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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Seattle
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    31

    Question "plus-sized" biker riding STP - should I get a new bike?

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    Hi all,

    First post here. Seems like a really nice group on this site! Glad I found it!

    A little about my biking history: A few years back, I bought an $800 mountain bike and rode that for a couple of years. I learned that I had absolutely no interest in mountain biking and did everything I could to make the thing more comfortable! I think the handlebars were too far from the seat, and it felt like all my weight was sitting on my crotch! Ouch! A year ago, I decided to sell the thing, as I wanted something more suited to the kind of riding I was doing (which, at the time, were like 5-10 mile rides on trails and roads). So, I bought a $400 Raleigh hybrid.

    Where I'm at now: My husband and I have decided to ride the Seattle-to-Portland double century ride this July. I've been doing my training on the hybrid. I'm starting to wonder if this is just simply the wrong bike to be doing 40, 50, 60 mile rides on!

    Would I be way more comfortable on a different kind of bike? Is sitting so upright on the bike not good for long rides? Would it be easier to go faster on a different kind of bike made for longer rides? I'm short and heavy and need all the help I can get!!

    So far, the longest ride I've done is 37 miles, and my main discomfort was my crotch...burning and just very sore! Have purchased some bike pants with chamois that I'll try next ride.

    So...should I really be riding a different type of bike (probably a road bike, right?) to make the experience more enjoyable?

    I intend to keep doing these long rides, as I'm really enjoying them. I just want to make sure I've got what I need to be as comfortable as possible.

    TIA!
    stpbound

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    When you say STP "double century" do you mean you are going to do the whole thing in one day? If you're planning the double century, yes, I'd say you need to get a long-distance bike ASAP!

    If you're doing it in 2 days, you might be able to modify your current hybrid to make it comfortable for the ride. Depends on what you've got and what's bothering you the most.

    Can you take the bike to your LBS and tell them what you want to do, and what bothers you on your bike, and see what suggestions they have? You can change handlebars, seat, crank lengths, etc. on your current bike, or they might use your experience with the hybrid to help them choose a roadie that will meet your needs.

    I am impressed that you went 37 miles without bike shorts! Very impressed! (I'd probably faint)

    BTW, I sit pretty upright on my roadie. Really, bar height vs. saddle height all depends on what works for *you*, so don't be afraid "break the rules."
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 04-16-2007 at 05:42 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    I did the STP in two days on my Raleigh Hybrid after training most of the spring on an older heavier Trek.
    I think if you train on it you will be fine. But do make sure it fits you right (what Knot said)
    and welcome to TE!
    ps buy some Chamois butter too.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,059
    I know you'll get lots of great replies here, so mine is brief:

    1) Bike fit, fit, fit. The bike fit can seriously affect the comfort of your crotch.

    2) If you get the bike fitted and you know the fit is not the problem, really try out a lot of different saddles. It took me about 5 to find the one that really works for me. Makes all the difference.

    Good luck! And, good for you for riding your bike and setting STP as your goal!!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    276
    Welcome stpbound! I'm definitely a plus sized biker (5'5 and over 200 lbs), and I've ridden 50+ mile rides on my trusty Trek Hybrid. It's all about the fit, the saddle and the bike shorts. I am getting a road bike, but it's because I think I'll be faster. Plus I ride with a club that has a bad habit of lugging their bikes up and down stairs at the BART (subway) station, and lugging a 30+ lb bike up stairs is very unpleasant

    See if you can get some adjustments made to your current bike, wear your bike shorts, and maybe change out your saddle?

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.

    -Amy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    When you say STP "double century" do you mean you are going to do the whole thing in one day? If you're planning the double century, yes, I'd say you need to get a long-distance bike ASAP!
    God, no! I mean I'm doing it in 2 days!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfish View Post

    1) Bike fit, fit, fit. The bike fit can seriously affect the comfort of your crotch.

    2) If you get the bike fitted and you know the fit is not the problem, really try out a lot of different saddles. It took me about 5 to find the one that really works for me. Makes all the difference.
    OK. Thanks for this reply. A few more questions:

    1. Can I check the fit myself or do I need to take it to a bike shop?
    2. About trying different saddles...did you have to buy and KEEP all 5?? Or were you able to return the ones you didn't want? Also, when you found the right one, was it obvious?

    Thanks!
    stpbound

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by ace View Post
    Welcome stpbound! I'm definitely a plus sized biker (5'5 and over 200 lbs), and I've ridden 50+ mile rides on my trusty Trek Hybrid. It's all about the fit, the saddle and the bike shorts.
    Hi Ace,

    Good to hear I'm not the only big girl on a bike around here! So, it is indeed possible to be overweight and be comfortable on a bike saddle at the same time? For some reason, I have it in my head that since I weigh so much (5'4" and 220 lbs), it may be impossible for my body to be comfortable on the saddle.

    Please tell me it isn't so!

    thanks,
    stpbound

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    When we started training for STP two years ago, I concluded I needed to switch from a hybrid to a road bike because after 30-40 miles, my hands wanted to be able to be in many different positions, and the flat bars of the hybrid made that hard to achieve.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    276
    Hi Stpbound,

    It isn't so

    Nope, your weight should have nothing to do with it. I'm almost exactly the same size as you, and I don't have any saddle discomfort. But I always wear bike shorts, even for short rides, and my bike fits. I'd really suggest you go to a good bike shop and get some help- get some recommendations from this board for a helpful one one. I partially selected my lbs because the owner is a fat guy, so I knew he'd be respectful toward me.

    The only thing being heavy does is mean you mean more leg strength to compensate, and in my experience, going up hills is harder (hauling me and my bike up a hill is tough sometimes, even in granny gear). But it makes us inherently faster on the downhills!

    As far as bike shorts that fit, I have Pearl Izumi shorts in XXL, and Terry T Shorts in 1X, and they fit great. So just make sure you have well-fitting shorts.

    Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.

    -Amy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,557
    STPBound - Where are you, and do you need a bike shop? Just say the word, and TE can innundate you with recommendations!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    StPbound, you can try to "fit" yourself, but it's so much nicer to have professionals do it for you. Only takes a little while.
    In the Seattle area, there are good fitters at Samm. Bike, Gregg's Green Lake
    and R & E that i have personally dealt with.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    392
    Quote Originally Posted by stpbound View Post
    Hi Ace,

    Good to hear I'm not the only big girl on a bike around here! So, it is indeed possible to be overweight and be comfortable on a bike saddle at the same time? For some reason, I have it in my head that since I weigh so much (5'4" and 220 lbs), it may be impossible for my body to be comfortable on the saddle.

    Please tell me it isn't so!

    thanks,
    stpbound
    I'm also glad to know I'm not the only plus size, I'm 5'7" and 200, my Trek 1000 fits me great. The problem is I'm having a hell of a time trying to find riding clothes that don't cost a small fortune. They penalize you for being "larger". I actually have had to buy some mens jackets because my shoulders are just broad, I'm just a "big" girl! We wen't to the local LBS to look for a summer jersey for me and the XL would have fit my mother who is like 5'5" and weighs 117.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    try Team Estrogen, they have a lot of nice stuff in large sizes.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by salsabike View Post
    When we started training for STP two years ago, I concluded I needed to switch from a hybrid to a road bike because after 30-40 miles, my hands wanted to be able to be in many different positions, and the flat bars of the hybrid made that hard to achieve.
    This is a good point...I notice that my hands start to feel numb after a while.

 

 

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