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Any of you guys into cycling/biking? (On a bicycle)

Landmonster

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This is a random thought I had. With the COVID-19 scare, and all the gyms being closed, I'm seeking out alternative forms of exercise.

I am curious about riding a bike outdoors for exercise. It seems like a potentialy good form of cardio that owuldn't be hellacious on my knees and feet, like jogging would be.

I have a few qualms, and questions, though.
  1. Do any of you bigger guys do this for exercise?
  2. What kind of bikes would be best suited for a 250lb bodybuilder for fitness? (I'm sort of guessing that a skinny aluminum frame road bike isn't ideal?)
  3. What kind of times and distances do you guys go for?
  4. Is this a good form of cardio?
 

maldorf

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I don't think your weight is going to be an issue. Ive been on my old bike and gone through our neighborhood and I weigh 240 lbs. As long as the bike is sized right for you and the tires are inflated to the correct pressure youll be fine. I used to cycle when I was younger and I would usually aim for an average of about 16 mph over a ride. They make cycling computers, but nowadays do they even have wrist watches that will tell speed and distance etc? I had something called the Cateye Mate. From the 80s! lol. Youll want something like that to track your progress.

One thing youll want to make sure of is that you have roads that are safe to ride on that are close to your home. Another thing will be choosing a bike, and those can get expensive fast. I wouldn't spend too much if youre not going to ride it a lot.

Its a good form of cardio, especially when you are big and don't want to tear up your body. The only thing that will hurt on you during the ride will be your ass. You might want to get a gel padded seat cover, especially if it has a racing seat on it. You have to build up your ass, get used to the seat. At first it always hurts me. Distance, youll probably start out doing maybe just 10 miles a day and then maybe a bigger day on the weekend, 25 miles. Youll have to judge it all by how you feel. Don't want to over train. Being into bodybuilding, you should be good at this. You will get leaner and increase your endurance for sure. It helps in the gym, but if you do too much youll lose weight. Not sure what you are aiming for.

I don't cycle any longer, so maybe someone else will come on that does now.
 

robertfhub

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Love cycling. Been doing it for years. Im 6'1" and usually more than 250. I bought an inexpensive hybrid bike from Bikesdirect.com recently and its a good quality bike for only a few hundred.


What kind of times and distances do you guys go for? I usually keep the rides to an hour. I've even done some 50 to 65 mile organized events back i the day.

Is this a good form of cardio?
Great. You can really get your heart rate up. Easy on the knees.

And Maldorf is right. Your ass will hurt for a while but you adjust over time.
 

Landmonster

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What kind of bikes are you guys using?

Mountain bike?
Road bike?
Cruiser, hybrid, etc?

Also, what are some top brands?

I'm okay with used stuff. I'm totally new to the cycling world, so I have no idea what's what.
 

Matsuo Munefusa

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mountainbiking. Biking on roads is boring.

Same with running - it has to be trails. I'm not 250lb though. I imagine that would suck for any sport that has a strength:weight ratio component...there's just no way that climbing hills at 250 is not going to suck balls. Even the strongest powerlifter type guy can't have strong enough legs to make up for impact of carrying all that weight.

Good news is that if you really get into riding then you'll drop weight fast and your progression will be really fun to experience over the first few months/years as you shred down.
 

maldorf

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I always used a touring bike. Not a full on racer, more comfortable for long rides. I own a Raleigh. They got bought out later on by Huffy, not sure what the quality is now. Mine I got in 1985 and it's still good as new!

These fitness bikes look comfortable. I dont see the "touring" category on there. Bikes have changed a lot. The geometry of the fitness bikes looks similar to mine but mine has the curved handles like a racing bike.

I prefer my bike to be sleek and lightweight.
 

dj

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I did about 15-20 years of competitive/fast recreational cycling so I'm not really a big guy... big for cycling but not this forum. I agree with most of what maldorf said other than saddle choice. I think if you have big legs you don't want a big padded saddle as your legs will have to splay out as your inner thigh contacts the wide portion of the saddle during say between 3-9 oclock relative to your crank arm. This results in irritated inner thigh and terrible biomechanics as well aerodynamics if you care about that.

When I would help people get a new bike most would be drawn to the wide padded saddle when I would have them get on a bike and demonstrate the above and almost everyone would agree with me. Plus really your weight is born by your "sit bones", which can be accommodated by a standard saddle. Bottom line is your ass is going hurt until you get used to. I never liked the way a padded saddle felt... my ass wouldnt get sore it would get "fatigued" so I use a saddle with virtually no padding. Everyone is different and I have friends that took years to find the right saddle for them.

A few general things on bikes- a road bike is going to put you more bent over with more weight one your arms as well strain on your lower back. Depending on what gear you are on you may get pretty bad pumps in your lower back. Tires are narrower and less robust. Mountain bikes you should be more upright with less strain on your lower back with more robust tires. Hybrids/recreation bikes are kinda of a combination of the two. Maybe the best option.

Honestly you don't have to spend alot of money to get a nice bike these days. Any well made bike should be fine. I 've have friends in the 250 range that rode aluminum, steel and CF. Might want to stay away from cheap Al though. One thing I would be mindful of is saddle height. Too low puts a strain on your knees from too much flexion and the top of the pedal stroke, while too high causes rocking in the saddle leading to ass/taint chafing. I start people with having the person sitting on the bike with the crank at 12 and 6. Your heel should just touch the pedal at the 6 oclock position. THis leaves some flexion in the knee when at the 6 with your fore foot on the pedal. You can adjust from there.

As far as training you probably want to stay away from LSD...boring and catabolic. I never liked the long miles and did a lot of interval training. You could do tabata sprints. or mixed intervals with rest phases, hill repeats etc. As far as time goes I would say 10 minute warm up with a 10 minute cool down and in the middle what you want.

Big dudes were always fun to ride with as they could fly on the flats with a ton of power plus the draft they provided.... then time for pay back on the hills. lol
 

maldorf

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When I was cycling a lot I only weighed about 185 and i would absolutely fly up hills because I could muscle my way up in a higher gear. Had a buddy that cycled more than me but never lifted weights and he was left in the dust on hills. He only weighed about 150. I think he had to use lower gears to get up. It's fun cycling when you have strong legs.

I used a thin seat cover with gel on it that stretched over my racing style seat.it wasn't very thick but provided some comfort. It did not get in the way of my legs.
 

samson516

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I LOVE outdoor cycling! It's the only form of cardio I do when the weather is nice around here. I ride up to 7 days a week sometimes....but usually never less than 4-5 during the spring, summer, and fall. I started about 10 years ago and haven't looked back. I started with a low-level hybrid Trek bike I won at a cornhole tournament and I've gradually upgraded every few years. I now ride a Trek FX Sport 4 fitness bike. It's basically a pretty decent road bike but with a flat handlebar which I prefer over the drop handlebars. My typical everyday (after weight training) ride is 6 miles and I do it for speed/conditioning. Depending on the wind, I can ride this in about 20-22 minutes. If I get a day with no wind I go for top speed and I try to ride to beat my best time and set a new record. A few times per month, I'll go a little farther...up to 10-12 miles and it's more of a cruising ride. I'm 6'1" and 230 and outdoor cycling is a great form of cardio for me. Also, I have a free app on my iPhone that tracks my daily rides (miles, top speed, avg speed, elevation changes, etc). It's a great way to keep a history of my rides and see where I'm improving or staying the same. I highly recommend it.
 

1234trew

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I have issues with spin bikes due to size. The forward leaning position is just too much.
Can ride outside on a mountain bike so long as the position is setting the body up vertically.
 

alfresco

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I have some experience road biking and will attempt to answer your questions to the
best of my ability.

1. I am not a ‘bigger guy’ so I can’t speak for them but will say it is a great, low
impact exercise, especially for the bigger guys. If you are concerned about losing
muscle, just find a good balance between time and intensity. Do not let distance
be your guide. And get a good seat ;)

2. for a 250lb bodybuilder, I think you would want a metal frame (I have one but do
not weigh 250lbs.) or a carbon fiber frame ($$). Aluminum frames, I have no clue.
I would Google bike frames.

3. again, let time and intensity be your guide. Am not trying to be evasive. This is
highly individual and depends upon your goals. ‘Fitness’ and weight loss are two
different things. As is muscle loss. As is ‘exercise’.

4. yes it is a good, low impact form of cardio, safe (well, sometimes street riding is
not so safe) on the knees provided your bike ‘geometry’ is set up correctly, suits your
body and proportions. Have a bike shop help you with this. It is very critical for
comfort and avoiding knee injury.

My story.

I was introduced to street bikes / riding when I was dating my wife 25 years ago.
In retrospect, an attempt to get in her good graces. (It worked.). I borrowed a friend’s
custom road bike at first (not the right geometry for me) then I traded a bunch of
used climbing gear for a like new Specialized road bike. Like most things in my life,
I am all in or I am out. So I was all in. And riding with my wife (see another post
about her), well, I had a lot of ground to make up, pardon the pun.

I started by riding all the highest, hardest hills / climbs in the county where I live,
which is also where professional cycling teams come to train in the off season because
of the great variety of roads. You can make your rides extremely hard and short, or
hard and long. Or short and hard which was my preference. I achieved my goal there.
Then repeated them. Then did some distance cycling. 100 mile rides were my longest.
40 mile to 60 mile rides was my preference. (I am more fast twitch than slow twitch.).

Eventually I started doing very short as in distance and time, but very very hard climbs
on a hill in a private gated community near my house. Which was good because it had
very little traffic for what I was doing. And what I was doing was laps on the steepest,
most difficult hill section. I don’t know what the incline it was but it was steep, would
be difficult to walk up, and I don’t know the exact distance, perhaps somewhere around
half a mile, not long. So . . . I would ride to the top, have some water and half a candy
bar and then cost back down to bottom, not the bottom of the hill because you had to
climb a hill to get there, but back to my starting point. Then I would repeat the process
again and again. Bottom to top, drink, eat, cost to bottom, turn around and ride back up.
My goal was ten times. I made it to six. I just got bored. It was incredible boring . . .
and hard. Sometimes I would go so slow it was a miracle I did not fall over. But you just
keep standing and keep grinding and trying to see with the sweat falling in your eyes.
I did it once without standing, sitting in the seat the entire time (way harder). Sorry,
but once was enough for me.

I was hoping to gain some much needed size in my legs and get a bit leaner but that was
not in the cards. I measured my legs before and after my ‘project’ and I never gained or
lost any size in the quads or calves, and like I said, I could use some size in both depart-
ments. My endurance improved dramatically as one would expect and my body weight
remained unchanged. (Does the word ‘set point’ mean anything to you?)

My only ‘claim to fame’ was doing one of the hardest hill climbs in the world, the Mount
Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado (above 14,000 feet), the highest paved road in North
America. The thin air and the distance are the challenge. It was relatively easy for me,
probably due to its distance, I think 27 miles, and I had been training on steep hills for
some time.

Hope this helps and amused you.
 

old timer

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  1. Do any of you bigger guys do this for exercise? I'm not a bigger guy, but I love biking.
  2. What kind of bikes would be best suited for a 250lb bodybuilder for fitness? I'm a fan of flat (not drop) bars and--right or wrong--I feel like it and the hybrid style bikes that I own might be friendlier to my low back. Hybrids (mountain bikes too) will weigh more and, therefore, are probably better suited for larger guys.
  3. What kind of times and distances do you guys go for? I live in the country and I'm fortunate to have lots of quality hills around me. There's a list of "ranked" hills in the area and three of the top 20 are accessible to me by just leaving my driveway on my bike :D I have this 11 mile loop that I ride almost exclusively, and on my lightest bike it takes ~45 minutes but it takes ~50 on the others. Last year I rode 1500 miles (and tonight's ride puts my odometer @ 350 miles YTD), so I ride several times most week. Like Maldorf suggested, get one of those inexpensive bike computers (they're about the size of a pack of matches) and they're good to challenge yourself to ride so many miles per ride, per week, month, or year. I reset mine every January 1 and the challenge starts anew ;)
  4. Is this a good form of cardio? I think it's a great form of cardio. And with the hills that I have, it's really a form of interval training: higher heartrate going up the hills and lower going down. If you embark on a cycling routine and if, to date, you haven't been doing much cardio, I suspect that you'll see a positive change to your lipids (higher HDL and lower LDL).
You might want to consider a $200-$300 bike (+/-) on Craigslist just to see if you're really going to ride much or not. The owner will let you try it out too, so you can see how you like the fit and how it functions. As far you butt hurting you, I'm not taking loooong rides like others, but when my butt hurts I'll go to a higher gear (therefore lower cadence) and pedal out of the saddle for a couple of minutes.
 

maldorf

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Yeah, as far as your ass hurting. It doesn't affect me too much unless I am going at least 15 miles or more. Once you get trained the pain will go away. I don't really know what happens, how it works but eventually youll be able to ride long distance without too much pain. I was able to do a 100 mile ride and wasn't in a great deal of pain in my ass during the ride! You have to work up to it though. When it gets bad it really does hurt while you are riding.
 

thethinker48

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I think I'm going to try mountain biking early in the morning around trails by my house. I've been doing hour long walks, and they're kind of boring.

I have absolutely no clue where to start with getting a bike.

I checked out craigslist, letgo, and offerup, and there's a lot of used bikes in the $75-$150 range. I'm retarded and everything looks the same to me, can anyone recommend a basic bike for me? (type or brand?)

Not looking to ride competitively. Just looking to do this as a means of physical activity in these restricted times. I have a torn ACL and meniscus in my left knee, so less straining/power based bikes might be more suitable.
 

alfresco

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I think I'm going to try mountain biking early in the morning around trails by my house. I've been doing hour long walks, and they're kind of boring.

I have absolutely no clue where to start with getting a bike.

I checked out craigslist, letgo, and offerup, and there's a lot of used bikes in the $75-$150 range. I'm retarded and everything looks the same to me, can anyone recommend a basic bike for me? (type or brand?)

Not looking to ride competitively. Just looking to do this as a means of physical activity in these restricted times. I have a torn ACL and meniscus in my left knee, so less straining/power based bikes might be more suitable.

Can't recommend a type or brand. I have not ridden in a while, kinda out of the bike loop.

T, go to a a good bike shop, not Mom and Pop, a 'pro' shop. Act stupid (should not be hard ;) )
and they will educate you in an attempt to sell you a bike. Use that knowledge when you go
shopping for used or new bike. Be careful, bikes can be very expensive and seductive. And
when and if you buy one, take it to a good bike shop and have them set it up for you . . .
saddle eat height, handlebar height and distance form the saddle, all that stuff. This is especially
critical with somebody that has knee like yours. PT's sometimes have patients use a bike as
a form of rehab as it is gentle on the knees. Hope this helps.
 

maldorf

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Trek is a good brand for mountain bike..maybe you can find one used. Here is their most affordable new bike.
 

jeroendebleser

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Definitely a great form of low impact cardio, certainly if you do it outside on a real bike in the fresh air instead of the boring way in a gym. Although a big bodybuilder on a bicycle must look a bit awkward :LOL:
 

alfresco

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Here a foto I took of some female cyclist’s legs after a stage of the
The Amgen Tour of California, Tour de France-style cycling road race
that finished in town nearby. Now . . . if these ladies can keep their
leg size, then I am sure a bunch of manly men can do it on steroids.
 

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