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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 04-03-08, 01:08 PM   #26
Join Date: Apr 2008
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townie for outside

Hi jodi,
This is my first day on bike forum. y son took away my much belmoved Schwinn LeTour about 5 years ago. Just as well as a neck injury just prior to that made it impossible to ride. No RA, but have had two knee surgeries and have to say that my Townie Electra 21 has put me bike on a bike...oh joy!

Checked out recumbants but was not happy with lack of neck support and strain on neck to hold it in what was a bad position for me. Also, live in a heavily congested area. Wanted to be above the muffler line and anticipated that the same kids that ran into my car would have no problem with running over me on a recumbant.

Have permanent damage on back of kneecap and find that even in gentle neighborhood riding am using my gears. The bike runs so smooth. Have only read one review with negative comment.

I prefer the hand breaks as I did not want to have to rely on crunching down on my knee on a coaster brake for a hard emergency stop. Am very careful to stop before I put my foot on the ground so there is no forward motion left on the bike for my knee to absorb. Was dealing with weak left wrist at time of purchase (from neck), but still preferred the hand brakes.

Purchased the men's style. I have heard that a man's frame style is stronger since the cross bar is higher. Also, it is easier to load on a bicycle rack. From my perspective, it is easier to lift the leg back over the seat then it is to tuck the knee in and up to clear the ladies low bar from the front. My bike was an experiment with the thought that my husband would be able to ride it too and I could get something else if it did not work out.

He loves it and doesn't want any other kind. We are looking at the townie 8 as the next bike for the family. The little bit of extra weight should be a nice trade off for less maintenance. I cannot stress enough how much this bike means to me.

I lived on my bike as a kid and my Schwinn LeTour had to be amputated from me; when I first got it, I rode through hilly East Texas with one child in the carrier and the other on the seat with me pumping away, what a sight! It is so nice to be riding again and to have the opportunity to vary my exercise routine with another option.

For you commuters out there who have not suffered impairments, the switch to sitting upright that is necessary for me will initially feel strange to you. You lose the ability to redistribute your weight and stretch out in a variety of ways on a long ride.

It also feels a little weird to have so much of the weight distributed to the bike of the bicycle. I don't ever see riding this bike "no hands" because there is really so little weight to the front of the bike. It also is not the type of bike that is easy to get off of and guide down a crowded sidewalk. Although the Electra would be very comfortable, if I was an injury free 54 year old female using my bike for commuting, I would go with something more traditional than a flat foot bike.

It just won't be as easy to carry upstairs to your office or to walk down the street with it if you need to, much less load it on a bus. For myself and many others though, it makes biking accessible. Good luck, Jodi. Don't wait to get your bike. You should be able to enjoy it. If not, the resale market is good and you will not lose all of your investment.

Almost forgot; noticed some electric bike comments. We have a pair of velosolexes. a motor assisted bicycle. What a kick to ride. We had our first set about 25 years ago and took them everywhere. The motor clamps down on the front tire and can be lifted and turned off for non-motorized areas.

Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 04-03-08 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 04-03-08, 03:02 PM   #27
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whoops, typos

Sorry about my previous typos, most importantly that your body weight on a Townie Electra is primarily distributed to the back of the bike.
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Old 04-03-08, 05:15 PM   #28
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I edited in some paragraph breaks for you. It makes it a tad easier to read.

Welcome to the forum, 7!
. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant
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Old 04-07-08, 06:59 AM   #29
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Bikes: Proteus stationary recumbent, considering Electra Townie purchase
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Hi a7yrstitch,
Thank you for your response.

That is great you you and your husband like the Townie and are even considering getting another one. I will be interested to hear your opinions on the difference between the 8 and 21 speed bikes if you do.

You have made a few interesting points. I never really thought about the weight distribution on the bike before. However, I believe that I have always tried to be relatively upright when riding.
Your points about the coaster brake also make sense. I know that I used to love the coaster brake on the bike I had as a child, however, I do remember having to apply it quite hard at times, and I did not have RA back then. So, I now think that I would be better off with the hand brakes.

The men's style Townies do look good....but I may want the option of putting a leg through instead of over. If the ladies version is not quite as stong of a design, I hope that it would still be strong enough for my weight.

Speaking of weight. I have been to Weight Watchers for 1 week now and I lost 2.3kg (5lb). I am very pleased with that, but I know not to expect such losses in future weeks.

One more question regarding the weight distribution, if you are putting most of your weight down on the seat, does this give you a sore behind?

Thanks for the advice regarding not waiting....but I will be getting the bike for a combination Mother's Day and birthday present. Mother's Day in Australia is in May and my birthday is in June. So, I don't have long to wait....and based on my previous weight loss attempts, at about that time I will need a boost to keep going on the weight loss program. That seems to be about the time I give up....and I want to make this time different. I can't wait to get the bike, but I feel that it will feel like a reward if I wait and will also provide me with renewed enthusiasm.

I am a bit interested in adding electric motor, but not sure. There is a place in Australia (in a different state) that sells the Townie 7 speed with an electric motor already installed, but the cost is quite high. I am not sure that the electric motor could be added to the 8 speed model with internal hub? But I do think that it could be added to the 21 speed model? So, depending on which bike I go with, I could add it later on.

There are really 5 bikes that I am still considering.
8 speed Electra Townie with internal hub (seems practical)
8 speed Electra Townie with internal hub and balloon tyres (love the look of the fat white tyres)
21 speed Electra Townie (seems practical and has more gear options)
21 speed Electra Townie 700C tyres (seems practical, more gear options, but are the tyres right for me?)
8 speed Electra Amsterdam 700C tyres (same internal hub as 8 speed Townie and great looking bike, wondering if I could still put my feet down on this model)

I am still not sure which would be the best option for me. Less maintenance with an internal hub sounds appealing, but then perhaps it would also take longer for a bike shop to fix if anything went wrong? Small and wide tyres might make me feel more stable and confident than the 700C tyres? But then the 700C tyres would allow me to go faster, not that I would need that. Decisions, decisions.

Thanks again,
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Old 04-07-08, 07:40 AM   #30
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I have a Sun EZ-3 AX delta trike. It has lots of gears (27, with about the range of a mountain bike), disc brakes, and the seat is high enough that it's almost like getting in and out of a car, rather than a go-kart, like most tadpole trikes

It's rather heavy, though, and that's something to consider. It's also rather expensive...
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Old 05-16-10, 06:52 AM   #31
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Okay, I am new to this forum. I have read this whole thread and I am dying to know which Townie you decided on.
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Old 05-16-10, 11:04 AM   #32
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Hi Jodi and welcome! You seem to be getting a lot of really good advice. I'm an Athena too (my highest weight was in the 220's). When I started, I looked at the Townie's as well. It had been 25 years since I had been on a bike and the ability to put my feet on the ground sounded really good! The bike shop staff persuaded me that the Townie wouldn't be the best option if I wanted to do fitness type riding. Whether they were right on that point or not, I'm glad I went with a hybrid bike. I commuted 2 miles a day on that bike for more than a year. Then I bought a road bike!

What you'll find is that as you get stronger and just ride, your 'bike handling skills' will improve greatly. The advice 2manybikes gave you regarding dismounting is right on...

Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
Put one foot (I do the left) at the bottom of the stroke. Put your weight on that leg and stand on the pedal. That gets you off the seat. move forward off the seat. Then as you stop lower yourself in front of the seat so you can reach the ground with the other foot. Lean slighty to the free hanging foot side and touch the ground.
You may find it hard to do right now, but pretty soon you'll have it down. When I started with my hybrid, I had my seat low enough that I could touch the ground while still on the seat. Having the seat that low can be hard on the knees but having the lower gears was a big help. As I got more comfortable, I raised the seat little by little until the little dismount move is now second nature.

If you have the money to spare, by all means go for the Townie. But if you need to be a bit more 'fiscally conservative', I would definitely give yourself some time with the ol' mountain bike. As you get stronger, what you want from a bike is VERY likely to change! The most important part is to just ride and have fun!

Again, welcome aboard!
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Old 05-16-10, 05:10 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Nola_Gal View Post

You may find it hard to do right now, but pretty soon you'll have it down. When I started with my hybrid, I had my seat low enough that I could touch the ground while still on the seat. Having the seat that low can be hard on the knees but having the lower gears was a big help. As I got more comfortable, I raised the seat little by little until the little dismount move is now second nature.
This is also a very good plan. I know a lot of people who did this and it worked great.
The local bike shop (LBS) suggests this to customers once in a while.
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