Fitness Minutes: (94,341)
127 9/29/13 11:16 P
I'm 5'4" too. If I'm in my seat, my tip-toes hardly touch the ground. That's a good thing. This position makes your legs work most efficiently. When you need to stop, you stand up in the pedals, come off the saddle, then step down on the ground. A trick to get on the bike: turn the wheel sharply in one direction and lean the bike over sideways. Now the top tube is much lower and much easier to swing your leg over. Straddle the bike and straighten it back up. Then put your foot up on a raised pedal, and step down on it to start moving. While you step down on it, stand up on it and place your other foot on the pedal and then sit back on the saddle. Practice starting and stopping in a grassy area if you need to! :)
I've been riding for about a year. I've played with my saddle height, and also its tilt and how far forward it sits. A slight adjustment in any one of these -- even less than a millimeter -- can make a huge difference in comfort. Let a trained person in the store help you out.
Also have them explain the gearing to you. On the rear wheel, the largest gears are the easiest. The smaller ones give you the most speed, but are more difficult to pedal. If you have two or three chain rings (the ones on the pedals), it's opposite: the big ones are more difficult to pedal but will get you going faster, the small ones are easier to pedal. Change the gears in back for small increments (usually those on the right side) and the gears in front for large changes (usually those on the left side). You'll likely change gears as the elevation changes. If you find too much resistance (even a little), shift to make it easier. Going up a hill, you'll could wind up changing gears every, oh, 4-8 rotations of the pedals. Going down, you'll find that it gets too easy to spin. Make it progressively harder until the pedals have some resistance.
Several people have mentioned cadence. Most people feel comfortable somewhere between 70-90 RPMs with some light resistance. On a flat road, find a gear that lets you do 70-90 RPM that "feels good" to you -- neither too much nor too little resistance. (You may have to work up to 70-90 RPM over several weeks.) Going up hill, your RPMs will slow down to maybe 60-70, even down to 50 if it's a big hill. Invest in an inexpensive cadence/speed sensor to show you your cadence.
Good luck, and don't hesitate to ask questions!
Fitness Minutes: (14,353)
9,694 9/29/13 8:37 P
Take it and let the pros do it; It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but they can also tell you if the bike is simply not appropriate. It sounds like the seat adjustment didn't help. It may just be the wrong bike for you! But you won't be able to tell unless you get someone with the knowledge to be able to help you to look at it.
9/29/13 7:30 P
We just tried again and moved my seat higher so I could extend my legs more. The seat is high enough I almost can't get on it. I'm not a tall person just 5 4. It felt like it was spinning like mad on first gear now hubby thinks my six is the slow easy setting and one is the harder gear. It wasn't an expensive bike but it was a gift but I feel its all wrong for me. We are in flat Florida. The plan was to ride down to the park just blocks away. At this point I can't make to the park to ride the path.
Fitness Minutes: (261,075)
9/28/13 5:11 P
I agree with the others who've recommended that you take the bike in to a reputable bike shop to make sure it's the right fit. Bikes, like people, come in different sizes and you want to make sure you buy the right size bike for your body. It's also possible something may be wrong with the gears and they might not be shifting proper. a reputable bike shop can show you how the gears work. It does take practice to learn how to shift.
How many gears does your bike have ? And I agree that experimenting with the gears to see what they do is a good piece of advice.
Do you have a park with a good walking path ? If so, instead of riding on the streets, try practicing in a park for a while.
Fitness Minutes: (3,449)
310 9/28/13 10:50 A
The gears would be my first thought as well. These control how fast you need to peddle vs how fast the rear wheel spins; if you have to peddle very fast to go anywhere, shift the gear to where you have more resistance (and thus more speed per pedal rotation). Secondly, did you adjust it to you correctly? Is the seat high enough that your nearly (but not fully) straighten your leg at the bottom of your rotation? Are you stepping on the pedals with the ball of your foot? I'm sure there are plenty of diagrams a google search away to show you how to properly set your bike. Option 3 is what Dragonchilde said, get it checked out... I once bought a bike that had the rear brake pad always grazing the wheel... which as you can imagine, made riding harder regardless of gear used; didn't notice it until I tried a friend's (same model) bike and realized the difference! Traded it in for a new one since it was still under warranty. Any half decent bike shop should be willing to take a look at your bike for little to no charge, and can spot if its the bike's fault or not.
Fitness Minutes: (14,353)
9,694 9/28/13 10:18 A
I would suggest taking your bike to a bike store to see if it's been properly fitted to you. Most pain or discomfort with biking is caused by a poor fit, basically trying to fit your body to the bike, instead of the other way around!
Fitness Minutes: (2,888)
9/27/13 8:47 P
I recently did a "Lazy Man Triathlon" (a full triathlon over the course of 4-6 weeks) and the cycling almost did me in. I adapted quickly to the running and swimming, but never did adapt to the biking. But now, I've been peddling on a reclined bike at the gym, and finding that I can do that without pain. Have you tried a different seat position or different handlebar positions? That might do it for you. Good luck!
Try different gears to find different combinations of pedalling speed (cadence) and resistance.
Hard pedalling fatigues the muscles pretty quickly. Most people find a pedally speed of 60-80 rpm optimal, which is relatively light in resistance and quick (although not so fast as you seem to describe). Which gear achieves this is going to differ according to speed and the slope. When starting from a stop, you will likely have a fairly low gear, and then move up a few gears as you gain speed. As you go up a hill, you will have to drop down a few gears to maintain a faster but easier pedalling tempo.
The other thing is that your muscles get more efficient at anything that you do regularly. Pedalling is different in motion to most things you do in everyday life, so it will take a few weeks to get used to the specific demands of cycling. Consistency is key here.
Personally, I have taken up cycling in the last 3 months, and had to experiment to find out what worked for me. When I started, a 45 minute ride would leave my thighs so fatigued I could barely climb a flight of stairs afterwards. With regular cycling, I can now ride 25 miles in a couple of hours and barely feel it.
9/27/13 7:09 P
For Christmas I got a bike, a geared one. I found it so hard to peddle I gave up. Not hard to peddle as it seems to fly round and round and i get extreme pain in my legs instantly.So I figured I would exercise more and get stronger. So 7 months later and five days a week of exercise we went out to try a bike ride. The exact same pain and failure. How can this be?
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