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sarah asked in SportsCycling · 1 month ago

Starting to bike my commute, but having trouble.?

Hey! So. I want to get in better shape, so I bought a bike and started to bike to work. My work is 2.5 miles from home, a 20 minute ride according to google. 

My problem is, it takes me close to an hour, and on the ride home my legs barely want to work. 

What can I do to ease myself into this, right now I'm switching off between biking and driving to work each day. Is there anything else that will make it easier on my legs? I'm a fairly small, relatively healthy person so I'm concerned about how hard this is for me to do.

8 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    A 2.5 mile ride should take no more than 10-12 minutes, exclusive of stop lights. Riding a bike burns about 35 Calories per mile, so in your case that's 87 Calories each way, which is almost unnoticeable. If that distance is wearing you out, first check your bike. Are the brakes dragging on the rim? Is the tire rubbing the frame? Are your tires too soft? And is your seat at the correct height so that your legs are bent about 15 degrees at full extension? If you have gears, you should shift so that you are turning the pedals at around 80 rpm regardless of your speed. If you've checked all of that and you're still unduly tired from your commute, maybe you should check with your doctor.

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  • pmt853
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Are you sure about your distance and timings? Typical walking pace is around 4mph so you would be cycling at about 2.5mph, slower than most of us walk. personally I don't think I could ride or even balance going that slowly. keep at it at least twice a week and you strenght, confidence and speed shoould all improve considerably. As others have said, make sure your bike is set up correctly and that you know how to use the gear properly.

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  • 1 month ago

    Good for you! First, keep riding. Don’t look at it as ‘work’ ....  it ‘fun’. Secondly, start reading up on riding techniques. Ie. ‘spinning’. Also, I suspect that your bike is not set up properly for riding.

    Your bike seat be high enough so that your legs are almost completely staring when your legs are in the six o’clock position. 

    On weekends ride further, and look at experienced riders. You will learn by watching their technique.... as I said read up on it too.

    Speed is based upon things like terrain and wind. But a two mile bike ride in one hour is only 2mph. I suspect you may be riding a single speed bike, OR in way too high of a gear. A ride of that distance, for a newbie rider, should take 15 minutes.

    Good for you. You can rapidly improve.... but you need to read, watch, and ask lots of questions.


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  • 1 month ago

    I walk with a limp & a cane & can do 2.5 miles in an hour!  But cycling, I can do it in less than 15 minutes.  So something is drastically wrong with your riding style or the bike - or BOTH.  Which brings up questions to you?  A) Is the bike the right "frame size" for your height & reach?  A bike too small or too large will have a dramatic effect.  Easy to find out...  One trip to your local bike shop & they can look at you on the bike & tell in an instant.  And I mean a REAL bicycle shop - not Walmart or Kmart.

    B) If the bike is the right size - is the saddle (seat) at the correct height?  Most 'newbies' have the saddle WAY TOO LOW, making the muscles work harder.  With the ball of your feet centered on the pedals, at the bottom of the down-stroke, there should be a SLIGHT bend in the knee.  And be 'slight', I mean a 10 degree to a 15 degree angle at the MOST!  

    C) Sounds simple enough...but is there the proper amount of AIR in the tires?  Tires low on air can increase rolling resistance 10% - 20% - 30% or more!  The maximum inflation rating is stamped on the sidewall of every tire - by law.  Most times, a recommended minimum inflation too.  Start near the maximum & go from there.  If the ride is too rough, drop 5 psi out of the tires & try again.  If you don't own a good home floor pump - GET ONE ASAP.  Tires should be check at least weekly.  High pressure road bike tires should be check before every single ride - even if you ride daily!  

    D) Mostly I suspect you're not using those GEARS properly.  Does the bike even have gears?  Or, are you using some type of single speed/fixed gear bike?  If that's the case...there's 99.9% of your problem!  On a course of rolling hills on my road bike (18 speed - 2 X 9) I'm shifting gears every three to four SECONDS!  It's all about one word...CADENCE - pedal rpm.  Your cadence should remain as constant as possible, around 70 to 90 rpm's per second.  As speed decreases (such as going uphill) DOWNSHIFT into a lower (easier) gear.  As speed increases, UP-SHIFT into a higher gear.  It's that dam simple!  It's all laid out in this online tutorial from the late cycling guru Sheldon Brown.   In fact, try reading the entire thing titled Articles For Beginning Cyclists.

    Last but certainly not least, if you're riding on the streets, this is a MUST READ!  Bicycling Street Smarts -           

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  • 1 month ago

    My advise is ride your bike when twice a week. If feel sore drive. Soon you be able to ride your bike every day.

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  • Jon
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It does sound as if you are travelling very slowly, practically at walking pace, and yet finding it tiring. That is very odd. Assuming you can walk, etc, normally and are not doing something like riding up a mountain, it is unlikely that this could be due to your physique. I think you need to ask someone with some cycling experience to watch you ride and see if you are unwittingly doing something odd like riding in a very unsuitable gear, and if not that then have your bike checked for any defect that might be making it so inefficient, such as the brakes being stuck partly on. What you are describing is certainly not normal. 

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  • 1 month ago

    First of all - where did you buy the bike? Is it properly adjusted to your body? Has it been checked by a bike mechanic for any mechanical problems/failures? Have you checked the tire pressure and looked that all is running smoothly?

    If all of that is technically ok, then it's you :-). 20 Minutes for 2.5 miles as target time sounds like heavy traffic or some hills on the way, or you're offroading - that's 7.5 miles per hour, which is pretty much at the low end for an untrained rider on a flat road. Otherwise, the only way to get better at it is to keep on doing it. Alternating with the car will just slow down that process.

    For me, I _usually_ cycle to work, but I switch between two bikes - a recumbent in summer and an upright (travel bike) in winter. But the switch from one to the other is hard, or also switching back to the bike after barely riding for a couple of weeks of holidays. Going there the first day is ok. Going back on the first day is harder. Riding back on the third day is the worst. After that, I get accustomed (again) to it.

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I'm wondering if you're not using the gears correctly, sarah. I'm an older person and I can *walk* 2.5 miles in less than an hour, easy. You should be going much faster on the bike.

    But if you don't know how to use its gears, you can instead be peddling your bike against gear-created resistance, which is hard and exhausting--and slow.

    If it's not the gears, then maybe you're just in pretty poor shape in terms of stamina. The fix for that is to ride shorter distances on your own time rather than forcing a longer ride both ways when it's more than you can handle at this point.

    But I bet it's the gears.

    • Land Rider Jerry
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      You're assuming she has a multi geared bike

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