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#122691 - 02/05/08 06:33 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: beadles]
mootz Offline

Registered: 03/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Idaho
Many years ago, I used to participate in the Multiple Sclerosis charity rides here in the Bay Area (CA). I started out with my mountain bike with the knobby tires, then I graduated to using slicks for efficiency on the road. What a difference that made. I finally broke down and bought a road bike- which made all the difference in the world compared to riding a mountain bike on the road. I rode a total of 200 miles; 100 on Sat. and 100 on Sun.

If I had one one choice, I'd keep my mountain bike because of its versatility and ruggedness. However, on the road, the road bike is KING.

To do a long distance ride, and everybody has a different definition of long distance, I would:

1) Train- Work up to the distance by putting miles on. I find that you have to earn "bike butt", that is, being able to stay on the saddle for long periods without ill effects. Believe me, biting off too much (as far as time/distance) can be a deal breaker. Incidentally, a soft wide seat will only prolong the period to earn "bike butt."

2) Keep eating and drinking- I can't stress this enough. Electrolytes and food in constant supply will help keep you from "hitting the wall" (aka "bonking"). Drink before you're thirsty.

3) Knowing how to make common repairs to your bike- You'll find that as your mileage goes up, you sometimes find yourself quite a ways from help. Being that you're on this website, I won't go into being prepared. Know how to fix a flat tire, put your chain back on, field fix a bent rim, etc.

4) Know the proper riding position- It's very common to see people with the seat too low, which is hard on the knees after a while. Mass produced bikes aren't set up for everybody. A good bike shop will show you a good starting point, but mileage will give you experience, and experience will help you with the fine adjustments.

5) Learn pedaling technique- You'll end up with your shoes somehow attached to the pedal (clipless pedals or clips). I learned this the hard way. For a long time, I did not use any type of attachment to my pedals. I ended up with a phantom pain in my knees that doctors could not explain, and the pain went on for months. I was finally referred to a sports doctor who figured it out in 10 minutes after asking simple questions. Turned out that I only used the down motion of pedaling, which developed only my hamstrings. This caused my knee to somehow be tensioned to the point that it caused the pain. By building my quads and learning proper pedaling, I became pain free.

"All you gotta do... is do it"

#122714 - 02/05/08 10:37 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: mootz]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: La-USA
Very well put!!!!
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#122792 - 02/06/08 02:17 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
Frozen Offline

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 86
I would recommend the use of panniers ("saddle bags") instead of a backpack. It makes the ride much more comfortable: you're more aerodynamic, your back won't get hot, and your shoulders, wrists and seat all get a load taken off.

“Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity.” Umberto Eco

#122794 - 02/06/08 02:34 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Frozen]
justmeagain Offline

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
Mootz's points are spot on. 50 miles on a bike isn't all that hard to do with just a bit of training. Easy for me to say, I bike a fair bit in a year. Start slow and work up to the miles, worry about speed later. If you are riding on roads you won't need a lot of gear, so don't weigh yourself down too much. Eventually your butt gets used to it.

A Brooks bike saddle is worth every penny it costs and will last a lifetime. If you change bikes, keep the saddle.

I own three bikes and all three have a Brooks saddle with springs. If I find a fourth bike I'll buy another one.

You don't need an expensive road bike for a 50 mile ride, a road bike is just faster. You can do this on any bike, mostly you just need to train.

A couple of other things, wear a helmet, bike gloves are a good idea to prevent road shock to your hands and protect your palms if you wipe out, and padded shorts help as well.

These are nice as you wear them under regular shorts.
They provide the padding of bike shorts but you wear them under say nylon cargo shorts so you still have pockets. I started using these last year and really like them.

Good luck, with some training you'll do fine.

#122835 - 02/06/08 06:36 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: justmeagain]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: justmeagain
These are nice as you wear them under regular shorts.
They provide the padding of bike shorts but you wear them under say nylon cargo shorts so you still have pockets. I started using these last year and really like them.

I used to ride about 200 miles per week. Like Mootz, I began riding a mountain bike, then switched to a road bike. Still own both, as well as a 1970's muscle bike with a banana seat. If given the choice, I'd ride a road bike for any distance over a mountain bike, but 50 is doable on a mountain bike. You're going to put in about 150% of the effort someone on a road bike puts in. A cyclocross bike is somewhat of a middle ground between them, and you could put tires close to a road bike's on one.

I would however were bike shorts and nothing else. I'd go buy a decent pair with real chamois in the crotch and not worry about showing off my wares or any camel toe. If you chafe during the ride in a regular pair of shorts, you might be miserable. Bike shorts should go far in preventing chafing.

#122850 - 02/06/08 08:30 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Dan_McI]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
I would however were bike shorts and nothing else. I'd go buy a decent pair with real chamois in the crotch

Get bib cycling shorts, they are much more comfortable than regular cycling shorts. A good pair of cycling shoes (Sidi Genius) and clipless pedals (Time or Look) are highly recommended too. Good bike positioning is also required. Set the saddle height to the point where the heel of the foot is just touching the pedal when the leg is fully extended. This will get you into the ball park area where you can fine tune the saddle height wihtin a few millimetres. If you are getting a road bike make sure the seat tube angle is not greater than 73-74 degrees. A more relaxed seat tube is favoured for longer distances (typically around 72 to 73 degrees). A good saddle is required - Brooks saddles are excellent but they need time to break in - typically about 1000 miles. My personal favourite is the Selle San Marco Rolls saddle with Ti rails.

Handles bar are important, I prefer the classic Cinelli 64 Giro D'Italia handlebars.

Campagnolo or Shimano equipment. - Shimano gear has always been slick but for durability Campagnolo Record equipment is difficult to beat for reliability and long term use. Shimano Dura Ace gear is excellent as well. Both cost an absolute fortune though. Campagnolo Chorus and Shimano Ultegra provide much of the capability of the top end groupsets but at much reduced cost.

Campagnolo Record rear derailleur is a beautiful piece of engineering but costs nearly $300.

Now onto Bicyle frame materials. They don't make custom bespoke Reynolds 753 frames anymore frown . Its now mostly Carbon and Ti or aluminium. The classic road bike was a custom 753 frame with a Campy Record C Gruppo with Mavic tubular rims and Vittoria Corsa tubs finished of with Cinelli Handlebar and Stem and a Rolls saddle. (ooh cycling heaven smile )

Campag Ergopower or Shimano STi combined brake and gear change levers are excellent but again it is worthwhile to try to pay to get the top end equipment simply because they work so well.

#122853 - 02/06/08 08:57 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
justmeagain Offline

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
My Brooks saddles were broken in with far less than 1000 miles. 200 miles is likely a closer number from my experience.

#122929 - 02/07/08 03:52 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: justmeagain]
Greg_Sackett Offline

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 225
Loc: KC, MO
Ha! I don't know of too many touring cyclists who wear bib shorts (or have full Campy record setups). Of course, we're an eclectic group, so their may be some, but most of us try to avoid the spandexed-out racer look. Off the bike it isn't very practical.

I suppose it depends on why you want to ride 50 miles. Just wanting the exercise, training for a race, trying to get from here to there, bugging out of a hurricane zone, or riding across the country, or just seeing the sights.

All are perfectly valid. Some may demand more specialized equipment. Some could be done on a 10 spd from Goodwill. Don't let equipment (or lack of it) stop you from getting out and riding. You will be better for it no matter what your application.


#122937 - 02/07/08 04:52 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Greg_Sackett]
ducktapeguy Offline

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
When I was younger and dumber, some friends and I decided to ride down to the beach. The only problems was, we didn't live anywhere near the beach. None of us had special training or bikes, we weren't enthusiasts or serious riders, we just hopped on whatever we had and started riding. The 50 miles going to the beach was pretty easy, mostly level or slightly downhill, with the winds at our backs. Coming back nearly killed us, agaist the wind with a very slight, but noticable elevation gain. We made it to within a couple miles of our starting point and just collapsed on the side of the road.

So I'd say it's highly dependant on terrain. For an average person, 50 miles can be reasonably accomplished on flat ground, but add in some hills or wind and people will start to have trouble after a few miles.

Edited by ducktapeguy (02/07/08 04:56 PM)

#123020 - 02/08/08 04:04 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Greg_Sackett]
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Originally Posted By: Greg_Sackett
Ha! I don't know of too many touring cyclists who wear bib shorts (or have full Campy record setups). ...snip...

Mine's a vintage bike - It's Campy Super Record (well, Super Reduced, as I did NOT want the Ti bottom bracket or peddels, besides the price, they had a history of snapping)
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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