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70 years old Biking for 3 months

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

70 years old Biking for 3 months

Old 09-15-15, 02:14 PM
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Bart Segall
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70 years old Biking for 3 months

I am 70 years old and purchased a TREK FX 7.7 2015. I started slow and now have been averaging 100 +- for 1 month. My average speed is 13.2mph. My avg heart rate is 122 and I try to keep cadence at 60 rpm. What would be the best way to increase my speed. I use Cyclometer and upload to Strava
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Old 09-15-15, 02:32 PM
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I too am 70 and the best way to increase your speed would be to increase your cadence. Do you ride with clipless pedals? I've been riding with clipless pedals since 2000. They keep your feet in one place so all the peddling energy goes to riding, not keeping your foot in place. Concentrate on riding, not watching numbers as you ride or your breathing. You could also ride in the next harder get than usual. Good luck.
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Old 09-15-15, 02:49 PM
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Yes I use clipless pedals SPD Shimano. The only thing that concerns me is heart rate. At my age 160 appears to be my max. But I will increase cadence and see what happens
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Old 09-15-15, 02:51 PM
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I'm 74 and have been riding for about 68 years and I don't care about going faster nor do I know what my heart rate is, nor do I know what my cadence is. I gave up clips and never rode clipless pedals, just platform pedals. I have no idea what cyclometer or strava are.
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Old 09-15-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Bart Segall View Post
Yes I use clipless pedals SPD Shimano. The only thing that concerns me is heart rate. At my age 160 appears to be my max. But I will increase cadence and see what happens
As your heart gets fitter your HR will drop. You'll find that you can ride hard and fast and your HR possibly won't exceed 140.
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Old 09-15-15, 03:36 PM
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I'm 73 and have been riding for two years after an over 43 year hiatus. Since then I've ridden 11,000 miles. Coincidentally I also started with a Trek FX, but the 7.6 model. I started clipless pedals a few months after starting riding again. I've had arthroscopic surgery on both knees at the turn of the century and avoid sports which involve shifting or running. I tried an ellipitic for nine years but gave that up because it was incredible boring...but on the positive side it did build up my legs and protected my knees. The clipless 'clips' hold my feet in a constant position which, so far, has permitted me to ride without knee pain.

My goals do not include competing for any competition or participating in any group effort. I have no desire for any kind of a century, except perhaps living to an age of 100 so long as I can be active and enjoy life. My education is in engineering. I admit to wanting to know WHY and HOW things happen and wish to gradually improve my conditioning as long as I can. I use a device which provides my riding cadence and speed along with a wrist heart rate monitor and an Android biking app called IpBike. Using these tools I can monitor what's going on with my body and adjust my progress.

On the face of it you could say why would anyone need this much crap just to go biking? To make long story short through the use of these tools I was able to track down my problems (exercise induced bronchospasm) and find a way around it...start out slowly gradually increasing my speed to avoid the pains in my chest. (Not to worry; I completed thorough heart tests with no detectable blockages.) It also enabled me to come up with a plan to train more intelligently.

As to your original question, the suggestion to ride faster is a great one. I would, of course, lower the gear and pedal faster to keep the same speed at the start. Our seventy odd year old knees don't need that much load on them. If I understand physiognomy correctly faster pedaling will improve your cardiovascular capacity. From there you can pop up a gear, back off a few beats cadence and work on your speed increase working to get back to the original cadence.

Good luck and don't give up!

Rich
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Old 09-15-15, 03:42 PM
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72 y/o and crashed at 16 MPH onto my Head.

$95,000 in hospital bills.

Why go faster?
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Old 09-15-15, 03:49 PM
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OK I am 69 1/2 with a RED Trek FX 7.2 also. Will a different bike make me go faster. I average around 11 mph now. Platform pedals here too.
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Old 09-15-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I'm 74 and have been riding for about 68 years and I don't care about going faster nor do I know what my heart rate is, nor do I know what my cadence is. I gave up clips and never rode clipless pedals, just platform pedals. I have no idea what cyclometer or strava are.
This is how I am at 56 and hope to be at your age. Gave up gadgetry years ago to just enjoy getting around on my bike.
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Old 09-15-15, 04:50 PM
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I'm also 70 and have been training with a HRM for ~20 years. My MHR is also ~160. I hit 157 on a ride yesterday, which doesn't bother me at all, in fact it's a good sign. You might talk to your doctor and ask if there might be any issues with high HR exercise for you. I have a cardiologist for a friend, very convenient. He told me there's nothing I can will myself to do that would damage my heart. This July, my wife and I rode our tandem (team age 136) on a ride called RAMROD, which is 150 miles and 8800' of climbing. Took us about 12.5 hours in the saddle and it was hot on the last long climb. If you're healthy, there really aren't any limits other than those you might impose upon yourself.

As far at your current cruising HR goes, that fine if it's fine with your doctor. I bet if you push, it'll go a lot higher, also fine. For starting out, I'd try to first increase weekly mileage, mostly keeping your breathing at a conversational pace, meaning that you should be able to recite the alphabet in a single breath without strain. Going up hills, you'll breathe harder, but in general try to keep it down. Go by your breathing more than your HR. Try to keep it below panting. Watch your HR though and you'll start to understand how it responds to your efforts.

Slowly try to increase your total weekly mileage, no more than 10%/week. My understanding of your post is that you're already at 100 miles a week. If that's true, you're doing great. Then try to increase the length of one ride per week, up to about 60 miles. Once you can do that, you could really train if you wanted to. The saying is: "Distance = speed." Meaning that riding long distances will increase your speed all by itself.

Yes to stiff-soled cycling shoes and clipless pedals. Yes to pedaling a much higher cadence. Try to keep it ~90 on the flat and above 70 when climbing unless you've run out of gears.
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Old 09-15-15, 05:12 PM
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Hi and welcome. I'm 70.5 and have ridden 24,000 miles since moving to Fl. Average speed in group is almost 18 though can average 20 per ride, likely 16.5 to 17 solo. My cadence averages 80-83. My usual max heart rate is 154, resting 54 and try to ride around 134 unless slow recovery ride which is below 120 for me. Heart rates are moving targets depending on you, your fitness level and training. My calorie burn rate dropped 15% almost a year ago given higher fitness level. We are all different though.

Strongly suggest you read up as there's a lot of things to do to achieve your potential.

First is is to get a good fitting. Not just salesman eyeballing you on your bike. You might wish to upgrade your wheels at some point. Proper clothes and chamois cream can work wonders.

Second is given your pedals you need to build your cardio and legs. That means many slow miles to build your base at 10-12 MPH; intervals later such as riding hard for 30 seconds, slow for 45 seconds and repeat six times or so. Then some longer rides at comfortable heart rate. Build to 25, then 35, 40 or more per ride. Remember to mix up hard and recovery rides along with days off.

Third you might wish to build your core as cycling only works on lower body. This could mean getting a coach for biking or workouts.

Fourth focus on nutrition. What and when to eat to keep your body fueled.

Your strength and speed will come over time. As you can see if you are serious it means doing a lot of things right. Finally consider if you prefer to ride alone or find a compatible group. A group should focus first on safety, helping with mechanicals, learning from each other, making friends and yes riding fast due to drafting and sharing pulling.

Its a journey so enjoy the ride (pun intended).
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Old 09-15-15, 05:14 PM
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My grandad cycled til the day of his doom at age 91... he was knocked off his bike! Keep at it.
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Old 09-15-15, 06:05 PM
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Great stuff thanks for the input
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Old 09-15-15, 07:41 PM
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Almost 76

Smiles per hour are what is important.
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Old 09-15-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I'm 74 and have been riding for about 68 years and I don't care about going faster nor do I know what my heart rate is, nor do I know what my cadence is. I gave up clips and never rode clipless pedals, just platform pedals. I have no idea what cyclometer or strava are.
We have a similar approach to this thing. I have ridden a bicycle for 60 years or so long I don't remember learning how. I ride for one hour three times per week and this keeps the weight off. I just ride and I am not interested in numbers as they don't seem relevant.
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Old 09-15-15, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bart Segall View Post
I am 70 years old and purchased a TREK FX 7.7 2015. I started slow and now have been averaging 100 +- for 1 month. My average speed is 13.2mph. My avg heart rate is 122 and I try to keep cadence at 60 rpm. What would be the best way to increase my speed. I use Cyclometer and upload to Strava
On your rides, are there hills? A cadence of 60 would indicate so, but a heart rate of 122 indicates not. My guess is that you are not 'working' hard enough. It's great to just ride for enjoyment and to 'smell the roses'. Nothing wrong with that, and I do that on occasion. But to go faster, you'll have to pedal harder and faster.

How far are your typical rides? You will find that the longer the ride, the slower the average speed will be. At least it is for me. I'm having a harder and harder time averaging 15 mph for a century ride; heck, even a metric century. For rides of about 10-15 miles, I can get pretty close to 18 mph. And, that is with suburban traffic, (slow to stop, speed up after getting going again - both of which 'hurt' an average speed).

Not sure what a 'cyclometer' is, but if it has a cadence readout, set some goals. On your next ride, try to average 65 rpm. Do that for a couple of weeks, then when you hit that consistently, up the goal to 70 rpm. Take it in steps. I myself am a masher and have a very difficult time maintaining a high cadence. If I end a ride around a 75 rpm average, I'm happy. But, I have hills around here which causes me to have a lower cadence as well as a lower speed.

13.2 mph average isn't bad at all. Faster than a casual pace, but not really pushing it either.
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Old 09-16-15, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for all responses. It is quite apparent to me that cadence is the magic ingredient to increasing speed and needs to be my focus. Heart rate is secondary. In South Florida there are no hills but we have bridges that I cross that are very steep grades. I find now that I can climb them without going to small front chainring, which was a big accomplishment. The reward is going down the other side....
Having been employed by Apple has made me into a gadget freak so I like to see different metrics on my bike computer ( iPhone 6 Plus soon to be 6S Plus) I use Cyclometer as I find it to be comprehensive and sharing my data is not critical to me. My rides are automatically uploaded to Strava which I find interesting but not a focus. The biggest problem in this area has been rain, this time of year, which has curtailed my riding as the roads are much too slick. In a way that is pushing me to ride longer on each ride to maintain my goal of 100+- miles/week.
On another issue, I have done my best to support my local bike shop but have reached a point that SUPPORT is the magic word. I have found their prices are 20% above what I can buy on line from Amazon and the like. I have purchased my own tools and have enjoyed immensely learning to do stuff on my own. There is so much available on youtube that it is quite easy. By virtue of having a TREK FX 7.7, I have a flat bar which keeps me more vertical and prevents me from impacting my herniated discs ( from running for 30 years ) also had both knees scoped 8 years ago. I have no issues with my back nor knees on this bike. I have analyzed drop bars and it appears that I can structure the set up so there would not be too much difference in my posture. Not certain if I should take the risk of changing. The 7.7 is Carbon and built on a Madone frame so I do not think much would change by changing bikes ( other then my wallet )
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Old 09-16-15, 06:27 AM
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Bart,
Welcome to the 50+ Forum, its always great to have another old guy get onto the sport. Most of the above information and advice is spot on. One thing I will recommend is to read Joe Friel's new book, Fast After 50 Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life: Joe Friel: 9781937715267: Amazon.com: Books, his recommendations on riding and training are some of the beat I have encountered. Several members here have posted that they got a lot of good from this book. Most of his writings have good stuff in them, I like and have used his Cyclist Training Diary, now going on 4 years, and own two others that I keep handy for references.

I am another spinal injury rider, some herniated disks from a fall and spine compaction, at work. No issues with the drop bars and my 2 level fusion and the Ti hardware that came with it. My riding actually helps my back relax, the proper positioning and your bicycle being correctly fitted allow you to have a straight back and let the entire body carry and distribute your weight correctly. My neurosurgeon cautioned me against a recumbent with my injuries, just like not suing a recliner. If the FX 7.7 and the flat bars work for you, stick with it and have a ball, many fast riders love the flat bar set up. Do what works best for you, not others.

Hope that your speed and fitness get to where you are happy, and enjoying the sport. Best wishes on the journey, and stick around the asylum.

Bill
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Old 09-16-15, 07:29 AM
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13.2 with a flat-bar bike is actually pretty good. I suspect you'll have to go with a drop-bar bike to get much better than that. A large component of speed is overcoming air resistance. Difficult to be very aerodynamically efficient with an upright posture. You're doing fine! 70? 3 months? Yeah, you doing just fine.
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Old 09-16-15, 07:32 AM
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Hi Bart. Where in South Florida?

Yes we get rain but for early mornings the bike gods seem to shine on us. Usually leave at sunup and done by 10ish. Rains later in day. Also cooler as still gets very hot after 10 in September.

Agree about Friel book.
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Old 09-16-15, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bart Segall View Post
I am 70 years old and purchased a TREK FX 7.7 2015. I started slow and now have been averaging 100 +- for 1 month. My average speed is 13.2mph. My avg heart rate is 122 and I try to keep cadence at 60 rpm. What would be the best way to increase my speed. I use Cyclometer and upload to Strava
Bart just make sure you are healthy and do whatever the heck you want on whatever type of bike you want! You will find here at the forum and at other places good advice to guide you on whatever path you pursue. Just don't overdue it too fast! Whatever you choose work at it and into it at a reasonable rate to get fit for whatever you want to do and to find your weaknesses, limitations or certain things you should not do.

If you aren't already doing it constantly but in a reasonable matter work on your flexibility. It will open up options for you on whatever you ride and help you ride more comfortably and recover faster.

I'm 69 soon to be 70--I've been riding on and off for decades but very steady and heavily the past five years. I'm 6'5" 215 pounds and ride a road bike. My resting HR is 50 and max HR is at least 175. Until the past month or so I've been riding 100-150 miles a week but have gotten to the point that it's best to scale back intensity and mileage--at least the frequency of the longer rides. (I tend to be "driven" in my workouts.)

I love to bike and enjoy climbing despite by age and weight. I'm lucky to live in West Los Angeles which affords me year round riding and a choice of any type terrain to ride in or on.

Bike on!
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Old 09-16-15, 09:28 AM
  #22  
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Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life: Joe Friel: 9781937715267: Amazon.com: Books
Rain=bike trainer
All the advice is good but Carbonfiberboy has stated well any advice I would add except the Friel's latest book and the value of a trainer. I will be 70 in two months. Max HR on a bike appears to be 170 and well rested is 47-48.
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Old 09-17-15, 11:17 AM
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It also depends on your history of exercise activity. And then what the physician knows about you. OK, this post is about "how to increase speed" and then a little about his context. Show all the above replies to your physician and hear him/her out.

And now, here's mine:

I know the Original Post is about "what's the best way to increase your speed". But listen to what else is said, the age and stats. This is the context.

These days, healthcare is different than say 15 years ago. If you were working and the employer had a good health plan (Cadillac plan), then you could actually get a treadmill study (with isotopes) to see how your heart is doing. This would be like your "baseline" indicator. Maybe not for those famous runners who die early anyway from heart disease (genetic? Jim Fixx).

But today, the cardiologist is by necessity, tied in with a group and its network and contracts that limit the type of diagnostic procedures to check things out.

Everyone or practically everyone who tries cycling, inevitably wants to get better and better. That means higher velocities because quite frankly, it feels good. Its like downhill skiing. Once you get the hang of it as you traverse better, the speed will increase and its exhilarating (skiing).

The funny thing is that with age, the top speeds tend to drop. Its much like distance running. Do you remember back in college cross country when you can rattle off a 10 mile training run in 6 minute mile pace? Try that now. Few can come close to that.

I checked the Master's records (USATF) for 65 year old for half marathon for men. Its 1 hour, 23 minutes, 50 seconds. That's equivalent to 7.08 pace. Not too shabby and I bet that guy Michael Bertolini, Philadelphia, Sept 15, 1985 was a good runner in his youth.
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Old 09-17-15, 11:38 AM
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welcome to the 50+ group. First check with your doctor and make sure you have no issues that prevent you from working any harder. Then just keep riding. with time and miles will come a bit more speed.
I do not have any flat bar bikes, but the wife has an FX 7.5 and she loves it... if we are riding mut's or less than 25 miles, that is the one she takes. That bike is capable of going quite a bit faster than yo are pushing it right now...
Also make sure you are spinning and not grinding, you will go faster and last longer.
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Old 09-17-15, 11:58 AM
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I'm going to disagree with the consensus here. Pedalling at a higher cadence will not, of itself, make you faster. In fact, pedalling faster for a given speed actually consumes more energy, simply because there is an energy cost to moving your legs faster.

What it MIGHT do is improve your endurance, because it reduces the load on your muscles per pedal stroke and your legs may get less fatigued. But it will do that at the cost of a higher HR. That doesn't matter if you're fit enough to sustain it.

Those who advise a higher cadence aren't mistaken, but they often mistake cause for effect. Pro cyclists aren't fast because they have a high cadence - they can employ a high cadence because they are already fit enough to be fast. And interestingly, lots of the best time-triallists compete at cadences of around 75-80 rather than the 90-95 that is often recommended.

none of this is meant to discourage you from working on increasing your cadence, it's probably a good thing to do if you're currently pedalling at 60rpm. But it isn't a panacea, and actually you'll probably find your preferred cadence rising naturally as your aerobic fitness improves.

(Disclaimer: I'm a mere stripling of 60, so what do I know?)
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