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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 01-29-08, 09:10 AM   #1
Sfy03
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Advice and Encouragement!

Hello Fellas,
I havent posted on here in awhile, in fact, i havent read on here in awhile -- im actually a newbie to the whole cycling lifestyle! But back in late October early November i bought a Specialized Hardrock Pro Disc with all the bells and whistles! I rode the bike literally 1 time and said to myself "i will ride it again when i get a new saddle and riding shorts" -- well im an expert on Procrastination and Exercise is at the top of the list of my to-do-procrastination! Anyways, im here for 3 things:

#1) Advice on to-do's and not-to-do's for beginner cyclist
#2) Advice on good riding shorts - and saddles (my eyes are set on Brooks)
#3) ENCOURAGEMENT

-- Im getting married in just about 3 months (May 10th) and want to drop from my 350+ lbs. down to something more pleasant! Im not expecting to lose 100 pds. in 3 months time (although i know it is possible..some may argue not healthy, but its possible) but i need encouragement to get out and cycle more on my lunch breaks at work, and to wake up early in the morning and hit the gym!

Reading some of the stories what you guys have done, excites me tremendously -- and to see the encouragment you guys give so freely to each other, has made me want to be apart of this "family" so intensely! Help me out fellas -
Thanks in Advance

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Colin J.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:41 AM   #2
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Colin, do you have the option to commute to work? If so, that is a great way to get miles in on a regular basis. I started doing it in August (9 miles each way) and I have found it really takes no more time than driving. I commute into Boston, so traffic is a factor for me. We also have showers at work, so this is a great option for me. Commuting also saves me $10/day in parking + gas money. Another plus is that I get my work out in without taking any time away from my family. As a father of 4 that one is huge for me.

I was about your size when I started and I have lost about 20 to 25 pounds so far with this approach and I have NOT changed my eating habits at all. That is the next step for me.

The big thing to focus on is to just do it. Riding is fun and it will make you feel better about yourself and give you extra energy for the day. Cycling is addictive if you give it the chance. I know that I really miss it now if I am off my bike for more than a few days. I was unable to commute for over a month from mid December until mid January due to weather and it was driving me crazy.

If you start to think about it too much your procrastination instincts will kick in and you will be sitting in a car instead of improving you life.

Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming marriage.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:55 AM   #3
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Yes, try to do commuting on the bike if you can. It possibly takes a bit more time, but saves petrol and it's healthier. If you can't do that, well, stop by every once in a while, and we will tell you to get up and get out there!

Oh, and are there any photos?

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Old 01-29-08, 10:05 AM   #4
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#1) Advice on to-do's and not-to-do's for beginner cyclist
Do:
- remember to stretch before and after riding. Doesn't have to be a yoga workout, but at least 5-10 minutes to keep from getting hurt during, or tightening up after.
- Ride where you're comfortable. Low traffic side streets, bike path, etc. Don't go play in downtown traffic to get started out.
- Have your bike adjusted accordingly for you. Seat and bar height are important for your comfort.
- Have a reward system. Sure, riding is its own reward; but if it's exercise you're after, have a reward for sticking to your schedule.

Do Not:
- Start out too hard. You'll hurt the next few days and not want to go back out.
- Get discouraged. Sure there's other people of similar stature who ride farther than you, but everyone starts someplace.
- Slack off. Set a schedule for riding, and stick to it. (See "reward system" above.) I'm a freak for Cheetos. If I don't work out at least 3 days during the week, I don't get to have Cheetos on the weekend.

#2) Advice on good riding shorts - and saddles (my eyes are set on Brooks)

I like my Performance Century Gel bibs. For your size, I'm gonna say go with bibs. They're more comfortable because you don't have to worry about waistband roll-down. Even though I've lost quite a bit of my beer gut, I still have problems with regular shorts rolling down at the waist, and I don't want to get "plumber butt" when I'm leaned over in the drops. With bibs, there's no worry of either.
Aerotech Designs makes good cycling clothes for us big riders. I can't think of another company who offers a 5X bike short for a 56" waistline.

Brooks saddles... Touchy subject on any forum. You either love them, or you hate them. There's no in between, from what I've seen. I love mine. I have probably close to 2000 miles or more on it, and it took me very little time to break it in. Maybe 60-70 miles before it was showing some break-in at the contact points.
Here's the key things with a Brooks:
- Don't over-treat or mis-treat the leather. A coat or two for consecutive days, top and bottom of the leather right when you get it. Let it soak into the bottom, let it air dry/soak in on the top and buff to a high shine with a polishing cloth. After that, you don't need to do anything to it for probably 3 more months. Re-treat it about once a quarter to keep the leather water resistant and supple. It's going to be hard for a while, until your butt breaks it in. Don't try to force it. And for the love of everything holy, don't put anything except Proofide or your arse on it! No soaking it in Neatsfoot oil, used weed eater oil, 20W-50 heavy duty truck oil, dog slobber, slug slime, or anything else that people tell you to treat it with. Put Proofide on it. Put your butt on it. Start riding. End of discussion.
- Getting the adjustment right may take some time. Leather saddles cradle your behind differently than hard-shell padded saddles. You'll have to fiddle around with the adjustments over your first few rides to get it right.
- Get the right width. Measure your sit bone distance, and buy the appropriate saddle. Just because we're big guys doesn't mean we need a wide saddle. It's all about the width of the supporting bone structure, not what's covering it up.

#3) ENCOURAGEMENT

Go ride! Have fun with it. Welcome to the crew.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:12 AM   #5
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Kudos on the commuting if possible. I have commuted on a bike for 5 years now. It will help motivate you into doing other forms of exercise.

Since you are a father have you thought about going out and exercising as a family together in some form. Maybe everyone going for a half-hour to hour bike ride daily? Or walking for the same length of time? Doing this together will help motivate you and also teach your kids important lessons on exercise.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:25 AM   #6
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Just absolutely make yourself follow a routine for three weeks.

After that, your fitness level will increase and you will begin to enjoy exercising.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:29 AM   #7
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Thank you sooo much for the quick replys! I really appreciate it!

Commuting: As far as commuting goes, it is nearly impossible -- where as the age ol' tale goes "where there is a will there is a way" - it is possible -- but certainly not reasonable! I live 25 miles from work (30 min. drive) so i really cant commute to work --- HOWEVER -- we have a 13 mile + bike trail that runs right in front of my workplace, so it is possible to hit the trail on lunch breaks (or now that im just thinking about it, getting to work an hour early to hit the trail before work)! We have showers on site, so i can take a shower if needed!

Photos: I will get some definitely! I want to start a blog like some already have to keep an update of my progress -- pictures are inspiring once you see your work pay off!

CliftonGK1 : Thank you for all of your input -- i am really considering a brooks saddle -- but how do i go about "measuring my sit bone distance"?? And then using that to pick the appropriate saddle?? i have aerotech designs website saved in my favorites - i read someone's post awhile back and saved them, glad you are recommending them, i will have to check it out!
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Old 01-29-08, 10:37 AM   #8
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Shops that deal in Specialized saddles should have their Butt-o-meter measuring system. So ask around at your local shops and see if they can measure it for you.

Other than that, cut about 5 squares of corrugated cardboard big enough to sit on. Stack 'em up on a hard chair or bench, and park your behind on the stack for about 10 minutes. The deepest dents in the cardboard will be from your sit bones. Measure center-to-center on those marks.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sfy03 View Post
Thank you sooo much for the quick replys! I really appreciate it!

Commuting: As far as commuting goes, it is nearly impossible -- where as the age ol' tale goes "where there is a will there is a way" - it is possible -- but certainly not reasonable! I live 25 miles from work (30 min. drive) so i really cant commute to work --- HOWEVER -- we have a 13 mile + bike trail that runs right in front of my workplace, so it is possible to hit the trail on lunch breaks (or now that im just thinking about it, getting to work an hour early to hit the trail before work)! We have showers on site, so i can take a shower if needed!

Photos: I will get some definitely! I want to start a blog like some already have to keep an update of my progress -- pictures are inspiring once you see your work pay off!

CliftonGK1 : Thank you for all of your input -- i am really considering a brooks saddle -- but how do i go about "measuring my sit bone distance"?? And then using that to pick the appropriate saddle?? i have aerotech designs website saved in my favorites - i read someone's post awhile back and saved them, glad you are recommending them, i will have to check it out!
Park at the trailhead and commute in, or if you have an intermodal option, look into that. I ride from my house to the subway and then avoid downtown hassles that way.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:08 AM   #10
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Yes, try to do commuting on the bike if you can.
+100

Even if your commute is short like mine (3 1/2 miles each way), it has built up my athleticism and energy level tremendously even if I didn't lose weight from the commute itself.


Another recommendation if you haven't already is try your hardest to find riding partners. When I first started I did not have motivation to ride by myself very much. I'd be lucky to do a 5 mile ride. The first time I rode with friends we did about 20 miles (and it didn't seem any harder). Riding with people to chat with makes the time go much quicker and pleasantly. You can do solo rides once you are more into the riding lifestyle.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:10 AM   #11
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If you sit close to bolt upright, look at the Brooks B67.

Add a couple miles each time you ride. But plan on having an easy week once a month, and don't expect constant improvement.

If you start taking longer rides, a heart rate monitor can help track and guide your progress.

Lastly, set a goal. An impossible one is better. Several years ago, massively out of shape; I decided to ride my bike across Italy. A couple years ago I did.

You will face many problems, deal with them patiently, they are friends in disguise.
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Old 01-29-08, 01:53 PM   #12
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Welcome & congrats on your upcoming wedding. I just started cycling 9 months ago. What I learned is to just get out and do it! Consistency is the key and is quite liberating. It has become a lifestyle change where I know how much training I want to do in a given time frame to meet the goals that I have set. So, if I just happen to be a little short one week because I was sick or something I have 10 other weeks before and after that week where I was faithful. I guess it's more of a long term lifestyle mentality than just looking at today or even this week. I'm actually not even all that concerned about my weight any more. That will take care of itself.

Also, realize, even when I am training well, there are days that I'm just not feeling it. I get very competitive with myself and keep stats on all my rides (may be motivating for you if you are that kind of person) and I race myself and try to show improvement on power, speed and fitness level. However, there are days I ride where I think I must have been doping on the previous ride . Don't know how I went that hard. But sure enough, a week later, I'll set a new personal best. So don't get discouraged if there are times when it doesn't seem like you are improving. If you keep at it you will.

Hmmm...not very profound. But that's me

Good luck & have fun!
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Old 01-29-08, 05:12 PM   #13
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Bicycles tend to be very efficient so you will not burn many calories per mile. Stay away from energy drinks and bars, I doubt you will burn enough calories to overcome Gatorade.

Look for a hilly area. Beware of traffic, make sure your brakes work, read some of the rider safety posts.

Brooks saddle can have a long break in period.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:57 PM   #14
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+1 On the heart rate monitor, Once you learn how to use it and stay in the correct zone you will be amazed how easy it can be, Goodluck
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Old 01-30-08, 12:21 AM   #15
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Bicycles tend to be very efficient so you will not burn many calories per mile. Stay away from energy drinks and bars, I doubt you will burn enough calories to overcome Gatorade.
That's very good advice. And it brings up the idea that exercising doesn't help much with weight loss. It's great for your health, and it'll make you look better and feel better. But if you want to lose weight, you basically have to eat less. If you use exercise as an excuse to eat more, you'll gain weight. "Fit & Fat."
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Old 01-30-08, 10:27 AM   #16
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That's very good advice. And it brings up the idea that exercising doesn't help much with weight loss. It's great for your health, and it'll make you look better and feel better. But if you want to lose weight, you basically have to eat less. If you use exercise as an excuse to eat more, you'll gain weight. "Fit & Fat."
Losing weight is simple math, I have posted this before:

I-O=W

Where I = is calories In, O = calories Out, W is weight change expressed in calories (3500 =1lb, 7500 = 1kg).

I have a theory, maybe someone with a medical background can comment, the body needs a certain level of various nutrients, which it gets mostly through diet, but if the diet is deficient in those nutrients, the body will signal the brain, that it needs more food, to try to get those nutrients. The American diet is deficient in some nutrients, but is high in calories, and that has a lot more to do with why so many Americans are over weight.
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Old 01-30-08, 10:35 AM   #17
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That's very good advice. And it brings up the idea that exercising doesn't help much with weight loss. It's great for your health, and it'll make you look better and feel better. But if you want to lose weight, you basically have to eat less. If you use exercise as an excuse to eat more, you'll gain weight. "Fit & Fat."
Ummm...hmmm....

I disagree with some of this. Exercise burns calories. Generally, if you burn more calories than you eat you lose weight (unless, maybe you are adding muscle mass while losing fat for a period of time). Also, if you are going on rides longer than two hours or so you had better take some calories along for the ride (I like Cytomax bananas and fig bars) or you will bonk on your ride and won't feel very good . I have found that 200-250 calories an hour works fairly well for me on rides longer than 2 hours. Maybe a little more on century or longer rides although I don't really have the long distance stuff totally dialed in (I ususally don't eat enough). YMMV

I think a better way to state this is that you need to manage your calorie intake appropriately based on your exercise level and nutritional needs. I eat more calories on training days than I do on off days. Just because there is a need after intense or long training to have some sort of recovery nutrition and on bike nutrition on longer rides. If I don't have some sort of recovery nutrition I will get ravenously hungry the rest of the day and will tend to over eat. Again YMMV.

I do agree, however, that if you use exercise as an excuse to eat more, weight loss success will be slowed down or stopped (been there ). Generally, if you exercise mostly in an aerobic zone and don't build a ton of muscle mass if you eat about 3500 calories less than you burn (over time) you will lose one pound. The trick is to try to get an accurate as possible count of calories consumed and expended. That takes a little work and a little estimating. Most programs that count calories over estimate the number of calories burned for exercise. Although I have had some under calculate as well when they are based on time and average speed if I am doing a lot of hill climbing.

I also agree exercise makes you look and feel healthier. I feel great. And now it isn't about losing weight. It's about being healthy. The weight will take care of itself over time. So my goal now isn't necessarily to get down to a certain weight it's to acheive certain fitness or performance goals.
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Old 01-30-08, 10:41 AM   #18
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That's very good advice. And it brings up the idea that exercising doesn't help much with weight loss. It's great for your health, and it'll make you look better and feel better. But if you want to lose weight, you basically have to eat less. If you use exercise as an excuse to eat more, you'll gain weight. "Fit & Fat."
Right and wrong. Little bit of both.

For both exercise and eating, it has as much to do with the quality as it does with the quantity. My old commute was 7.5 miles one-way with ~250' of total gain. 6.5 miles of it was dead flat. My new commute is 10.75 miles one-way with ~600' of total gain. Rolling terrain and a couple of 0.5 - 0.75 mile long 9% - 11% climbs. While my distance increase was 43%, I'm burning more than 43% more calories because of the difficulty of the route.
Similar situation with food. A calorie is a calorie, but look at the overall composition of your food. You can eat a lot more fish and green veggies than you can steak and white potatoes for the same caloric intake. Also, consider how you eat. It takes ~15 minutes for your brain to realize you should stop eating. If you snarf down a giant bucket of high calorie food in under 20 minutes, your brain doesn't catch up for a while, and then you feel "stuffed". Slow down and enjoy your food, and you'll be able to better gauge when it's time to stop. Either that, or measure your portions with a kitchen scale. It's kind of a pain in the butt, but it works. Combined with an HRM that measures caloric expenditure, you can determine how many calories you burn in a day, and how many calories you put in yourself. Aim for a 500 calorie daily deficit and you'll lose a pound a week.
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Old 01-31-08, 10:56 PM   #19
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Another recommendation if you haven't already is try your hardest to find riding partners. When I first started I did not have motivation to ride by myself very much. I'd be lucky to do a 5 mile ride. The first time I rode with friends we did about 20 miles (and it didn't seem any harder). Riding with people to chat with makes the time go much quicker and pleasantly. You can do solo rides once you are more into the riding lifestyle.
Yes, if you can, find people to ride with. However, I must warn you cycling friendships can take you places you'd never go otherwise. As an example, let me tell you a story about two cyclists named Neil. They met for a casual ride, and one said he wanted to complete a half-century by the end of the summer. The other said, "why not today?" So they tried, and while they didn't get their 50 miles in, they did manage it the following week. They're now planning for a week long ride between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.....
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Old 02-01-08, 04:50 AM   #20
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Welcome to Clyde club.
+1 on the stretching before and after each ride.

Make yourself get out there and do it even when you don't want to. The hardest part of your ride is getting out of the driveway. Once you are out there you will have fun.

I use the Aerotech padded (chamois) shorts. I weigh about as much as you and have had nice success with my Brooks B67 (sprung) saddle. I have had it about a year and 4,000 miles now. It has not sagged.

Best of luck. Have fun with your new toy.
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Old 02-01-08, 10:52 AM   #21
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Try using Fitday. It is an online exercise and food journal for FREE. I lost 60 lbs starting form 350 using Fitday and riding/running. Now, six months later I am running the Surf City half marathon this weekend.
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