I'm in my late 30s but never in my entire life did I get delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from cycling. But even walking at a slow-moderate pace (less than 6 kmh / 3.7 mph average) for 2-3 hours gives some DOMS.

I climbed 20% percent hills going all out, I went on long rides at moderate pace, I went on short, full throttle rides, I tried climbing the local hills in the hardest possible gear, I tried climbing standing for 10 minutes straight, I am capable of maintaining 95% max heart rate for 20 minutes and 85% max heart rate for one hour. Max heart rate of 182 was measured by monitoring it for a few years and I'm able to reach it when sprinting at the end of a hard climb. Never, not once, did any of that result in even the slightest amount of DOMS. If it matters, I currently weight 70kg at 1,74m (154 lbs, 5'8) which is stable for a few years.

When someone mentions DOMS in the context of cycling, to me it's like saying 1+1 doesn't equal 2. Please enlighten me.

  • 2
    Ride at 85% max for 4 hours straight and I can guarantee you will be feeling all sorts of DOMS the next day.
    – Rider_X
    Mar 9, 2019 at 16:41
  • @Rider_X Why does walking slowly for 3 hours get me DOMS? My body isn't capable of riding at 85% max HR for 4 hours while walking comfortably (max HR maybe 130 if there'\s a hill) for 3 hours is achievable. Mar 9, 2019 at 17:03
  • Please enlighten you about what? You've made a bunch of statements but you haven't actually asked a question. And note that we can't give you health advice, because we're not doctors. Mar 9, 2019 at 17:50
  • I think that you can infer the question. Getting DOMS from walking slowly and not getting it from cycling the way I explained is the question. Suggest an edit, flag it for moderation or refrain from adding noise. Mar 9, 2019 at 17:56
  • No, seriously, what's your question? I can't edit because I don't know what you're asking. Stack Exchange is moderated mostly by its users and that's what I'm trying to do. Requesting clarification of questions is not noise. If your question is so obvious, it shouldn't take you more than a couple of seconds to edit that obvious question into your post. Mar 9, 2019 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Let’s look at the definition of DOMS:

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_onset_muscle_soreness

If you cycle all the time, but rarely walk, then walking more than typically (e.g., a couple hours) could result in DOMS. Cycling and riding use your leg and hip muscles differently, especially in regards to range of motion. Cycling is a very constrained range of motion, compared to walking, especially when it comes to the posterior chain.

DOMS manifests when you use your muscles in ways you are unaccustomed to, this can mean what muscles you use and/or how strenuously you use them.

This is why I suggested in comments to ride at a high intensity for a period longer than you are accustomed to if you wanted to experience DOMS from cycling.

  • Thanks, that's a good answer. Riding at an intensity higher than the one I'm currently used to lands me in a realm where it's 100% about mental fortitude. Even at the intensity I'm accustomed to some mental fortitude is involved. I'm not a racer and I don't intend to ever become one, I ride for pleasure and fitness. Still, I like to push and better myself, I'm competing against myself. What lead me to ask this is that I frequently hear absolute newbies saying that they get DOMS. I don't think I even got DOMS when learning to ride as a kid or on the few subsequent rise. Mar 9, 2019 at 20:09
  • A case in point: I had to pick up the pace on a 100km yesterday so was working harder, for longer, than I normally would (e.g. pedaling fairly hard on all but the steepest descents, rather than resting/spinning gently). Today I can feel it more than I would expect the day after a 200km
    – Chris H
    Mar 10, 2019 at 9:26
  • @user3671607 it’s possible you are not pushing yourself as hard on the bike as you think you are. Anecdote: Before racing I thought my max HR was about 185 (using “100% mental fortitude“), then I learned how much deeper I could go (another 20 bpm), and what I thought was my max was actually aerobic threshold. Your subconscious may be natural keeping you from working too hard.
    – Rider_X
    Mar 10, 2019 at 16:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.