Newbie with rheumatoid arthritis
I have made a couple of posts in the family and recreation section but this is my first post in this section. I just want to say 'Hi' and introduce myself. I know that I am going to need support and encouragement.
I live in Australia, are female, 33yo, 5' 5", are very overweight (113.5kg or 250lbs) and have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I got the RA at 20yo when I was 60kg (or 132lbs). The RA has been severe in my knees and ankles and is also in many other joints, however, only in my hands for the past year. However, recently I have been able to qualify for a medication that now enables far less pain and swelling. I now feel that I could actually ride a bike again. However, now I am almost twice the weight I was prior to getting RA and my muscles have gone and joints are weak. I was never really fit but could ride a single speed bike 4km to town, have a break, then ride the 4km home. My aim is to lose weight and to be able to do much the same again. I want to be able to ride for leisure again, but realize that to get there it's going to be hard work.
I have started riding the exercise bike at home. It has the pedals out in front, like a semi-recumbrant bike. I have started doing 15 minutes on the easy setting and that is enough for my legs with no muscles. Over the next couple of months, I want to increase this until I am riding for 30 minutes. Then I will step up some of the ride to the second setting (more resistance).
I have my mind set on an Electra Townie, ladies bike. I am not certain exactly which one, but I am leaning towards the 8 speed balloon model, if not, maybe the 8 speed or 3 speed.
I thought that the 3 speed might be good with using feet for brakes since my single speed (years ago) had foot breaks and I liked them. I have a mountain bike in the garage that I got just prior to getting RA. I think that it is wrong for me. I want to be able to have my feet on the ground when I stop since I have RA and weak knees. Getting back to the 3 speed Townie though, I wonder if that will be enough gears since I might need easy pedalling. The area is not overly hilly, but small slopes can seem like mountains to my weak legs. So, I feel that the 8 speed might be better, but then it has hand breaks and I have had arthritis in my hands for the past year which can make it hard to squeeze.
The 8 speed balloon has Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks while the 8 speed (not balloon model) has "V" Type Breaks. It sounds like the Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks would be better? Would they be easier on my hands?
Anyway, it will be a couple of months before I get a bike, in the mean-time I must get back to my stationary one. lol