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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 06-16-11, 11:20 AM   #1
teresamichele
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Did people take you seriously when you started?

Hi all! I'm not exactly new but I sort of got away from the bike for a bit. Actually, I was using an indoor bike - now I'm using a REAL bike and I love it! So I came back!

I'm a big gal - I'm hovering just under 270 on a 5'5" frame. I have gotten great support from some people in my life but there are some people who seriously seem to think that my desire to get healthier by riding is "cute" somehow. It's possible that I'm overly sensitive - and maybe I don't trust myself yet that I really am in this for the long haul.

Did people make rude, but well-meaning comments when you were starting? Did they stop as you stuck with it?
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Old 06-16-11, 11:37 AM   #2
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My 80 year old neighbor laughed at me this morning as I bombed up the hill to our place. I have no idea if the laugh was a good laugh or a laugh at me laugh.

My 70 year old neighbor tries to sabotage my weight loss by bringing over baked goods and saying that I don't need to lose weight. Or that I've lost enough. She also thinks my bike is a "boys" bike with a "boys" seat as it has a cutout. She isn't intentionally rude, she just is extremely puzzled.

My extremely fit cousin thinks that I now I am exercising I should be able to join her on 20 mile rides and keep up. I can't keep up with her even when walking. She has no understanding of what it is like to come from no fitness. I am tired of turning down all the offers to do active things with her but I have to because she leaves me behind.

I stopped by my old place of employment to visit former coworkers. They had not seen me for quit a while and I had dropped 15% of my weight. That is a noticeable amount. No one said anything about weight loss or looking good or whatever.

OK, I'm done venting!

Glad to hear you are enjoying getting into biking!
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Old 06-16-11, 11:39 AM   #3
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Who do you mean when you say "people" anyway? Strangers? Friends? Random idiots driving by in a car yelling "nice a$$" out the window?

And you may be a little over sensitive, but stick around here and you'll get plenty of supporting comments. I would consider that "friends" who try to hold you back are not very good friends.

And I agree that using a real bike is far superior to some dumb stationary bike. I hate working hard and no moving. Drives me nuts.

Good luck!
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Old 06-16-11, 11:41 AM   #4
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Yep. I wrote most of those types of comments off as one of a number of things: simple insensitivity, jealousy (from Clydes/Athenas who didn't have the gumption to make a change), intellectual ignorance (of the effect their comments might have), and the like. Also, people generally don't like "change" - your lifestyle change is forcing them to make adjustments (from their perspective). After a while, most of the silly/hurtful comments stop.

A couple people continued to make comments longer than others. Ultimately I wrote it off as jealousy of even my limited results or fear of change on their part. Shrug. I ignore the comments for the most part and rarely respond other than to invite them along for a ride on one of my easy days.

I've adopted the perspective of - lead, follow or get the heck out of the way.
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Old 06-16-11, 11:57 AM   #5
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goldfinch! I have the same problem you have with your cousin with my group. I'm doing Team In Training (we raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society while training for an endurance event).

Not everyone in my group has done a triathlon before (we're doing the Chicago Triathlon) but they're ALL in better shape than me. They have to work hard too, don't get me wrong, but they don't seem to understand that this 15-20 mile ride we're supposed to do Saturday morning may actually kill me. They're excited after a 3 mile run - I'm panting (and I didn't run the whole 3 miles)! The only thing I seem to be okay with is the swimming - I'm slow but I get it done, whereas some of our marathon runners and the like have to stop and stand every few laps. Maybe fat helps you float?

I do hate when one of the coaches seems to feel they have to stick with me when I'm so slow - I feel so out of place. I try to remember, though, that at least I'm out there doing it. I have to start somewhere. If I wait till I'm in great shape to do this, I'll never do it!
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Old 06-16-11, 12:15 PM   #6
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I haven't had any comments or actions towards me in support or non-support that I've noticed.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:27 PM   #7
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No one I know said anything to me until I'd lost about 40 pounds. That seemed to be the threshold of noticing, or commenting anyway, at least for someone my size (5'-10" male, starting around 270 or so). And everyone has been uniformly supportive, though I'm getting now to the point where they're starting to say things like they can't imagine me losing another 25 or 30, which I still need to do. I just smile at them and say, "you haven't seen me naked." That usually shuts them up.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:39 PM   #8
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When I made the decision to change my lifestyle and lose weight, I was greeted with a lot of here we go again looks from friends and colleagues. I don't really blame them, over the last 15-20 years I have been constantly going on and off fad diets, work out regimes etc and my weight yo-yo'd like crazy.

It took about 9 months and 50lbs to start eliciting comments about my weight loss and the change in my body shape. I still think some where sceptical, but now after an additional 35lbs lost and the fact that I have competed in many biking and running races, most of my friends have forgotten the old me and have started to ask me for help training them!!

Don't be discouraged or swayed from your path, results will turn the sceptics into believers!
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Old 06-16-11, 12:45 PM   #9
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And everyone has been uniformly supportive, though I'm getting now to the point where they're starting to say things like they can't imagine me losing another 25 or 30, which I still need to do. I just smile at them and say, "you haven't seen me naked." That usually shuts them up.
Love it! I'm using that line.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:45 PM   #10
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Yep. I started my lifestyle change in October 2007. It contributed to my divorce. I did get a lot of sarcastic "good luck with that" type comments for a while. Then I did lose about 100lbs. I met and married another woman... now I'm gaining weight again.

But, yeah, the people issues are as hard as the food & exercise issues.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:51 PM   #11
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Other riders I meet still don't take me seriously. I'll meet riders for the first time and they will offer me advice on how to complete a 25 miler. Then the say, "you can do it if you set your mind to it"

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Old 06-16-11, 12:57 PM   #12
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Most everyone in my circle, ESPECIALLY my Health Care People, have been extremely supportive. Every once in a while I get a little "shot" from a stranger or even a "buddy" who wants to know when I turned into such a "Bike F*g". I just consider the source and try to remember why I started doing this in the first place. it's about ME, not them. I really don't care what they think. Keep the faith.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:00 PM   #13
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I guess I don't worry about being taken seriously, maybe because I'm not that "serious." I'm doing this for fun, to improve my fitness, and to cut down on how much I use my car, in that order -- with the fun first! I don't really want to become a heavy-duty athlete and enter races or anything, I just want to be fit enough to enjoy doing things outdoors and to feel good. I love reading posts here from people who do centuries or pacelines or major hill climbs, though.

If people don't run me over, that's all the taking-seriously I need. I don't talk a lot about my diet and exercise to people in real life, because I feel like it just opens one up for annoying comments.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:02 PM   #14
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I get a tremendous amount of support from friends, family, and acquaintances. There are a very small number of people who can't understand why anyone would enjoy riding a bicycle uphill, but they are all impressed with what the bicycle has done for my weight loss and overall appearance.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:04 PM   #15
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I'm pretty sure people don't take me seriously now.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-16-11, 01:15 PM   #16
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Ive lost 15% of my body weight also and nobody (except my wife and daughter) has ever mentioned it. But that's OK. I don't think it is "noticeable" on a 300lb frame until I get to 20-25%. I also dont sign onto the "sabotage" scenario of friends or family "pushing" fatty foods on me. I think those foods were always there as were the offers, we are just more sensitive as we try to lose weight.

All in all, I think people dont acknowledge our efforts because to them its not that interesting. When somebody drops 100lb it becomes harder to ignore and the comments begin to flow...only another 70lbs to go for me

I rode a 45 mile hilly sponsored ride last weekend and I had numerous comments from riders as they passed me of "keep it up" "you can do it" based on my overweight appearance. They equated weight with fitness. Meanwhile, I have completed many 50+ mile hilly-rides and I was not struggling in the least. They were just being nice but felt they had to encourage the fat guy on the bike. So in a way they were not taking me as seriously as the thin riders around me but I understand they were being nice. I also had a guy shoot passed me and yell "Your tires flat" and then when he saw me from the front "Oh OK - sorry dude - keep it going" - heheehehheehehe - what did he mean by that!
By the way, my tires were max inflated and prob my weight spreads them a little
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Old 06-16-11, 01:21 PM   #17
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Nope, still get no respect.

Riding a bike is just plain fun, it doesn't bother me what anyone else thinks because I am out doing something I enjoy doing. Congrats on your new life style, keep up the great work
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Old 06-16-11, 01:30 PM   #18
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Hi all! I'm not exactly new but I sort of got away from the bike for a bit. Actually, I was using an indoor bike - now I'm using a REAL bike and I love it! So I came back!

I'm a big gal - I'm hovering just under 270 on a 5'5" frame. I have gotten great support from some people in my life but there are some people who seriously seem to think that my desire to get healthier by riding is "cute" somehow. It's possible that I'm overly sensitive - and maybe I don't trust myself yet that I really am in this for the long haul.

Did people make rude, but well-meaning comments when you were starting? Did they stop as you stuck with it?
Yes, people seemed amused by the fact that I was gung-ho about exercising at first.

11 months later, I don't get that anymore.


I love the feeling I get when I zip by people who weigh 100+ pounds less than me, easily going 5mph faster than them... and I haven't even put on my road tires yet! It's an amazing feeling... just goes to show that weight does not directly correlate to fitness.


Keep going, it only gets better!
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Old 06-16-11, 01:36 PM   #19
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Random idiots driving by in a car yelling "nice a$$" out the window?
Heh, that exact thing happened to me once... glad to know I'm not the only one who gets it.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:36 PM   #20
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Did people make rude, but well-meaning comments when you were starting? Did they stop as you stuck with it?
I can laugh at this story...now. But friends and I joke about it all the time.

My good friend and I something mountain bike together Friday mornings. I am a very experienced rider even on the mountain bike. Unfortunately 5 years ago, got cancer, had surgery, gained weight and slowed down a bit.

So I show up for the ride and my friend is there with two ladies she met online. Both were strong but inexperienced riders. Both weighed barely 120 lbs. So as we "fluffy" folks know, no matter how hard we pushed, we can't climb as fast as skinny people - pure physics - can't be done. My friend, who is also a light weight, knows this and she just keeps going 'cause i can catch her downhill (advantage of being bigger).

Anyway, the 4 of us do this particularly, long, difficult climb and I am last. As I reach the top one of the little skinny ladies says "OH. GOOD JOB! YOU DID SO WELL!!!!" The other says "WOW!!! KEEP IT UP!!! AWESOME!!!!!".

Remember I have been riding around 40 years - them 6 months. "Uh OK I just climbed the same hill as you. I'm bigger thus slower. I don't need encouragement but whatever" (I say this to myself). After the third tough hill and the third "GOOD JOB!!! YOU DID SO WELL. AWESOME!!!!!!!!" I gave my friend "stink eye". She got my drift and says to the skinny ladies "We'll just keep riding, Pam will catch up to us."

I was now climbing happily to myself and did not have to face those annoying words of discouragement until one the ladies got tired and turn around and as I was passing her coming down and I up, she yelled "GOOD JOB...keep it up..." Mood ruined again!

Anyway I easily catch up to the other two at the turnaround. Coming down a fairly technical descent, the skinny lady crashed and fell.... This is evil I know, but as I by I said "OH! GOOD TRY. NEXT TIME!!!" I never looked back. And to this day I hate the word AWESOME!!!!!

The point of the long story - doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks - what matters is what you are doing. Always do your ride, your way and be proud of your accomplishments. People who would make snide, petty comments are ignorant and stupid.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:41 PM   #21
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I'm pretty sure people don't take me seriously now.
You are correct sir!
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Old 06-16-11, 01:56 PM   #22
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Thalia, I agree completely with your reasons for cycling. People can't patronize you for your level of seriousness when you never implied that you had one in the first place.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:10 PM   #23
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I wouldn't fault someone for trying to encourage me, even if it is misplaced.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:32 PM   #24
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Random idiots driving by in a car yelling "nice a$$" out the window?
Nobody yells that at me. I feel left out.
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Old 06-16-11, 03:00 PM   #25
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Some really good points in the posts above. I'd like to add something for you to think about. Are you doing this for you or for them?
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