Well, I got my new bike last Friday and I thought I was tired at the end of the 2.5km cycle I did on that first day, but that was nothing really.
Yesterday,one week later I cycled to the office which was 7.86kms to get there and a slightly different route coming home at 8.28kms. My legs were hurting on the way to the office and slightly burning for a few hours at the office and I wasn’t sure how I’d make it home with the return route having considerably more uphills than the morning’s route. But, I did fine.
I enjoyed the afternoon ride, but I’ll be honest, I did not feel terribly safe on the morni9ng ride. It was dark when I left home at 5:30am and while I have the usual flashing light on the back of my bike, I think I want to upgrade that to something more powerful and visible. I had a high-viz jacket on, but I don’t think it is reflective, just a bright yellow-greenish colour. Anyway, the point is that safety is important and I think a bit of effort and money on making yourself visible is worth while.
The other thing is being able to shower at the office or at a gym or something close to the office. I’m fortunate that our office has a single shower (although I’m only on contract there for another 2 months) and I have a waterproof pannier bag that I fit my clothes, towel and toiletries into. I think most overweight people like me sweat more than others, so I probably wouldn’t cycle to work if I wasn’t able to shower. As an alternative I might take a train to the office and then cycle back home.
I think I may have overdone it a little bit though. As I mentioned, my legs took strain on the way to the office and much more so on the way back. Today it’s so much worse!! My legs hurt every time I get up, worst being when I get up from the loo! But this will pass quickly… I’m resting today and planning a short 2-3km ride tomorrow and then planning to do 2-4 days commuting next week and by the end of that my legs should to used to doing a slow pace to the office. I’m not saying you’ll get fit so quickly that an 8km ride becomes easy in 2 weeks, but for me personally based on where I’m at at the moment, I think it’ll be considerably easier by the end of next week. For now the aim is just to get comfortable doing this 8km route, twice daily for 2-4 days per week, then a few weeks down the line I can up the intensity by trying to go faster.
I haven’t really given you much advice here, but hopefully you’ll take this as some encouragement. I weigh 145kgs (320lbs) and my TomTom Sports watch says “You are less fit than 80% of men your age”!!! If I can do this, then so can you. I’m surprised at how much progress I’ve made in this first week of cycling. I thought it would take a few weeks before I could cycle to the office, but really it doesn’t matter how slow you start or how slow your progress is. The important thing is to keep at it and know that with every ride you’re burning fat, giving your heart some much needed exercise and fighting insulin resistance. So just get out there, do it and enjoy it!
UPDATE: Looks like it’s not going to be that easy! I cycled to work for the first time on Friday, yesterday my legs hurt every time I stood up from the loo or from infront of the PC and today I thought I’d just go for a casual 4.6km ride. Well, my legs are still very tired from Friday’s ride and had no strength in them for anything other than a casual glide around the route. I definitely won’t be riding to work tomorrow… I’ll do a short ride again tomorrow and try again for a commute on Tuesday. Guess it’ll take a while before I can do this 3-4 times per week:)