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

My home bike shop, August 29, 2013.

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.