Returning to cycling after 14 years: experience

Over time, say a few months, I hope to get to my place of work which is about 10 miles away at least once or twice a week or better.

BHPian asmr recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi people ! Good to post about something different this time!

I intended to pick something as a suitable hobby that I can maintain interest in, especially after closings. Two things stood out and the first was cycling. I have owned 3 bikes in my life. A Hercules ATV and a Hero Atlas were my primary form of transportation back in high school. I used to go to school, extra lessons and general errands in those.

Then came college, graduate school and in 2008 I got another Hercules ATV after a 10 year gap. At that time, I didn’t know why, but there was severe pain in the first 2 days after trying to ride it. Coccyx/seat and knees. it was unbearable. I gave up after a week.

Fast forward to 2 weeks back – I decided I needed a healthy hobby that can get me out of bed at 5am and can help me get in shape. Thus began hours of online research, esp. here on TeamBHP, GCN and a few other reputable channels. And I took the leap.

Just received a Riverside 500 from the nearby Decathlon store yesterday. I tried to use the knowledge from my research and set my saddle height to almost 94cm (I’m 183cm with an inseam length of 87cm), to get a straight leg with the heel on the pedal and a slightly bent profile on the leg with the front of my feet on the pedal. I had gotten a slightly wider and thicker seat for the initial break-in period (of my body), which also meant that I hadn’t opted for specialist clothing either. I haven’t been able to adjust anything on the range, unfortunately, at least not yet. I’m a bit heavier, so I upped the tire pressure and was good to go.

I was very, very (extremely) worried at first, but I rode in my closed transit lane for almost 40 minutes with my sons and to my surprise, everything was fine. Yes, there was a slight discomfort in the seat, but nothing close to the pain I had felt about a decade ago. My legs felt very comfortable although my wife keeps saying the seat is too high.

I took it pretty easy yesterday, shifting gears (first time on a geared bike), getting used to the cadences and speed differences. There was, however, a major problem. It felt like my palms and wrists were taking a beating. This bike doesn’t have the upturned lugs of a mountain bike so I thought I was going too far since the saddle was very well tuned which caused me to put too much weight on my hands. I even thought, at one point, that maybe it was the ergonomic handles that were the cause.

This morning I did a quiet 5.55 km ride on inland roads, with light traffic, in 24 minutes. First sustained training on a cycle in 14 years! I felt great after that run too, except for stress on the palm and wrist and now dull pain all the way to the triceps, and somewhere between the deltoids and lats. I will see if an extension for the rod can solve the problem.

Over time, say a few months, I hope to get to my place of work which is about 10 miles away at least once or twice a week or even better, do longer trips on the ECR on the weekends! *fingers crossed* I’d love to hear some feedback from the veterans here on how I can do better.

Expert suggestions for on-bike fit and training programs in Chennai are welcome!) And what are the must-have apps and accessories for an absolute beginner like me to semi-serious cycling (I was absolutely missing the mirrors and more importantly, a nice big horn)?

Here is what BHPian Aditya should say about it:

Welcome to the world of cycling.

The Riverside 500 is a very good bike and does a good job of getting you around. However, I suggest you get a good bike fit from one of the pro shops. Bangalore and Hyderabad have good shops. I’m sure Chennai will have comparable ones too. Also invest in proper riding gear. Shorts and padded gloves help a lot. More importantly, I hope you bought the right size bike.

On the accessories side, good front and rear lights (NiteRider is my favorite brand) are mandatory. I hope you already have a helmet.

Another thing, before riding, for about an hour, stretch. Many exercises and techniques are available online (YouTube, etc.). After your ride, stretch again. This will help you a lot and reduce the risk of injury.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more ideas and information.

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