Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Called "Exercise?"

Day Three or Four (day two in a row, the cold having put a stop to my efforts for a week) of Ride A Mile Every Evening. The temperature has been in the low-mid 40s, which sounds pretty chilly but once you get the bike up to a decent turn of speed, you're generating plenty of heat.

Once I can do the mile in top gear, I'll start increasing the distance. I've got a ways to go before I get back to where I was last summer; I knew I should have set up the stationary bicycle kit this winter but I kept finding excuses not to.

Still getting over my cold, too, but hey, ten minutes or so of deep-breathing exercises have to be going more good than harm, right?


Standard Mischief said...

Keep your cadence up as opposed to being in higher gear. Ideally you want those knees of yours to last the rest of your life, and low speed high torque is suppose to be bad for them.

mind you, the low rpm workout is good for the legs, but until we get interchangeable parts, I'd be careful.

I've swapped my brake squeeze handlebars around to the way most motorcycles are set-up. I don't know why this is not the default. Normally the front brake is the one doing most of the work, and bikes have that one on the left side. You know, the hand that is suppose to be giving those hand signals.

If I get my new hand grips installed and everything adjusted tomorrow I'll be on two wheels again for the first time in a long time. Can't wait.

Roberta X said...

How fast cadence? --I'm running about 12 mph, on a bike that I never take out of top gear when I'm in good shape. It's a good, fast pace. I've dropped back one notch on the back gear stack for now, to keep from overstressing my knees.

My brakes aren't that great -- they'll stop the bike but I need to have the cables lubed or something, they don't release cleanly.

Kip Condor said...

If you want to build cardio a cadence of 70 - 90 is good. I definitely think it's better for overall fitness to build distance at a high cadence rather than pushing big gears. I've found with both running and biking that by building my cardio and endurance, greater strength comes naturally as a bonus.

Roberta X said...

How counted? I know the pedals are better than 60 rpm.

Kip Condor said...

A cadence of 60 means your left (WLOG) foot travels through the entire 360 degrees 60 times per minute. If you are at > 60 in your top gear I would expect your speed to be well over 12 MPH, but I reckon it depends on your bike.

If you know the size of your chainring / sprocket, and of your wheels, you can use this calculator to get your speed, and also vice versa.

Hat Trick said...

Kip means 60-90 rpm of the pedal cranks.

Many of the modern cycling
"computers" have a rotation counter input for the pedal cadence. It basically consists of a magnet mounted on the pedal crankarm and a reed switch mounted on the chainstay. The circuitry and software counts the switch closures/min and gives a readout. You could probably gin something up yourself if you wished.

I'd advise going for a 90 rpm cadence while you're getting back in shape. Higher cadence is better for endurance too in addition to saving the knees. Make sure that you're pedaling in "circles" rather than mashing the pedals on the downstroke.

Kip Condor said...

A cadence of 60 means that your left (WLOG) foot goes through the entire 360 degrees 60 times per minute. If you're at 60+ in top gear I'd expect your speed to be well over 12 MPH, but I reckon it depends on your bike.

If you know the tooth count on your chainring / sprocket, and know your wheel size, you can use this calculator to go between cadence and speed.

Roberta X said...

I'll have to take closer count; I guessed it at 1 rps. And that's one step down from the top gear.

Hat Trick said...

Depending on the type of brakes you have the lack of clean release may be an adjustment problem or need lubrication of pivots and cables, or new springs and cables.

That's a job you can probably figure out from the mechanical abilities I've seen you demonstrate in other blog posts.

If the brakes spring open when you release or slack the cables then it's probably drag in the cables.

LabRat said...

Still getting over my cold, too, but hey, ten minutes or so of deep-breathing exercises have to be going more good than harm, right?

Not necessarily. Remember the immune system and the system that builds your body back for repairs and training adaptations are drinking from the same resource pool, which is more about sleep than food. If you find you're making progress on neither front, *stop*.

Roberta X said...

Aw, sleep. That stuff again. It's over-rated. ;)

Standard Mischief said...

Here is an easy cheap meter I keep meaning to implement myself:


Here's the cycling computer I use. It reuses cheap hardware that was hot stuff around 2001 to make a really good bicycle computer - no cadence though


Chuck Pergiel said...

I don't blame you for not setting up the exercise bike. Stationary exercise bikes suck.

Roberta X said...

I've got a fairish bike computer on my bicycle -- usually leave it set to MPH and mileage.

In -- I dunno the notation, it's a 3X7 transmission -- 3X5, I run a cadence of 60 - 70 in the 13 mph (+/-) range. And that is is fast and light as my little feet can do: No rat-traps. No fancy shoe-clips. Ain't gonna get any, either.

Standard Mischief said...

I like thrift-store bikes

Under $15

With spare parts provided free from curb-shopping

Chains that I can buy at Walmart for $4, as opposed to the thinner ones made of exotic expensive materials that still wear out faster but save you 20 grams of weight on the Tour de France

chain guards, which seem to have fallen by the wayside to save a few grams, but are handy to keep grease off your pants leg while also letting your chain last twice as long.