Diminishing returns in road cycling - Your thoughts

400 km per week is not a lot if your work commute is 20 km each way and you do a long day every Saturday and a recovery ride on Sunday. Or a race. And you also add 50 km training sessions in the evening on your way home. Thats 20 -25 thousand km per year That does add up. Now I’m only 10 k per year or less. Getting soft and fat.

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It happens to the best of us.


I’ve seen it before, and I’d even say I took a picture and post it somewhere. I think it’s in Heping road or a parallel.

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If you’re not doing (amateur or professional) triathlon or cycling events then it really comes down to how much you’re willing to pay. As for diminishing returns (like getting older and slower) your diet plays a huge part. For me I have to manage my meds alongside it as they have a tendency to increase the removal of vitamin B (and I’m guessing potassium but need blood tests to confirm) through my kidneys. I’ve found beetroot extract to be good for longer sessions but each to their own. I’d prefer actual beetroot in my diet but good luck finding that in Taiwan. I’ve seen it about 2 times in 20 years.


I love the tasty beetroot put on the falafel and other wraps at Falafel King on Taipei City’s Tingzhou Road.

EDIT: Name corrected for accuracy.



I was thinking the same. It’s one of the few times I’ve liked beetroot. I think I’ve seen it in Carrefour, but since I’ve never been interested in buying it I’m not sure.

EDIT: links because Falafel King is a great restaurant, currently take-out only of course, and they always deserve more promotion. Plus they’re easily accessible from the riverside parks - near the Hakka Cultural Park access ramp.

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OP did not specify and left it open. However, most of us decided to take the financial route, but it seems like you covered everything in a few short lines.


I had to check where that was and it’s definitely too far from me. I’m food measuring and weighing at the moment. With timed meals. I’d prefer to just have whole beats roasted in the oven with potatoes and pumpkin and sweet potato with some brown rice and bbq sauce. Maybe some onion and pepitas thrown in. And a bean stew with tinned tomatoes. With some flat bread or tortillas. Having said all of that I’m off for a protein smoothie. Then a ride if I don’t get looked at funny.

These butterfly shoulder exercises I’ve been doing while the pools are closed have been killing me. 15kg dumbbells raising both arms at the same time. It’s the exact opposite of how you would actually pull your arms down to do butterfly and my left shoulder is grinding badly.

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My diminishing return cutoff is reached when the machine becomes sufficiently worth knicking that I’m no longer comfortable leaving it chained up outside the railway station.

dimished return=I likely won’t get it back.

If I didn’t want to leave it chained up, a second cutoff point would be feeling obliged to wear lycra/spandex/whatever to ride it, because I’m not doing that.

That would probably occur at a significantly higher price-point.

Well, to start with OP’s original post is somewhat open to interpretation, do you relate to cost of bikes, or cycling itself?

Cost of bikes these days is so ridiculous at the high end that there simply can be little return accept knowing that you have the best there is and now its all down to you. That said, if you ride a bike that could come out of any peloton of a major race you need to be fit enough to ride it. If not your return will certainly not be worth the expense. Plenty of research has been done that tell us that a couple of kg’s off the bike weight will cost you $k’s… but if you weigh 10kg over your ideal weigh then you are totally peeing in the wind. Now the price of these wonderful bikes are set due to the materials, craftsmanship and component costs at the high end… think F1 construction technology and the price becomes measurable. for most people a $1000 bike will be just as fast as a $6000 bike, we most of us will never use its capability. If however you are one of the 5% that are fit enough and have the drive to climb mountains at speed then the 6k bike may offer some return.

If the question was aimed at keeping fit and being related to returns on effort at actually cycling long distances…!! then I’d say of course to a certain extent the more you ride the sooner you plateau… on the other hand if cycling is a hobby, then normally the returns are in the activity itself and the love for all things bike.

I cycle because I’m old, fat, and like to see the countryside. I cycle in the hope that it will help me get thin and fit… (hope)… I’m now in the market for a new bike, but I don’t really need one… and I know full well that all my needs can be fulfilled simply by actually getting on the one I have and actually using it more… but I’m human, and we all like shiny new things… so I fight against the urge or at least stay within a certain budget… these days just finding a bike is very difficult here in Taiwan… I want a gravel bike… all the catalogues have them, but the shops don’t…

So diminishing returns… stop thinking to much and get on your bike ;o)


I a big pickled beetroot fan… here in Taipei it is available but its seasonal, even carrefour tianmu sometimes carry fresh beet. Every farmers market I go to has it when in season which is the colder months, and starting very soon. I mostly buy at Yuanshan Farmers market on weekends.

Jesus. How do you fuel enough for that?

I can manage an inconsistent 100km a week and even then I feel stressed due to having no energy whatsoever :frowning:

I’m averaging 350 km a month for the last 3 months on an NT$3600 folding bike with 20 inch wheels.

Average ride is 25km. Recently did a 60 km ride.

Wearing whatever clothes and shoes or slippers I have on. Not because I’m trying to save money, I just bought this cheap bike for fun and it seemed to work quite well. And I carry it everywhere in the car and then jump out and ride wherever.

Just had the shifter replaced, brake pads replaced, labor, bought 2 spare tubes total NT$900.

I’m sure whatever I’m doing is just as healthy, fun, and pleasing as having a expensive bike and clown wear. The main aspect I’m missing is the Social Club of having a nice bike and clown wear. But I’ve been there and done that and I might do it again but don’t need it right now.

So maybe one way to recover from diminishing returns is try totally something different.

Max weight on one of the smaller folding bikes seems usually ~115 kg so that’s another obstacle for some.


@tango42 's post reminded me that my bike is 21kg and i wear baggy clothes on flat pedals with my hair flapping in the breeze.

Anyway, back on topic…

In my opinion the biggest gainz come from switching to clipless pedals and getting the technique right and ensuring you are applying equal power with both legs. After that, aerodynamics.

I do none of this then complain about my performance because I am so self-ironic I don’t recognise reality anymore.

I used to be like some of you, riding my mountain bike for the purpose of exercising and losing weight. But after I switched to a road bike, it opened up a world of possibilities. Because it’s a much lighter bike, I could ride longer and get to places that are farther and higher with incredible views. In my case, if I had kept on riding my mountain bike, yeah, the returns would have diminished. A lot of times it’s just a matter of getting the right bike for you.


I used to race so now I just take it easy. Still a 7 kilo bike and carbon wheels so that does help. Love my TCR. 2003 vintage frame.

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I found a huge diminishing return on my road bike in terms of weight loss and fitness as I got better at road riding in groups.
With a half decent bike I think many people can get up to holding 20mph pretty easily. Especially in a peleton. In fact, for me it became like cruising. I wasn’t seeing any fitness returns after about 7 months.
This theory goes out the window if you ride mountains (unfortunately i dont have mountains with roads nearby).

Hence, I switched to mountain biking and the fitness gains are huge. I have several routes I can ride for an hour and throw in 3 - 5 5-minute HIT sessions. The fitness gains have been huge and their is no leveling off for me.

I suppose the biggest factor is what type of cycling roads or trails you have available close by. If I lived in Colorado I’d probably be on the road bike hitting the mountains.


Your group rides simply seem too slow. The fast ones in Taichung will get you dropped from the peloton if you cannot hold 250-300watts, going ~45km/h. there are always 10 really strong people, sometimes pros, rotating up front. Then once climbs approach be ready to put down 5w/kg for 30-60 seconds. Well they are always group dropout rides. Starting with 20-100 people to last man standing at the defined finish 7/11…

To me I cannot motivate myself to push that hard on a MTB. MTB is great because it involves much more all body muscles and usually for me on the downhill I get really exhausted

Who the hell rides in Taiwan without riding mountains? Do you live in Penghu? :laughing: