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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 02-17-10, 06:59 PM   #1
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250+ people how did it feel when you first started cycling?

I weigh 275 and I feel really tired when going uphills. I could barely make it uphills when walking so I dont imagine its any different with a bicycle. Going downhills on pavement I can ride 40mph and up.I ride on dirt roads it takes more effort to go the same speed you would on pavement. Hopefully I get to get better at cycling each day.

How did it feel when you first started cycling at an adult age?
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Old 02-17-10, 07:22 PM   #2
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Just riding regularly will build up more road riding strength. Make sure you're pushing yourself. Don't settle. Do you have a computer? If not, a computer may help to give you a measure to go by. Whether its riding 25 miles today vs 18 yesterday, or going 18mph today vs 16.8 yesterday.

My first thought riding again was "I don't remember my bottom hurting this bad as a kid!" but my legs are in shape from the gym, so it wasn't that bad.
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Old 02-17-10, 07:56 PM   #3
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I got back on the bike at 255 lbs. and I felt awesome, for a few blocks. It took a while till I was able to hit 5 miles comfortably. From there I just kept progressing. Consistency is the biggest factor. Try to ride every day (or at least every other day) and add a little more distance each week. What I found was that the days I really didn't feel like getting on the bike were the days I felt awesome when I got back from my ride. It is work but it is so worth it. You'll get there if you keep at it.
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Old 02-17-10, 08:10 PM   #4
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I've never really been off a bike. I just got big.
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Old 02-17-10, 08:14 PM   #5
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At 46 I got back on a bike after 20 years and was 270lbs. The first few weeks were tough, 5 miles seemed like journey to the moon. Within a year I was enjoying 20 mile rides. Dirt paths and fat tires make it harder but make for a better work out! Keep it up: you'll feel great, lighter and younger!
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Old 02-17-10, 08:53 PM   #6
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When I started biking again I was 317lbs. I was very easily winded. Everything hurt.

Now I hover in the low 200s (216 this morning) and have incredible health and stamina. It was an amazing transformation.

My response to anyone hedging is to just get going. You will be just as old 6 months from now whether you do it or not. The question is how much healthier you want to be when you get there.
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Old 02-17-10, 09:57 PM   #7
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I got a cheap mountain bike and started riding the local bike trail. There's a couple of little rises on it, not exactly hills, but still goes uphill there. And I'd have to downshift and huff and puff going up. Then after a while, I got to where I didn't need to downshift, then I could go up them in high gear (wasn't that high on that bike) and without slowing down. It just takes a while. You get some fairly fast improvelment just from toning up your muscles.

I think it depends too, on how you're built, with size of legs versus body size.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
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Old 02-17-10, 11:05 PM   #8
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My butt hurt. I started with a 3 mile one way trip to work, and I was pretty wiped the first few times. I was very pleased with how fast I could add mileage during the first few months. After six months I had lost 30 pounds and I could ride 30 miles. My butt got better.
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Old 02-17-10, 11:07 PM   #9
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I was about 260 when I started riding. Flats were fun but hills hurt, 1/2 mile climb was murder. I was told that I'm not supposed to climb cause I was big.

If someone says I can't, I usually do it cause I don't understand "can't"! now I do!

Started riding at 260 lbs. Believe me, riding and climbing are much better at 230 lbs.

6'1 260 lbs

230 lbs...I do miss my biceps though!

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Old 02-17-10, 11:23 PM   #10
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I got back on a bike 13 years ago at 270 lbs and I'd just stopped smoking b/c of cancer. I used to have to push my steel mtb up a lot of hills and it felt like my lungs would burst but I kept at it.

13 years later, at age 68, I have 2 road and 2 mtb bikes and I can climb every hill in Montreal. I've kept my weight at around 220-225.
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Old 02-17-10, 11:49 PM   #11
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My solution for climbing hills is to downshift early into lower gears and to pedal slowly. This gets me to the top slowly but without having to stop and recover or walk the bike up the hill. Usually I have to fight the instinct to pedal fast in lower gears. The way I do that is to watch my speedometer.

For example, there's a steep hill around here I often have to climb. I know from experience that I can make it all the way to the top without stopping if I climb it at around 3.5 mph. I'll be breathing deeply but not gasping. Instinct always tells me to try to take the hill at 7-8 mph, but if I do that, I'll blow up before I finish the climb and have to stop & recover. It's a real mental struggle to downshift and slow down. Watching my speedometer helps me pace the climb correctly.

My son used to use a heart rate monitor to pace himself when he was learning to climb steep hills. He paced himself so he was climbing at 70% of his max heart rate, no more than that. You have to have some way to pace yourself correctly when climbing hills. It can be a heart rate monitor, or a speedometer plus experience with that particular hill, or just climbing at speeds that don't exceed your ability to pump oxygenated blood to the leg muscles.

The only real problem with taking hills that slow is that you start wobbling below about 4 mph. I've found that the wobbling at slow speeds gets somewhat better with practice.

You should be able to ride up any hill you can walk up. You may have to ride at walking speed, though, and it's sometimes a challenge to maintain your balance.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:12 PM   #12
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250+ people how did it feel when you first started cycling?
Like I was going to vomit! (After my 4 mile commute that involved walking up one hill)
But, it got much better very quickly. Which is good - coworkers tend to frown on the vomit-in-the-morning smell.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:20 PM   #13
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Honestly, I rode my bike about a year and a half ago to work. On the way home, about half way I didn't know if I was having a heart attack or if my lungs hurt more then me not being able to catch my breath.

I was at about 300 then, I just bought a bike about two months ago, it took me a year and a half to forget about that trip enough to start riding again. Needless to say, I am at 235 now, and its alot more enjoyable then that particular 300 pound trip, lol.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:29 PM   #14
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I started again last year (late February or early March), weighing in around 325. First ride was about 5 miles and I was a little tired but could have kept going. Next 3+ mile ride was a 14 mile RT to my office on a weekend as a commuting test run. I was tired, but I realized I could do it. My weight's down to right around 300 now (hope to see a 2xx on that new scale w/in the next week), and I feel healthier than I ever have since my senior year of high school (when I played varsity tennis and weighed in at 235.) Now I make a 14 mile RT commute daily by bike and usually wish it was longer. I occasionally go out for longer rides, too. Longest has been a little over 40 miles. Hope to do a metric century by my birthday (in June) and be down to 225ish by the fall.

Long story short, it may hurt to begin with, but keep at it. It gets better and a whole hell of a lot more fun!

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Old 02-18-10, 03:29 PM   #15
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I used to stop after 3 miles

I used to stop at 3 miles into a 10 mile ride to stand up straight because my back couldn't take the mountain bike. By the end of the summer I could go 20-30 miles into a 100 mile ride without stopping to stretch on a road bike. By the end of year 2 I finished the Ride Across Indiana (160 miles) in 9h 53m.

I got dropped .2 miles into a group ride the following month as we went up a steep hill.

This all made sense once I got a powertap. Even a moderate 3-4% grade at 15mph takes over 300w. I routinely hit 600-700 watts to keep up on the shorter hills. Most people simply can't sustain that kind of wattage for extended periods.
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Old 02-18-10, 04:08 PM   #16
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Well, At 340+ on my Stationary (so far) after 30 minutes I am breathing hard, soaked hair, and need a 30 minute break to become "Normal" again...

But, to be fair, I have a new Knee named 'Frank', and also have heart issues. - (You can read all about it elsewhere if you like)

Realizing the stationary bike might be off on the miles...but when I started I needed a 10 minute break between two 15 minute rides, and 2-3 miles was my max. Today in my single 30 minute ride spinning 80-90 RPM I did 10.3 miles (so even if off, it shows much improvement) and Frank is only 14 weeks old - and yes, my butt hurts.

I imagine the first hills on my REAL Bike will sux badly... but it took me many years to get here, so it will take a while to get 'there', too.

Remember, no matter how bad you feel, there will always be someone feeling worse, as well as someone feeling better - but, to compare yuorself from one day to another, that is the secret!
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Old 02-18-10, 05:24 PM   #17
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I thought I was gonna die!

At 42 and 295 lbs, I did my first ride last January of 2 miles. I was not sure what I was getting myself into at first. After getting back into the swing of things, it all became much easier. By the end of the year, I finished just under 1,200 miles for the year. I even wore out a teenager working on his eagle scout and was trying to earn his bicycling badge. He was kaput after we did his 50 mile ride. I was sore for two days but was pleased with my accomplishment. Sometimes, I feel like I was the one getting the merit badge.
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Old 02-18-10, 05:33 PM   #18
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5' 11" 250lbs. Had not ridden in 25 years

First time I rode 5 miles I almost puked out my liver, my butt ached and I couldnt feel the sausage or beans.

Last Saturday I rode 25 miles and felt like I could have gone more, and I barely feel the seat anymore, well, only after the second hour or so. I have been on and off over the past couple months and only just now getting more consistent. Hoping to ride my age (40) in another couple weeks and work my way towards 100 before the middle of the year, if only I can find somebody as crazy as me to partner with.

Last edited by Tricycle_Rider; 02-18-10 at 05:35 PM. Reason: I am 40 not 4 :)
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Old 02-18-10, 06:32 PM   #19
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I got back on the bike several years ago at 290lbs. The first 4 mile ride (to work) made me want to puke. After a week of doing it I was fine and I did it most days for 18 months. Got down to 200lbs at one point but injuries helped me back to 270. At 270lbs I had 2 cycling holidays last year in the mountains. It's hard work but not impossible - my friends are tolerant enough to wait for me. I max out at about 12% gradient though and then only for short distances.

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Old 02-18-10, 09:18 PM   #20
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It just felt good to me most of the time, but I definitely wasn't pushing it at first, the bike started out as part of my strategy for recovering from a mild stroke. Hadn't been on a bike for a few years, big hills sucked for sure and riding into any significant wind was a chore. It took me most of a summer to build up to 8 or 10 mile rides. I definitely had problems getting back into it, some of them caused by poor bike fit, most of them caused by me not being fit. The bike has since been replaced, the body still needs a lot of work ;-)
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Old 02-19-10, 12:08 AM   #21
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Got back on the bike in February 2009 at somewhere north of 360lbs, no biking for at least 10 years. First day rode at most 8 miles on a flat paved trail. Ass, legs completely destroyed. By July I rode back-to-back one day centuries from Seattle to Portland, by August I rode Crater Lake Century (7000+ ft climbing over the first 70ish miles). It's going to hurt and suck at the beginning. But the more you do it, the quicker the progress (noticeable, measurable) comes. Down to 248 and tear off hilly 50 milers when I feel like it now :-)
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Old 02-19-10, 12:20 AM   #22
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At 42 and 300+ lbs, and having recently recovered from a spinal fracture, I decided to try cycling again. I had been out of the saddle for close to 20 years and on my first ride I thought I was going to wipe out for sure. It's true what they say - once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget, but I sure didn't remember it making me so nervous or hurting so much, especially my butt and knees. That was last spring and today I commute to school everyday and whenever I run errands I try to do so on my bike even though people look at me funny for riding my bike in the winter. My butt doesn't hurt anymore (and I've even got a skinny-person saddle now) and my knees don't bother me nearly as much. I am looking forward to this spring so I can get out there and really rack up some miles.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:37 AM   #23
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It was a pain in the butt, literally.

I started riding about 3 years ago after about 10 years of sedintary lifestyle. I was around 260 now down to 240. I had an old hybrid that I pulled out a decided to start riding again. I struggled at first but it got easier. When I started going further the old bike I had started breaking, one thing after another. So 2 years ago when I turned 40 my wife bought me Lemond Road Bike and now I am climbing mountains and doing 50+ mile rides on the weekends. The more you ride the easier it should get. The only thing is you will most likely need to make adjustments to your bike until you get comfortable. I ended up replacing the seat and the stem on the Lemond which has made a world of difference and I can be comfortbale on 3+ hour rides. I used to laugh at the guys wearing spandex, tight jerseys, gloves and those funny looking shoes. Little did I know they also make a world of difference in the comfort level of riding a bike. Can't wait until this friggin snow melts and the warm weather gets here so I can get out on the roads instead on the bikes at the local YMCA. Good luck.

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Old 02-22-10, 03:32 PM   #24
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Old 02-22-10, 04:37 PM   #25
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At age 59 and 276 lbs. I started this last August. I've always just gone out to ride. I enjoy an all day ride just about better than anything else. I've never felt terrible, just the kind of tired you get when you get done with a good workout. I lost 42 lbs. and feel great now. (Even though I've packed back on 10 lbs. this winter.)

Just go out and start riding as soon as you can. Take your time and ride as much as possible. It's the only addiction, that I know of, that's good for you. Just go do it!!

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