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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 07-07-09, 11:04 AM   #1
HolleeWells
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I'm a newbie with a long list of questions... any help is greatly appreciated!!!

Hi Everyone,

I've been reading some posts of your's for a while now and I've been toying with the idea of getting a bike for a little over a year. I've recently moved to northern New Hampshire and I am surrounded by hiking and biking trails (the Balsalms resort has miles and miles of trails... www.balsalms.com I think). I also own four dogs and would love to be able to ride a bike while exercising them.

The questions:

How do I find out what size frame to get for a bike? I'm 5'3" and we live near no bike shops... I will have to order everything online.

I need something as cheap as possible, I am just starting my business locally (before I was more near the capital of NH) and I am currently, technically, totally unemployed. Obviously I know big names are better.. but what is the cheapest I can go for but still has decent quality?

The huge huge huge issues:
I'm about 300 pounds... and because of this, I fear that I will be laughed out of a store, even if I drove the 3 hours to go to a bike shop, that they would just look at me funny. I know that my anxiety is ridicluous and that I should just shut up and go, but I can't, I probably wont.
I also have a huge fear of breaking a bike, and so I'm turning to you guys for your help and guidance.


Anything that may help you: I'll be riding on easy walking trails or roads mostly... I do not like the bikes that make you lean forward so much (like street riding cycling bikes), something that I can sit up mostly for would be best. If you need any more information, or can at least point me in the right direction, I would love you forever.

Thank you,

Hollee
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Old 07-07-09, 11:15 AM   #2
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The frame will hold you, that's not going to be an issue. I'd start off with a mountain bike, with a rigid rear and at least a suspension fork that can be locked out so it doesn't travel. At 5'3", I'd look at something like the Specialized Hardrock Sport in the small or Medium frame size, tending toward small. Some points:
  • Stay away from a suspension seatpost, it will be useless, use something like the Thompson Seatpost. Much stronger.
  • Stay away from full suspension
  • Stay away from Walmart or other department store bikes......you'll just be replacing it with a better bike in a matter of months or even less.
  • Look through our index thread in the stickies at the top of the forum, there are all kinds of threads listed that cover wheels, and sizing and every other imaginable topic.


We'll be glad to help you out, though.

Incidentally, we have some folk here that started riding at 450 pounds +. I'm one of them. I started at near 600 pounds and am now floating between 199 and 205.
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Old 07-07-09, 11:36 AM   #3
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Hollee,

If you are nervous, I suggest calling a store your thinking about visiting and asking them if they will assist a larger rider. By phone you can be somewhat anonymous. Tell them your price-range, your concerns, and your fears. Let them know the distance you'll be traveling and see if they'll make an appt to meet with you so the trip is not wasted. You should be able to gauge how they will treat you in the store by the phone call and then be able to determine if it's worth the trip.

Also, I understand about needing an inexpensive bike. If you are handy and are willing to do your own repair work, you can get by with an older bike from craigslist, freecycle, or a local thrift store. I went that route, but it took me over a year to find a bike that finally fit me due to how tall I am and having a bad back. But, and this is my big but, I was riding right away for very little money, I just couldn't tollerate long rides due to the ill-fitting bike. Once you find a bike that fits, it's a wonderful thing.

To recap: Phone First to get a vibe, Expect to pay some $$ for a good bike.
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Old 07-07-09, 11:38 AM   #4
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You will get lots of good advice here, but you will need to go to a bike shop to find one that really fits you for height and reach to bars. Any bike will be able to take your weight, but you will need a rear wheel with double wall rim and well tensioned spokes . I was in Burlington VT last Sep and went in a bike shop that was well equipped an very helpful. I think it was on Main St - you wouldnt need to go there every month but well worth a single visit.
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Old 07-07-09, 01:52 PM   #5
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the Balsams are gorgeous, i drive by on my way to Maine every summer...
You can try Sherbrooke, i know it's over the border but they've got a couple of bike shops, plus the us dollar is stronger right now so you might get a good deal. I've been to one to get parts and they where very nice, they carry Trek and Cannondale i believe:

Momo sport
530, Jean-Paul Perreault
Sherbrooke (QC), J1L 2Z2
Tél.: (819) 822-3077
SANS FRAIS: 1-800-914-3077

If not i know North Conway as a couple of nice ones, the Red Jersey comes to mind...

Good luck, but make sure you get measured and fitted properly before buying anything, it makes a huge difference in comfort.
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Old 07-07-09, 02:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
The frame will hold you, that's not going to be an issue. I'd start off with a mountain bike, with a rigid rear and at least a suspension fork that can be locked out so it doesn't travel. At 5'3", I'd look at something like the Specialized Hardrock Sport in the small or Medium frame size, tending toward small. Some points:
  • Stay away from a suspension seatpost, it will be useless, use something like the Thompson Seatpost. Much stronger.
  • Stay away from full suspension
  • Stay away from Walmart or other department store bikes......you'll just be replacing it with a better bike in a matter of months or even less.
  • Look through our index thread in the stickies at the top of the forum, there are all kinds of threads listed that cover wheels, and sizing and every other imaginable topic.


We'll be glad to help you out, though.

Incidentally, we have some folk here that started riding at 450 pounds +. I'm one of them. I started at near 600 pounds and am now floating between 199 and 205.

Good answer! I started at 330, down to 215. I'd think used--more bike for less, better resale value. Learn what you want (hardtail mountain bike?). Post a couple ads in here, with a "What about this bike?" question, and you'll see if you are on the right track.

Pull together several promising ads from Montreal (seems to be the nearest big city, eh, hoser?). Head out for a fun day in the big city, and come back with your new old bike for only a couple hundred bucks.

I hope you get out and ride, and have fun, however you do it. You'll live longer, feel better, look better, have more energy... Don't let yourself be intimidated by what you think other people might think about you. Do it for yourself; you won't regret it.
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Old 07-07-09, 06:54 PM   #7
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thank you for the support!!! I'll do some research and see what I can find... I figured I'd have to spend some money on a bike... but I'm hoping not more than $200-$400 - anyone think this is unreasonable to do?
Let me look at some stuff online and I'll get back to you guys with some "what about" questions... I really appreciate the positive words and suggestions!!
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Old 07-07-09, 07:04 PM   #8
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No problem, Hollee, we all started out as newbies, too, ya know, and a Clyde's needs are rather specialized.
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Old 07-07-09, 07:21 PM   #9
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Try this for a first guess. But size doesn't tell it all. Different brands of bikes of the same size have different geometries. You really need to try a bike to see what is comfortable. Mountain bike frames are generally smaller than road frames for the same size person.

Once on the page scroll down to several articles about sizing.

http://bicycling.about.com/od/howtor...ike_sizing.htm

Bill

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Old 07-08-09, 02:36 AM   #10
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There are many people at or above your weight that have successfully bought/built a bike and are riding many miles. In the past 3+ years I have ridden almost 12,000 miles. All the while weighing between 325-350. Nothing terrible has happened to me or my bike. Focus your money on the rear wheel and spokes, that is where the load will be. I ride on a Velocity deep V with 40 DT Swiss spokes.
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Old 07-18-09, 08:20 AM   #11
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@ Mazama - http://www.velocityusa.com/default.asp?contentID=530 Is this what you're talking about? Does the type of spoke matter, or is it the number? I want pink ones :-D

Getting this bike situation figured out is a puzzle... but it's proving to be fun.
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Old 07-18-09, 08:42 AM   #12
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Ok... this one has 0mm fork travel (steel), is VERY VERY decent for price... no suspension... http://www.fujibikes.com/Mountain/Ha.../Odessa20.aspx ... any thoughts??
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Old 07-18-09, 08:46 AM   #13
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That Fuji would be a good candidate.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:03 AM   #14
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That Fuji would be a good candidate.
You really think so? (my eyes just grew with excitement, like a little kid at a surprise birthday party) It's not even as expensive as I was dreading that this would be.
If I do decide on that, would I need anything special for it? Do you think the wheels and spokes are okay?
A decent starter bike, at least? I mean, I haven't been on a bike since I was 9 or 10.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:27 AM   #15
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It's a decent starter bike. I would have the wheels hand tensioned right off the bat, though. Machine Built wheels aren't the best option for someone that is heavy. I think, though, that they would be allright There are some techniques you can use, like unloading your weight from the saddle and using the leg muscles to soften impacts, and choose the smoothest line when you ride to help ot with the wheels durability.

It has 36 spoke Weinmann's on it, and while not top of the line, they are pretty decent. They will be decent starter wheels. Also, it is a single wall rim, but is a fairly strong singlewall design

http://www.weinmann.com.cn/FENYE/1CN520.htm
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Old 07-18-09, 09:33 AM   #16
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Looks like you'll need just the basics for the bike. Water Bottles, a rack if you like. You will want to look into special stuff for you tho. Helmet, some cycling gloves are nice too. And women specific cycling shorts will make you happy! Find out what the ladies around here are wearing and get some ideas.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:40 AM   #17
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It's a decent starter bike. I would have the wheels hand tensioned right off the bat, though. Machine Built wheels aren't the best option for someone that is heavy. I think, though, that they would be allright There are some techniques you can use, like unloading your weight from the saddle and using the leg muscles to soften impacts, and choose the smoothest line when you ride to help ot with the wheels durability.

It has 36 spoke Weinmann's on it, and while not top of the line, they are pretty decent. They will be decent starter wheels. Also, it is a single wall rim, but is a fairly strong singlewall design

http://www.weinmann.com.cn/FENYE/1CN520.htm

do you think I should get different wheels right away, to be safe?
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Old 07-18-09, 09:49 AM   #18
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With a budget like that I would skip most of the extras we all like to have. Gloves, bottles, shorts, etc. To get started you really just need a lock, a helmet, and a way to put air in your tires. If you ride for a while first you will be better able to choose the right stuff for you when you are ready to spend more money. Do you really have to travel 3 hours to get to a mechanic? I hope you are good with your hands.

Welcome!
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Old 07-18-09, 10:16 AM   #19
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do you think I should get different wheels right away, to be safe?
I wouldn't do any extreme mountainbiking on them, but I think they'd hold up well enough on paved or mild trail riding, if you exercise reasonable care. Don't be jumping them or doing big air drops or curb hops, and they'll be fine..26" wheels are stronger than 700c wheels due to the shorter spoke length.

And you will need a way to stay hydrated, so do get at least a lock, helmet and water bottles to start. Walmart also carries inexpensive cycling gloves, etc. You can get cheaper helmets and bottles and gloves at least, there. Also, cheaper tubes, tires, etc since you have a 26" wheel candidate.
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Old 07-18-09, 11:19 AM   #20
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I wouldn't do any extreme mountainbiking on them, but I think they'd hold up well enough on paved or mild trail riding, if you exercise reasonable care. Don't be jumping them or doing big air drops or curb hops, and they'll be fine..26" wheels are stronger than 700c wheels due to the shorter spoke length.

And you will need a way to stay hydrated, so do get at least a lock, helmet and water bottles to start. Walmart also carries inexpensive cycling gloves, etc. You can get cheaper helmets and bottles and gloves at least, there. Also, cheaper tubes, tires, etc since you have a 26" wheel candidate.

Yeah, water bottles might be a good idea. I like this bike, and it was relatively easy to find, I think it's too good to be true? Especially the price.

I'll probably keep looking for now, keep my eye out, to make sure I don't miss anything else. I also want to read reviews on the bike.

Also, I know this might sound like the most unintelligent question ever asked, but I'm trying to stay with the theory that no question is a bad question... What is the difference between a men's bike and a women's bike? Should I get men's, because theoretically they'll hold more?
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Old 07-18-09, 11:34 AM   #21
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A woman's specific design has a slighty shorter top tube. Women tend to be longer in the leg and shorter in the torso for the same standing height.

(That's not in the least little bit a dumb question, by the way...... )
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