Help me Bike the right way.
July 22, 2010 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Help me Bike the right way. I've recently gotten back into biking and am doing it in a way I never have before. I need pointers from people with experience.

Recently, I've taken up biking again. I used to do light mountain-biking (as in light trail rides and a few 3 mile scree hills, nothing heavy.) I pulled my old mtb out and started going for distance in a cardio bid to drop some marriage pounds I put on. I suddenly find that I really enjoy going for distance and just letting it all out till my entire body burns.

This is such a departure from my old biking experience I'm not sure if I'm growing the right way and heading the right direction or not.

Currently, I'm doing about 12-14 miles, 4 times a week usually at a steady clip between 11-13. All on a paved bike trail. My buddy says for that kind of riding I really need to switch to a roadbike. My goal is get to 20 miles a ride, 4 days a week and start doing some 30-40 mile rides on the weekends. I'm not looking to compete but I'm enjoying the changes in my body and I've found that I enjoy riding very much and I want to do it the right way.

Is a roadbike truly needed? Are my mileage goals unrealistic for someone in my amateur shoes? Speaking of shoes are clips, etc really beneficial or is it just for the pros? Are there certain standard milestones to look towards as markers in my progress? Do I have to wear the wierd jerseys? (Kidding.) Also, do I trust my bike computer at all? I'm using Cyclometer on the iPhone and it gives accurate stats on time/distance/speed but the calorie burn always seems a bit high (to me.) Am I really working that hard or is just being nice? I'm also open to any general info, anecdotes or "I've been there, dont do X" advice.

Currently, I'm 6-foot even and on the high side of the 200s but nothing that keeps me from being active, if that matters.
posted by damiano99 to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Is a roadbike truly needed?
No, but it will help you increase your mileage without increasing the workout. Are you willing to spend the money?

Are my mileage goals unrealistic for someone in my amateur shoes?
Not at all. Don't expect immediate results, but you'll get there.

Speaking of shoes are clips, etc really beneficial or is it just for the pros?
Clipless shoes/pedals are amazing as long as they fit right. The questions is, how much do you want to spend.

Are there certain standard milestones to look towards as markers in my progress?
Time and how you feel after a ride. Especially on climbs.

Do I have to wear the wierd jerseys? (Kidding.)
No, but you will be more comfortable if you do (not kidding).

Also, do I trust my bike computer at all? I'm using Cyclometer on the iPhone and it gives accurate stats on time/distance/speed but the calorie burn always seems a bit high (to me.) Am I really working that hard or is just being nice?
I've never used a computer. So I can't answer this.

I'm also open to any general info, anecdotes or "I've been there, dont do X" advice.
This book gave me a lot of great tips. Meeting other cyclists and riding with them will give you the chance to learn even more tips.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:06 PM on July 22, 2010

Response by poster: Does that mean gettting using a roadbike increases distance but without increasing burn on my body? I ask because one of the reasons I want to make ride longer and farther is the increased exercise and calorie burn. If I do the roadbike does it simply make it easier to ride without any real benefit to my body?
posted by damiano99 at 11:11 PM on July 22, 2010

Tires and wheels will make the biggest difference. If you're running off-road tires now, get a pair of slicks on there and your 20 mile rides should be manageable with a little practice. 20 miles is very doable, just don't rush your rides. Take it at a comfortable pace and you'll be doing 20s in no time.

If you like what you're riding now, stick with it for the time being; good road bikes cost bucks, and as you get in better riding shape you'll get a better idea of what you want.

I like clips (technically, clipless pedals with bike shoes.) I think they help me. OTOH, I ride with a guy who can beat my pace by a good 2mph on an old gas-pipe Schwinn with flat, no-clip, no-cage pedals. So whatever you like. You aren't racing.

Wear what you like. If you're on the road bright colors help visibility. Keep away from cotton. Synthetic or wool is good. I wear cheap Hawaiian shirts. You don't need the jerseys, though the back pockets are nice to have. Bike shorts are nice to have because of the padding, though you don't have to get the racer-style if you don't feel like advertising your assets (I wear shorts over mine; others use baggy-style mountain biking shorts.)

I wouldn't trust the calorie count on your cyclometer, even if it is calibrated for your wheels (is it?) I always assume between 25-50 calories burned per mile but have no clue if that's right or even how I came up with that.
posted by Opposite George at 11:11 PM on July 22, 2010

Is a roadbike truly needed?

Probably not, however I threw some road tires on my mountain bike for commuting and paved trail riding and it made the rides a lot easier.

Speaking of shoes are clips, etc really beneficial or is it just for the pros?

Clipless pedals are wonderful. Those last few miles are a lot more bearable when you don't have to worry about keeping your feet on the pedals.
posted by Loser at 11:13 PM on July 22, 2010

Clipless pedals aren't just for pros, but you don't necessarily need them if you don't feel like dropping the cash and getting used to them. They certainly help.

The most important thing is to enjoy it while you're out there. You can do 20 mile rides regularly on a mtn bike, but you might want to put slick or commuter tires on. You'll wear off the knobs on mtn bike tires fairly quickly I'd think.

IMO 30-40 mile rides will be easier/faster on a road bike, but it might not be as comfortable (plus you'd need another bike, and probably another set of pedals and shoes). If fitness is your main goal, easier may or may not matter...

There's nothing unrealistic about your mileage goals.

It sounds like you're doing fine, but I have no real knowledge about training, etc. If you're getting bitten by the riding bug, you can always upgrade over time if needed.
posted by powpow at 11:13 PM on July 22, 2010

Oh, when I say slicks, I mean something in the 1.5-inch range or so. And minimal, if any, tread. That's assuming you're sticking to pavement. You don't need tread on pavement, even when it's wet. Obviously, if you're going on scree get your hardcore MTB tires back on.
posted by Opposite George at 11:14 PM on July 22, 2010

You absolutely do not need a road bike!

You may find parts breaking under you, as you start going harder, because you are pretty big to start with. As long as you've got a solid bike (~$500 or more), problems should be minimized (looking for cast metal peddles, cassette and freehub instead of freewheel, double wall rims--that's all I can think of for now).

Get rid of the knobby tires. Put some slicks on it and you'll go faster and feel smoother. Whether you go for 1.25" race-like tires, or more moderate 1.5"+ tires is personal preference. The narrower (and consequently higher pressure) the faster, but at the cost of a harsher ride.

Spin! You are probably very comfortable mashing the peddles at ~70 RPM (or less?), but you'll do much better if you can learn to move your feet at 90 RPM +. Much better because you accelerate faster, and your knees have an easier time.

Nothing at all unrealistic about the goals. Put a nice big hill in there, if you can.

Clips.. If you are only riding the way you describe, you might like them. I liked them. I didn't like having to unclip/clip every block or so while riding around downtown, so I gave up on them. They certainly make a difference. Mostly for the added stability--the certainty that your feet are in just the right place all the time--but they offer improved power too.
posted by Chuckles at 11:14 PM on July 22, 2010

You don't have to do anything. It is possible to ride 20 miles on a mountain bike while wearing baggy sweat-soaked clothes. But it's more comfortable to ride it on a road bike in clothes that wick the moisture away from your body. Same with proper bike shoes.

It's a comfort thing; you are going to get exercise no matter what bike you're on or what clothes you wear.
posted by jrockway at 11:17 PM on July 22, 2010

It sounds like you're doing fine

This. As long as you're enjoying it and you keep improving you're doing all right. Don't overthink it.
posted by Opposite George at 11:17 PM on July 22, 2010

Put a nice big hill in there, if you can.

Geographically speaking, that is. No "it's too hard" excuses allowed!! :)
posted by Chuckles at 11:19 PM on July 22, 2010

Seriously, as long as you like it, you're doing fine. My husband started off doing a bike commute of 13 miles each way, and it slaughtered him; a year later he had cut his commute time in half and was putting in an extra 80-150 miles on the weekends, and he rode from Seattle to Portland that year. Since speed was important to him (because he was commuting to work) he spent the bucks on a road bike. He recommends trying out a ride on a road bike with clipless pedals & bike shoes; any decent bike shop should let you do this. He also says to let your comfort dictate your clothing choices, because it only takes one chafed scrotum to ruin your day, but if you're not getting irritation or finding your regular clothes uncomfortable, don't worry about it.

As an aside, he lost 75 pounds, 20 points off his systolic blood pressure, and 100 points off his cholesterol with the biking. It's pretty good for you. (He went from 250 lbs to a lean 175.)
posted by KathrynT at 11:29 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

You absolutely want something to help hold your feet onto the pedals if you're going to ride any distance, but for non-super-serious biking, a $15 set of clips work fine, and let you wear any old shoes. Note that the terminology is all bass-ackwards here: clips are the plastic cage or strap things that attach to the pedal and don't clip at all. Clipless pedals are the ones that you clip your special shoes into. Go figure.

Don't worry too much about the whole RPMs thing. Some people are spinners, some people are mashers. After Armstrong's career, everybody swears that spinning is better, but his rivals finished a 2000 mile race seconds or minutes behind him while chugging away 20 or 30 rpms slower. Do what works for you (just don't hurt your knees by going with too hard a gear).
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:36 PM on July 22, 2010

I enjoy riding very much and I want to do it the right way.

If you enjoy riding then you're doing it right--which isn't to say that you couldn't enjoy it more.

I used to ride only mountain bikes--a fairly decent one for trails on the weekends and a clunker with slick tires for commuting. When the clunker gave out I found a 20-year old road bike for fairly cheap. All of a sudden I could go a lot faster, my hands and wrists felt better on the drop handlebars, the high-pressure tires rode smoother, and the steering was so smooth and precise that I could imagine I was flying. Fast-forward a few years and I've got a thin racing-style saddle, shoes and clipless peddles, padded shorts, three-pocket jerseys, special socks, and this week I went to the optometrist to check out cycling glasses. Roadies may look ridiculous, but every single step I've made in that direction has made cycling more enjoyable to me. I still like my mountain bike, but now it sort of feels like I'm riding a Big Wheel.

Keep in mind you don't need to drop a lot of cash. I pine over every shiny thing in Bicycling Magazine,* but I'm still riding my old Schwinn.

*You should get it if you're in the US, because a subscription is like $1 an issue and there's a lot of stuff to absorb, even if half of it is glowing reviews of shiny things.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:00 AM on July 23, 2010

To underline what everyone has said: if you're comfortable on your MTB and enjoying your rides, then you really shouldn't worry too much about equipment right now, except for losing the knobbles for road riding. You'll know when it's time to switch up.

A good way to increase your mileage without turning it into a struggle or chore? Pick routes that you really enjoy riding for their own sake. If you get tired of the current trail, find another one. If the trail gives you options, take them, even if it doesn't quite match up to your scheduled workout. Give yourself the chance to do longer weekend rides with slightly less intensity just so that your body gets used to spending more time in the saddle. Maybe put away the bike computer every so often, or at least keep yourself from checking it while you're riding, and plot a course to somewhere that catches your eye.
posted by holgate at 12:13 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is a roadbike truly needed?

Nope. Ride whatever you feel comfortable on. A lighter bike, with drop bars so you are more aerodynamic, and with thinner, slick tyres will just mean that you go faster & further for the same effort. As others have said, though, at least replace knobbly tyres with road tyres on your current bike, and you should find it easier & smoother to ride.

Are my mileage goals unrealistic for someone in my amateur shoes?

Not at all.

Speaking of shoes are clips, etc really beneficial or is it just for the pros?

I really like mine - SPDs or something; the kind where the bottom of the shoe attaches to the pedal. It's a nicer feeling of connection to the bike, you can pull upwards on the pedal for extra power when you want it (eg uphill) and the shoes have stiff soles that help transfer all your leg power to the pedal. But mostly they just feel really good to me.

Are there certain standard milestones to look towards as markers in my progress?

Not exactly the answer you were after, but a place that serves a good coffee in a beautiful location, which is your turnaround point for heading back home. I have mine right in front of the Sydney Opera House. Also: crisp sunny mornings, changes in season, people outdoors and having fun. This is what it's all about.

Do I have to wear the wierd jerseys? (Kidding.)

Tighter clothing will reduce your wind resistance. Similar point to the road bike question.

Also, do I trust my bike computer at all? I'm using Cyclometer on the iPhone and it gives accurate stats on time/distance/speed but the calorie burn always seems a bit high (to me.) Am I really working that hard or is just being nice?

With all devices like scales, heartrate monitors, cycle computers etc, my theory is that as long as you compare apples with apples by using the same device every time, you can plot your own personal progress. Who really cares if it's out by x%?

I'm also open to any general info, anecdotes or "I've been there, dont do X" advice.

Guessing that you're a guy from your username, I'd suggest you get a special male-friendly seat. These have a valley down the centre so you sit on your arse-cheeks / tailbone, instead of placing pressure on your perineum (the area between your arsehole & ballsack). Men who ride a lot without a proper seat can lose sensation & even the ability to get an erection (both temporarily, like for a day or something, but why bother with that?). Anybody in a bike shop could direct you towards the right kind of seat to buy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:15 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, a roadbike just reduces the amount of exercise you get, by travelling the distance more efficiently. If you're not trying to get from A to B quickly, and just trying to get exercise, it's counter-productive to switch to a road bike.

(Furthermore, your mountainbike is probably more rugged than most road bikes, so will take longer to wear it out)

Get some kind of shoe/toe clips though - they increase your performance, but they do so by allowing more of your muscles to be working at the pedals, so they'll increase your burn and perhaps more importantly, exercise a wider selection of your muscles.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:22 AM on July 23, 2010

As others have pointed out, you certainly don't need a road bike. When I got back into bike riding as an adult, I was out of shape and started out on a mountain bike with the same routine you have. Now, every Saturday I ride some 100 miles across rocky, hilly terrain with no trouble. It didn't take me long to get my body to the point where it could handle it - just upping the distance a bit every weekend over a summer worked.

I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 to keep track of my rides. It takes a while to get a signal in really overcast weather, but the calorie accuracy seems reasonably close.
posted by cmonkey at 3:01 AM on July 23, 2010

One thing to watch out for, if you stay on the mountain bike: the seats on mountain bikes are (generally) made with the thought you'll be standing up here and there. If you're riding long stretches of road, this won't be the case. You may have problems cutting of the circulation to your...johnson. If you find this happening, consider a road bike seat, at least.
posted by notsnot at 3:08 AM on July 23, 2010

If your junk or feet get numb, angling the seat down a little helps, too.
posted by cmonkey at 3:31 AM on July 23, 2010

Nthing everyone's suggestion that you don't need a road bike and slicks are a good idea... But I'll just add: you'll want a road bike eventually. They're fun as fuck. Start saving now, if you really get into this you'll want a good one. Spend as little as you can getting that MTB road worthy (slicks, that's all you need) and save for a nice road bike because I promise you'll want one eventually. You don't need one, but you've already got the bug...
posted by johnnybeggs at 5:31 AM on July 23, 2010

At some point you should think about getting a road bike - it's just too much fun to go faster (nothing spins like a road bike) - and let's face it, the more fun you're having the longer you'll ride. How's that for logic?

You're doing the most important thing, which is getting out there. Keep going!
posted by nnk at 5:33 AM on July 23, 2010

I ride 35 miles fairly regularly on my mountain bike using semi-slick tires and no clips on the pedals. You can't go as fast as the road bikers, but I don't really care. I love my bike. The only problem I've encountered is that the semi-slicks, because of their wide footprint, seem to be susceptible to puncture, so I recommend a little tire repair kit to take on your longer rides. But all this is totally do-able!
posted by Ms. Toad at 5:46 AM on July 23, 2010

I see a lot of starting bikers complain about sore posteriors, and thus go out and buy the widest, gelliest, most padded saddle they can find. This, in my opinion, is a bad idea. Get fitted for a saddle that fits your "sit bones"; a little padding is fine, but in the long run, something that fits is going to be much more comfortable (and less damaging downstairs) than something squishy and immediately-comfy.
posted by supercres at 6:24 AM on July 23, 2010

A few points not already covered. I agree with pretty much everything already said here. Everything that you see road cyclists doing is designed to let them ride more efficiently. At some point you might want to start thinking about that too, as your goals start changing, but it sounds like you're not there yet.

Yes, toeclips are beneficial; clipless pedals are more beneficial. If you don't already have toeclips and straps on your pedals, get them. I see these as a safety thing in addition to a performance thing.

As to tracking your progress and the calorie estimate from Cyclemeter: I use the same app (I assume we're talking about the same thing). My guess is that the calorie estimate is just that, and good enough to compare one ride to another, but probably not very accurate. If you use routes in Cyclemeter, it can report your performance relative to previous performances over the same route. That's an objective way of letting you know what the trends are. I wouldn't focus on that too much though. For the level you're riding at, it makes sense to push the pace enough so that you're working up a sweat, but not so much that you're constantly thinking "harder!" (believe me, Cyclemeter can get you into that mindset if you let it).
posted by adamrice at 6:39 AM on July 23, 2010

I switched to a road bike for exercise a while back and I don't think I can ever go back. Biking used to feel like a chore, now it just feels amazing. It's just fun to go fast. It might technically reduce the amount of work your body does and the number of calories you burn, but if it's a more pleasant experience, you're more likely to stick with it long term and do it for longer each time.

I put off getting the clipless system for a few months after getting my bike, but I'm so glad I did. It makes riding much more effortless, especially as the miles start to add up. Again, not strictly necessary, but just makes things so much more pleasant.
posted by c lion at 7:07 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify: any pedal you're attached to allows your pedal stroke to work upwards as well as downwards, giving the efficiency mentioned. Saddles are hard enough to fit that some shops do demo programs.

Also, don't worry about wearing out any modern bike - road or mountain.
posted by kcm at 7:16 AM on July 23, 2010

As a consideration, to amplify the great points made above, I consider the best upgrade for a bike to be slick tires. For a city MTB, 1.5"+ or 33mm+ tires are a good choice. Be sure to keep your tire pressure up to avoid the flatting problems Ms. Toad mentions. Tires need to be checked about once a week.

The second best bike upgrade is clip pedals and shoes. That's a lot more expensive than the tire upgrade, but the sense of connection to the bike is huge. You can move pedals from bike to bike if you upgrade, so it's a pretty safe investment. Some people have knee and ankle issues with clipless pedals but that can often be compensated for with different pedal systems and/or adjustment.

Padded shorts really are worth it for longer (>30 minute) rides. You can get bike underwear or wear standard lycra shorts under pants. You can also get lined shorts as another option. You don't have to look like a racer unless you want to. A pad between your nethers and the seat is a very good idea though. Blisters on your groin aren't fun.
posted by bonehead at 8:10 AM on July 23, 2010

Best answer: Another mtb owner going for distance here. I agree that you can get a great workout on the bike you have (with a few caveats) and that you do not need a road bike (yet).

You can definitely work up to 30-40 miles on the weekend. You can lose weight and get fitter. In fact, as long as you have weight to lose off your body, I'd recommend not trying to go for a lighter bike. Right now you're trying to add distance and speed to your rides, so if you're using the same heavy bike, that's a great standard to measure yourself against. Any improvements you see will be due to your hard work rather than the purchase of $1000 or more of bike. If you plateau, or develop a great lust for speed, you may eventually switch to a road bike and see even more improvements, but you don't need to do that right now.

To make your ride more effective now, I agree with Chuckles that you should assess your cadence. I'm just coming off a bit of knee pain brought on my extra distance this month and start/stop traffic in the city, so I'm gearing down a fair bit from my usual settings and spinning more. You're probably strong enough to use a heavy gear, but your knees will eventually rebel. My cadence rule of thumb is that anything between 80-100 rpm is fine, and that if I can get up to a good speed while in that range without putting pressure on my knees, but without being so lightly geared and spinny that I'm bouncing out of the saddle, I'm in the zone.

Yes, get a nice, firm saddle with a cutout, adjusting the nose to a slight downward tilt if needed. (Both men and women need to avoid cushy, badly adjusted seats, BTW.)

Narrower, slicker tires? Yes. It will help you get a bit of speed now, and if you do change to a road bike some time in the future, you will have already adjusted to some of the difference narrower tires make to your ride and cornering. My old Mongoose is no longer running on the wide tires I had last year, but 1.4 inch slicks, and I love them.

If you use your bike in city traffic for errands, or if your bike path has a lot of pedestrians or intersections on it, or if you're just not sure about committing to clipless pedals, look into a set of convertible pedals that are platform on one side and clipped on the other.

Have fun riding!
posted by maudlin at 8:54 AM on July 23, 2010

I've been riding again for about two and a half years now. Clipless pedals give you the best transfer of power from your feet to the pedals. I've never used them though. I go halfway- I have toe clips on my pedals with no straps. I don't want to think about what to do with my feet when I stop.
posted by Doohickie at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2010

My suggestion is counter to most of the other answers. Make your bike as inefficient as possible and you can get the same workout in a shorter ride. Under inflate your knobby tires. Make sure your chain isn't lubed properly. Your 12-14 mile ride will feel like it is much longer.

A more upright riding position will help as well by increasing wind resistance.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:10 AM on July 23, 2010

Please don't underinflate tires on the street - this is the cause of 80% of flats, "snakebite" style, which on a city street with grids, grates, rails, etc. is asking for a nasty accident. Along those lines, you're also going to lose a LOT of effort through the front (and rear, if present) suspensions: a rigid fork would be a great change, but at that point, you're probably best investing in another bike.
posted by kcm at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2010

I disagree with everyone saying that riding a mountain bike is fine, and actually I'm really surprised so many people are saying that. If you are riding on the road and your goal is to do long distance rides, you should get a road bike. I primarily ride road bikes, and whenever I find myself on a mountain bike doing the same roads I normally ride it feels like I am pulling a parachute behind me. And for anything over 10 miles on roads, a mountain bike (to me) is really, really uncomfortable. For casual commuting or quick trips to the store, sure whatever, but for long distance rides? My wrists hurt just thinking about it.

The biggest factor for me though: it's just not as fun as riding a road bike if you are going to be doing it on a regular basis.

I'm not one of those spandex weekend warriors who spends thousands trying to shave grams off my pristine carbon fiber piece of engineering, so I'm not saying go drop a ton of money or break out the lycra bibs. I ride a gas pipe single speed piece of shit road bike as a lock-up bike and have a 1985 Centurion 12 speed for long rides that I paid $120 for.

I don't own a car and ride every day rain or shine, so my main concern with bikes is it being practical/comfortable, fun, and cheap (so it doesn't get stolen!). I guess you can say a MTB is a "better workout" because it's inefficient compared to a road bike, but I personally would rather go on a 50 mile ride and enjoy the scenery than a 15 mile ride in my neighborhood on the same streets I always ride - even if the amount of effort is equivalent. It's more fun that way (trust me, you'll get sick of riding that one bike path soon).

Just go to a bike shop and ride some road bikes. The difference will be obvious. Do whatever makes your rides more fun.

Anyways, to answer your questions:

I only ride clipless with the shoes on long weekend rides. Normal riding I use toe clips. I would just get toe clips. You want something so that you can pull up on the pedals as well as push down. It gives you more power, makes you faster, and exercises more muscles (which lets you go longer since you're not tiring out one set and not using the other).

You don't need the spandex stuff - unless you do. Even on 100 mile rides I just wear jean cutoffs and a t-shirt, but I've never had any chafing like a lot of my friends do and I'm not racing. Wait until riding in normal clothes becomes a problem, then look into it. Most cycling stuff is designed to solve a problem. If you don't have the problem yet, don't worry about whether you need it or not.

Your mileage goals are totally realistic. I am as amateur as they get and I ride at least 200ish miles a week, not including long distance pleasure rides. I remember when a "long" ride to me was 5 miles. Now I can ride all day if I want, and am working toward doing multiple-day touring. Just slowly work your way up, and ride with other people (more fun, and going farther isn't such a big deal when you have company to push you along).

You may want to look into randonneuring events (there was just a FPP on it the other day). It's non-competitive long distance riding. I just started doing them and they are really great for someone who has no interest in racing/competition - they don't rank finish times and no one "wins". The routes are very scenic, the checkpoints are usually local bakeries, and since it's not a race everyone just goes at a moderate pace has fun! The shortest rides they do are 200km (125 miles) so maybe that's a goal you can work toward.
posted by bradbane at 12:03 PM on July 23, 2010

Just to clarify: any pedal you're attached to allows your pedal stroke to work upwards

I don't have a link right now, but this was covered in some old MeFi thread... A proper clipped in peddle stroke will still involve some down pressure on the rising leg, just not nearly as much as with free peddles. So "pulling up" is a bit of a myth (although the end result is comparable).
posted by Chuckles at 1:34 PM on July 23, 2010

Response by poster: Wow. All these answers really have not only given me tons of useful info but truly have given me so much to look towards in the future. I think I'll go with the overwhelming advice and keep on the current frame and get clipless pedals and shoes. I'll just ride it until spring when I'm truly ready to bite into a good road bike. At this stage, I'm really wanting to just push as hard as I can for distance/time and use it to burn the flab. I'm hoping that if I keep my current pace/growth (non-bike time in winter here is only for a month due to it being a sunbelt state) I'll be able to drop a decent amount of weight by then. I think I'll feel more secure on a road bike then.

I'm glad to know my mileage goals are doable, even for someone like me. Thanks so much for all the advice.
posted by damiano99 at 10:29 PM on July 23, 2010

Chuckles: "Just to clarify: any pedal you're attached to allows your pedal stroke to work upwards

I don't have a link right now, but this was covered in some old MeFi thread... A proper clipped in peddle stroke will still involve some down pressure on the rising leg, just not nearly as much as with free peddles. So "pulling up" is a bit of a myth (although the end result is comparable).

This article, maybe?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2010

« Older What is the best dating site for goths and other...   |   What makes you cry? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.