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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 07-15-09, 03:06 AM   #1
turtlewoman
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Is it just me or are others embarrassed?

I am just starting back to bicycling after about 15 years of complete inactivity. I am 5'5" and 236. Kind of a round little person! My problem is that I am very embarrassed to go out on my bike. I really love riding but I am afraid some creep will yell something at me or someone will laugh. And wearing bike shorts---FORGET THAT! Does anybody else feel that way or is it just me?
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Old 07-15-09, 03:09 AM   #2
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Go out. They'll laugh at you when you're in clothes and think "they should run or ride a bike" then when you run or ride a bike they've laugh at you then.

I started at over 300 lbs. and I'm now around 185 to 190 right now. I'd never be where I am now if I'd have let the idiots win.

Get out there.

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Old 07-15-09, 03:33 AM   #3
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Don't be embarrassed, nobody is perfect. I find that the opposite often happens, I have thinner riders encouraging me. Or that I simply ride stronger than they do and they won't say a word. I wear biking shorts and I think cyclists would laugh more if I wasn't wearing them.
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Old 07-15-09, 04:14 AM   #4
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Don't let the idjits win - instead, get mad

Or get even....channel that anger into your riding.

I wouldn't worry about bike shorts, wear 'em anyways. I personally don't wear a jersey, but that's mainly b/c I haven't found one yet, no money, blah blah blah.

The dumb ones won't know any better whether you ride or not, and cyclists of all kinds will either be delighted to meet you or if they happen to be the snobbish type, might disdain you but feel guilty about it later on, and come to quietly respect your determination to ride.

I was just out yesterday. On the way home, saw a roadie exit the park and turn into my subdivision. I swear he went all the way to the end of the road and up the STEEP cul-de-sac then back down in just about the time it took me to get to the entrance and up the first rise. When I saw him it was a 40 something fella on a nice Specialized, I nodded, and he nodded....and I do think I saw a slight smile there. Coulda been a smirk, but hey I dunno

Tom
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Old 07-15-09, 04:38 AM   #5
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Go ride, enjoy!! If they laugh, so what? Will you ever see them again? Probably not.
Find a group ride. There are many cycling clubs that have group rides at many different paces. In my experience, these folks are very non-judgemental.

Remember, "Illegitimi non carborundum"
Mock-Latin, jokingly taken to mean "don't let the bas****s grind you down".
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Old 07-15-09, 04:53 AM   #6
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As an uber clyde starting riding after many years I too had a little reservation about riding. I've put up with looks most of my life. The biggest talkers have been little kids. They just say the first thing that comes into their mind. They don't know better than to say anything. As far as bike shorts do like I do and wear a loose fitting pair of shorts over them. Some time back I got to the point where I didn't care what others said. The good lord didn't put me on this earth for them to like and if they don't then it's their loss not mind. Ride because you want to. Ride because it feels good. Ride because it's good for you. Most of all just ride because you can if they laugh or make comments it's because their jealous.
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Old 07-15-09, 04:54 AM   #7
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You are in a place we have all been at one time or another. The important thing to remember is that by getting out there and riding you are doing something for yourself, and for those that care about you.

It's easier to say "Don't worry about them" than it is to do, but seriously, this is a major step for most of us and 95% of the people you meet will be supportive and encouraging.

The other 5%? Who cares. They aren't happy with them selves, or worthy of your time, any way.

Ride On!
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Old 07-15-09, 05:27 AM   #8
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Hi Turtlewoman and welcome to the forums!

As previously mentioned, go out and ride. Contrair to popular believe bike shorts are not nessecary for every ride so if you don't want to wear them (and if your behind can take it) then just wear a pair of gym shorts. Or wear your gym shorts over your bike shorts, or buy a pair of mountain bike shorts which has a pair of regular cargo shorts over the lycra. Bike jerseys are a good thing for modest people, they are designed so that when you lean over the back of the jersey covers the ole plumber crack much better than your average t-shirt would.

Anyways, just go out and ride. The only person you are riding for is yourself.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:09 AM   #9
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I also was embarrassed and to make matters more difficult I started riding a year ago as a commuter.

I remember arriving to work early and walking past a group of smokers who commented on my appearance.

That's when it hit me. Why should I care what people think? Most of these people have no control over their health, and I do.

It's your life, make the most of it.

Michael
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Old 07-15-09, 06:35 AM   #10
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turtlewoman, remember, the clothes are a tool for greater comfort riding. You can always throw a loose set of shorts on over the padded lycra......and still get the benefits of the muscle support and wicking without "letting it all hang out". There will come a oint though, where you simply quit caring about others and realize that the folk that come off with the "OMG, a FAT PERSON IN LYCRA!" have their own issues, and their views simply don't matter. Then you start to look good in the lycra, too, as time goes on.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:36 AM   #11
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First of WELCOME to the forum!!! Don't worry about the jerk motorist out there, they are most likely jerks to everyone else for one reason or another. I was more embarrassed about looking at myself in the mirror then what anyone has ever said about my weight. I personally have never had anyone say anything about my weight while I was riding, but have had a few horn honks about the way I was riding. So get out there, it is a great new world to experience on a bike, enjoy it !!!!
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Old 07-15-09, 06:39 AM   #12
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I am just starting back to bicycling after about 15 years of complete inactivity. I am 5'5" and 236. Kind of a round little person! My problem is that I am very embarrassed to go out on my bike. I really love riding but I am afraid some creep will yell something at me or someone will laugh. And wearing bike shorts---FORGET THAT! Does anybody else feel that way or is it just me?
Hi, and welcome!

No, other folks sometimes feel that way too. Like me. I get it in spades, since I'm both overweight/obese and a person with mild yet obvious scoliosis. I find the scoli draws more comments than the weight - on my last tour I had two comments about my structural 'problem' and one on my weight. I can't control idiots, only my reaction to them.

I had to develop a thick skin and a sense of humor about things when I first began to exercise, back when I was 400 pounds. I remember being stared at while riding a recumbent exercise bike at my gym. I told myself I should feel sorry for the fellow since he'd never seen a fat person before. He must have led a deprived life.

So get out there and get moving!
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Old 07-15-09, 06:50 AM   #13
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For every one person that might laugh, there are 10 wishing they had the motivation and courage to get up off of their couch or out from behind the wheel of their car and ride a bike. I hear a million reasons from people why they don't/won't/can't ride. I also hear so many people complain about their weight, or their back problems, or their creaky knees, or, or, or -- yet they still don't get up and DO something.

Ride your bike. You'll be so happy that it won't matter what anyone else thinks. And you just might motivate someone else who is thinking "I can't ride because I"m too fat/old/tired/busy/scared/short/tall/etc.

Oh -- and MTB shorts all the way -- comfy, but no skin tight look to be self conscious about.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:16 AM   #14
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Even when I was thin I wore gym shorts over bike shorts. (I used to wear bike shorts when I ran cross country. It helped hold everything in place better.)

The first few times people stare or laugh, it really frigging hurts. But then you get over it.

I've lost 27 pounds so far between exercise and Weight Watchers. I have another 75-80 to go. I have a long journey in front of me. But I feel nearly as good right now as I did when I was in a healthy weight range.

And riding to work, to me, makes me feel SO good. Totally worth dealing with a few snickers as opposed to sitting around and eating a Snickers.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:40 AM   #15
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You will enjoy bicycling and the attendant feeling of well being so much you won't care what others think. It is, however, a serious addiction.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:56 AM   #16
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Definitely are not alone - that's one of my biggest obstacles. Good luck!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-15-09, 08:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by turtlewoman View Post
I am just starting back to bicycling after about 15 years of complete inactivity. I am 5'5" and 236. Kind of a round little person! My problem is that I am very embarrassed to go out on my bike. I really love riding but I am afraid some creep will yell something at me or someone will laugh. And wearing bike shorts---FORGET THAT! Does anybody else feel that way or is it just me?
Imho, it's quite natural to feel a bit self-concious when you first start out on anything, whether it be biking, swimming or going to the gym, especially if you're a bit shy to begin with.

After you get used to the activity, it should begin to feel natural as if you belong on a bike (because you will belong on it!). Imagine how it will be after you ride a few thousand miles and feel comfortable. You might stare at them for choosing to walk....

I think that you'll find that most people will empathize and encourage you when they see you biking as you're trying to improve yourself (and let's face it, who out there could comment who doesn't need some improving?).

Besides, I'd say that it wouldn't be as bad as...say having people stare and snicker at a clyde or athena ordering at an ice cream or fast food joint... Why waste away your life worrying or hiding from others? Carpe Diem! Enjoy!



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Old 07-15-09, 08:10 AM   #18
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Rule 1. Ignore the inner voice's (their crazy anyway why would you listen to them)
Rule 2. Ignore the outer voice's (what do they know anyway)
Rule 3. Have fun
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Old 07-15-09, 08:12 AM   #19
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Dont be bothered by it. Those people who yell either arent facing the challenge you are, or have chosen to do nothing about it.

Last night as I rode, the only person who yelled at me was a woman on a bike. My fiancee and I took a break in a park before turning around, and the woman said to us "you're making me look bad, i couldnt have caught you guys if I tried". I simply told her we'd been riding a lot lately. She smiled and kept going.

You'll find the few people that say anything are jerks, and not worth your time.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:46 AM   #20
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Real bike shorts can make a ride much more comfortable, but if you're self-conscious, you can always wear a short skirt or loose lightweight shorts or pants over them.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be jack**sses who feel entitled to express their tiny opinions. I had remarks made about me in cycling shorts back in my thin running days, I had remarks made about my huge quads back when I was a track cyclist, and I've had remarks made now that I'm 50 and Athena sized. Some people just can't feel good about themselves unless they are tearing someone else down. It says more about their pathetic little selves than it does about the person they are ridiculing.
Joining a club is a great idea. You'll get all sorts of encouragement.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:54 AM   #21
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I was riding my new recumbent last week and highschool girls pointed and laughed at me. Perhaps it was because I could have been their father, perhaps it was because I am 2x their size & weight, but more likely it was because of all the blinkin lights that I have installed on my weird bike. Let them laugh. I recently saw a round-ish woman riding near my work, she was a ball of lime-green jiggle, and she was smiling and I found the sight humerous. I also wanted to not be sitting in the car, but out riding with her because she looked like fun company, ...however my wife might not like that idea ;p
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Old 07-15-09, 09:27 AM   #22
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Hello turtle woman and welcome too all of us here. This is somethng I say to myself all the time when I see people snicker. If the don't like what they see their problem not yours. Who asked them too look in the first place. Good for you for beeing out there. Keep riding.
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Old 07-15-09, 09:36 AM   #23
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Just adding my voice to the chorus. Don't let them bother you!!!

My most interesting shout was when I was just finishing a rest break at a metric century, and I weigh more than 300 pounds... Some mouth breather in the passenger seat of a pickup yelled out "You wouldn't be so fat if you rode the bike more." It bothered me a little, but then another rider that I didn't know who was also getting ready to ride said, "I wish he would come back, and asee what they think after getting their butts kicked by some fairies wearing lycra." That let me know that every cyclist (in parts of the world at least) is open to ridicule... We are part of a brother/sister hood that is great to belong to.

I did spend the next few miles wishing I had a snappy comeback to yell... Something like, "At least I can lose weight, you can't gain IQ points!!!"

But to be honest, it is usually best to just let them have their laugh, because they are in reality only laughing at their own ignorance, and they are too dumb to know it.
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Old 07-15-09, 09:55 AM   #24
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Whether you are skinny or a little stocky, people are still going to laugh at you and make snide remarks.

The first time I showed up at my current job on my bike I had alot of people staring and making comments. Now they accept the fact that I would rather ride than drive.

Now the only comments I get are from the women I work around telling me that I look good in my cycling stuff.

Just get out and ride.
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Old 07-15-09, 10:03 AM   #25
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Wear what you are comfortable wearing...bike shorts underneath are a good option. Just ride and enjoy yourself.
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