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  1. #1
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    Need bike advice/help with problem...

    Hi,

    I have a bit of a problem I was hoping some of you might be able to give me some advice on…

    Let me start with giving you a bit of background… I’m 31, and am currently on disability due to back problems from a car accident when I was 18 (crushed T5 vertebrae), as well as a number of other medical issues.

    I’ve been sedentary for about 5 years now and I wasn’t in great shape before that … My weight is about 285lbs, and I’m 6’2” tall… (I believe that qualifies me for this forum? ) …

    Anyhow… I’ve decided I want to do something about my life… I look bad, I feel bad, I need to change… So I decided to do something about it. Tried to start walking and stuff, but with my current weight/fitness level it puts too much stress on my joints.

    So I’ve been trying to think of alternatives, and decided getting a bike would probably be a good possibility. I haven’t been on one since I was about 17 and frankly, I miss it.

    I need a bike that is heavy duty enough to handle my weight and height, I also think having a bike with suspension would be a good idea to reduce the amount of shock my back feels… Though, I’ve never ridden a bike with suspension, so I have no idea what it’s actually like… I would prefer a more upright riding position (I think leaning way over for extended periods will hurt my back) … I also would like something that can handle gravel/non-paved trails decent. I’d also like to put some storage on it so I can use it to goto the grocery store and whatnot.

    Any suggestions on what bikes might be good choices? I’m not familiar enough with current bike brands/styles of bikes to have a clue what I should be looking at…

    Here’s the problem though… As I said, I’m on disability… Between getting a bike that fits my needs, riding gear (helmet/other clothing), etc, etc, it seems completely impossible on my budget. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at bike prices and it’s shocking… It would quite literally take me years to save up money for something decent (even if it’s used).

    So, I guess my question is… Are there any bike companies/charities/other businesses that might be willing to donate something? Do smaller/local bike shops do that kind of thing?

    I live in Marshall, WI, 4 miles down the road from the Trek factory… (Right outside of Madison, WI)… I’ve thought about trying to approach them, but I don’t know what the best way would be (or if it would be a complete waste of my time).

    It seems to me that if I manage to actually get a bike, it could change my life… If I can strengthen my body/back muscles, and drop a bunch of weight, in theory I could have enough pain reduction as a result to be able to go back to work. (not to mention hopefully avoid the inevitable heart problems associated with being overweight/sedentary )

    Well, I guess that about sums things up. If any of you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

    Thanks!
    --ElmoTheDestroyer (a.k.a. Joe )

    PS – I’m moving to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington some time in the next year, which is what got me thinking about biking… I’m really looking forward to riding out there! Looks like an awesome place to ride bikes!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElmoTheDestroye View Post
    Hi,

    I have a bit of a problem I was hoping some of you might be able to give me some advice on…

    Let me start with giving you a bit of background… I’m 31, and am currently on disability due to back problems from a car accident when I was 18 (crushed T5 vertebrae), as well as a number of other medical issues.

    I’ve been sedentary for about 5 years now and I wasn’t in great shape before that … My weight is about 285lbs, and I’m 6’2” tall… (I believe that qualifies me for this forum? ) …

    Anyhow… I’ve decided I want to do something about my life… I look bad, I feel bad, I need to change… So I decided to do something about it. Tried to start walking and stuff, but with my current weight/fitness level it puts too much stress on my joints.

    So I’ve been trying to think of alternatives, and decided getting a bike would probably be a good possibility. I haven’t been on one since I was about 17 and frankly, I miss it.

    I need a bike that is heavy duty enough to handle my weight and height, I also think having a bike with suspension would be a good idea to reduce the amount of shock my back feels… Though, I’ve never ridden a bike with suspension, so I have no idea what it’s actually like… I would prefer a more upright riding position (I think leaning way over for extended periods will hurt my back) … I also would like something that can handle gravel/non-paved trails decent. I’d also like to put some storage on it so I can use it to goto the grocery store and whatnot.

    Any suggestions on what bikes might be good choices? I’m not familiar enough with current bike brands/styles of bikes to have a clue what I should be looking at…

    Here’s the problem though… As I said, I’m on disability… Between getting a bike that fits my needs, riding gear (helmet/other clothing), etc, etc, it seems completely impossible on my budget. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at bike prices and it’s shocking… It would quite literally take me years to save up money for something decent (even if it’s used).

    So, I guess my question is… Are there any bike companies/charities/other businesses that might be willing to donate something? Do smaller/local bike shops do that kind of thing?

    I live in Marshall, WI, 4 miles down the road from the Trek factory… (Right outside of Madison, WI)… I’ve thought about trying to approach them, but I don’t know what the best way would be (or if it would be a complete waste of my time).

    It seems to me that if I manage to actually get a bike, it could change my life… If I can strengthen my body/back muscles, and drop a bunch of weight, in theory I could have enough pain reduction as a result to be able to go back to work. (not to mention hopefully avoid the inevitable heart problems associated with being overweight/sedentary )

    Well, I guess that about sums things up. If any of you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

    Thanks!
    --ElmoTheDestroyer (a.k.a. Joe )

    PS – I’m moving to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington some time in the next year, which is what got me thinking about biking… I’m really looking forward to riding out there! Looks like an awesome place to ride bikes!
    There are a bunch of things here, first of all, talk to your doctor, get a proper checkup and make sure there is nothing medical to prevent an exercise program, if you have a back specialist, make sure they are in the loop as well.

    Your a clyde in more ways then one, you qualify on weight as well as height.

    Third, suspension, most bicycle suspension systems are designed for 170lb and under riders, the ones designed for heavier riders, are only the high end, air pressure shocks, and they are often very expensive, it's not uncommon to find just a front shock in that range costing several thousand dollars. A suspension that is too soft, will bounce as you ride, this uses up a lot of pedal energy.

    Donations of bicycles, there may be some, not sure about in your area, google is your friend in this case.... There may be charitable groups like Good Will, that accept bicycles, and fix them up, for sale at reasonable prices.

    Used bicycles have a number of sources, Craigs List is one of them, Fleabay (E-Bay) is another, local newspapers, police auctions, garage sales. Check with bicycle dealers, some may know of people who have old bicycles they are replacing. Pawn shops can be another source, but a lot of stolen bicycles end up in pawn shops, not sure it's worth the risk.

    The only time a company like Trek might be interested in such a project, is if they think that the large rider might be a good market, and they are looking for larger riders to test a new model intended for that market. Might be worth calling the company up and talking to their people, the worst thing they can do, is say no.....

    Another option, and this is a little further out, if your collecting on a disability insurance or pension and if you have an occupational or physical therapist, then they can work with you on getting ready, and the insurance/pension provider may be willing to put some money toward a program, if it can get you back to work.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElmoTheDestroye View Post
    Here’s the problem though… As I said, I’m on disability… Between getting a bike that fits my needs, riding gear (helmet/other clothing), etc, etc, it seems completely impossible on my budget. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at bike prices and it’s shocking… It would quite literally take me years to save up money for something decent (even if it’s used).
    How much do you think a used bike costs? When I check Craig's List, I see some darn nice bikes in the $200-300 range... And some decent older bikes for less than $100. As far as gear, the only thing you really need to get started is a helmet ($40-50, maybe less during a sale). If you develop enough fitness to ride more than 10-15 miles, you'll probably want some bicycling shorts for another $40-50.

    Hanging around here on BF, it's easy to get lulled into thinking that you're going to need a $3000 full-suspension mountain bike and $500 worth of clothing or accessories to get started riding. You don't. Heck, if you have paved streets in your area you probably don't even need suspension! Buy a used mountain, hybrid, or cruiser bike for $100 or less and put some wide (e.g. 26" x 1.95) tires on it. Steer around pot holes big enough to swallow your wheels and the tires will absorb just about everything else.

    If you can't afford $100, use Freecycle to find a free bike. Spend $15 on a copy of Todd Down's The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair. A screw driver, a set of Allen wrenches, and a pair of pliers will allow you to perform most minor repairs or adjustments an older bike might need. If you require a special tool for some particular operation, it's much easier to find someone willing to give you a hand with that than to donate an entire bicycle...

  4. #4
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    I agree. I found a great clydes bike (aka Hardrock mtn bikes,laso Trek and a few others) on Craiglists list, and I see bigger bikes (I'm 6' 1") daily for under $200 (most are in the $100 range). These are ridable as is, but a $50-75 trip to the Local Bike Shop will make sure. So if all you have is $200, you can be riding very soon.

    After that, all you really need is a $20 helmet and $2 flat tire kit for your favorite X Mart store.

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  5. #5
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    This one might be about right for you:

    http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/835702787.html

    This would be ideal but a bit more expensive:

    http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/833423478.html

    Offer $80 for the first leaving you twenty for a helmet, I would start an offer of 175 for the second. Here's an insider secret, all bicycle helmets must meet the same minimum protection levels. Kind of like a DOT certification sticker on a motorcycle helmet. A 15 dollar helmet from X-Mart meets the same minimum standards as a 100 dollar helmet. The more expensive helmet may offer more protection, better ventilation, and lighter weight but the general melon shielding remains. As Wogsterca mentioned, be sure to let your doctors evaluate you before you go off on an exercise regime. Make sure you have their approval and if they give you advice on surfaces and recommended time on the bike be sure to follow it until your body adjusts to the exercise again.

    If $100 is still too much go and check out a Goodwill or Salvation Army, it's hit or miss most but you might have some luck finding a perfectly serviceable old (experienced ) bicycle. Garage sales are another great source for used bikes that have been collecting dust for the last ten years. Just make sure you avoid the x-mart brands. Living near a Trek plant I would imagine the local market is saturated with quality bikes (and the Madison craigslist agrees with my thoughts) finding one at a garage sale is not a big stretch of the imagination.

    You could try posting a bulletin at your church if you attend one. Write up a little bio about yourself and your accident then how you would be using the donated bicycle to reach your goals. Good luck, be patient and you'll find yourself a gem before too long.

    Bau

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