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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 11-03-09, 06:08 PM   #1
Wmacky
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New bike, no fun so far!

Bought a new bike for fittness, and to drop pounds like many here. Bought a cyclecross / roadbike which due to my weight I probally should have waited on, but I like it, and I couldn't help myself! Reading alot lately, I have been bypassing the threads on climbing, as I live in Florida. What I didn't realizes is the neighborhood is not very flat, and I seem to live on top of a small hill! I had scoped out a route about .75 of a mile starting and ending at my home. The traffic is low, and it starts at my driveway. The issue is I can only make it around the loop once per day. :-( Here's the deal, After about 3 strokes of the crank, i'm in coast mode! Thats right , The first 1/4 mile I coast at a hight rate of speed(30MPH?) That part is fun! However in a span of 30 feet I have to shift down from the tallest gear to the lowest ( a 27 gear difference!) then begin the long 1/2 mile climb back to the house. By the time I get there, the legs are burning, and I'm very very short of breath. I barely make it back. So far this is not fun! I'm in Florida and my entire ride consist of a climb? This is no way for a heavy guy to get into biking!
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Old 11-03-09, 06:12 PM   #2
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Go very slow up the hill..
It takes a while to get into shape.
22 months since I started riding, still getting stronger.
I had to walk up my first hill, Now I can ride up in the big ring.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:16 PM   #3
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What is your gear sizes on your chain ring?
I started with a 52-42-30.
Had the 30 tooth changed to a 24 tooth.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:17 PM   #4
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RIDE ALL THE TIME!!!! When I started riding this past summer at 255lbs I decided the only way it was going to work was to ride everywhere. When I started small hills seemed huge, now I don't even notice them.... does feel nice however to just cruise over spots where I remember struggling. I weigh 215 as of this morning and I eat more than I did before (healthier but more), the only difference is I never leave home without the bike. Also pedal as much as you can, start in a much lower gear and never stop spinning, I had a Fixie when I started so I had no choice but to pedal non-stop and now I have a hard time justifying coasting now.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:18 PM   #5
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Yes, take your time. Stop if you need to There is no shame in resting and catching your breath. You will get stronger. If this climb really wipes you out, replenish when you get home with some protein.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:33 PM   #6
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The good news is the bike is fine, it's the engine that needs work. Most of us were there at one time and just kept at it. Just ride as often as you can and the rest will take care of itself.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:52 PM   #7
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Tomorrow try riding it twice. I bet it will get easier.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:34 PM   #8
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Tomorrow try riding it twice. I bet it will get easier.
This is, essentially, what I did when I got back into riding. I'd pick a longer route and ride it in sections with a 10-15 minute rest break in between each section. Do that for a couple of weeks and I'd be strong enough to bring the rest stop down to 5-10 minutes. Do that for a couple mores weeks, then I'd eliminate one of the stops (possibly bumping the following stop back up to 10-15 minutes). And so on. Going on longer rides, even if they involved a couple of rest stops, seemed to help me build strength and endurance quicker than if I just did short, easy rides all the time.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:40 PM   #9
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Tomorrow try riding it twice. I bet it will get easier.
+1, keep pushing yourself, and it'll get easier with time. My first few rides over about a 2 month period involved me being very slow (almost too slow to stay upright) going up hills and then stopping and resting while gasping for breath. Keeping at it made it so that changed, so now it takes something very steep for me to have to stop to rest. And this year brought this change: Last year, 10 miles was a big thing to me. This year, not as much.

Don't let it get you discouraged, and keep going. Those victories will come.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:58 PM   #10
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Keep at it, it will get easier. I have a similar situation, there is about 200 ft of elevation drop from my house to leave the neighborhood. When I started riding the beginning of this year, I could not make it back to my house without walking the bike or taking a break. Now I do intervals going up and down the same hill. Getting a smaller front chainring is a good suggestion, do not be afraid to get a good "granny" gear on there and use it.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:02 PM   #11
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Not for nothing, but 3/4 mile isn't enough to get warmed up to tackle the hill. Try riding a mile out and back after you hit the bottom of the hill. Then you'll be warmed up and ready to take on the hill. Gear down, don't push yourself so hard you can't talk and take your time up the hill.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:13 PM   #12
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If your hill is steep enough that you are hitting 30 mph on the way down your gear selection for coming back up is important. You wnat to be on the smallest ring up front and the largest ring in back.

The key to hills is spinning your way up rather than mashing. If you have a Cross bike you should have a triple up front. Use it, it will be your friend when starting out.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:25 PM   #13
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If you keep riding, I suspect that part of it will get easier pretty quick, although losing weight is a slow and tedious process.

When I first started riding again, the bike trail had two or three very minor hills. I had to gear down and huffed and puffed going up them. But pretty quickly, I got my legs toned up a bit and could then ride up them faster, then in high gear (this on a mountain bike, not a road, bike, high gear wasn't that high), then I could ride up it without slowing down.

Also, make sure you ARE in low gear (small gear on the front, big gear on the back).

There's nothing wrong with driving to someplace flatter and riding there, if that's what it takes.
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Old 11-03-09, 10:32 PM   #14
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If you keep riding, I suspect that part of it will get easier pretty quick, although losing weight on a bike is great at keeping it from being such a slow and tedious process.
I fixed it for you.
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Old 11-04-09, 02:12 AM   #15
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I used to really dislike going up hills. I was pathetically out of shape (I still kind of am!), but going up hills is one of the more fun parts of my day now, especially when I get to zip past other cyclists. It was probably the best exercise for me, too, and I can probably attribute a few pounds of my 7 kilo loss so far to riding my fixed gear up and down some major hills near me.
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Old 11-04-09, 04:51 AM   #16
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Like you, I live on top of a hill. Unlike you, mine is the biggest hill around. I'm typically doing over 50 Km. if I coast down the hill and have approach 60 while pedaling. No matter where I ride, I have to face that hill when I get home. When I first started three months ago, I threw my bike in the back of my pick up and started from the bottom of the hill. Now, while I don't exactly look forward to the hill. I have no problem getting up. Just keep at it, you'll enjoy the rest of the ride enough to put up with the hill.

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Old 11-04-09, 07:09 AM   #17
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Old 11-04-09, 07:21 AM   #18
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Coast down the hill the a lower gear. Start spinning in that lower gear before you start the climb. Downshift as you need to.
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Old 11-04-09, 07:32 AM   #19
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If your hill is steep enough that you are hitting 30 mph on the way down your gear selection for coming back up is important. You wnat to be on the smallest ring up front and the largest ring in back.

The key to hills is spinning your way up rather than mashing. If you have a Cross bike you should have a triple up front. Use it, it will be your friend when starting out.
Sorry, this is completely wrong.

Most cyclocross bikes DON'T have a triple chain ring. (Too heavy and too likely to lose the chain.)

Although quite a few recent bikes have compact doubles, which almost have the range of a triple, hill climbing gearing is still often very underpowered on crossers - often even those with compacts or triples - because in a cross race you're expected to pick up the bike and run when it gets really steep. So depending on the bike - because this does vary - it might be worth considering a chain ring or cassette change. I have standard race gearing on my crosser and I'm pretty fair shape, but standing up and laying down the power is the only way the bike will get up a really steep hill. And I know far too much about hill climbing, because I was a San Fransisco bike messenger.

Oh - and it would help to ask the OP how steep his hill is, as well as what the gearing on his bike is, before telling him that his bike doesn't need modifying! Changing out the chain rings shouldn't cost that much and it should make the bike much more usable in steep terrain.

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Old 11-04-09, 11:29 AM   #20
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Sorry, this is completely wrong.

Most cyclocross bikes DON'T have a triple chain ring. (Too heavy and too likely to lose the chain.)
psst...the OP mentions a 27 gear range...kinda hard to come by with only a double.
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Old 11-04-09, 11:50 AM   #21
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Old 11-04-09, 12:59 PM   #22
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you gotta ride more than .75 miles a day. go down the hill, ride around on flat land for a few miles and walk your bike back up the hill the first few weeks if you have to.
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Old 11-04-09, 01:23 PM   #23
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I like the idea of adding some flat riding before the climb, but another idea is to divide the climbing.

Ride 1/2 way down, ride back to the top, repeat a couple of times...

And slow is good to start, but push yourself at least a little so that you improve.
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Old 11-04-09, 02:32 PM   #24
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you gotta ride more than .75 miles a day. go down the hill, ride around on flat land for a few miles and walk your bike back up the hill the first few weeks if you have to.
On a bike, 0.75 miles is next to nothing. It's not even a long distance for walking. Keep working at it and get that distance up, up, up...
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Old 11-04-09, 06:15 PM   #25
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Yes it has a tripple!

BTW, the loop has no flat road. It's just a long coast down, and long ride back up. I need a new loop, but the traffic is worse.

BTW, I'll be taking a couple day break as I just went down hard about 30 minutes ago! I seem to be missing a large amount of skin from my knee cap.

You see it's now dark when I leave and return from work. I planned ahead and purchased on of them new nifty Magic Shine headlights. I don't think its going to work so well for a large newbie. I was doing a U turn in the street, and the bike shot out from under me some how? My feet were caught in the toe straps, and I nose dived onto asphalt. It's a very bad feeling going down in the dark with you feet stuck in the pedals! I also bent the brifter over 45 degrees. Isn't that a treat! OK time to wipe of the blood...

Thanks for the comments BTW.

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