Calf muscle pull

Forgot to mention in previous post that the painful calf muscle pull dissipated in a few days, although I had step back my exercise intensity a bit.   Also got a charley horse in the calf muscle swimming of all things, severe enough I had to stop.  Reminded me of similar episodes running years ago.  But it was completely unnoticeable in a few hours, as I remembered them to be.  Asked the PT about these episodes today.  Nothing suprising from his perspective, as the redeveloping muscle finds its way into activities that press it.  He recommended the traditional runners calf stretches, now that the AT seems strong enough to bear it. 

On another note, last night I bumped into one of my buddies who is big into cycling.  When he heard I was swimming a mile a day, he encouraged me to try cycling as a next step toward triathlons.  With my previous leg and back issues, I think running is not likely but agreed it would be great to cycle.  He said its pretty easy to pick a teammate and do triathlons that way, and quite common around here.  So I’m thinking about it. 

Don’t have current road bike.  Any of you enthusiasts in love with a bike that won’t require a second mortgage?

18 Responses to “Calf muscle pull”

  1. I’ve been an avid “urban transportation cyclist” for many decades, and a fan of “department store bikes” for maybe 15 years. I sometimes call them “disposable bikes”, because they’re often so much cheaper than any parts you can buy (like gear sprockets) that it’s not even worth replacing a worn-stretched chain! (The new one will probably skip, because the sprockets have worn and “stretched” to match the old chain!)

    My last dozen-years of bikes were all basic <$100 mountain bikes, some of them aparently made in Canada by Raleigh (though store branded, like SuperCycle). Recently I’ve been shopping for road bikes or hybrids for easier pedaling, and maybe an aluminum frame, partly for easier lifting. (My bike goes onto a boat 8 or 10 times a week, with a heavy bag on the back.)

    As you may have read on my blog, the price of cheap Chinese aluminum-framed hybrids has just dropped a lot. For years, it was hard to find one on sale for Cdn$200, and we just bought two on sale for Cdn$140 each. And they’re pretty spiffy. Not for triathlons or other competition — e.g., the tires are a bit wider than real road-bike tires — but remarkably lightweight (30 pounds each with reflectors and kickstand only) and pretty well built and even well assembled.

    I think you’ll pay at least $100 more for roughly the same bike in a real bike store, rather than the no-service mass-market store. I love supporting local merchants and bike fanatics, etc. (maybe especially in PRINCIPLE), but I’ve decided to go with the wallet on this one. If you’re paying for local service, it might make sense to go even higher quality (and $$$) and plan on maintaining and even replacing parts.

    Your local environment is also a factor. Up here, a winter bike has to survive a lot of road salt, which shouldn’t be a factor in Georgia! So the case for a more durable bike (and a good service guy) should be stronger. . .

  2. Thanks Norm. We’re going to Target this week so I’ll start there.

    I’ve half a mind to buy a department store bike, show up in cut offs and tank top with a baseball cap for a 30 mile ride and say “let’s go” just to see the reaction!

    Where I live it has to be a road bike, not a mountain bike since we’ve got no mountains and no city bike lanes. Cross country bike rides are what seem to be popular and require numbers to ensure the cars can see you well.

    I’ve been amazed at some of the numbers I’ve heard being dropped on bikes by these guys - i.e $3,000 by one. I can get a nice used Jet ski for that price! We do have a bike shop which I will check out soon.


  3. Gunner, tell me what your budget is and I can recommend some bikes that will fit your budget. The only problem you may have is whether they are sold in your particular area.

    While $3,000 may seem like a lot to pay for a bike, and I’m not saying it isn’t, it is still the lower end of good quality bicycles, road or mountain. I regularly ride with people who are riding $5-6,000 bikes. My bike retailed for $2,400, but the shop where I got it is also a ski shop in the winter and I bought it in September when the truckloads of skis and boots were starting to arrive and they needed the floor space, so it was $1,100. Is a $3,000 bike from a bike shop better than a $200 bike from Target or Walmart? Absolutely. The components on the $3,000 bike will last for years, even decades. You might get several years worth of use out of the cheapo bike but the odds of that happening aren’t good. The components are the bottom of the line and tend to get out of adjustment quite easily and the people assembling those bikes are earning minimum wage and have had next to nothing in terms of training in how to properly assemble and adjust a bike. We have become a society based on disposable items and now it seems bicycles are considered disposable. I guess that’s great if you want to fill up the landfills with crappy bikes, but it doesn’t work for me. I want a bike that is properly designed for what I use it for, which is long distance relatively fast riding. I replace the chain every year and I buy the best chain I can find because they shift better. I just ordered a new set of tires, but by Norm’s thinking I should just toss the whole bike and get another. Honestly, I’m dumbfounded by the belief that a bicycle is a disposable item.

  4. Gerry, my heart agrees with you completely, as does my environmentalist and anti-waste “religion”. But I use a bike to get around downtown, almost every day, and I also leave it locked up (occasionally overnight) in all kinds of places, in a city with a very low crime rate EXCEPT for bike theft!

    About two years ago, somebody actually went to the trouble to cut through a fairly thick cable lock (1/2″ braid, IIRC) in order to steal a bike I had literally spent Cdn$65 (after rebates) to buy brand new! As if that isn’t ridiculous enough, the POS had actually jumped the chain off the small sprocket about a block away from the ferry dock I was headed for (in a big rush), the chain jammed between the sprocket and the end of the machine screw that was holding the right-hand support of my back cargo carrier, and it actually could NOT be ridden!! (I had to “run” it to the bike rack to lock it up and catch the ferry!)

    So if I owned a $300 bike, not to mention a $3000 bike, I couldn’t do half of the things I love to do with my cheap “disposable” bikes. Instead of the bike working for me, I’d be working for the bike.

    I used to do a LOT of bike maintenance. I used to only by USED bikes. I used to love to take a number of “dead” bikes and cobble together one bike that I enjoyed riding. Mind you, not ONE of those bikes would pass your tests, Gerry. We’re still talking about low-tech, low-cost too-heavy not-too-stealable urban transportation, not super-smooth super-efficient high-speed mechanical beauties.

    If I owned an expensive bike that had high-quality components, I wouldn’t treat it as disposable either, Gerry! But Cdn$140 is the MOST I’ve spent on a bike in decades (maybe ever!), so it wouldn’t be very rational to spend a ton of money replacing parts. And I’m still “pi$$ed” about the time I wasted replacing the salt-rusted and worn chain on one of my first “department-store” bikes, only to find that the high gears skipped (and the time it took me to figure out why).

    Finally, what if I actually invested in a bike that was so “high quality” — so light, so efficient and low-friction, so smooth, so aerodynamic, so ergonomic — that I could get from point A to point B with half the effort? Since I’m using it for transportation — “to get from point A to point B” — I’d only get half the exercise! That’s not what I want. (No, I’m not dragging my brakes or my feet to maximize my exercise, but I really don’t want to minimize it, either.)

    The good news about bikes is that they are so versatile, and such a Good Thing in so many ways, that they can attract the love of people whose attitude towards their use is as different as yours and mine, Gerry! And while my “disposable” bikes have increased my environmental footprint, the Earth and I are both still way ahead each time I go somewhere by bike instead of taking the car, or even public transit.

    Happy healing and happy cycling too, folks!

  5. About the bike - it’s very subjective
    as been said - ether solid high performance bike you can ride faster and longer
    or any that will give you ability to exercise and go from A to B a little slower - no speed record would be broken
    18-Speed Shimano, Oversized dual suspension steel frame, MTB - for $88.00
    can you leave your $3k bike outside of store or even at works for 8 hours?
    but, will you enjoy raiding $3 bike more vs this $88.? I think so.
    Will you feel the diff? I think so.

  6. Actually that dual suspension Walmart bike will give you a massive workout because full suspension bikes suck up a tremendous amount of energy. They were originally designed and built for downhill racing, but have become the “thing” to have. I have a good one that originally cost $1,400 about 13 years ago. I bought it used for half that and it is quite good but had I known what I was really getting I would have purchased a hardtail MTB instead, a lot more efficient and lighter too. Can I leave my racing bike locked up outside me work all day? Yes, I do it four days a week. It is locked to the rack on my car and I leave it there when I stop on my way home to buy groceries too.

    Norm, you should not use a cable lock. If you want a bike to be there when you come back, buy a good heavy U-lock, some will even pay you if someone can steal your bike while it locked with their lock. I would argue that using your disposable bike has less of an environmental footprint than public transit. Public transit is going to travel that route with or without you so one more person or 20 more does not add to the impact of the public transit.

  7. thanks Gerry and all. One other option for your advice. I forgot I have an old Fuji racing bike, circa 1972, baby blue, a beauty, in the attic somewhere. What do you thnk about refurbishing it?

    As to use and budget: use will be exclusively for training on country roads and possible racing in the distant future. Budget uncertain, but I would prefer a modest entry before I see what the future holds in cycling.

    BTW, my wife says I have to increase my life insurance before I can ride!

  8. A Fuji race bike from the early 70’s. That would be lugged steel, probably not Reynolds but probably high end Tange anyway. I would dig it out and take it to shop and get an estimate on how much it would cost to make it usable. It probably needs new tires, chain, brake pads and maybe cables. It should not need anymore than that, oh probably bottom bracket and hubs greased also. If you know how to do the work yourself, and none of it is hard, just do those things and you have a good usable bike. I promise you it will ride better than any of the aluminum frame entry level road bikes on the market. Aluminum frames provide a very harsh ride. Get a good helmet too.

  9. I’ve always avoided suspensions on bikes, maybe partly because I’ve been buying cheap bikes, and cheap suspensions seem SCARY! And heavy, too. If I’m jamming on the brakes to make an emergency stop, and in some danger of flying over the handlebars, do I really want a too-soft front suspension dipping my handlebars DOWN at the same time?? Not me.

    I also agree that a U-bolt would probably be safer from the thieves, but I really do appreciate the versatility and lighter weight of the cable lock. But I do use cable cutters when doing maintenance on sailboats, so I know they work too well. It’s a tradeoff. The “good news” from my last theft was that the bum who stole that bike got what he deserved (a real piece of junk, esp. since it was busted!!), and made less than the minimum wage! :-)

  10. what would you recommend as road bike? no MT activity at all?
    what’s priority of frame materials?
    carbon, fiber, graphite, polymer and what kind?, steel, aluminum?
    I think it doesn’t need disk brakes for road - does it?
    down heel MTB for sure needs disk brakes.

  11. There are four choices of frame material for bikes, whether road, mountain, hybrid or whatever. The choices are carbon fiber, titanium, steel and aluminum. There is also a company making bamboo bike frames but they’re more of a novelty at this stage. Aluminum is at the bottom of my list because it is harsh, unless it has a carbon fork and a carbon rear triangle. If you only rode in a velodrome an all aluminum frame would be fine but not so nice on the road. My road bike has a carbon fiber frame and I like it a lot, but not all carbon frames are equal. If I had to replace the bike I would look at a custom titanium frame. I love older Italian lugged steel frames like DeRosa, Cinelli, Gios, Ciocc and Masi and plan to get one someday to build into a single speed. Good quality steel bikes provide an excellent ride. There are a few companies that still make steel frame bikes, Jamis, Gunnar and Surly are three good ones. Colnago and DeRosa also make a lugged steel frame but they’re quite expensive.

    Road bikes don’t come with disc brakes and currently there isn’t even a way to attach them to a road bike frame.

    If you live in or near a large urban area I would look for some of the smaller bike manufacturers like Jamis, Felt, Seven, Blue, Rocky Mountain, GT. The big companies, like Specialized, Cannondale and Trek all make good bikes but they’re almost like commodities. Giant makes good bikes and is sort of a medium size company. Performance Bicycle also has their own brand, Scattante as does REI with Novara. Both have lifetime warranties which is a plus and Performance regularly has good sales their bikes.

  12. Hi Guys

    I think the most important factor is frame size and fit to your body size and shape. I found my balance off, so I now prefer an inexpensive smaller frame bike to allow safer, quicker and easier mounts and dismounts. After all, I do not want to reinjure. Getting the workout is what counts. I’ll keep my “real” road bike in the shed until I can apprexciate it.
    Along that line, getting a comfortable seat, with gel pad, is important. Also, cleat/clips/flat pedals need discussion. If you cannot push much on the ball of your recovery then foot flat pedals make sense. Then you can push more back toward the heel. If you can push 1/2 your body weight, get toe clips or cleats. You’ll work the AT much more.
    Don’t forget the helmet, bike gloves and water bottle(s). And a biking buddy would be good. The buddy is important to get you out when you might want to take a day off. Get a odometer and work the mileage and average speed up gradually. If it’s hot and you sweat a lot drink diluted gatorade to replenish electrolytes. Pack an energy bar. Plan a trip itinerary that includes an enjoyable stop. Before long we’ll all be doing centuries again.

  13. All I can say is good luck finding toe clips and cleats and even if you can find them, they’re best left right there. Clipless pedals are safer and easier to use and if you use SPD pedals you can use MTB shoes and not walk like a duck.

  14. Just trying to save $$$. This incidental stuff adds up, and not everyone is going to be a biking nut. Good clipless pedals and shoes alone cost more than many decent bikes. Another low cost guideline - Rather than buying a new heart monitor, I don’t peddle so hard that I cannot speak normally with my buddy. That usually brings me up to my anerobic training heartrate limit - 70% of max. When starting biking again, I found myself fatigued very easily. Inactivity allows the body to get its energy from sugars. Again, the stamina will build and the body will train itself to convert carbos and fat into energy, instead of the sugars that are exhausted rapidly.
    The nice thing about long distance 100 mile road biking is that its also a great way to lose fat and weight, with little impact on body joints..

  15. 70% of your max heart rate is definitely not your anaerobic threshold, it is your aerobic threshold and there is a big difference between the two. Lactate threshold and anaerobic threshold are usually pretty close. My lactate threshold is 174bpm and I normally start having trouble breathing at about 164bpm. My max heart rate, according to the charts, is only 155, but I can and regularly do push beyond that, especially in races.

  16. Right Gerry,

    I was thinking of the training rate. We want to stay aerobic and the aerobic range starts at 70%, but above 80% is anaerobic. If your max rate is 155 (220-age)you should try to stay between 109 and 124 for training purposes. Yes, you can exceed these short term, but going anaerobic means you are building an unsustainable oxygen deficit. Search Wikipedia “max heart rate”

  17. None of that stuff is hard and fast, only general terms and none of it takes in account highly variable individual characteristics. My VO2 max is in the high 60’s so I can sustain a heart rate that is significantly higher than probably 99% of the people my age. For me to train at 109-124 bpm is laughable, I barely break a sweat at 130.

  18. I need cheap & reliable used car, any suggestions?

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

Powered by WP Hashcash