Hoping to gather some advice/tips from some of the more knowledgeable folks and hopefully find what I'm looking for. Here's some relevant info for anyone that wants to read
Had to give up biking about 8 years ago due to an injury to my lower back, and it ended up putting me out of commission for longer than anyone (me included) had hoped. In the mean time, I pretty much let myself go. Went from 6'1/330lb to 5'11 (spinal/disc problems, and the fact that they had to remove bone and disc both from my back, I GOT SHORTER!), and a whopping 440lb. I managed to start eating healthy again, kicking alot of soda and fast food, but I still drink my rum and cokes on Friday night. With the top half losing nearly 2 full inches, I decided to give my old Raleigh a go round the other night, with disasterous results. Dropping the bars in front an inch or so would probably work well, but this bike was bought almost 10 years ago with no forethought or any thing relevant to future proof. So I rode around a little bit, and as I suspected, it's just not going to be up to the task... Mainly for its age, lack of maintenance, and every other reason I can think of to promote the idea of going out and buying something brand new and shiny!
I talked with my neurosurgeon, and she's in the mindset that with my swimming 2 hours a day, bike riding (within my limits) is a good thing, and encouraged me. Now I'm here looking for advice on a good ride. I'm built oddly, with a long trunk, and shorter legs, which made even buying my old Raleigh a VERY difficult thing, simply because of the way I'm built. To shorten things up, I have the time, I hopefully soon will have a ride, and I hope to lose what I unfortunately accumulated thru less than hard work, and laziness.
My basic questions (I'll be hitting 2 of the local shops later today to gather some info, prices, suggestions from them as well,) and then probably later this week, or Saturday, go, ride some more, and decide what I'll settle with.
Any specific material/frame composition to stick with?
Any guidelines for wheels? I know most likely, this will have to be custom/hand done, and there's not really a way to avoid it. But any specific price ranges/etc?
Any specific suggestion for a bike in general? I looked at the Trek 7.3 and I definitely am NOT turned off, but for someone my size, would it stand up to moderate abuse?
I was looking initially at a Trek 8.3, for multiple reasons, it seems like it would be a little more durable (more on that in a moment), and a better fit. But I won't know more till I visit a shop this week.
Onto where I'll be riding it. Luckily Cleveland's blessed with the Metroparks (one of the best places IMHO to go for some really great rides in this part of the country.) About 60 miles of all purpose/paved, and twice as many miles in offroad, bridle (bike friendly unless they changed it), and other trails. For the first bit, I'll probably be sticking to the pavement, but later on down the line, I'll probably be my usual self, and if all's well, venture into the unpaved goodness around. As so, I don't want to end up spending another 600+$ in a couple months because I didn't have the forethought to buy something a bit more "bump friendly" Any hints, advice, questions, or things I should know? Apparently the bike scene's quite different since my last one a decade ago! Any help would be more than welcome.
Thanks for having me, and thanks for reading my book, lol.