I’m back in the saddle
June 8, 2020
So, yesterday I was back on the bike for 3 minutes in the morning and the same again in the afternoon and I was delighted about that. But I didn’t want to jump the gun and go back to it at full speed again, so this week I was only going to do the bike and no other exercise apart from a walk to the shop when I needed something. The other change made, for this week only, was to very slightly back off the brake on the bike to reduce the pressure on my veins in my legs.
The bike I have is a Star Trac spin bike, it’s a really good and strong bike and is very adjustable so I took some time to get the seat and the bars in the right place for me. The Star Trac website is very good and the guy has quite a few YouTube videos with advice on how to set it up, he also shows all the various available adjustments and also how best to use it. His advice and the videos are based on the Star Trac spinning bike, but it is generic advice that I think can be applied to setting up any type of spinning bike. It’s well worth a look if you’ve just got your bike.
The adjustment for the resistance on the bike is a bit like a brake on a push bike, the more you screw it in the more the brake pad presses against the wheel so making it harder to turn the pedals. This is how I backed off the brake, I undid the screw a little bit which let the brake pad off the wheel a bit.
So, Monday morning was 4 minutes in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. Because I had backed off the brake it was easier to push the pedals, so I was able to go at a faster cadence than before. Cadence is what cyclists call revolutions per minute or RPM; it’s how often the pedals go around in 1 minute. I don’t have a cadence meter on my bike but because I knew I was going to pedal faster than last week as there was less resistance, I counted it, and I did between 100-110 rpm, which I think is quite quick.
This made the exercise on my legs easier and I was hoping the increased cadence would work my lungs a bit harder to keep on improving my breathing. That was the plan, but it didn’t completely work. As you can see from the chart below, I increased the duration from 4 minutes twice a day on Monday to 10 minutes twice a day on Saturday. This kept my pulse to between 130-150 beats per minute which is in my targeted vigorous zone, but if you look to the Borg test results it says “s” after the time which means I can sing after each session. If you look to Saturday’s 10-minute session in the afternoon my pulse was 130 and I could still sing at the end of it. This shows that I was exercising my legs because my heart rate stayed up, but I wasn’t testing my lungs enough because I could still sing, so there are options to work my lungs harder. Those options are either keep the resistance the same and extend the duration of the exercise or increase the resistance and reduce the duration; there are advantages and disadvantages to both, so more of that later.
For me this was an important week. I wanted to find out if the socks were going to work; and they did. I still have the veins and I think there are more of them now, but the rate of increase is not what it initially was when I first noticed them. I hope they don’t Keep appearing, but I am happy that I can keep on exercising and getting a bit fitter and lighter. Next week I’ll increase the resistance to make it a bit harder to turn the pedals, that should make it interesting.