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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    7

    New (overweight) rider - need bike for my weight

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    Hi,
    I need assistance in what type bike I need to support my weight. I weigh 230 pounds and want to begin biking, loose weight and plan to do a bicycle tour in the New England area this coming October 2008.

    Can someone advise me on what type bicycle I should purchase (without spending a good deal of money) that will accomodate my current weight and still be suitable for my needs.

    Thanks so much in advance !!!
    Nancy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Nancy-

    Welcome!

    Your weight isn't that far off of some of the folks who post here (myself included), and except for a few really light racing bikes, I seriously doubt it would be an issue. Be honest with your shop - and they may beef up your wheels a little (i.e. give them extra attention to make sure they are true, etc). Otherwise, not an issue

    There are LOTS of bikes that would work great for you. Is your tour supported (i.e. someone else carries your stuff) or self-supported (you carry all your stuff)? That will make a difference in the kind of bike you'll want to get.

    I have a Trek 520, a Bike Friday and a Surly Cross Check - any one of these would work for either kind of tour (though the Friday and the Trek will handle fully loaded touring better). Lots of folks like the Jamis aurora (another touring bike). There is also the Novara Randonee. If these bikes are out of budget, you may want to try looking on Craigslist or otherwise at 2nd hand bikes. I bought my cross check off ebay.

    Let us know more, and we'll try to help

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    Hi Nancy, welcome to TE!

    Like CA said, there's lots of here that are in your same ballpark weight wise. I'm one and I ride a Trek 1500 WSD for my road bike and a Trek 7.5FX for my commuter.

    Ride a bunch of bikes, get a good fitting done, then pedal away!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    I do suggest looking at steel. When I was heavier I found my titanium bike seemed to not be stiff enough, and I had to ride my steel bike, but when I lost weight I was able to ride the titanium bike again. Likewise, I would avoid carbon, but I not sure about aluminum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Steel will certainly be cheaper than carbon or titanium!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Nancy, what is your height?
    Most importantly.....aside from describing this one ride you want to do in New England, can you tell us a bit about the general kind of typical riding you think you might be doing? On paved roads only? Combo of paved and dirt roads? What might be your typical distance on a ride for the first year or two? Many hills where you live? This will help.....
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Quote Originally Posted by Melalvai View Post
    Steel will certainly be cheaper than carbon or titanium!
    and more comfortable than aluminum!

    Nancy, I would start at your local bike shop to get some basic info on the different types of bikes out there. What kind of riding do you want to do? Riding on bike paths, on streets, on country roads, on wild mountain trails?? There might be a good bike club in your area; it's worth asking. There might even be some TEers in your area.

    I did a bike trip in Vermont last October and it was really nice. Assuming that type of riding, I'd suggest that you look into touring bikes. Jamis makes some nice touring bikes in steel that are reasonably priced (of course, that's all relative). I've heard from people here on TE that sometimes some bike shop guys (and usually guys are the culprits) will assume that because we are women and because of our weight that we want a total hybrid comfort bike for beach cruising. That might be fine, but it won't work for a New England tour! So arm yourself with info and go in with questions, curiosity, and patience.

    Keep in mind for your budget that you will also need a helmet, shorts, water bottle and holder, pump, extra tubes (learn to fix a flat!), possibly cycling shoes, and gloves. Oh and some basic tools. And a bell if you'll be on a bike path with pedestrians and other cyclists. Maybe a bike computer to keep track of your distance and speed. As you can see, the bike is only the beginning.

    The most important thing about the bike is that it fits you properly. Try out lots to get a good comparison going. Beware of bike shop folks who try to sell you what's on the floor regardless of its appropriateness to your riding type or body. Some deals can be found that way, but take your time and get one that fits. There is lots of discussion on fit in these forums...a whole lot. But the most important thing is that it feels comfortable. If it's not comfy, you won't want to ride it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514

    Thumbs up

    Nancy:

    Shop around a bit and find a bike that fits you, that suits the sort of riding that you want to do (are you just going to cruise around the neighborhood for short distances, do you want to do some of the longer road or touring rides, or do you want to take to the woods and shred on singletrack?)

    Nearly all modern frame materials will support that kind of weight. Make sure you get a good sturdy set of wheels, and you should be set.

    Ride as much as you want to, or as little as you wish. Ride as fast or as slow as you want to go. But ride!



    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    7
    Wow !
    Thanks for all the good information and all the things to think about !!!
    I am such a novice - I know nothing but I have been thinking about this for YEARS. I used to love biking as a child.

    I will try and answer some of the question below....
    ** I am only 5.2 inches so I am very overweight.
    ** I live in Knoxville and we have lots and lots of Mountain Bikers in this area - as you can imagine. I think mountain biking would be fun but I have to start out with something that I can more easily do at this stage of the game.
    ** yes - lots of hills here
    ** starting out - I imagine I will be biking on paved roads and may branch out later
    ** we do have lots of bike shops in the area, but I wanted to be armed with information before I go in on blind faith...
    ** I will make sure that I get steel.

    I had not thought about all the extras - good point - the bike will just be the beginning... I hate helmets - HOT - but I know a must...

    I really like the bikes (touring I think) that have a rack on the back for carrying things as I could see that would be helpful on tours - are those bikes also practical for cycling around town (pavement) with a club ????

    What would be the "least expensive" route for a complete novice - as you can imagine, starting out - I may find that for whatever reason, this is not a sport for me (I may have to try several things to find my niche again). If all goes as I hope - I can upgrade to a better bike later. Note - I used to be a whitewater kayaker, for many years but at that time I weighed on 120 pounds - it is not an option again at this point in my life. Now, I am hopeful that biking could not only be a new sport that I could really enjoy -but also a fantastic source of exercise and an opportunity for socializing. (I am a widow) - 49 years old (almost 50)...

    The New England trips that I have looked at indicate that the bikes are either provided or can be rented. The one that looked most interesting also indicated a van would be traveling with the bikers (in case anybody needed help so I would "think" (?) that the van would carry gear for the cyclist ???

    Also - the trips were mostly in the $1,500 range for a week - does this sound reasonable ??? Includes the lodging and meals.

    What age of people usually go on guided tours ??? What age people "generally" belong to bike clubs ???

    My size bothers me GREATLY - now - I don't mind going to aerobics classes at this weight (amazingly) - but there is something about being big and getting on a little bicycle that is bothersome - I guess just the thoughts of my big rear end on that little seat (will get a saddle seat). Has this been an issue for anybody else.

    I suspect that very few people as short as me who weigh as much as me - bike.

    Thank you very much.

    I am very excited about the prospect of preparing for a nice "physical" trip this fall.

    Nancy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    I recommend a used steel terry classic that has been converted to drop bars, or you could start with flat bars (how they are equipped) and switch to drop bars as you lean out. I would think you would fit a 17.5". You can put a rack on for touring, or take it off for club riding. A terry symetry/isis would also work, which accomodates a rear rack and comes with drop bars. Check out the terry website for used bikes. I would get one made around 2000 or later with 9spd sti levers.

    I am recommending terrys since when you are short, reach will be an issue, and since you are overweight, the problem will be further exacerbated by an inability to bend over very far. These are solid bikes but not expensive used, so you can always upgrade later if you like it.

    As for a saddle, saddle size depends on how far apart your sitbones are (i.e. the shape of your pelvic bones) not your butt. Being heavier just means you'll have more cushioning over your sitbones.

    Riding will definitely help you in a quest for weight loss, so you may very well need/want a different bike in a year once you reach your ideal weight. You can do it if you decide. Also, if you have difficulty losing weight despite caloric restriction and exercise, be evaluated for impaired glucose tolerance. That was my problem. Once I discovered it and went on a low carb high protein diet the weight just fell off me.
    Last edited by Triskeliongirl; 04-01-2008 at 02:44 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    Perhaps more important the the frame is the WHEELS you get. You don't want low spoke count wheels. Look at wheels with 32 or 36 spokes. Most bikes intended for touring would come with such wheels anyway. If your wheels aren't appropriate for your weight and riding style, you'll find yourself breaking spokes.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    7
    Thanks again - I will begin looking for a Terry and checking the spoke count as well. This may sound so foolish to you, but do all women's bikes now have that bar ??? As a girl, boys bikes had a bar and girls bikes did not - I liked not having that bar in the front (mostly because I am so short) but I am presuming that is for support and the structure of the bike.

    As a side note about weight - I did just find out that I have severe Hashimoto's Disease (common thyroid disease) but my thyroid has been non-functioning and thus this is part of my weight problem. Thanks for letting me know however, about the glucose check - mine was fine -but I have gone for YEARS with this condition - suffering from exhaustion- and had no idea what the problem was. Women need to be made more aware of these problems that can sneak up on us !!! A simle pill (for the rest of my life) added to my daily schedule has made a world of differnce in me and now I feel the freedom (the energy) to once again pursue a sport !!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    201
    Quote Originally Posted by nancyBug View Post
    What age people "generally" belong to bike clubs ???

    Nancy


    All kinds. And there are groups within groups. We have a bunch of fast older people, a bunch of fast younger people, and everything in between. There is a guy in my club who is 65 and rides regularly with the young people on the 100k+ trips twice a week. And that's just one bike club. We have 3 or 4 in our city.

    I'm older (42) and slow, and I fit in pretty well.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    7
    One other quick comment, I see that several of you are from Texas - I have made several trips to Texas and it is even HOTTER than Tennessee in the summer.

    How do you manage riding in the heat - that is one of my big concerns with summer.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    1,351
    Uh oh - long post!

    Quote Originally Posted by nancyBug View Post
    I suspect that very few people as short as me who weigh as much as me - bike.
    Not so! Not so!

    Along with everyone else's suggestions, since you live in a hilly area, if you get a road bike, I recommend looking into getting a expanded range of gears. On my road bike, I have a mountain bike rear cassette, which makes a huge difference in my ability to ride in a hilly area, and consequently, has greatly increased my enjoyment of cycling.

    At the bike store, ask them what the options and costs are for swapping the standard road bike rear cassette (usually something like 12-27 teeth) for a mountain cassette (usually something like 11-34 teeth). You'll need a mountain bike rear dérailleur also. It will end up costing a little more, but not much, and believe me, you will love, love, love your granny gears!

    Stiff, strong wheels made a huge difference for me, but the frame shouldn't really be an issue at all.

    Oh, and try to avoid a suspension seat post - my first bike had a "comfort" seat post, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but I swear half my energy was lost bouncing around on that thing, compared to a more efficient energy transfer with a regular seat post.

    My size bothers me GREATLY - now - I don't mind going to aerobics classes at this weight (amazingly) - but there is something about being big and getting on a little bicycle that is bothersome - I guess just the thoughts of my big rear end on that little seat (will get a saddle seat). Has this been an issue for anybody else.
    Absolutely. Add in lycra clothing, and you have pretty much summed up my worst nightmare. But the lycra cycling clothes really do make a difference in comfort (and TE has a great selection of plus-size cycling clothes ).

    All I can say about this issue is that for me, this stuff is pretty much all in my head, and although I still contend with it, after 3 years of cycling (and loving it), it doesn't bother me very often anymore. The main thing is, I'm out there exercising and having fun, and the heck with anyone else's opinions! I felt like my initial improvement in cycling was very fast - and it wasn't long before I saw and felt an improvement, which made it easier to put those voices to rest, or at least ignore them!

    Cycling is a great social activity, and a great solitary activity. There are probably some cycling clubs in your area - ask at the bike stores you visit. having some riding buddies really helps. And/or maybe there are some TE gals in your area?

    Welcome to TE, and have fun buying your bike!
    Keep calm and carry on...

 

 

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