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Lower average heart rate after big rides; Bike maintenance and repair.

Thursday, August 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


It seems like every time I do a long mountain bike ride (40+ miles), my average heart rate while performing subsequent rides goes way down. I’ve noted this phenomenon in past blogs, and I’ve seen it again this week.

For example, on Sunday I did the 42-mile IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) “EPIC” ride at Santos. That was more than 4 hours of non-stop pedaling, and my average heart rate over those 4+ hours was 162 BPM. A pretty good workout, yeah?

Anyway, yesterday I rode a ~20 mile road route that I do quite frequently. My average speed on this route (riding solo) is usually greater than 20 MPH, and more like 20.5 MPH if I’m pushing a little harder. When I rode this route yesterday the distance was 20.8 miles, my average speed was 20.51 MPH and my average heart rate was 163 BPM. Last week when I rode nearly the same route the total distance was 19.7 miles, my average speed was 20.5 MPH and my average heart rate was 173 BPM.

A 10 BPM average heart rate reduction is a pretty big sudden improvement, and there’s no question that the ride on Sunday is responsible for it. I wish I understood more about why this happens. Is this an increase in fitness, or just a temporary side effect of having my heart rate so high for such a long period of time? Any one know, or have any thoughts?

I really enjoy the benefits. On yesterday’s ride I certainly noticed the lower heart rate. I felt like I didn’t have to work nearly as hard as I usually do to keep that 20.5 MPH pace.

As an interesting side note, my resting heart rate has not changed; I checked it this morning and it was 38 BPM–same as always.

My home bike shop, August 29, 2013.

My home bike shop, August 29, 2013.

Moving on to another subject: my home bike repair shop.

I get at least two or three emails or PMs every week with questions about my bike repair shop. I originally posted that article two years ago (August 22, 2011), but it is updated regularly. In fact, the list of materials and items in my shop is always 100% up-to-date. I’m very good about updating the listing when I add new tools or supplies. I’ve also provided direct links to the products on Amazon in every case, so if you’re looking for something then it’s a great resource.

The video on that page is two years old, however, and not reflective of the current state of the shop. I may shoot a new video if there is any interest. I have added new photos since the original article was published, so those are fairly current.

Apart from warranty work that required a visit to my LBS, I literally have not had any of my bikes in a professional shop in more two years. The amount of time and money I’ve saved over the past two years has been phenomenal. Also, my bikes are always fully tuned and running in peak condition. Having properly maintained bikes not only makes riding more enjoyable, it makes it safer.

The satisfaction of doing my own maintenance is something I very much enjoy. While I’m far from a professional mechanic (my lack of experience with a wide variety of bikes is probably my biggest weakness in that regard), I’m extremely comfortable working on my own bikes. I’m always learning new skills and gaining experience, and I find that very rewarding.

Remember, you can always find my bike repair shop, along with many more articles, in the Articles section of this site.

John Stone Fitness Comments

9 Responses to “Lower average heart rate after big rides; Bike maintenance and repair.”
  1. Considering your bike repair shop has only been ‘open’ a little over two years, do you think you’ve already recouped in savings the dollars you’ve laid out stocking it with tools and supplies? Or in actuality, is the break even point/being in the black still in the future you think? I have to imagine you’ve spent a pretty hefty sum of money on that corner of your garage. 🙂

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  2. I have a pretty funny story about “Stone’s Bike Repair Shop”. I was over a few weeks ago to use the compressor to seat a tubeless tire. I brought my 11 year old son and his friend along. When we left “Stone’s Bike Repair Shop” my son and his friend went on and on about how well equipped his shop is, how everything was in place, etc. My son asked me – “Does he have kids”? Me – “no”. His reply – “well that explains it”. All I could do was laugh!!

    I am still looking for my torq bits that my son “used”.

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      • Nice shop! I’d be interested in a new video when time allows. I definitely need to learn more about bike maintenance & tools. Also, based on my experience, “kid(s)” and “fastidious and organized” should never appear in the same sentence 😉

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        • Thanks, I’ll put a new video on my list of things to do.

          If you want to learn about bike maintenance, I’d start with the Lennard Zinn books. Links to Zinn’s road and mountain bike repair books can be found on my shop page.

          Lennard’s books are excellent, and he provides detailed lists of tools and supplies based on the difficulty of the repair or maintenance item: Level 1 tools and supplies for basic maintenance and repairs, all the way up to a fully stocked Level 3 shop that can perform nearly any bike repair under the sun. I found these sections of his books invaluable when it came to setting up and stocking my shop.

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