Friday, 15 August 2008

On the road again - Part 2

Well, I've survived the first month of being a cyclist and learnt some important lessons along the way.

Travelling to work now only takes between five and ten minutes, mostly downhill. The journey back takes ten to twelve, mostly uphill. On the other hand now that I've got to grips with the gears, as well experimenting with different routes, I no longer feel like having a heart-attack by the time I arrive.

So I'm getting fitter (slowly), and more importantly the time spent travelling has gone from over an hour a day down to around twenty minutes, usually less.

One thing that has been noticed by other people is that I'm also starting to slim down a touch too. Not that I was massively overweight before (although my daughter was starting to draw pictures of me as a circle with legs) but I'm certainly getting back to a more streamlined shape.

There has only been one real problem, and that is that over the last week or so I've had a fair bit of discomfort in my legs. At the start I'd put it down to me not having been as fit as I used to be, but rather than the effect lessening as the weeks have progressed, it has been getting worse and lasting for longer.

I've tracked down what the problem is, and it is something that is well worth looking into if you are starting to ride again.

Incorrect seat height.

The seat on my bike was set way too low, so my knees where having to do an awful lot more work than they should have, hence the stiffness and discomfort.

So how should you set your seat height? Well, after looking into this a bit (otherwise known as spending a happy half hour on YouTube and Google) the general consensus seems to be that when the pedal is at its lowest position your leg should be slightly bent (around 20 degrees). Just watch out that you don't set the seat too high, as that apparently can be just as bad.

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