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Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
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3,121
I bought a mountain bike and now I want to get a little bit into it in the future.
The thing is, all my muscle groups are completely made for hiking, especially long distance hikes.
It's almost ten years since I last rode a bike.
How do you get in shape for biking?

I did an easy 17-mile loop yesterday on a regular bike trail to get used to my bike. Some parts were tough as I do not have the endurance to push forward when it comes to uphill sections.
And let's say it, my butt and sit bones are pretty sore as well as I'm not used to sit on something that hard like a saddle.
Any ideas on how to get into shape and used to riding a bike. It's funny but at each uphill section, I thought I can hike it up faster than riding my bike.
How did you start and how long did it take you to get used to it?
Definitely can't wait to get out again and get into shape to do more fun bike stuff
 
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Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
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I have limited experience on mountain bikes, but I have a decent amount of experience on a road bike. I think that, as far as fitness goes, they're probably pretty similar.

I started road cycling in high school. Saddle soreness (when your butt hurts after a ride) may take a few days to a week or two to get used to. Road bikes tend to have saddles that aren't very comfortable, so it was rough getting used to it. Even after I had been riding a while, if I did a really long ride, like 70-100+miles, I'd still end up saddle sore despite being used to the seat.

As far as leg strengthening, the big noticeable changes probably happen over a few weeks to a month and be less unpleasant than adjusting to saddle soreness. Going uphill will probably never be easy, but if you do it consistently and frequently, it shouldn't take too long to get better at it. Or you could just do nothing but shuttle rides where you only go downhill. :lol:
If you have to get off and walk now and again while you're getting in shape, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Some hills may even be so steep and/or rocky that it's safer and more practical.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
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Oh, and one more thing. If you don't already have some, look into getting some shorts made for mountain biking or road cycling. They have a pad (called a chamois) that's built into the butt area that helps cushion pressure points and reduce saddle soreness. Those make a pretty big difference.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,121
I have limited experience on mountain bikes, but I have a decent amount of experience on a road bike. I think that, as far as fitness goes, they're probably pretty similar.

I started road cycling in high school. Saddle soreness (when your butt hurts after a ride) may take a few days to a week or two to get used to. Road bikes tend to have saddles that aren't very comfortable, so it was rough getting used to it. Even after I had been riding a while, if I did a really long ride, like 70-100+miles, I'd still end up saddle sore despite being used to the seat.

As far as leg strengthening, the big noticeable changes probably happen over a few weeks to a month and be less unpleasant than adjusting to saddle soreness. Going uphill will probably never be easy, but if you do it consistently and frequently, it shouldn't take too long to get better at it. Or you could just do nothing but shuttle rides where you only go downhill. :lol:
If you have to get off and walk now and again while you're getting in shape, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Some hills may even be so steep and/or rocky that it's safer and more practical.
at least some hope that the saddle soreness will diminish at one point.
The fun thing I have no sore leg muscles at all, I guess all the hikes helped a bit with that.
I hope to get out at least twice a week this summer so leg strengthening is highly anticipated and hopefully happens fast.
It did super fast when I started hiking as a tour guide
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,121
Oh, and one more thing. If you don't already have some, look into getting some shorts made for mountain biking or road cycling. They have a pad (called a chamois) that's built into the butt area that helps cushion pressure points and reduce saddle soreness. Those make a pretty big difference.
I actually looked at some online this morning and will probably end up with one pretty soon
 

Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
273
You get in shape for bike riding by riding at least twice a week for a good ride. Nothing else is going to do it. Padded shorts and padded gloves are must haves. Cleated shoes and peddles are essential for high performance off road riding or any on road too for that matter.

You might look into a seat that is shaped for your anatomy such as the width of your sit bones, too wide and you will get chaffing, to narrow and your posterior will not be perched correctly. In any case you have to get used to even the best seat.

Start slow and build up. Off road riding takes a lot of learned skills above the endurance you must build.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
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100
+1 on the padded shorts. I never got them until doing the White Rim road, and I sure wish I had bought them when I began mountain biking initially. The first handful of rides each spring are somewhat painful, but then it's amazing how much easier it gets.

Start with rides that you're totally comfortable with, and then you'll eventually get bored with them and naturally want to move to more technical rides when you're ready. Don't let others pressure you into tough/technical rides before you're ready for them.

mtbproject.com is nice for trail info (you likely know of that site already)
 

Mike K

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Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
807
Awesome. I got into mountain biking a few years ago and LOVE it. Nice job getting out on a 17 mile ride so early. You must be in great shape. Once you get in "biking shape" and build some muscles (and improve skills), the climbs will get a lot easier. After 2-3 months of riding you'll notice a big difference in stamina/strength/skills. After a year of riding, you'll pick and relearn a lot of skills that will make riding more and more fun. Someone else mentioned that the best way to get in shape for biking is by biking. It's true! =)

A lot of good advice here already. Here are my comments/thoughts/suggestions (some will have been mentioned already by others):

-Make sure your seat is set at the right height.
-Padded shorts help a bit.
-My sit bones always hurt for the first rides after winter - they get used to after a week or two of riding (assuming you keep at it). Then it becomes a non-issue. (I have heard that women specific saddles help in general, too).
-Good pedal/shoe combination - I like flats with 5.10 shoes.
-Clean/lube your chain frequently. (And keep your bike clean in general).
-Padded gloves are nice.
-Wear a good fitting helmet.
-Keep you head up and looking ahead.
-Ride easy trails and build up to more challenging ones.
-Use the Strava app (it's just fun to track your rides and progress).
-Use the Trailforks app.
-A dropper seat is awesome!
-A good/easy bike rack makes life easier.
-Follow Steve and Tess on their youtube biking channels! Haha!

Have fun, biking is great!
 

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b.stark

Forever Wandering
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Apr 8, 2015
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559
MTB shorts with a good chamois. I rode for most of my life (probably 20 years) without and once I got one I called myself a lot of bad things for holding out so long. It will probably still take a while to get over saddle soreness, but if it persists for more than a few rides, then it's probably time to look into a new seat. Both my bikes have WTB seats and I like them, but there are almost innumerable others.

Biggest thing about getting in shape is just to ride. Ride within your limits. I used to hurt myself often by pushing too hard, and finally grew up enough to stop that (most of my scars are from biking).

There are a ton of balance/bike handling skills that just come with time and experience. The simple act of riding isn't too hard to master, but really getting good at riding in challenging conditions takes a long time to develop. If you can find somebody to ride with that has some experience, that's not a bad idea. Also safer.

If you already have GaiaGPS or something similar, that will work fine for recording rides. I use it myself when I get curious and want to record a ride. Personally don't have any interest in making my riding into competition--I just like covering more ground and it keeps me physically fit and feeling better. TrailForks is a handy app for finding trails.

Also, don't think you have to only ride your MTB on singletrack. Riding on bike paths and roads (esp gravel backroads) can be very good and will help get you into better shape for tackling the trails.
 
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Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,121
thanks at all for the good advice and tips, there is a lot of really useful information in this thread.


Awesome. I got into mountain biking a few years ago and LOVE it. Nice job getting out on a 17 mile ride so early. You must be in great shape. Once you get in "biking shape" and build some muscles (and improve skills), the climbs will get a lot easier. After 2-3 months of riding you'll notice a big difference in stamina/strength/skills. After a year of riding, you'll pick and relearn a lot of skills that will make riding more and more fun. Someone else mentioned that the best way to get in shape for biking is by biking. It's true! =)

A lot of good advice here already. Here are my comments/thoughts/suggestions (some will have been mentioned already by others):

-Make sure your seat is set at the right height.
-Padded shorts help a bit.
-My sit bones always hurt for the first rides after winter - they get used to after a week or two of riding (assuming you keep at it). Then it becomes a non-issue. (I have heard that women specific saddles help in general, too).
-Good pedal/shoe combination - I like flats with 5.10 shoes.
-Clean/lube your chain frequently. (And keep your bike clean in general).
-Padded gloves are nice.
-Wear a good fitting helmet.
-Keep you head up and looking ahead.
-Ride easy trails and build up to more challenging ones.
-Use the Strava app (it's just fun to track your rides and progress).
-Use the Trailforks app.
-A dropper seat is awesome!
-A good/easy bike rack makes life easier.
-Follow Steve and Tess on their youtube biking channels! Haha!

Have fun, biking is great!
Thanks Mike

Actually, Steve and Tess helped me with the bike selection as I mentioned I wanted to buy a TREK bike. So right now I have a pricier model than originally intended but I guess I will be a lot happier with that. And it has a dropper seat which is awesome.

I guess the first few weeks and months I will stick to some really easy stuff. Yesterday was only a paved bike trail, but it helped to get used to the bike.
Glad I have all the good trails in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and have hiked most of them, so no unpleasant surprises. There are a few that are pretty easy. I just need to keep going a few times a week.
Definitely exciting to start something new, even though I would like to skip the saddle soreness part.


+1 on the padded shorts. I never got them until doing the White Rim road, and I sure wish I had bought them when I began mountain biking initially. The first handful of rides each spring are somewhat painful, but then it's amazing how much easier it gets.

Start with rides that you're totally comfortable with, and then you'll eventually get bored with them and naturally want to move to more technical rides when you're ready. Don't let others pressure you into tough/technical rides before you're ready for them.

mtbproject.com is nice for trail info (you likely know of that site already)
Thanks, I'll definitely look up rides on that website.
And for sure, I'll take it slow and easy. I'm a bit of a sissy so easy stuff for quite a while until I feel comfortable enough.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,121
Also, don't think you have to only ride your MTB on singletrack. Riding on bike paths and roads (esp gravel backroads) can be very good and will help get you into better shape for tackling the trails.
that's exactly why I started on a bike path. My thought was that it will eventually help me to get in shape and built up these muscles.
Thanks for confirming it.

MTB shorts with a good chamois. I rode for most of my life (probably 20+ years) without and once I got one I called myself a lot of bad things for holding out so long. It will probably still take a while to get over saddle soreness, but if it persists for more than a few rides, then it's probably time to look into a new seat. Both my bikes have WTB seats and I like them, but there are almost innumerable others.
I definitely need to order a pair. You all convinced me.

There are a ton of balance/bike handling skills that just come with time and experience. The simple act of riding isn't too hard to master, but really getting good at riding in challenging conditions takes a long time to develop. If you can find somebody to ride with that has some experience, that's not a bad idea. Also safer.
good point
And I'm okay with gradually develop the skills needed for different conditions/challenges. I rather take it slow and grow into it with time than push too fast too hard.
 

swmalone

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
280
A lot of good advice on here. I spend a lot more time on my road bike than mountain bikes, but my wife and I just purchased new mountain bikes so we hope to get out more.

A chamois is definitely a must, and although it might be a delicate subject they are designed to be worn without underwear. For rides of any significant length I also use chamois butt'r, I prefer the European formula, but you may not like the menthol. That is of course a personal choice.

Trailforks and mtbproject are great for finding trails and they have rating systems that help you decide what you are comfortable riding.

Also since it is a new bike be sure to pay attention to how your brakes and derailleurs function over the first few rides. You will most likely need to make some adjustments either on your own or head back to the bike shop and have them do it for you.

One last thing. Be sure that you carry a minimal tool kit/repair kit on your rides. I don't know if you have tubeless tires, but either way I find it good practice to carry a spare tube just in case.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
998
I also use chamois butt'r,
When I did the White Rim a few years back I did plenty of riding and training to get ready but on
day one I was chaffed quite badly. Chamois Butt'r was a life saver. I'm a chaffer so I take small tube in my first
aid kit when I hike or back pack. I love it.
 

swmalone

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
280
When I did the White Rim a few years back I did plenty of riding and training to get ready but on
day one I was chaffed quite badly. Chamois Butt'r was a life saver. I'm a chaffer so I take small tube in my first
aid kit when I hike or back pack. I love it.
I have a large tub that I use for when I road bike since I can apply it at home, then I buy boxes of those little single use packets that I carry around on really long rides or mountain biking. For the chafing I get hiking I actually use lanacaine anti-friction stuff that I keep in the first aid kit.

By the way if you haven't tried the European formula I highly recommend at least giving it a try. I have used the original and European and have now completely switched to the European formula.
 

blueeyes

ephemeral excursionist
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Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,079
The more you ride the less your sit bones will hurt. Besides the bike itself nothing else is as important as the seat in my humble opinion and a women's anatomy is different. I highly recommend Specialized women's specific seat Mimic. It is new on the market and they did very specific research into how a seat and your parts interact. I actually love the promotional video the produced for this seat.

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/power-saddle-mimic

I first rode this seat on the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona. I didn't even have time to test it before taking it out on an 80+mile ride. I was so impressed with this seat I have one for both of my bikes. It is important that you get measured for any bike seat because our sit bones are all spaced different. If you go into Red Rocks in St. George they can measure you. They carry Specialized.

If you have a properly fitted seat you will have less irritation. Also need to have your cockpit set up properly and the correct distance for your legs pedaling.

I rarely use a chamois. I don't like the padding or the bulk. I search for clothing items with no seams and dries out quickly.

There is a lot I could show you about riding a bike. That was my niche while working with the high school team was covering the basics with the kids that had never mountain biked. From neutral stance, attack position, body bike separation, braking using only one finger, breaking evenly with both brakes, line of site, how to corner.....blah blah blah. I would be happy to come see you and go out for a ride. Let me know what weekend works for you.

As for the hills. That comes with riding at least 2x a week or more. And yes in the beginning you can walk them faster than you can ride them. That is okay. I would tell my kids. If you don't want to ride the bike up the hill, notice the spot you stopped and got off the bike and start walking until you feel you can get back on the bike. Next time you climb this same hill push yourself past that spot as far as you can. Keep doing this until you sail up the hill and you will.
 

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