challenge. There's that voice in your head saying "fuck it, you're tired. This hill is too steep. Turn around and go home, wussy boy. No! 'Fuck you' voice in my head. I'm going to grind it out and make it to the summit." Racing down the hill at full speed is an adrenaline rush.

There's no way I can do cardio at the gym. Standing on a treadmill with other lemmings while staring at a wall full of muted television sets while shitty rap music blares from the gym speakers? No thanks. I'd rather watch paint peel.

For a few months I've been drinking beet juice just prior to rides and it seems to make a difference. The lactic acid build up and fatigue hits much later. There's some info on this in the juicing thread.

There's an added benefit when you bike around town. There's no struggle to find parking or pay for a space. Just find a bike rack or parking meter and throw on the kryptonite lock.

“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”

- George Carlin
(This post was last modified: 06-21-2014 07:18 PM by birdie num num.)
06-21-2014 06:34 PM
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General Mayhem Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Biking in Your City
It's cool to hear that people are enjoying biking in the city, because it actually is a lot of fun that's what I dug about it. It is a bit of a rush riding downtown. I used to ride bike a lot growing up and I definitely connected with that today.

Seems like everyone has a different style too. Goldmund is going on long rides, Yeti is biking to work, and birdie is doing intervals.

Goldmund you said that you get extra energy from long rides, and I wonder if that's because long rides release endorphins similar to going on a long run? Interesting.

I was also wondering about having earbuds in like yeti mentioned. When I went today I had music on. I took one earbud out when I was on streets with cars, and put it back in when I was on actual trails. That is one of the downsides of biking in the city. Most streets here have designated bike lanes but I still don't trust people driving. I'm curious to hear what others are doing with that?

Interval training sounds like a bitch, definitely better than a treadmill though. Biking is an activity that works your mind too. You don't get any mental exertion on a treadmill, that's probably why I never use them.
06-21-2014 08:31 PM
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Yeti Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Biking in Your City
I have done lots of long-distance cycling on back roads. I used earphones then to listen to music and it felt safe, because there's no one around and there is a lot of space for passing cars. You're traveling in a straight line mostly.

On city roads people are always coming up behind you and you're weaving in and out of traffic, so you need to hear what people are up to behind you. No earphones. I mean if people are gonna hit you then they're gonna hit you, but I feel safer moving fast in the city if I can hear what's happening.
06-21-2014 08:49 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Biking in Your City
I love biking. Got an entry level road bike that I do about 14 miles, 3-4 times a week. Wheat belly begone.

That being said gotta a few questions

#1 - CHAFING

God damn. I bought a pair of those cycling shorts with the pads in em, help's a bit.

But if I rock just some boxers, ...Ooh baby I don't like it raw. © Ol Dirty Bastard

#2 - Sore inner thighs

Is this just a time thing? a weight thing?

#3 - Flats on the road

How do you fix those? I really want to do a longer rides on public roads, but if i'm 7 miles from my car and I catch a flat....

WIA
06-21-2014 08:58 PM
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Yeti Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
I don't really fix flats. Why are you getting flats? Are you picking up glass shards? Is there something wrong with your tires? Sometimes a tire needs work, and yields an inordinate number of flat tires until they're fixed (getting flats when you shouldn't normally get flats).

I just take my flats to the shop - it costs about ten or fifteen dollars to have someone fix it. You can remove your tire and just bring that, leaving the bike at home. If I get a flat far from civilization, I hitch a ride back. People usually stop for me, but I'm a pretty benign-looking white boy.
06-21-2014 09:32 PM
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Engineer Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Biking in Your City
(06-21-2014 08:58 PM)WestIndianArchie Wrote:  I love biking. Got an entry level road bike that I do about 14 miles, 3-4 times a week. Wheat belly begone.

That being said gotta a few questions

#1 - CHAFING

God damn. I bought a pair of those cycling shorts with the pads in em, help's a bit.

But if I rock just some boxers, ...Ooh baby I don't like it raw. © Ol Dirty Bastard

#2 - Sore inner thighs

Is this just a time thing? a weight thing?

#3 - Flats on the road

How do you fix those? I really want to do a longer rides on public roads, but if i'm 7 miles from my car and I catch a flat....

WIA

#1) Pain in that area is either from rubbing or pressure, and for ~1 hour rides its probably rubbing. Wear the bike shorts and lube generously with RideGlide/ButtButter/etc
#2) Make sure your fit on the bike is good. Correct seat height, stem length, etc. The shop should set you up ok. I shelled out $300 for an advanced 3d fit from a former national team coach and it was the best money I've ever spent on fitness. I went from foot numbness after ~30 miles to century rides (almost) easy. Have someone ride behind you to see if your hips rock side to side (bad) and your knees are going straight up and down, not out to the side at all. A pro fitter can tell if your legs are different lengths, shim your shoe liners to get the feet perfectly flat,etc.
#3) Bike patch kit, CO2 inflator, youtube the process. Carry 2 tubes and make sure you clean out the piece of glass that gave you the flat. When I commuted to work, kevlar strips between the tire and tube seemed to help.

Good luck, it's a fun sport and good low impact workout that won't kill your knees.
06-21-2014 09:34 PM
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Goldmund Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Biking in Your City
Yeah, the padded shorts are a must on long rides.

Make sure your seat is at the right height to avoid chafing and sore thighs, most of my weight is on my arms and shoulders when I bike and the seat just acts as a balance.

I have had a few flats and on my longer rides I always carry a tube, bike tool, and mini pump. Its saved my ass a few times. The supplies can be stuffed into a little saddle bag that goes on the back of your seat and the mini pump is strapped to my frame.

[Image: BLA.jpg]
06-21-2014 09:37 PM
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Albertron Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
During my high school days when I used to bike all the time, I would always have it on the highest gear. Even on steep hills, I never switched gears. From a dead stop, I would always try to reach top speed as quick as possible. In both cases, I made it a point to remain seated, using only my legs to pedal and not my bodyweight.

One major benefit from this 'style of training' was the increase in my squat numbers, which was my original intention. My legs weren't my strong point at that time so I wanted a way to strengthen my legs without embarassing myself at the squat rack. Leg size increased, that goes without saying.

I was on the football team at that time (tight end), and noticed that my tackles became more effective, and my sprint speed increased as well.

The only downfalls: constantly sore legs, and always profusely sweating by the time I made it to my destination.
(This post was last modified: 06-22-2014 12:49 AM by Albertron.)
06-22-2014 12:48 AM
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General Mayhem Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
^ I bought a fixed gear bike, so it's essentially the same. When I was younger I had mountain bikes and the gears never worked worth a shit anyway. I wanted simplicity, and it has been a good choice so far. I just wish it was a little more heavy duty. If I ever got more into biking I would probably upgrade.

I have already had issues with flats but luckily it was on campus close to my house. I've learned to swerve to avoid deviations in the pavement. My tires are not very forgiving.
06-22-2014 11:23 AM
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birdie num num Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
City riding does have its risks, obviously. A few years back, a young woman opened her door and caught my handlebar just as I was riding past her car. Luckily I was only going about 15mph and was able to anticipate the fall and survived without any injuries. It's interesting how time does stop in instances like this. I recall looking straight down at the edge of the open door and thinking, "Shit, I'm about to hit that piece of metal. In a second I'm going to fly over the handlebars. Quick, prepare yourself to hit the pavement."

Now when I ride in the city next to parked cars my eyes are scanning ahead for drivers who are about to open their doors.

“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”

- George Carlin
06-22-2014 11:45 AM
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RE: Biking in Your City
I do have a lot of experience crashing.

Last February I hit a patch of ice on my road bike and laid the bike down on its side and slide through an entire intersection.

Me and my friends used to practice crashing our bikes when we were younger. I remember purposely riding into a lawnmower once to prove I wasn't a pussy. Another time a rode my bike out of the back of a moving truck.

Another time I used to have a little trick bike that I found in the city and I would jump everything. One time I rode as fast as I could and hit a jump not knowing there was a curb on the other side. I landed like a foot in front of it, hit the curb and over the handlebars into a pile of bushes. Wrecked the front tire and the handlebars.
06-22-2014 12:18 PM
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birdie num num Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Biking in Your City
If you are concerned about being chased by dogs while on your ride, consider getting a detachable pepper spray unit. Dogs can be a problem especially in rural areas where people let them roam free. Certain breeds have a chase instinct and can't resist going after a cyclist. I've had to blast a couple of dogs and pepper spray stops them in the their tracks. It probably works on upright two-legged assholes, but I haven't had to use it on any yet.


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“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”

- George Carlin
(This post was last modified: 06-23-2014 02:33 PM by birdie num num.)
06-23-2014 02:25 PM
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evilhei Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Biking in Your City
In my town, Tallinn, the biking is not very good. Only few bike roads and not in the city centre. Car drivers are not used to looking to their back mirrors to check for bikes etc.
I visit Copenhagen very often and I really like the bike culture there, there are bike roads everywhere, bikes are free to take to the train. In the evening you can go to pub, park the bike outside, have a beer and after go to the next pub, its really nice.
06-23-2014 03:45 PM
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Goldmund Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
New York used to be a hellhole for cyclists. In the past decade they have put tons of bike lanes everywhere so it makes it a bit easier.

The biggest problem is that the drivers are not 'bike aware' they don't look out for you, open their doors without checking to see if a bike is coming, not to mention the fucking taxis...you have to be constantly aware of everyone around you. Pretty exciting once you get used to it.

Hellish compared to a city like Portland, OR, where the drivers are all very bike aware and are constantly looking out for cyclists.

I hear Copenhagen is the most bike friendly/aware city in the world.
06-23-2014 05:10 PM
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RE: Biking in Your City
Parts of the San Francisco Bay Area are good for bike riders. It must be the hippy-liberal "save the planet" influence. Most drivers seem aware and give you plenty of space when passing. Now there are more designated bike paths and it was a ballot measure in the East Bay a few years ago. The burgeoning hipster population with their fixed gear bikes has also added to the number of cyclists on the road.

(06-23-2014 05:10 PM)Goldmund Wrote:  New York used to be a hellhole for cyclists. In the past decade they have put tons of bike lanes everywhere so it makes it a bit easier.

Do you still have those daredevil bicycle messangers in NYC? Those guys were crazy.

“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”

- George Carlin
06-23-2014 05:53 PM
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Goldmund Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
Oh yeah, messengers have a whole little scene and style to themselves. It's cult-like bike worship. And they all look the same. There is one getting squished in traffic every other week.
06-23-2014 06:08 PM
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RE: Biking in Your City
I'm a avid bike rider to work and back, tend to follow a routine of black coffee in the morning and then off I go on a empty stomach.
What follows is fat loss (paired with keto diet), increasd energy during the day, consistent higher than my usual body temperature (I translate this to metabolism), save time from cardio training, driving/bus, parking, and promotes a good routine/habit in summer or winter, getting my vit D and in the cold my body is getting a workout as blood circulation is improved.
Plus everyday is leg day(minus weekends)
06-23-2014 07:36 PM
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RE: Biking in Your City
(06-21-2014 05:13 PM)General Mayhem Wrote:  The weather was great this morning, so instead of hitting the gym I hopped on my bike and rode 20 miles through the city.

I was wondering if anybody here is into biking and if they benefit from it from a fitness standpoint?

I'm not about to get into biking as a hobby, but I might start doing it more often. The city I live in has a great system of trails, and It's a great way to explore the city in the daylight.

I took off on a trail and never really knew where I was going, and on my route back I took a byway that I didn't know was all uphill. My legs are killing me right now. I feel like I just did a heavy squat workout.

I've been biking for 30 years, great for cardio, legs and core, especially if you MTB trails. We have two main trails, a north/south and east/west that go the length of my city, more bike lanes are going in this year with shelter/lock ups along the way.
06-24-2014 11:12 AM
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RE: Biking in Your City
(06-21-2014 09:32 PM)Yeti Wrote:  I don't really fix flats. Why are you getting flats? Are you picking up glass shards? Is there something wrong with your tires? Sometimes a tire needs work, and yields an inordinate number of flat tires until they're fixed (getting flats when you shouldn't normally get flats).

I just take my flats to the shop - it costs about ten or fifteen dollars to have someone fix it. You can remove your tire and just bring that, leaving the bike at home. If I get a flat far from civilization, I hitch a ride back. People usually stop for me, but I'm a pretty benign-looking white boy.

I've got anti puncture "Slime" in my road bike tires, no flats for the last two years.
06-24-2014 11:15 AM
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General Mayhem Offline
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RE: Biking in Your City
I feel like it depends on the quality of your tires too. I want to beef up and get some thicker tires.
06-24-2014 11:36 AM
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Post: #24
RE: Biking in Your City
At least once a month I'll do something like a 30 mile ride. I could not see how people do bicycle commuting to work though only because of the sweat.
06-24-2014 11:38 AM
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Post: #25
RE: Biking in Your City
Some riders avoid the slime filled tubes because it adds weight. That's probably a factor if you are a competitive racer, but insignificant if you are a recreational rider. My bike has tires with kevlar belts. That has greatly reduced the amount of flats.

Flats are a pain in the ass, but they are simple to fix once you learn the process. Just carry a mounted pump and one of those under the seat pouches, as posted above, and stock it with a tire repair kit. There are probably tons of YouTube videos on how to fix a flat. You can practice with an old tube to get the hang of it.

Don't let the fear of flats limit your rides or leave you stranded on the roadside. Who knows, you might meet a damsel in distress who needs her flat repaired. Bike game on! Laugh

“When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat.”

- George Carlin
(This post was last modified: 06-24-2014 12:47 PM by birdie num num.)
06-24-2014 12:34 PM
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