I previously posted here
about my sore legs issue after starting to ride a new bike.
To summarize: After a few years of riding a 36 pound cruiser to work 2-3 times a week during spring/summer/fall, I spent a lot of money on a heavy Dutch bike. In my second week of riding, I overdid squats at the gym and was having severe muscle soreness the more I continued to ride (so much that I was having difficulty just walking, or even going up/down stairs). I was worried that the weight of the bike (which turned out to be 62 pounds) was the cause. Or maybe it was just the squats and any bicycle would have made it worse? At this point I still don't know.
Based on the answers I got for that question, I stopped doing any leg workouts at the gym, and I raised the seat on my bike. I decided to stop riding until my legs felt better, so I could start again with a clean slate.
After 2 weeks of no physical activity (other than the normal walking around that one does during the course of a day), I wasn't feeling better so I went to a doctor who specialized in sports medicine. He x-rayed my knees, watched me take a few steps and do some other movements. He said there was nothing seriously wrong that he could see, just muscle soreness. He could not pinpoint the exact cause, but he is not a fan of squats and he said to stop doing them entirely (he showed me some alternate exercises to do when I'm feeling better). He also said that I had "weak legs" which sounds about right. In 3 years of working out at the gym, I can now do chin-ups, do 15 push-ups balancing on my toes (not knees) and can bench press a 45 pound barbell. But I have made very little progress in my legs. So I asked if it was normal to take 2 weeks for my legs to heal. He said that once you get into your 30s (I'm 32) these things can linger so it's not totally out of the ordinary. He suggested that I try riding a mile that day (even though I told him I wasn't 100% better) and that if it felt okay, to try riding to work again.
I waited another 3 days (this was yesterday), at which point my legs finally felt better. I rode 1 mile to the grocery store, shopped for 30 minutes, and rode back. Again I was sore. I resolved to sell the Dutch bike and just ride my cruiser from now on. So I rode my cruiser to work today (2.7 miles one way) and I'm sore again. Coming home was difficult. I was on the lowest gear (1 out of 7) and I still felt like I was pedaling through glue. So maybe it wasn't the Dutch bike after all, but that I am apparently the world's biggest weakling.
I am really really really pissed off now. How long does it take to recover? Apparently I need more than 2 weeks to recover from sore quads? How can I know when I'm ready to start again, if feeling better isn't a good enough sign? That doctor had told me to try riding that very day, and even after waiting an additional 3 days I still wasn't better. I am so angry I feel like going into the garage and smashing all the bikes with a hammer and never riding again. I was hoping to start using my bike for all local errands (and only using the car for longer distances), but if my legs can't handle a 1 mile ride on a low gear (like yesterday), then maybe there's no hope for me.
It's not like I've never ridden before. I'm no athlete, but I have been riding my cruiser to work 2-3 days a week for the past 3 years in spring/summer/fall. I had been doing this for 2 months already when I got the new bike. It just doesn't seem to make sense that I have somehow regressed so far that even a super-short ride on a low gear is painful.
Going without riding (or any exercise for that matter) for 2 weeks (especially with the nice weather) was bad enough, because I am generally a very active person, and I was getting really antsy. Now I'm wondering, do I need to stop for 2 months instead? Is there at least some way to tell when I'm better and ready to ride again? With the exception of the 1 or 2 days before I tried riding again yesterday, I have essentially been in pain for over a month (starting with my second week with the new bike). I just want to not be in pain anymore, and to be able to ride again.