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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 08-25-07, 07:21 PM   #1
GlennCoco
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Need starting advice!!! (VERY overweight)

Hello,

I'm looking for advice on what to look for in buying a bike (frame size/composition/wheels/etc). I really have no idea. I'm 30 years old and weigh approximately 425 lbs. For those of you who will tell me to get doctor's advice before starting... he said I can do whatever I want, as long as it doesn't hurt basically!

I want to get a bike for several reasons. First, exercise of course. I need a way to help keep my blood sugars in control. Also, I live in a college town, and it will be easier to get around campus with a bike. My long term goal that I envision in my head is to ride my bike all the way to campus (a few miles through town/traffic) but for now I'll be happy with bringing my bike with me on the bus and just riding around this huge campus. And also just riding bike paths near my apartment.

Since my wife and I are both students with two kids, we're really busy and don't have jobs, so money is going to be a big issue.

I'll appreciate any advice I can get!!!
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Old 08-25-07, 07:38 PM   #2
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You've come to the right place! I'll let the experts talk about the fit thing, but I will say welcome! I started riding in May @ 397 lbs, so you can definitely do this! I'm losing slowly (about 15 lbs so far), but I can tell I'm building up a lot of muscle too, and I've noticed my heart rate is slower (used to normally measure in the high 80s/low 90s, and now it's in the 60s-70s).

I went to my bike shop (feared they would laugh, but they have actually been very nice and quite supportive) and got a Raleigh Venture - a "comfort" bike - for about $400. It's held up except for the rear wheel, which I had to have upgraded to something stronger. You can get something a lot cheaper if you buy used, though, and mountain bikes are generally cheaper than road bikes.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 08-26-07, 04:27 AM   #3
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I have a Trek 7200 (hybrid) which has held up nicely for me in the past 20 months (6,000+ miles). You will have to get the rear wheel respoked with some heavy gauge DT spokes.

Whatever bike you get, make sure you have a quality rear wheel build and a strong seatpost (Thomson).

If you're not too tall, or care about the weight, this company makes THE bombproof bikes:

http://www.worksman.com/rhcruisers.html
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Old 08-26-07, 08:39 AM   #4
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I bought a trek 800 from craigslist for $125, so far its its been great.

I am also a big boy 350+ (down from 420, thanks to jogging/walking) Being larger you put self doubts in your mind about what people will think, I know the feeling. Who cares? Whats the other option? Get fatter and die? I have found in the past few weeks of my newbie riding experience my aggressive/competitive nature has come out on the bike. I was a D1 college offensive linemen turned fat slob, I miss the ERRRRRR feeling when pain sets in and pushing through it. I started riding 3 miles a day and a few weeks later I am nearing 20 miles per day. You can do it, I have fallen in love with a sport I knew nothing about a month ago. Many thanks to this forum for the advice given over the past weeks.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:03 AM   #5
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Just wanted to chime in - I went to The University of Iowa. :-) I was there from '93-'95 and remember Coralville being underwater in all those floods.

I just bought a Raleigh Passage, which is similar to the Raleigh Venture but is a "hybrid/comfort" bike. Either would probably be good for you - I believe the main difference in the two is the tire size. You could get a little more speed with the Passage due to the tire size. My Passage 3.0 was only $280 new, so you can find a good bike for a good price.

You're lucky to have a lot of flat places to ride. I live in Seattle now -- hills everywhere!! It's a challenge to find long stretches of flatness while I am still getting my endurance up!

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 08-26-07, 09:18 AM   #6
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I appreciate all of the responses so far everyone.

I have been reading a lot about spokes and stuff. The more spokes the better, from what I understand, generally speaking. Do these bikes that you mention (Raleigh Venture, Raleigh Passage, Trek 7200, Trek 800, etc) do these normally come with sufficient tires, or do I need to look in to special tires?

Also, I have also read that steel bikes generally are strong than aluminum, but most of the bikes I have seen online are aluminum. Do I need to be concerned with aluminum? Or do good bikemakers use better aluminum than what I'd find at a Walmart type place?
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Old 08-26-07, 09:23 AM   #7
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It's the quality of the welds on the frame and componentry liike wheelsa on the better bikes.

Walmart bikes are generally assembled by people with minimal training, and it's done poorly, with improper adjustments. The wheels are the cheapest possible on the market and are often factory seconds.

Look at the Specialized Hardrock would be my personal recommendation, or the Workman line if you live in flatlands. Put on slicks if you go with the Specialized, assuming you are going to be riding pavement. bdinger, among others can testify as to the durability and toughness of the Hardrock.
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Old 08-26-07, 11:25 AM   #8
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Hello Glen,

I started at about the same weight as you are 3 months ago. So far I am down 62 pounds (417 to 355 as of yesterday). To me the mountain bike has been very relaxing way to unwind from a hard day. Plus it burns calories.
I have a giant yukon. I have had to upgrade my rear wheel plus my chain. I still run a 32 spoke rim, my wheel builder said he could build a wheel that would hold me up. So far he has been right.

Keep an eye on craigslist for a bike.

Good luck with yor search and your exercise goals.
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Old 08-26-07, 12:33 PM   #9
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I just stopped in here at my local bike shop, everything seemed WAY expensive :-( I know I'm not going to be able to get a quality bike new at Walmart prices, but I won't be able to afford this place. I hope a couple of the other places are cheaper.
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Old 08-26-07, 12:57 PM   #10
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Looks like some decent stuff comes up on the Iowa City Craigslist. Sometimes in smaller cities like that (and like where I live), things stay available for a while. Or if you're willing to drive to Des Moines (and it's still available): http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bik/405574583.html
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Old 08-26-07, 01:08 PM   #11
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Thanks Becky. I just emailed about that bike. What I am wondering is, what do I need to ask, sizewise? I don't even know what I need. Should I go to a bike shop and find out what size I need?
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Old 08-26-07, 02:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Thanks Becky. I just emailed about that bike. What I am wondering is, what do I need to ask, sizewise? I don't even know what I need. Should I go to a bike shop and find out what size I need?
We'll need your height and inseam to give you a good size. Arm length from the shoulders to fingertip as well.

Here's a site with a number of helpful links.
http://www.cptips.com/bkefit.htm
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Old 08-26-07, 03:23 PM   #13
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You came to the right place, bud. I started around 380ish.

My 1st bike was a Trek Navigator 300. It was around $400 with all trimmings. They also had 200 and 100 models which were cheaper. I think the nav 100 was around $200 or $250.

Another thing to consider is a mountain bike. They are good starter bikes for Clydes because they are sturdy and designed for "hard use". Check Craigslist for your area.

You should at least go to a bike shop and try some bikes for test rides and get an idea of the right size for you. A little rule of thumb a bike shop guy told me when I first started was to stand over the bike and you should have about 2-3 inches of gap between the bottom of your crotch and the top tube.
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Old 08-26-07, 05:55 PM   #14
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OK, so that bike that Becky found on Des Moines Craigslist, I emailed, and he emailed me back a short response. This is what I have so far:
BIKE INFO
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Old 08-26-07, 06:01 PM   #15
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I'm not exactly sure what to measure, but I'm about 5'8" tall, I'm not sure what inseam is EXACTLY but from the bottom of my entire "package" to the ground is about 26", and shoulder-fingertip is about 32"
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Old 08-26-07, 06:58 PM   #16
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Have you considered the Iowa City Bike Library, even for just a temporary solution?

To navigate to their info, go to this site, click on "links" in the left nav, and they are under "bike organizations" about half-way down the page.

http://www.bicyclistsofiowacity.org/
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Old 08-27-07, 07:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I'm not exactly sure what to measure, but I'm about 5'8" tall, I'm not sure what inseam is EXACTLY but from the bottom of my entire "package" to the ground is about 26", and shoulder-fingertip is about 32"
Sounds like a 54 CM Frame in a road bike or about a 17 or 18" frame in a Mountain Bike with compact geometry, if I have my conversions right.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:16 AM   #18
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Sounds like a 54 CM Frame in a road bike or about a 17 or 18" frame in a Mountain Bike with compact geometry, if I have my conversions right.
From his height, 54cm sounds like it's in the right range, although if the 26" inseam is correct, might be too big. I'm 5'11" and have measured my inseam at 32". I'm most comfortable on a 56cm road frame, but can ride some 58cm bikes too.

GlennCoco, here's one of many pages that describes how to measure the inseam: http://cherry.dcwi.com/cherry/info/fit_info/inseam.html . Based on the description of the way you measured, which I won't repeat here , I think your inseam may be longer than 26".
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Old 08-27-07, 08:21 AM   #19
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From his height, 54cm sounds like it's in the right range, although if the 26" inseam is correct, might be too big. I'm 5'11" and have measured my inseam at 32". I'm most comfortable on a 56cm road frame, but can ride some 58cm bikes too.

GlennCoco, here's one of many pages that describes how to measure the inseam: http://cherry.dcwi.com/cherry/info/fit_info/inseam.html . Based on the description of the way you measured, which I won't repeat here , I think your inseam may be longer than 26".
I was making allowances for his estimate from his "junk" rather than the Ischium (sit bones).
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Old 08-27-07, 08:45 AM   #20
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I was making allowances for his estimate from his "junk" rather than the Ischium (sit bones).
More specifically, from my anatomy class, the ischial tuberosities!

Perhaps what I'll do is go to a LBS and try a few bikes and see which sizes work best? I hope they will let me do that.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:51 AM   #21
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More specifically, from my anatomy class, the ischial tuberosities!

Perhaps what I'll do is go to a LBS and try a few bikes and see which sizes work best? I hope they will let me do that.
Yep, they will....it's all part of making the sale! I'd really suggest the entry level Hardrock Sport from Specialized, by the way. Just have them put street/commuter tires on it.

The 26" wheels are stronger and while it won't be the fastest bike in the shop, it's pretty versatile and very strong.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:57 AM   #22
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There is only one Specialized dealer in town it looks like, but I will go over when I get out of class and see what they have.
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Old 08-27-07, 09:54 AM   #23
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If you go the mountain bike route, a 18 in frame should be right. The good folks at Raleigh badge that as medium frame. I too am 5'8'' and according to my pants have a 32'' inseam. You can compare your inseam with mine and get a good idea what size frame you need.

If you decide to go the craigslist rout make sure the bike you are buying is the correct size for you. A bike that is too large or too small will effect your ride and comfort. When these two are compromised you will be less likley to enjoy your new hobby. I would recommend buying a new set of tires that can be pumped up to 90 or so PSI.

I personally wish I would have waited to find a good buy on craigslist vrs. what I could afford at the bike shop. Hind sight is always 20/20.The really important kernel of knowledge from this post is this: Buy the bike thats the perfect balance of what you can afford and what you like. Don't let anyone tell you that its a POS, what matters is that you are out doing something you enjoy that is good for you. Plus if you decide that cycling is not for you then you wont be out a thousand dollars. But do upgrade the wheel set.
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Old 08-27-07, 10:05 AM   #24
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I was just wondering, I still don't know what size I need yet, but is this bike a good one for the money? Also, is this a good one for a 400+ fat man!

CRAIGSLIST BIKE
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Old 08-27-07, 10:06 AM   #25
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Or this bike: ANOTHER BIKE
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