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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-11-07, 12:21 PM   #1
WesMorrison
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How obese is too obese to ride a bike?

Can a person who is over 300 pounds, probably about 5' 4", really big belly and posterior (floppy rolls of fat,) successfully ride a 2-wheel bicycle?

I'm trying to help someone who says they want to lose weight, but they always find excuses for why things won't work. (It would be uncomfortable, wouldn't be able to balance, etc.) I know this person really does want to lose weight but is frustrated by their situation.

If you have been a 300+ Clydesdale, what things worked for you?

Did you need a steel frame?
Was a wider seat necessary/more comfortable?
Wider tires or narrow? Will too narrow tires go flat a lot?
Anything else to consider?
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Old 07-11-07, 12:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesMorrison
Anything else to consider?
Yes -- first and foremost, whether riding a bike is an appropriate level of exercise for this individual at this time. Depending on many factors that can't be adequately communicated by height and weight, this person might need to start off with an extremely modest level of exercise combined with better nutrition, and develop a slightly better fitness level before getting on a bike. Other 300+ pounders may have jumped on a bike successfully; this individual may be in a different situation. I think a visit to a doctor is in order first.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:36 PM   #3
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I was 355 when I started, but I was also 6ft and a former athlete. Honestly if they are finding excuses for other exercises then they will probably find one for biking also. I'd start them out an a trike to eliminate balance and crash issues.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lil brown bat
Yes -- first and foremost, whether riding a bike is an appropriate level of exercise for this individual at this time. Depending on many factors that can't be adequately communicated by height and weight, this person might need to start off with an extremely modest level of exercise combined with better nutrition, and develop a slightly better fitness level before getting on a bike. Other 300+ pounders may have jumped on a bike successfully; this individual may be in a different situation. I think a visit to a doctor is in order first.
1+ - I was 6'3 420+ when i started but i had a sports background and often played basketball just not enough to compensate for what i was eating! lol... i dont know if a doctors visit is in order but i would definitely start off slower.. maybe get to the gym and get the heart used to activity before the sudden stress of riding (edit: a couple of weeks perhaps). I'd also use a heart rate monitor and make sure your not pushing yourself past that beats per minute threshold.

edit: Also age is a huge factor, if its a younger person the heart may be geared and ready for the tempo without danger but an older person may want to see what thier cardiologist says.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:41 PM   #5
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I ride regularly with a friend that is 5'5" and 288. He does fine and cruises along at 13-15 mph on rides of 20-40 miles. He has even completed a century. I've read several posts by riders well in excess of 300 lbs. Even some 400 and 500 lbs. Good strong wheels and well fitting bike and your friend will be fine. If he falls in love with cycling, he'll be leaving the Clydesdale classification in a year or two.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:42 PM   #6
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I would say, start with a trip to the doctor to see if there are any problems first.

Start with walking, and gradually improve the speed and distance of the walk. This needs to be a life style change and not just a diet or not just exercise. If they want to lose fat, they will need to seriously watch what they eat and change their eating habits, and exercise in some form most every day. In the beginning, they should be able to exercise to some extent every single day.

In agreeing with the others, does the person have a bicycle back ground at all. Did they ride bikes much when they were younger? There is no reason they couldn't ride a bicycle, but we don't know the person either and there may be a good reason they can't.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:52 PM   #7
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I am at 350 and started at 372
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Old 07-11-07, 12:59 PM   #8
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I was about 375 at 5'10" when I started. I road a comfort bike and the stock seat and wheels and everything on it were fine for me. A lady I know started same time as me was shorter and perhaps heavier and she was fine on the bike too. There used to be a guy around here a lot (PowredByTRD) who was well over 400 pounds if I recall correctly.

Wider saddles (seats) do NOT (necessarily) mean more comfortable riding...not even for a fat butt (like mine).

As for tires...I try to find wheels that work with a high pressure. My road bike has 110 PSI tires.

I think you friend "could" easily get into biking if he/she has the will. They won't be held back by size, that's for sure. Many of us are living proof of that.
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Old 07-11-07, 01:39 PM   #9
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I was 335 when I started and I ride a Trek 1500. The first 1200 miles on the factory 24 spoke wheels. I recently bought a set of 32H Open Pro's with Mavic rims because I have been straying further from home. I've always ridden bikes though so even though rusty I had the skills available. The only other change I made was to the saddle, the stock saddle was very uncomfortable. I went with a mountain bike saddle with heavy duty rails. For a saddle the width of you seat bones are more important than the width of the flesh !

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Old 07-11-07, 01:53 PM   #10
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Don't force them to do something they don't want to. If they don't like bikes they don't like bikes and no matter what you will do they will avoid riding. Try to find out what they like so it will be enjoyable.

I also understand the whole dilemma of you can't workout because your fat and your fat because you can't workout. If you are overweight you may not mind going to a gym to lose weight but then there is always the embarassment and looks.

Current age, weight, height, fitness level and interests will help find a suitable activity for weightloss.

Also don't forget diet is a LARGE part of this (bad pun I know). I can ride my bike 100 miles and lose no weight if I eat poorly and I can lose 10lbs a month and never ride if I am on a very strict diet. It is all about compromises but still essential to get a good diet now.
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Old 07-11-07, 02:27 PM   #11
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How obese is too obese to ride a bike?
When your ankle flab gets caught on the chainrings.

OK, seriously...
Did you need a steel frame?
Steel is a wise choice for uber-clydes. It's strong, and tends to fail in a non-catastrophic way, if at all. Aluminum and Carbon Fiber have those catastrophic failures where everything seems fine, and then snaps apart. Steel gets creaky and weak feeling before it falls apart, so if you're worried about weight and frame failure, go with steel.

Was a wider seat necessary/more comfortable?
Your seat should be only wide enough to fit your sit bones.

Wider tires or narrow? Will too narrow tires go flat a lot?
Too narrow and you're going to flat them out from the pressure. Wider tires (28mm) will give a little more cushion to the overall ride and be more forgiving to the pressure they're taking. Check out loaded touring bikes. Many people use 32mm or even wider tires when touring with a full load.

Anything else to consider?
+1 to everyone that said check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. My fiancee just started a physical therapy / exercise program to get in better shape (doctor's orders, so she can qualify for lap-band surgery) and she was amazed at some of the initial metabolic findings, even though she felt fine. You never know what might be off with your blood gasses and glycemic balance.
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Old 07-11-07, 02:39 PM   #12
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Turboem1 - true you can't force but it's usually still excuses why that person is fat. I don't understand the Embarrasment parts.. people need to be helped pass that thinking sometimes... your there to workout! thats it! everyone else is irrellevant.

Some people need a forceful friend and some people need a friend to coddle them into it, i my opinion whatever gets that person self suffienct and active is good. I'm a firm believer in tough love!

you might have him try group fitness classes too... at 410lbs i was talked into doing bikram yoga, the inital shock of being the only guy in the class passed and the whatever it takes! mentality took over..i was never shy but that helped me really get past other people and working out.

Wesmorrison -Tell him to Think about it.. if he keeps up the hard work, those people he was worried about wont reconize him anymore anyways

I hope he hops on the bike or whatever it takes to meet his goals!! he's got a whole fourm of folks in his corner!

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Old 07-11-07, 03:25 PM   #13
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A picture paints a thousand words. I weighed 450 pounds here and had to ride with Oxygen.




and here is 2 years later:

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Old 07-11-07, 03:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turboem1
Don't force them to do something they don't want to. If they don't like bikes they don't like bikes and no matter what you will do they will avoid riding. Try to find out what they like so it will be enjoyable.
Very true. Trying to push it on them if they just aren't interested will just make them hate cycling.

Swimming is probably the next best low impact exercise IMO.
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Old 07-11-07, 03:33 PM   #15
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Tom, you da Man! Outstanding!

Start extremely slowly. I learned that I burn more fat by staying in the zone dictated by my VO2 test! Long and steady exercise at low intensity is best. If you feel comfortable on the bike go for it. I recommend steel to start if at all possible!
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Old 07-11-07, 04:08 PM   #16
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Hey! I want one of those oxygen tank thingies!

Tom, on a more serious note, it's been quite a couple of years eh?
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Old 07-11-07, 04:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
A picture paints a thousand words. I weighed 450 pounds here and had to ride


and here is 2 years later:
fair play to ye, that's some going!
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Old 07-11-07, 04:19 PM   #18
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Hey! I want one of those oxygen tank thingies!

Tom, on a more serious note, it's been quite a couple of years eh?
Yes it has! That's for sure!, 2 1/2 years ago, I was circling the drain and now look at me! I'm not trying to blow my own horn here, I
I'm simply trying to show what can happen if you use all the tools at your disposal, and then decide to explore the limits of what you are capable of rather than take other peoples word that you can't do that because you are too FAT! I say Bullcr@p! The only real limits a person has are those they impose on themselves!
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Old 07-11-07, 04:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
Yes it has! That's for sure!, 2 1/2 years ago, I was circling the drain and now look at me! I'm not trying to blow my own horn here, I
I'm simply trying to show what can happen if you use all the tools at your disposal, and then decide to explore the limits of what you are capable of rather than take other peoples word that you can't do that because you are too FAT! I say Bullcr@p! The only real limits a person has are those they impose on themselves!
Props to you, that's awesome.
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Old 07-11-07, 06:56 PM   #20
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My father is 5'8" and in the 325 range and he found that a recumbent was best for him. Leaning over onto his belly wouldn't be that comfortable for him. He has put some real miles on his Rans.

Just another thought
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Old 07-11-07, 07:25 PM   #21
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Amazing* photos. Very inspiring.
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Old 07-11-07, 07:34 PM   #22
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I was well over four hundred when I started. It wasn't easy, but it was possible. I busted a lot of stuff on the bike, including the frame eventually. But I figured as long as it was the bike breaking and not me it was OK.

Quote:
Hey! I want one of those oxygen tank thingies!
LOL That's what I was thinking. I just want one around to take hits off of. It's not illegal, is it?
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Old 07-11-07, 07:51 PM   #23
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I was well over four hundred when I started. It wasn't easy, but it was possible. I busted a lot of stuff on the bike, including the frame eventually. But I figured as long as it was the bike breaking and not me it was OK.



LOL That's what I was thinking. I just want one around to take hits off of. It's not illegal, is it?
Actually, medical O2 requires a prescription, because too much can kill you! If you supersaturate yourself, you don't get enough blood CO2 and temporarily loose your breathing reflex.
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Old 07-11-07, 07:58 PM   #24
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About this big:

Cartman: Follow your dreams. You can achieve your goals; I'm living proof. Beefcake. Beefcake!!

Seriously though we've had some BIG guys come through and if your doctor says go for it - GO FOR IT. Tom's an awesome example.

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Old 07-12-07, 02:22 PM   #25
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While waiting for the doctors appointment and picking out a bike, get the person to start an exercise routine of just walking. Doing this at a scheduled time every day will better prepare them for when they do get a bike and it will make the biking seem more fun. When I started, my doctor had me walk 1/4 mile the first day. That was to the end of my street and back. I cheated and went all the way around the block. 8 months later I did my first century.
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