As a cyclist, I usually ride my mountain bicycle in a suburban area, and occasionally I travel to the supermarket and other stores. Most of the time, the sidewalk or pedestrian pathways are smooth or straight, but I have encountered dead ends for cyclists. “Dead ends for cyclists” is my terminology for any road that would be unsafe for a cyclist. On any bike ride, I hardly ride for 30 minutes. In fact, almost all bike rides surpass that, probably because I have a certain destination in mind (i.e. the library) and because I always need to bike homeward. The longest bike ride I’ve ever had is about 2-3 hours round-trip. Recently, I think I have been biking longer and farther, and I fantasize of biking to a different city or one of the great lakes of North America. I wonder if I can cross the border to Canada, but then I think that would be illegal activity.
Anyway, the topic of this thread is not about how much I love to ride my bicycle, but how to determine the intensity of the bike ride. I have read that low-intensity, long-duration exercises will consume fat, while high-intensity exercises will consume glycogen. The problem is, traveling on a real road can be an unpredictable journey. I have no idea what should be classified as high-intensity, medium-intensity, or low-intensity, because the pathways may be very hilly and steep or flat and smooth. Should I use Google Maps and observe the terrain elevations beforehand? Does “low-intensity” mean choosing easy roads with a lot of slopes? If I go downslope on one pathway, then I have to go upslope on the reverse pathway, which may involve high-intensity exercise. In that case, should exercise be consistently low-intensity in order to consume fat?
For something that long, you’re looking at roughly 60-755 of max. HR. Of course, that requires knowing your max and having a way to monitor in real time i.re. a heart rate monitor.
Since you’ve already done 2-3 hour rides, you’re already there but you’ll need to eat and drink to maintain hydration and consume calories for a longer ride.
Commercial sport drinks like Gatorade need to be diluted with an equal amount of water. The stock concentration of sugar is too high for optimal absorption. For food, goos/gels or food bars are your best bet along with simple things like bagels and bananas. Test it out and see hat works for you.
I used to be that type of cyclist - mountain bike on paths etc. I worked up slowly over a year to being able to do ~ 75km (~ 50 miles) trips in a few hours.
I never tried hard and my breathing was never laboured. I didn’t bother with heart rate but it wasn’t extreme.
I was able to lose weight consistently over the period. Typically 1kg a Month. I also noticed a body shape change where I gained some muscle and lost more fat. I did take plain water and top up at water fountains. I might drink 2-3 litres in 75km on a warmer day over 35C (95F for Americans). I have a bottle holder but a backpack works as well.
Immediately prior to my cycling days I was into competitive Orienteering where heart-rate and breathing and hydration are very important - particularly in keeping the brain working at optimum level. The total physical output on a 10km run was similar to a 50km ride. I didn’t lose any noticeable weight loss doing the orienteering.
As been mentioned, find a way to carry water. Even in cold weather, you will sweat enough to get seriously dehydrated if you ride long enough.
In warm weather and low humidity, you will find your sweat evaporates (depending on your sweat rate) as fast as you produce it, fooling you into thinking you’re not sweating at all.
ETA: That formula is badly outdated and not very accurate. At your age it might be close but as you get older and stay fit, it gets increasingly inaccurate. My predicted HR is 165 but I can still hit 189.
:eek: How fast did you travel? Where did you travel? How did you get so much available road space?
I used to labor over upslopes, but now I don’t find them very difficult anymore. I think I have triumphed over them. Now, I am thinking of travelling farther and longer, as much as the roads provide; however, as I live in a suburban area with busy streets for motor vehicles, I think it may be too dangerous for me to ride that far. Perhaps, I should use Google Maps and try to find the best urban/suburban routes for cyclists.
I’m in Australia and it’s relatively flat here. I think I do max 20km/h - certainly not fast. I also have a racing bike I can get up to 50km/h (30mph)
There is a large cycle network near me - in fact right past my front door - so I can travel to most parts of the city with only minimal on-road. I don’t mind the pedestrians that much and I don’t wear Lycra! ‘Real’ cyclists ride on the road and wear Lycra and ride much faster - and laugh at me.
My only gripes are the wind and having to ride around deadly snakes on the coast paths and around lakes. We have world’s second deadliest snakes on the coast and third deadliest around the lakes, and they like sunning themselves on the cycle paths and lurking in grassy lanes.
How big are your wheels? I have a mountain bicycle, but I always feel like I am moving too slowly compared to others. I try to pedal harder, but I don’t think my bicycle can go fast enough. Anyway, I prefer to ride leisurely. I have never really measured the length of the pathway or the exact timing, but I think I am going to do that next time.
Ride your bike where and how you most enjoy it, and don’t fret about the health benefits that you will gain no matter how you ride. Plus, offering a young lady a ride on your bike could be life changing. Try it.
You do understand that a bicycle is for one person only, right? If there is a “young lady” on the bike, then that “young lady” would be me. I’m still trying to figure out how to put two young ladies on a bike, designed for one person.
I had an older mountain bike but one day in a fit of madness I bought a new Giant mountain bike with excellent brakes and slick gear shifts and front shocks. It certainly made the whole cycling thing much more enjoyable. I did have to swap the seat out for a softer one though.
Mountain bikes are not geared for high speed so yes you will pedal hard and not get very far very fast. The plus side for exercise is you will expend more energy per km than a racing bike.
For distance, just use google maps and put your start and finish in the directions box. It will tell you how far and you can drag the route around a bit to match what you actually did
I just checked my longest route. It’s actually 80km / 50 miles return and Google Maps says I should do it in a touch over 4 hours - when you select the cycling option. I think I actually do it in a touch over 5 hours but I guess Google uses racing bike speeds.
I have considered bicycle commuting to work but it’s only 5km / 3 miles so just enough to get sweaty and need a shower but not enough to get fit. I usually catch the bus or sometimes just walk.
Geez, in my 20s, I biked everywhere, and went on hours-long rides for fun. I always carried water. Always. In the summer, I carried one bottle of water, and one of homemade Gatorade-- 1 & 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. orange juice, 1/4 tsp salt. If I thought I would need more calories, I’d bring 2% milk mixed with Ovaltine, and some powdered milk for extra protein.
My biking shorts were cut-offs from the Army/Navy story, and had cargo pockets. I did have a water bottle carrier on my bike for colder weather, though, when the bike was just for transportation, and not longer pleasure rides, and I wasn’t wearing the shorts.
Mountain bikes are heavy, and slow you down. If you never actually do off-road biking, you really need a touring bike, or a hybrid.
Funny you should post this. I haven’t biked much in years, especially since I had my son and started to develop arthritis in my back, but I finally have a PT and a routine that is working really well, so I just got a $25 bike at a garage sale. I’m going to ride it around close to home-- maybe as far as the store down the street, and see if I stick with it. I will probably get it new tires, and maybe replace the wobbly rear wheel. If I stick with it and improve through the end of the year, then I’ll use the Hanukkah gift money my mother gives me and the money I can save in the meantime, to buy a really nice bicycle.
When I rode my bicycles everywhere, I always carried water and never had a bottle attached to the frame. I used a nice 2-liter bota bag slung over my shoulder. Kind of awkward to unscrew to drink, but I never, ever rode without carrying water, even in the dead of winter.
Your max HR is not necessarily found by the formula you are using. That is a rule of thumb that may have no relation at all to your actual max HR. To find your actual max HR you need to do a test of some sort which typically involve wearing a HR monitor and doing some quite strenuous exercise for quite a long time and then putting in a maximum effort sprint and seeing what you get. It is affected by various things though and a particular reading on one day might not be your true maximum.
You can also just used perceived effort on a scale of 1 to 10 (or you can use any scale really, do a google search). I like to use the Sufferfest 1 to 10 scale.
Note that where they talk about a TT effort, they are referring to a time trial effort which is about the maximum intensity you can hold for 30 mins to an hour or so, by the end you would be completely spent.
For your fat burning you want to be somewhere around effort level 3 - 4, you feel like you could keep going all day, you have light pressure on your pedals, you are breathing rhythmically but can easily hold a conversation, you need to concentrate to hold the effort (to stop yourself from going too hard).
I think the key to this effort level is that you are limited only by your intake of water and food rather than by your muscles/heart/lungs.
Personally I have no trouble riding at this level for 2 to 3 hours with minimal water as long as it is not too hot, but it is not recommended and you should get yourself a bottle cage and try and sip water regularly whether you feel like you need it or not.