A Post 60 Cycling Virgin - Starting Out for the Very First Time (almost)

whitesix

Regular
POST 60 AND A CYCLING VIRGIN

Apologies for the long post especially as a first-time beginner. I can remember cycling as a teenager with my track bike (as they called it in those days; 26” wheels; knobbly tyres; cow-horn handle bars with only a rear brake); I used to be able to wheelie for 200 meters no problem. Role on another 48 years and I find myself north of 60 with a dodgy knee trying to cycle again because I want to get fit and lose some weight.

I have a 10-gear racing bike with tubs and gear levers attached to the frame (not the brake lever shifters) and a Dawes non-suspended mountain bike. I have been on the latter for the past five days and it hurts; it really hurts – everywhere. It is appreciated that it’s going to hurt; I even fell off yesterday as I approached a small tree root at about 1MPH (on my track bike that would have been no problem; I could have lifted the front wheel; would have not flinched!)

My issue is that, bearing in mind I want to get fit and loose weight would I be better off on my racing bike? With my mountain bike, I spend a lot of my time walking and not really knowing where I am going or not, as the case may be! I appreciate that cycling is going to be painful and hard progress, unlike walking (but my knee wouldn’t hold out) or swimming, where one can just add a few lengths every time one goes. But really, how does a post 60-year-old cycling virgin get back into the saddle!

I have removed my cleats, because I have had several falls, when I have tried before; but I find that my mountain bike shoes slip easily off the pedals. I’m very reluctant to return to cleats for the time being; but when I wear trainers my feet also hurt (because of course trainers aren’t as thick as cycling shoes).

May people have advised me to forget my old racing bike and just use the mountain bike; but I’m not so sure. When one is starting out is road riding the way to go; because at least one can plan some sort of route rather than ending up on trails and not knowing where one is going to end up. I am probably coming to the conclusion that it’s going to be difficult and it’s going to hurt for some time yet; but any advice would be very much appreciated.
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
Firstly hello and :welcome: to the forum.

So many questions and issues I don’t know where to start. You’re in a rather different position to others taking up cycling at your age as you’ve got a knee problem and obviously that has to be the first consideration. Is this going to limit how long you can cycle for? I imagine it will.
i don’t know why you went for cleats as that puts another obstacle in your way and might affect your knee.
I would stick with the MTB and maybe get some smooth slicks for it, you can then try some road work. Have you got your saddle at the right height? If too low that can cause knee pain. When sitting on the saddle with your pedal at the six o clock position your leg should be more or less straight. Decathlon have some good budget MTB shoes which take cleats but you can use without.
Losing weight by cycling also depends on following a controlled diet that you’re happy with but I’m sure you know that already.
Getting a saddle that you’re comfortable on will also help. Good luck and let us know how you get on.
 

dragonsnapper

Active Member
Hi and welcome. I took up cycling when I turned 70. Because of knee problems I was unable to jog. I bought a cheap road bike and after reading about how to set it up I found I was reasonably comfortable riding 20 miles. Padded shorts really helped. I can now easily ride 40 miles without discomfort. In my opinion a road bike will be much easier to start with, getting some miles under your belt to strengthen your legs then maybe rotate with your MTB.
 

Scotty55

Active Member
I’d avoid a road bike unless you know you’ll be exclusively on tarmac. I got a new bike a month ago and looked at a road bike, but decided that I was too fond of the flexibility to try forest trails to go for a road bike.

But I’m no expert - plenty of others on here will give you better advice than me.
 
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whitesix

Regular
Cycleops; thank you; the knee problem stems initially from an accident some 41 years ago and unfortunately meant me eventually curtailing running (marathons and ½ marathons) and more recently walking; walking uphill did the knee in once again. Cycling was recommended because there is not the pounding movement (from running or walking) when cycling. The cleats were a throw back to when many years ago I did a little cycling, but as I am starting afresh, I have decided to leave them off for the time being. Saddle is set up correctly; I believe the pain I am suffering is due to the saddle breaking me in along with being both totally unfit and definitely cycle unfit!
 
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Phaeton

Grumpy Old Barstool
Location
Oop North (ish)
Maybe consider some DMR V8 pedals 20 quid ish, then just use a pair of walking boots, I prefer fabric to leather, you have to push yourself slightly but don't push too far, set yourself a route & continue to ride it until you feel comfortable this maybe only a few miles, then plan the next bit, maybe a small extra loop, slowly increasing the distance, then once you have the distance your happy with start to look for a bit more incline somewhere.

But do remember we don't bounce like we did when we were younger, I came off 5 weeks ago & hurt my back, still not got back on the MTB
 
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whitesix

Regular
Thank you Phaeton, great advice and very much appreciated; will start a circuit from tomorrow. I was thinking upon these lines because I did not seem to be getting anywhere and it is reassuring to learn from someone who has gone through the start up process themselves. Unfortunately where I live I am surrounded by hills, but I think that the answer may lie in perhaps starting off doing very small circuits, as the hills simply cannot be avoided. I will also look at the recommended pedals.
 

Phaeton

Grumpy Old Barstool
Location
Oop North (ish)
I'm lucky I live right on the edge of the countryside with lots of bridleways my first rides were 4 miles which I used to wall the dog, so I knew I could do it. I then added another loop in making it 6 miles.

I always tried to keep the house in the middle of the rides so that if I had problems I could walk back home.
 
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whitesix

Regular
I live right next to a large Heath; unfortunately the only way onto the Heath is via some fairly steep hills, so at present not able to take advantage. The hills up to the Heath actually aggravated my knee condition, which is why I have now been advised to cycle. I will do some small circuits up and down the road hills to get back into the saddle so to speak and hopefully after some time will be able to take advantage of the Heath Land in due course. I'm considering using my very old racing bike for the road, so that I can concentrate on building up my stamina levels and just get used to pedalling, before carrying out anything more adventurous, for the time being.
 
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