Friday, July 09, 2010

Remember the burn?

Those of you who started riding a bike in the last 5 years or so will probably remember with a certain fondness how badly the muscles in your legs hurt the morning after your first ride. My first few times riding 2 miles each way to the bus stop felt like huge journeys. When I woke up in the morning, my feet would ache. My quads and calves would burn.

For me, riding 6.2 miles each way now feels like a short and easy trip. It's highly enjoyable. When I wake up these days, I feel refreshed. Bike commuting does that to you. It gets you into better shape and changes your mood. And if you ride every day at a pace you enjoy, you really won't tone your muscles any more. They'll get used to it.

Yesterday, I rode 13 miles on the Fixed-Gear Wabi Special. It took me about a mile to get used to riding fixed gear Wednesday night. Yesterday's commute went great. Fixed gear is fun! Although I had to hop out of the saddle for some of the hills, It's really no more total work to get around on a fixie than it is with any other bike. Gears just trade effort for time and distance. You don't need to mash as hard on the pedals to climb in a lower gear, but you have to turn the cranks more times to get to the top. Total work done to climb a hill is roughly the same either way you do it.

One thing I noticed, though, is that fixed gear forces you to use a bunch of muscle groups that, as far as I can tell, most normal cyclists don't use too often. I could tell yesterday that some new muscles were being worked. This morning, I hurt in almost the exact same way I used to hurt when I first started riding. At least this time I know that this phase only lasts a few days.

1 comment:

A Midnight Rider said...

I can't handle a fixed because I'm too fond of coasting. I do ride my single speed now and then.

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