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On long rides, how often do you stop and get up?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

On long rides, how often do you stop and get up?

Old 01-22-20, 08:48 PM
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Metallifan33
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On long rides, how often do you stop and get up?

The other day, I rode 25 miles (longest I’ve ever ridden). At the end of the 1.5 + hour ride, I was feeling good, however when I pulled up to my driveway and got off the bike, I nearly fell over because my quads hadn’t been stretched for that long.
This made me wonder how often (if at all) the average cyclist takes a break and gets off the bike on long (1.5 hr +) rides?
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Old 01-22-20, 08:48 PM
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That’s often a sign of excessive saddle setback.
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Old 01-22-20, 09:24 PM
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Depends on how much saddle time a cyclist has.

I stop when other buddies want to stop. Fairly common is about 20 miles on fun recreational rides with friends.

Other times, if I am competing with my past times, I have done 100 miles with 10,000 ft of climbing 3 times at 10 minutes each over a period of 7:38 minutes (official time/ 7:10 ride time). And no, legs were fine after the ride, proper training.

But that is when I try to get somewhat serious.

On this ride.

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Old 01-22-20, 09:44 PM
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During recreational rides, we normally stop at about 25 miles and take a power bar break.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:06 PM
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I usually stop just long enough to refill my water bottles and relieve myself every 40-60 miles unless I need more or less clothing because of weather changes.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:06 PM
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No matter your fitness level, when you've ridden a distance near your limit, the transition from cycling to walking can be difficult. Could be 5 miles, 50, or 500.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:11 PM
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3 hrs is about the max. before stopping. Often about 1 1/2 hrs- depends on where the water, pee spots are.

Your post makes me wonder about your saddle height- sounds like it could be low.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
I usually stop just long enough to refill my water bottles and relieve myself every 40-60 miles unless I need more or less clothing because of weather changes.
+1

I can ride 4-5 hours, kick back with a few beers, and go to work the next day(with no discomfort). It's no big deal.

The OP is new to the sport, the body isn't used to it yet.

Metallifan33 Your body will adjust.

I can't run a mile, and expect to walk pain free later.

Last edited by noodle soup; 01-22-20 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:24 PM
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I like to stop and recharge for a few minutes... maybe every 30 to 50 miles or so. For a longer ride, sometimes I just force myself to take a few minutes off the bike, even if I'm feeling fine.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:28 PM
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I doubt that a whole lot of "average" cyclists post on this forum. On long rides, about every 50 miles is about right for me. My shorter, more social rides are usually 40-70 miles, one coffee stop about in the middle, probably one quick pee stop somewhere else along the way. A good plan is to stop about in the middle of your intended ride, of whatever length, and have a good stretch, and/or do that whenever you start really feeling the chain. It's good to work hard, but also good to feel good while doing it.
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Old 01-22-20, 11:20 PM
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Varies. On open road rides with few or no stop signs or traffic lights, I'll usually stop briefly around 20-40 miles; more often beyond 50 miles -- mostly to stretch my neck and shoulder (old injuries). Pretty much the same with small group open road rides. We tend to stop around every 25 miles. Especially on hot summer day rides. Usually brief. I try to keep my stops to a minute or less on my usual 20-40 mile solo workouts. On longer rides I might stop for up to 15 minutes to eat, but I'm usually standing or walking around a bit to keep the legs alive.

On city rides and some no-drop casual group rides, stops are dictated by stop signs, traffic lights and the slowest riders. Every group I've ridden with eventually splits off into sub-groups or entirely separate groups over this issue. Stronger riders tend to not want to stop because after more than 15-30 seconds the legs start to feel heavy and sluggish. And worrywarts like me will drop out of groups that blow through red lights and don't look every direction before rolling through stop signs. So I tend to regard all city/suburb group rides as casual and expect to either stop more often so we don't drop friends, or let the group go if they want to play racing.
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Old 01-23-20, 03:30 AM
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I ride mainly 25-35 miles on my weekend ride . I stop at about 15-20 miles for a stretch break and water. I very rarely ride without at least one stop for stretching and drinking water. I live up on a hill so my ride always ends with a steep walk up a long hill which stretches my calves. There is no way to ride a vintage racing bike up the hill. I think the stopping to stretch is a good thing to do , but it would be different for each rider depending on your particular level of fitness and how often you ride , along with your age . I am 65 and pretty fit , I ride 2-3 times a week and walk about 2 miles a day. Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 01-23-20, 04:31 AM
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These days I'm limiting myself to rides of 40 mi. or less. I don't like stopping so I don't.
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Old 01-23-20, 04:44 AM
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It depends.

I stop when I have to add/remove clothes, when I have to pee, when I want to eat something more than an energy bar, when I want to take a picture, when I get to a red light, or when I get lost.

If neither of these happen, I don't stop. I've ridden 70km non-stop, and I've also stopped three times in 30km.

I'm not going to beat any record, so I stop whenever I feel like it.
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Old 01-23-20, 05:03 AM
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When I'm out of shape I might stop every 10 km.
When I'm in better shape, it might be every 25 km.
When I'm in good shape, it could be every 50 km.
When I've been in long distance cycling shape, I could go up to about 75 km without really needing a stop.

I do, however, stand up while on the bicycle and stretch now and then.
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Old 01-23-20, 05:36 AM
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My normal training spin is 40km and I wouldn't stop on that ride but if going further and for longer, i'll usually stop around the 50/60km mark. I do a 115km cycle every now and then and don't stop at all when doing it but do take something to eat with me and two water bottles and have never had any problems completing it non stop.
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Old 01-23-20, 05:54 AM
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I do 100km (~62 miles) solo rides pretty regularly. I don't usually stop during those. If I'm doing something longer than that, I'll often stop somewhere around the 50-mile mark to pick up snacks/drinks.
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Old 01-23-20, 06:09 AM
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It depends entirely on how adapted you are. Triathletes can get off the bike and run, with probably no stopping on the bike at all. Even on a recreation ride I'd prefer to stop at the two hour mark at the soonest, if only for bathroom and water bottle changing. However, I too remember when 25 miles felt like forever (and it did take a lot longer than it does now) and would relegate me to the couch for the rest of the day.
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Old 01-23-20, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
+1

I can ride 4-5 hours, kick back with a few beers, and go to work the next day(with no discomfort). It's no big deal.

The OP is new to the sport, the body isn't used to it yet.

Metallifan33 Your body will adjust.

I can't run a mile, and expect to walk pain free later.
QFT. I did a 5.5 hour ride this summer which was probably my longest ever, but felt pretty much fine walking around after the ride despite stopping once for a bathroom break and snacks.

I also did a high intensity circuit training class with some friends over the summer (doing lots of weights, stair climbing, pushups, etc) and could barely raise my arms over my head for a few days after, because I hadn't done any resistance training of that intensity for literally years. It's all about how often you push certain muscle groups to their limits.
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Old 01-23-20, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
QFT. I did a 5.5 hour ride this summer which was probably my longest ever, but felt pretty much fine walking around after the ride despite stopping once for a bathroom break and snacks.

I also did a high intensity circuit training class with some friends over the summer (doing lots of weights, stair climbing, pushups, etc) and could barely raise my arms over my head for a few days after, because I hadn't done any resistance training of that intensity for literally years. It's all about how often you push certain muscle groups to their limits.
Exactly my point,

The OP was a runner, but now he's switched over to cycling.
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Old 01-23-20, 09:03 AM
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OP could stand and pedal out of the saddle for a minute every 10 minutes. That helps to keep my quads from cramping.
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Old 01-23-20, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
The other day, I rode 25 miles (longest I’ve ever ridden). At the end of the 1.5 + hour ride, I was feeling good, however when I pulled up to my driveway and got off the bike, I nearly fell over because my quads hadn’t been stretched for that long.
This made me wonder how often (if at all) the average cyclist takes a break and gets off the bike on long (1.5 hr +) rides?
I don't think there's a magic number. We all have different bodies & tolerance. For me, I like to get up to pedal through steep hills to use my body weight, and where I ride, there are plenty of them. I guess I get up somewhere around 15 to 20 times.
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Old 01-23-20, 10:10 AM
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My legs don't like it when I stop. They get all rubbery after a break. So I only stop if I'm out of water. Sometimes, that's 30 miles and sometimes it's 100. The weather has a lot to do with it.
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Old 01-23-20, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I do 100km (~62 miles) solo rides pretty regularly. I don't usually stop during those. If I'm doing something longer than that, I'll often stop somewhere around the 50-mile mark to pick up snacks/drinks.
At this time of year 3+ hour rides(without stopping) are no big deal. In the warmer months I usually need to take on more water at about 3 hours.
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Old 01-23-20, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
OP could stand and pedal out of the saddle for a minute every 10 minutes. That helps to keep my quads from cramping.
This.

OP: It's a good idea to change positions during your ride.. Stand up for no real reason once in a while -- shift up a gear or two in the back and stand on the pedals for a hundred yards or so. When you have a stretch of level ground and no traffic or whatever, stand up and stretch your calves using your pedals/shoes. You'll need to be confident in your bike handling, of course, but you can stretch a lot while still rolling.

That goes for the hands too -- there are a number of good hand positions with drop bars. Move between them now and then to avoid hand/arm/wrist/neck fatigue.
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