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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2

    too fat to bicycle? 300 lbs?!

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    As a teenager I used to take all day bike rides and I loved to bike everywhere. I got older and more sedentary. In my late 20s I was Dx with Fibro myalgia. Now I am 36 and almost 300 lbs. I go to exercise class at the gym regularly 3-4x a week and I eat healthy, but food just sticks to me. I think I could get more fit if I could get back to bicycling.

    I am 5'10" and very long-waisted, and every bike I try seems to have me leaning painfully far forward/down. I end up with severe wrist pain very quickly. I asked at several bike shops but they don't seem to know what to suggest. I asked if they can put taller handlebars on a bike to accommodate my tall torso, and they didn't seem to know.

    I still have the bike I bought in college, a Nishiki, which was supposedly sized to fit my height but it also causes wrist/hand pain. I even tried wrist wraps to give support to no avail.

    My eventual goal is to get comfortable riding to do the 4 mile commute to and from the college each day (all paved roads, gentle hills).

    Help! Is there any hope for me?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    2,033
    You need to get the weight off your hands. There is no reason in the world why you'd have to suffer so much after 4 miles.

    Maybe your bike is simply too large, but maybe there is hope:

    Maybe an upright-position handlebar like this



    Wiill keep you from leaning on your wrists?.

    EDIT: I was being dumb when I wrote this. Look how a bar like this would allow you to grip much closer (see where it's mounted to the stem?). You can even tilt it inward/up to get even more upright.
    Then again Clock's version would be the budget method to get a similar result.

    As always, Photos of you on your bike would help judging the situation.
    Last edited by alpinerabbit; 03-02-2009 at 04:23 AM.
    It's a little secret you didn't know about us women. We're all closet Visigoths.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dorset, England, UK
    Posts
    1,037

    Smile

    Hi Calico

    Good on you, wanting to get out and ride.

    Now what I know about bikes could go on a postage stamp, a small one!

    When I first desperately wanted to ride a bike almost 9 years ago, I had been off work for 1 year with back problems. When I tried somebody's bike, it was no good the bars where too low and caused me problems. BTW I only ride a mountain bike.

    Anyway, my son suggested a thingy for raising the stem??? See, I am not technical, have a look



    It so helped, my back was then in a far better position. It was not very expensive but I am sure it just might be what might help you. Also, when I was younger, when only road bikes where around, a lot of guys use to have their handle bars upside down, maybe that would help.

    Anyway, keep trying to find a way, am sure you will get something sorted.

    Oh yes, something else I had added was a suspension seat post, my bike is a hard frame (I think that's the term) Going over bumps and stuff it helps a lot.


    Clock............the untechnical one!
    Last edited by ClockworkOrange; 03-02-2009 at 04:14 AM. Reason: just remembered
    Clock

    Orange Clockwork - Limited Edition 1998


    ‘Enjoy your victories of each day'

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Little Egypt
    Posts
    1,886
    First I want to say good for you. It's wonderful that you want to start biking again. You didn't say what kind of bike you were shopping for? A road bike, hybrid or mountain bike? The geometry of a bike makes a big difference in how you sit on it and how your weight is proportioned. If you are looking at a road bike, maybe you need to look at a hybrid. Hang in there and don't get frustrated and give up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    Calico:

    Bully for you!

    What kind of bike is the Nishiki? A road or touring frame may have you bent over and stretched out too much for you right now, making you put more weight on your arms. The ladies have suggested a more up right posture to get started back with, and that's a good idea. Raising the bars, or a higher stem may help you here. But bike fit looks to be a key issue right now.

    Try to ride at least 4x per week, with a "long" ride of at least an hour and a half as one of those rides. That will get you on a little quicker path to getting your fitness back. And as long as you keep your diet at least steady, the pounds will start coming off.

    A bicycle is the only vehicle mankind has created so far that makes you healthier the more you use it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    1,193
    I'm considerably overweight, too, so I know the wrist/hand/arm pain you're talking about. I also tried changing things with my handlebars, sitting up straighter and steering with just the tips of my fingers (my backside didn't like that one) and everything else I could think of.

    I was miserable until a person at work suggested that I get a recumbent. Honestly, I resisted because I really like the bike I was riding (a first anniversary present from DH) and didn't feel another bike of any sort was in the budget.

    Long story short, I did get a recumbent and fell in love. No wrist pain. None. I can feel my fingers no matter how far I ride. (YES!!!)

    Look into them. There are some really nice bikes being made, and many are made to take us Athenas - and take us many distant places with a smile on our faces.

    Good luck no matter what you decide on. And remember, life is too short to ride a bike that doesn't make you smile.
    Give big space to the festive dog that make sport in the roadway. Avoid entanglement with your wheel spoke.
    (Sign in Japan)

    1978 Raleigh Gran Prix
    2003 EZ Sport AX

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    Quote Originally Posted by calico View Post
    I am 5'10" and very long-waisted, and every bike I try seems to have me leaning painfully far forward/down. I end up with severe wrist pain very quickly. I asked at several bike shops but they don't seem to know what to suggest. I asked if they can put taller handlebars on a bike to accommodate my tall torso, and they didn't seem to know.
    First off, a hale and hearty welcome to TE!

    Next it sounds like we need to find you another LBS, one that can find you a proper bike fit. The answer to "can I put taller handlebars on my bike?" should never be "I don't know"

    Dude, it's a yes or no question

    No, but we could give you a taller stem
    No, but we could give you a shorter reach stem
    No, but lowering the seatpost may achieve the same goal
    Yes, but let's see if a 'bent would fit you best.
    Yes, we can but ... and so on.

    Bet you'll find the answer here. Long live TE
    Last edited by Trek420; 03-02-2009 at 07:55 AM.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Women who are "too fat" or "too old" or "too out of shape" or "too handicapped" or "too scared" or "too busy" or "too whatever" to bicycle and do it anyway are totally my heros. Where there's a will there's a way.
    Rock ON.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,828
    Try looking for local bike clubs in your area. Someone in a club should be able to recommend an LBS that is good at bike fitting.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,197
    Quote Originally Posted by calico View Post
    In my late 20s I was Dx with Fibro myalgia. Now I am 36 and almost 300 lbs. My eventual goal is to get comfortable riding to do the 4 mile commute to and from the college each day (all paved roads, gentle hills).
    First off I want to welcome you here to the board. It's nice to meet people who have faced considerable setbacks and remain determined to get healthier.

    Now about that bike.....there are adjustable stems available to bring the handlebars up which puts less stress on your wrists. Clockwork Orange has one on her bike I believe. What's nice about these stems is as you progress in your cycling, you can lower it as your flexibility increases in the cycling season.

    If you are interested in a bike, consider a "comfort" bike--one that has a more relaxed geometry. What many bike shop guys don't consider is the larger person needs to sit more upright to create more space for tummy. They don't consider that when one gets down into the drops that the thigh could have contact with the tummy. So look for something that fits you and feels comfortable while using different parts of the handlebars. If you need to find a different handlebar as alpinerabbit suggested, that will give you another option.

    If you are interested in clothing, check TE's plus size specialty clothing. Susan Otcenas is extremely helpful in suggesting what fits us curvy gals. Just give her a ring when you are ready to shop. Also, I can recommend this site.

    And please, don't feel like you have to be a greyhound to enjoy cycling. There are people in all shapes and sizes that take to the road to experience the small pleasures that nature provides--sunshine, fresh air, spring flowers, and best of all, a sense of well being. Let us know what you find and be sure and post pictures.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    98
    And check out the latest issue of Bicycle mag. It has several stories of people in just your position who added cycling into their lives and lost 100+ pounds.

    I found it pretty inspiring.

    BarbaraAlys

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,197
    I know of one that did that very thing and dropped 10 sizes!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    546
    Calico, you definitely CAN. I started at 300-ish lbs and a very wobbly 3 miles, and thanks to my bike and spin classes, am 200-ish and training to do the Womantours cross-USA ride in 2010. One of my co-workers has fibromyalga and she does multi-day bike trips. First order of business is for you to find a sympathetic bike store owner or employee to help you. They're out there. And don't take some "sales-child's" idunno as the final answer. Let them know you are SERIOUS about riding and need to speak with someone with expertise. (the first shop I dealt with was friendly but not truly expert in their advice. The next shop owner I dealt with - not a skinny guy, BTW, I thought that was a good sign - was a good listener, loves putting all kinds of people on bikes, and did a great bike fit session even though my bike was second-hand.)
    Also, I started with a Giant (brand) hybrid with a very upright position, and she served me nobly for 2 years. I still like to hop on her now and then.
    Feel free to PM me with any ? I might be able to help you with as a fellow large rider. I don't have time a lot of time to check the forum, but I want to know how you're making out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,197
    Aunt LateLate, I've missed you. Glad to see you here again.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    1,935
    I've also been plus 300 too.
    keep on trying something (adjust the handlebars, buy a 'bent)
    And remeber, you're on a journey of a thousand miles, and you've taken you first step

 

 

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