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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 07-19-09, 07:41 PM   #1
Elkhound
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My cousin, 340 LBS.

This weekend I saw him after a few years, and was appalled at how fat he had gotten. He was always a big guy, but he's only about 6'1 or 6'2.

He asked me to see about a bike for him. Is there any bike other than a custom-made one that would accommodate his bulk, or would he be best served by a trike until he got down to a reasonable size?
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Old 07-19-09, 07:54 PM   #2
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Uhh WOW Buddy, tone it down. Yes there are many bikes that will accommodate him The main concern is the rims you need 36CT double wall rims (preferable hand built) I am glad you are willing to support his willingness to CHANGE HIS LIFE. (there are less offensive ways to ask the same question you asked, sorry but it just hit all of my triggers)
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Old 07-19-09, 08:40 PM   #3
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I weigh 340, and I ride a few different bikes...

What sort of riding does your cousin want to do?

The chances are that unless you ride a very exotic bike, the bike you ride, with an appropriate wheel set might be just fine for a clydesdale.
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Old 07-19-09, 09:03 PM   #4
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The bikes I ride:

1. A Trek Mountaineer 3XX.
2. A Montegue Paratrooper.
3. A Surly Big Dummy.
4. A Greenspeed GS-1, Series II Recumbent.

That last, if he got down onto it, it would take a crane to get him off.

Fortunately, he lives in the Morgantown/Fairmont area of West Virginia, a region liberally endowed with rail-trails. I think at first that he would want to be riding them, mostly, although he could be persuaded into transportational cycling.

I'm also concerned about his eight year old son who is practically spherical. I'm so afraid he's going to end up like his father. The boy refuses to learn how to ride a bicycle. I don't know the details, but the impression I get is that he tried once and got hurt, and is now unwilling to even try again. I think that if his father got active--he idolizes him--he might try it again.

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Old 07-20-09, 06:15 AM   #5
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Unless there are other health issues, a 340 pounder can be slower, but it is not a crippling amount of weight.

I first started riding my Giant Sedona at 365 pounds.

While getting off a recumbent isn't something I would excel at, I wouldn't look at a recumbent for my first choice.

Of the other bikes you list, I haven't looked to confirm, I believe the Paratrooper does have a weight limit since it is a folder. I don't know about the Big Dummy. Even though it is designed to carry a lot, it is designed to carry it nearer to the rear wheel... The super long wheel base concerns me for a large rider. Other Clydesdales may have ridden them, and would have personal experience.

But, other than that, the rest of your bikes seem reasonable.

I know that only leaves the Mountaineer, but if it is a hard tail, it should hold up. Many around here (including myself) have Hardrocks in their stable. I also ride a touring bike (a 1986 Schwinn Voyageur) without problems, other than my gut getting in the way when I am in the drops.

So, anyway, what I would suggest is to scan Craigslist in your area for a used hardtail or comfort bike with a large frame, and possibly swap the knobbies for something smoother. I would possibly also raise the bars on the mtb by using a riser stem and swap to a riser bar.

Then don't expect him to go on 30 mile rides right away. My first ride was about 0.6 miles (a kilometer) around my block, which was flat. I hurt a little the next day. But slowly I was able to increase my distance, and I completed a somewhat hilly metric century (only walking the bike up a couple of the steeper hills) when I weighed about 310 pounds.

When your friend gets a bike, or gets close to it, send him here for guidance and encouragement.
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Old 07-20-09, 07:01 AM   #6
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Any hardtail MTB, Hybrid, Steel Trourer, or steel or aluminum roadie will work. As mentioned, the only concerned is a set of bomb proof wheels. I wouldn't recommend a roadie to start. Better the MTB or Hybrid/comfort with slicks.

Oh, and invite him to drop in and say hello and meet the gang.

EDIT: BTW, We have all types here from mini Clyde's and Athena's to what we call Uber Clyde's. We range in weight from the low 200's to some who started at or above 500 lbs.

There are some folks who are making a very difficult, yet positive life change here. There a re a lot of folks who probably exist near the upper percentages of monthly and annual mileage as well. We are a supportive and compassionate group.

All are welcomed here, but please keep in mind that some are facing some serious challenges, and overcoming them, one day at a time. Please keep in mind those who may have sensitivities to certain generalizations or stereotypes before you hit "send".

Well done on wanting to help your cousin. It's much easeir when there is a support system. Hopefully your cousin can become the inspiration to his son to ride as well.

If you let us know the area where your cousin lives we can do some looking around on Craig's List and other places and see what may be available locally used, and save some cash for wheels.

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Old 07-20-09, 07:14 AM   #7
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I'm also concerned about his eight year old son who is practically spherical.

Oh, the mental image...


Kudos to you for caring and trying to help them.



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Old 07-20-09, 09:39 AM   #8
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Unless there are other health issues, a 340 pounder can be slower, but it is not a crippling amount of weight.
It's not??? I think it would depend on the person....
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Old 07-20-09, 09:56 AM   #9
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If you let us know the area where your cousin lives we can do some looking around on Craig's List and other places and see what may be available locally used, and save some cash for wheels.
He lives in the Fairmount/Morgantown area of West Virginia; his parents, my uncle & aunt, live in Buckhannon.
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Old 07-20-09, 05:46 PM   #10
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Some Velocity Deep V wheels built by a good wheel builder would be recommended.
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Old 07-20-09, 06:04 PM   #11
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Trek 7300

I'm was close to 300 when I purchased my Trek 7300FX. It has been a great hybrid for me as the pounds have come off. It accomodates large size very well. Good luck to your cousin on his journey.
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Old 07-20-09, 07:30 PM   #12
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I am 6' 305lbs, so I must just be about ready to die of being fat according to Elkhound's comment. I would love to see this jackass in person and see what he says, because I don't take kindly to skinny little runts talking smack on forums. ANYWAYS, I ride a Gary Fisher Presidio (steel IS real BTW) cyclocross. I have put on about 300 miles since the end of May when I bought it and only had the rear wheel trued once. I have been riding mostly on the road (put some 25m tires) so bumpy stuff isn't a huge issue yet. We'll see in fall, although I hope to be down to 275lbs or less by then.
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Old 07-20-09, 09:00 PM   #13
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I'm also concerned about his eight year old son who is practically spherical. I'm so afraid he's going to end up like his father. The boy refuses to learn how to ride a bicycle. I don't know the details, but the impression I get is that he tried once and got hurt, and is now unwilling to even try again. I think that if his father got active--he idolizes him--he might try it again.
Could be something in that, recent study found girls tended to follow their Mothers, boys their Fathers, when it comes to body fat. The conclusion is that i's not genetic, but as you say, "idolizing"
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Old 07-20-09, 09:23 PM   #14
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I'm overweight, and started riding to lose weight. I have lost some, and intend to keep on. But I'm guessing most people that take up riding and lose a lot of weight are doing something besides just riding- they're dieting or had surgery or whatever. So yes, get your cousin riding if possible, but don't expect him to drop from 340 to 200 in a year just because of it.

Something else to consider is the "He asked me to see about a bike for him" idea. Pedaling slowly about a level neighborhood when the weather is nice is pretty easy, but you're not going to lose any weight that way, either. It takes a lot of riding, not a little. It takes riding when it's hot, when it's cold, when it's dark, day in and day out. In other words, it takes a lot of dedication. It's hard to tell from your account there, but if he's just mildly interested, but not interested enough to get out of his easy chair and go to a bike store, don't get your hopes up too high for a life-changing experience out of it all.

I'm not at all familiar with WV, but it makes me think "mountains". If there are some good steep hills in the area, or trails that go up good hills, hiking uphill is great exercise, too. Doesn't jar you like jogging, but gets you all the aerobic workout you could want, especially if you're overweight, and gets your legs in better shape for cycling.
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Old 07-20-09, 10:02 PM   #15
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He works as director of landscaping and grounds at a state university. He said he'd use the bike to go around campus instead of using a Gator or a Cushman. Also, in the Fairmont-Morgantown-Star City area, there is an abundance of rail-trails. Yes, WV is the Mountain State, but that region is not particularly mountainous.

And Zerocool33, you haven't seen him; I have. You may carry it well; he doesn't, by his own admission.
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Old 07-21-09, 02:07 PM   #16
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There's a Clyde that does Critical Mass rides with me that travels long distances on his Big Dummy. He's probably pushing 300 lbs. and all he owns are Surlys. The long wheelbase of the big Dummy is nothing to worry about. It's suppose to carry up to 400 lbs.
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Old 07-21-09, 04:23 PM   #17
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Could be something in that, recent study found girls tended to follow their Mothers, boys their Fathers, when it comes to body fat. The conclusion is that i's not genetic, but as you say, "idolizing"
I think a lot of it has to do with training, you learn how to eat from your parents, just sit on a bench at a shopping mall for about 10 minutes, fat kids usually have fat parents. I think that is where the genetic theory usually comes from. Idolizing is usually where you see the fat man, the skinny wife, the daughter is usually skinny, the son fat, although I have also seen it the other way around. Most common though, these days dad is fat, mom is fat, with the fat kids in tow.

It's not only eating either, exercise levels are often trained by parents, if dad's way of playing football is to watch the game on TV while scarfing down chips and chicken wings washed down with beer, you can usually figure that junior is probably on the couch with him, okay maybe coke instead of beer, but the point is the same.
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Old 07-21-09, 07:47 PM   #18
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In my case, I'm built more like my mother than my father. Father's people are all scrawny Scots-Irish; Mother's are mostly tall, stout Germans and Dutch. My face is from Father's side of the family, but my body is from Mother's.
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Old 07-21-09, 08:51 PM   #19
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. . . but my body is from Mother's.
Does this mean you have man-boobs?
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Old 07-22-09, 08:05 AM   #20
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Does this mean you have man-boobs?
No. I am told that I look a lot like her paternal grandfather.
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Old 07-22-09, 10:57 AM   #21
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its ok Paco I got your humor... *LOL* and the man boobs *ROFL*
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