Get Your Ride On!
“Also, can I get hurt now or in the future from using big gears.”
Yep – sure can. Can cause permanent knee damage. And so can that 20 lb. back-pack on your back muscles & spine. Doing intervals is the way to go. Which the hills should take care of.
ALWAYS pedal at a rate or “cadence” between around 70 – 100 rpm. Possibly even higher cadence in lower (easier) gears climbing hills. Everyone has their own ideal cadence. Mine is relatively high with arthritic knees – around 85 – 100 – even on flat land. Yours may be lower with younger & stronger legs. Get a bike computer with built in cadence counter.
If you feel yourself pushing or mashing on the pedals – downshift. As pedaling becomes easier – up-shift. It’s just that damn simple. BTW…running & cycling use almost completely different muscle groups. If you want to train for a 10K – then run. If you want to train for cycling – get on the bike & ride. I’ve seen people who regularly jog/run 5K a day that couldn’t complete a 25 mile bicycle ride.
Your bike has gears for a reason. Use them!
The logic behind spinning is this… How many times can you lift 100 lbs, vs. how many times you can lift 10 lbs.
Even though you’re pushing the big gears as hard as you can, I guarantee that an experienced cyclist who knows how to spin will go faster than you ~ especially over longer distances.
I’m not sure what your goals are. Are you wanting to maximize your strength and efficiency on your bike, or just in general?
If you’re wanting to become a better cyclist, I suggest that you participate in a group ride sometime. Ask your local bike shop if they know of any in your area. Riding with a group will teach you more than any amount of words I can write. You’ll get a chance to see how your methods compare to other cyclists’ and you’ll discover areas of weakness that you didn’t know you had. You may also be surprised by how strong you are in other areas.
Anyway, to get better at anything you need to learn the right ways of doing things. Just as there are fundamentals and basics in conventional sports like ~ baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc, there are fundamentals in cycling as well.
Lets see. You are a few pounds overweight, load with a 20 lb pack and without stretching nor warming jump in a bike and do some miles uphill as fast as you can in a massive gear and then you do some occasional running. That sounds like a recipe for knee replacement or at least arthroscopic surgery a few years down the line.
Yes, you should be using some lower gears, maybe just one or two and increase the rpm. You may find that your average speed is actually higher. Your level of energy during the day will be higher because you will intake so much oxygen instead of depleting.
Spinning is also the best way to burn fat for fuel instead of using the sugar in your blood. The way you cycle now, you are running on sugar. The body has a limited amount of sugar as glycol that you can use. Once depleted, you crave for more food like carbs. If this is happening, your weight will increase.
I was talking to some guys and they told me that I should work on my aerobics and use a smaller gear. I hate using small gears and spinning my way up things, but I’m curious about what I should be doing to maximize my strength and efficiency.
==what they said
Also, can I get hurt now or in the future from using big gears.
you can get hurt now and not feel it til you are 35 or 50
so why do it?