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  1. #1
    I'm Gonna Beat This Belly Podster's Avatar
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    Fat Man Needs Help!

    Hi Guys!

    I've never been a small guy but since Christmas things have got waaay outta hand and I'm now topping the scales at a whopping 350lbs!

    I've never been into exercising but I do like to swim & play some racket sport. I've just moved to within a 3 or 4 miles from work and I'm seriously considering becoming a cyclist again after about 18 years out of the saddle, both to help save the planet and to help save my heart!

    I'm obviously very concerned that I don't get on a bike and have my rear wheel buckle under me half way to work on a Monday morning (!) and I'm now a complete novice again at bike buying.

    I'm guessing the frame isn't too much of a concern, but that I do need to focus on getting good wheels? And what's best - mountain bike, road bike (or there's some kind of hybrid nowadays I think?)

    As you can see - I need help!!

    Andy

  2. #2
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    If you are not planning on riding on the road a lot, I would consider a hybrid bike for two reasons. One is the easier riding position to start yourself out with, and two the rims are wider and are usually made to handle more weight or distribute the weight better. A mountain bike wouldn't be bad either, but it really depends upon what your ride to work will really be. If you are going to be on paved bicycle trails or on the street, get a bike with that style of tire. Some of these bikes might also be called a comfort bike.

    I have a Jamis Explorer 2.0 to ride slowly with my wife on bicycle trails, and I have a Jamis Ventura Comp for riding on the road to get a good workout.

    Go to your LBS and see what they have and see what they will do for you.

    Good luck and have fun.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
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    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Most of the bikes you may look at will have parts that you are NOT going to need. At your current weight, the suspension seat post that most of the bikes you will find, and that most LBS's will try and sell you, are junk and not worth the time and effort. They add to much weight for little gain. A QUALITY seatpost would serve you much better. A Thompson Elite would be my choice.

    Your issue that you have voiced here, need to be voiced to your LBS. If they are un-willing to listen, then move to another LBS.

    As a Clyde, you need to find a shop that understands what YOU need and how they can help you. Are they willing to swap out a stronger wheelset, or are they just going to let you out the door with the standard wheel? Are they going to do a proper fit to ensure that you are comfortable on the bike and can ride it the distances that you think you want to go to? Do they have a good in house wheel builder that you can talk with?

    Too many shops will try and sell you an off the rack bike with no upgrades, or if they do upgrade the rims, it will be a machine built MTB or Cross style rim, which may or may not do the job for you.

    Find a shop, ride the all the bikes you can, and then find some more.

    Good Luck!
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  4. #4
    Needing more power Scotty riddei's Avatar
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    I have been in the same boat as you. 3-4 miles from work is a very doable distance, no matter what your condition. I agree that a hybrid is probably the way to go for getting back into shape. For commuting you'll want to add full fenders, and lights. Ask you LBS about upgrading the wheels. You may also want to try the stock wheels, and see how it goes.

    Here is a good discussion regarding "commuter bicycles" with Lots of examples: http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=382000.

    After you've lost some weight, you look for ways to increase your distance to work (just because you can ). I've lost about 30 LBS in six months strictly from eating sensibly and commuting 14 miles round trip. The important thing is to find something you like doing, and do it consistently. For me, it is bicycling.

  5. #5
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Welcome! Congradulation on deciding to rejoin the cycling world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Podster View Post
    I've never been into exercising but I do like to swim & play some racket sport. I've just moved to within a 3 or 4 miles from work and I'm seriously considering becoming a cyclist again after about 18 years out of the saddle, both to help save the planet and to help save my heart!
    I can relate to you about not enjoying "working out". I enjoy raquetball, cycling, hiking, and a few other physical things but you are unlikely to find me on a stair-stepper machine or at an aerobics class. Cycling is a great sport for big guys becasue it is much lower impact on joints than running or other comperable excercise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Podster View Post
    I'm obviously very concerned that I don't get on a bike and have my rear wheel buckle under me half way to work on a Monday morning (!) and I'm now a complete novice again at bike buying.
    This is a valid concern, but I assure you that you can find a bike with components that will support you. Poke around this forum and you can find a wealth of info about wheels for big guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Podster View Post
    I'm guessing the frame isn't too much of a concern, but that I do need to focus on getting good wheels? And what's best - mountain bike, road bike (or there's some kind of hybrid nowadays I think?)
    For short distance fitness, commuting, and utility riding I would highly reccomend you look at "hybrid" bikes. These bikes offer the best mix of components from road bikes and mountain bikes. They generally feature 700c wheels like road bikes but use flat handlebars. They offer a more relaxed geometry and upright ride position. You can get them with all manner of extra components for the style riding you do. I just picked up a Raleigh Detour Deluxe that features disc brakes, dynamo (generator powered) lights, a rack, renders, and an incredibly comfortabl body position. Almost all the major manufacteres produce hybrids so your best bet is to go to some local bike shops and talk to them about what brands/models they sell. A mountain bike can be great if you ride off road, or if the roads you ride are in terrible shape, but the fat tires and more aggressive body position of many mountain bikes makes them less than ideal for riding on pavement. Road bikes are fast and sporty and great for covering distances but they often sacrifice comfort for aerodynamics. In my humble oppinion, you can't lose with a hybrid for paved around town riding.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Senior Member bfromcolo's Avatar
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    You might consider an older steel mountain bike. Mid - late 80's steel mountain bikes with rigid front forks make excellent commuters and are very rugged. Stick with brand you recognize, Specialized, Trek, etc. Make sure the rear wheel has 36 spokes. $50 on Craigslist would get you a workable bike in my part of the country. Add some street tires if your commute will be all paved. That's cheap enough and after some miles you will have a better idea what you like or don't like about the bike, and maybe a feel for if you are going to stick with riding.

    Good luck
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  7. #7
    Bikezilla Mazama's Avatar
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    Welcome! I am near your weight range. I rode a Trek 7200 comfort bike nearly 8,000 miles over the past two years. I have since gotten a new bike, but that one held up nicely with only a few minor issues.
    14,000 miles and rolling...

  8. #8
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hi Podster, everyone's already given you some great advice to mull over, so I'll just say Welcome to BikeForums, welcome to C/A, don't be shy about posting, and GOOD LUCK .

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  9. #9
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    I would suggest looking at a touring bike. They are built to carry a rider plus his personal effects and camping gear, and so can carry a load.

    I prefer road bike bars over flat bars, simply because of the multiple hand positions available. Have the LBS swap out the stem with one that puts the top of the bars even with or maybe slightly higher than the saddle, and the position will be very comfortable.

    I'm about 265 lbs now, down from 360 a few years ago. I started back in cycling with a mountain bike with flat bars, and had issues with hand numbness. I decided to go with a road bike for that reason. Here's a picture of my Surly Long haul Trucker set up as a pure road bike. Mine currently has 700c x 28 tires on it, instead of the normal 700c x 35's. I really love this bike.
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  10. #10
    I'm Gonna Beat This Belly Podster's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Thanks! You guys are great!!

    I probably shoulda said earlier that I'm from dark and windy England and we just don't seem to have the same access to the great equipment that you guys have in the States. There's virtually nothing on e-bay and the people I'vespoken to have never heard of Specialized and when I mentioned Giant I got that look that says "We can do it, but that's gonna cost you buddy"

    I've found a shop who will sell me a 2007 Kona Hoss, but they want 800 (that's $1,600) for the privellage and that's off the shelf without any upgrades. As one of you said, that's a lotta money and requires a big leap of faith!

    I hear what you're saying that any decent frame will do as long as the wheels, seat post and stuff are upgraqded to a decent standard, but since this is the first bike I've bought this century I just don't have the confidence in what I'm doing!!

    What kind of $ should I be expecting to pay? Is $1,600 for a Kona about right?

    Andy

  11. #11
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    I thought I remember someone form England posting about a bike program that the govt was sponsoring over there. Get a bike for a minor price. Might look into that. I'll look for the post.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix (for sale)
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  12. #12
    I'm Gonna Beat This Belly Podster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
    I thought I remember someone form England posting about a bike program that the govt was sponsoring over there. Get a bike for a minor price. Might look into that. I'll look for the post.

    Hi There! Thanks for that, and you're absolutely right! It's called the cycle2work scheme and it's up to individual employers to sign up to it. They then buy you a bike and you lease it off them for a couple of years and then buy it for pence (I mean cents).

    Trouble is I've been waiting since last July for my employer to put all the paperwork through and I feel right now as if it's never gonna happen. Of course, there's every chance that 2 weeks after I get a bike it will all go through but hey, 2 bikes is better than 1 right?!

  13. #13
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    your right. Good thing you new about it as I had no luck in finding it. I know you said the bike brands are not as big over there, but based on your location, I would try and ride as many different bikes as I could even if that meant taking a ride to another town. I did when I was looking for a new bike and I wanted to check into a specific brand that no one locally carried.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix (for sale)
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  14. #14
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
    I thought I remember someone form England posting about a bike program that the govt was sponsoring over there. Get a bike for a minor price. Might look into that. I'll look for the post.
    I think that was me, well I know I posted about it, but think you mean me.

    I also just replied with it in your other thread, I should have read this first.

  15. #15
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Podster,
    Last year I changed from a Giant Boulder (MTB from 2000) for a 2007 Ridgeback velocity (Hybrid) and the difference is very noticable.
    The Hybrid is easier to ride, making my commute more enjoyable. The font suspension (which you couldn't lock) and the knobbly tyres of the Giant used to sap my strength on the hills. I didn't realise it really until I swapped bikes. I'm much happier on a rigid front fork on the road, and the more comfortable riding position and mudguards and panniers make my ride to work really pleasant.

    If you're not going to be going off road, I'd recomment trying out a bike with a rigid fork.

    If you're going to be riding mostly on the road I'd go for a hybrid or a touring bike.

  16. #16
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    I just noticed this: http://kentuckybicycling.com/2008-commuting-bikes/
    It seems they're US bikes but might be interesting.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rykard's Avatar
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    There are a fair number of hybrids available, go to Evans cycles web site and have a look. Specialized Sirrus always gets good reviews, Kona Dr Dew there are a lot on there. Then see what dealers are local. A rigid MTB may be an option, I ride an old 2000 Scott with panniers which is pretty good. I seem to remember there was a good bike store just along the coast from you, nearer Poole, but that was a few years ago.
    Cheers,
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  18. #18
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    I outweigh you by a bit, and I have a Raleigh (which I believe is a UK brand - so more likely to be available there?) comfort bike, which cost about $400. I did have to replace the rear wheel with a stronger rim (another $100-$150 or so), because I kept popping spokes on the stock wheel. If your roads aren't perfectly smooth with no bumps or potholes, I strongly recommend upgrading the rim on your rear wheel, and being sure the spokes are properly trued and tensioned to avoid problems and headaches down the road.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  19. #19
    I'm Gonna Beat This Belly Podster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
    Podster,
    Last year I changed from a Giant Boulder (MTB from 2000) for a 2007 Ridgeback velocity (Hybrid) and the difference is very noticable. The Hybrid is easier to ride, making my commute more enjoyable. .
    Cheers Steve - this seems to be the general concensus of opinion. I guess it's just a confidence thing. Those hybrids look kinda skinny compared to a mountain bike which looks pretty much indestructible!!

  20. #20
    I'm Gonna Beat This Belly Podster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyW View Post
    I outweigh you by a bit, and I have a Raleigh (which I believe is a UK brand - so more likely to be available there?) comfort bike, which cost about $400. I did have to replace the rear wheel with a stronger rim (another $100-$150 or so), because I kept popping spokes on the stock wheel. If your roads aren't perfectly smooth with no bumps or potholes, I strongly recommend upgrading the rim on your rear wheel, and being sure the spokes are properly trued and tensioned to avoid problems and headaches down the road.
    Cheers Becky!

    I'd never have even considered Raleigh. That was the make of my first bike when I was about 12 and it was pretty much made out of pipe cleaners!! But I'll take a closer look...

  21. #21
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Does the UK have an equivalent of Craig's List?

    Since you are not sure the level of commitment to this activity, I would seek a good used bike. I bought my last five bikes used. But here in the US, Craig's List has created a ready access to good used bikes. I have also bought two pretty nice bikes at thrift shops. Do you have those?

    The great thing about used is that you can get in and out of this activity with little damage, and you can move up to a nicer/different bike again with little damage.
    Last edited by wrk101; 02-09-08 at 07:36 AM. Reason: typo

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Podster View Post
    Thanks! You guys are great!!

    I probably shoulda said earlier that I'm from dark and windy England and we just don't seem to have the same access to the great equipment that you guys have in the States. There's virtually nothing on e-bay and the people I'vespoken to have never heard of Specialized and when I mentioned Giant I got that look that says "We can do it, but that's gonna cost you buddy"

    I've found a shop who will sell me a 2007 Kona Hoss, but they want 800 (that's $1,600) for the privellage and that's off the shelf without any upgrades. As one of you said, that's a lotta money and requires a big leap of faith!

    I hear what you're saying that any decent frame will do as long as the wheels, seat post and stuff are upgraqded to a decent standard, but since this is the first bike I've bought this century I just don't have the confidence in what I'm doing!!

    What kind of $ should I be expecting to pay? Is $1,600 for a Kona about right?

    Andy
    Hi Andy,

    Boy do I understand your situation!. I woke up one morning realizing that at 295lbs is was seriously jeopardizing my chance for a long and happy life. I started out rediscovering biking on my daughter's MTB. I started biking 5 miles to work once a week, then twice and so on. Once I knew I had been bitten by the bike bug, I bought a sturdy 24-speed hybrid. I now own a couple of bikes and rode 4,300 miles in 2007. I shed 100 lbs in the process. I accomplished this by combining exercice and a high-protein, low-calorie diet. I lost the weight in three waves. First, going from 295 to 265 lbs, then 275 to 235 lbs, and finally 245 to 195 lbs. My weight has now stabilized at 205-210 lbs and 20% body fat.

    In terms of bike choices, you may want to look at something like a Gazelle Medeo. Gazelle are a Dutch manufacturer, and their bikes are available in the UK (http://www.gazelle.nl/uk.html). The Medeo is a very stable and sturdy hybrid. My girlfriend and I loved them so much that we brought two of them back to Canada with us on our last Bike & Boat Vacation trip to Amsterdam.

    Welcome aboard the cycling wagon and remember, start slow, figure out a pace that suits you and persevere. The weight loss has to be taken one pound at a time and intermediate goals (30-40 lbs worked best for me) help make the journey more pleasant. When you reach an intermediate goal, take a break and let your body get used to the new balance.

    Ron in Canada

  23. #23
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
    If you're not going to be going off road, I'd recomment trying out a bike with a rigid fork.
    + 1 million on this. I got rid of my suspension fork on my hybrid and it was the best thing I did.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix (for sale)
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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  25. #25
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    Podster, If you have a moment, check out "The Bike Show" on Resonnance FM (out of London)...
    Good podcast available on itunes also (thats where i get mine.)...
    They could probably steer you in the right direction with some local info!
    -TJ from York (PA, USA)

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