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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 04-09-12, 07:39 AM   #1
Brokkin
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First Ride - aka "Why are my lungs on fire?"

So I took my new bike out for it's first ride yesterday. My ever-supportive wife hooked the baby carrier up to her bike and went out with me. It felt good to be out and on a bike again. I used to ride as my primary form of transportation about 15 years and 200 lbs ago.

The bike felt stable, to recap I'm about 6'1" and ~410 lbs and purchased a Kona Steely. I however, was not so stable. It seemed to me as if I had alot more weight on my hands than I used too. The grips on my bike seemed kind of small and scary, and even with padded gloves I had tingle-hands by the time I got done (less than 20 minutes). I also noticed that I have some major balance issues to overcome now that I am this heavy. Although it didn't seem to keep me from staying up and on the bike, it did greatly limit my maneuverability. At one time I was "forced" off the road by my seeming lack of ability to make the bike go where I want it.

We chose a route that we hoped would be the least hilly of all our options, but even so I was faced with a rather steep but smallish hill that almost did me in. Over the past few months I've been working out on an Elliptical, but nothing compares to the burn I had in my lungs at the end of this workout. We live at ~6000 feet elevation, so air is a bit lacking.

Overall, it was an "ok" first ride. I didn't crash and burn, but geez did it hurt when I got off the bike. Now the hardest part......making sure it happens as close to everyday as I can get!
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Old 04-09-12, 08:07 AM   #2
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So I took my new bike out for it's first ride yesterday. My ever-supportive wife hooked the baby carrier up to her bike and went out with me. It felt good to be out and on a bike again. I used to ride as my primary form of transportation about 15 years and 200 lbs ago.

The bike felt stable, to recap I'm about 6'1" and ~410 lbs and purchased a Kona Steely. I however, was not so stable. It seemed to me as if I had alot more weight on my hands than I used too. The grips on my bike seemed kind of small and scary, and even with padded gloves I had tingle-hands by the time I got done (less than 20 minutes). I also noticed that I have some major balance issues to overcome now that I am this heavy. Although it didn't seem to keep me from staying up and on the bike, it did greatly limit my maneuverability. At one time I was "forced" off the road by my seeming lack of ability to make the bike go where I want it.

We chose a route that we hoped would be the least hilly of all our options, but even so I was faced with a rather steep but smallish hill that almost did me in. Over the past few months I've been working out on an Elliptical, but nothing compares to the burn I had in my lungs at the end of this workout. We live at ~6000 feet elevation, so air is a bit lacking.

Overall, it was an "ok" first ride. I didn't crash and burn, but geez did it hurt when I got off the bike. Now the hardest part......making sure it happens as close to everyday as I can get!
I am with you. I havent been on a bike in years and I had to push myself to work this morning around 3.5 miles. Im a big guy 5'11 around 350lbs and while I wasnt in pain, I couldnt feel my legs much at all. But the burn in the chest was there. Lots of coughing as the ride seemed to loosen up a bunch of stuff in my chest.

I cant imagine the 6000 feet in elevation ride. I start out around 700 feet and end up around 1250 when I get to work.

Just keep it at it. I am sure this will get easier for the both of us =D
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Old 04-09-12, 10:42 PM   #3
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Kudos to you for getting out and riding, keep it up and it will get easier. Also props to your supportive wife!
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Old 04-09-12, 11:59 PM   #4
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The first week is evil after being off the bike for a while. I was around 200 pounds 2 years back and riding 60km a stretch with no effort. I got distracted, got up to about 225 pounds (light yes, but read on) and wow! I couldn't go 10km without wanting to die. So I just pushed and pushed and now 2 months later I'm almost back to where I was. It just takes a lot of determination. The improvement every day is a real inspiration to me.
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Old 04-10-12, 05:20 AM   #5
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Brok: Great first ride. I look at the first ride as a starting point. From there, you have the potential of getting stronger, fitter, faster, and be able to handle many things associated with riding. Two key things to keep in your mind:

1- Try not to compare yourself now to what you used to do. I know this is easier said then done but it will put yourself in the best frame of mind to keep going. I got real discouraged when I did my first ride in July 2011. Two frekaing miles and it felt like 20. I compared myself to who I was and how I rode when I was much younger and a friend shook me and told me to stop. So far, so good!

2- You might consider going to a bike shop you trust and getting a full bike fit done. Not one of those "five minutes in and out" crap. But a true bike fit. It may or may not cost you money but the idea is to get the best fit possible. It could be something as simple as stem height and/or length or tilt of the saddle.

You need to set yourself up for success and that starts with a proper fit on the bike. I always went through this too when I started. You are on your way my friend.
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Old 04-10-12, 01:47 PM   #6
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The first ride is the most important. As you found things are not what they used to be. Take it easy and be persistent and get back to where you want. It does not happen over night. You are not in a competition. You don't have to ride a certain distance or at a certain speed. Just ride the bike and enjoy your ride.

When I started riding about 6 years ago, I could only ride about 100 yards without having chest pains. It took me two weeks until I could ride a mile without having to stop. My longest ride so far is 40 miles and I only average about 10 miles per hour. We all have to start where we are and hope for improvements. When I started riding I weighed 201 lbs. About 5 months ago I decided to lose some weight and went on a very restrictive diet. This morning I weighed and the scale showed 151 lbs. So it can be done.

Take pride in your ride. I know it was not easy. Ride again tomorrow and don't get discouraged if you are not meeting goals as fast as you expect. The goals will be reached.

Congratulations on taking the first step in the journey to better health.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:22 PM   #7
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Brokkin,

100% awesome. just keep getting out there. Oh, it wont get easier you will just get faster or ride further thats the only change

I remember just last year I was almost dead when tried to get over this one overpass the first time i rode that far. now i dont even shift down a gear i just stand and pedal right over it like nothing. still when i get home i am as tired as the first time i went over it, the only difference is i go 25 miles more and 5mph faster.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:31 PM   #8
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Good job getting out there for your first ride. Whatever you do, don't quit. After the first ride or two is when quitting is the easiest. When you get going, lose a little weight, and notice the rides getting easier, you will want to stay with it. So keep up the good work, even past when it gets easier.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:50 PM   #9
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The second ride is when you gotta decide to push through. The rear end is gonna hurt. It always does the second time around after a long break. But soon, it'll be like second nature again.
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Old 04-10-12, 05:48 PM   #10
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Why are your lungs on fire? Because you are one of us.

Almost every one of us has a first ride experience just like the one you have written.

Keep it up and you will progress rapidly. Don't let the first ride stop you.
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Old 04-10-12, 06:25 PM   #11
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Great job...... and remember better to pedal faster (use a lower/easier gear) than to push hard on the pedals.
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Old 04-10-12, 07:37 PM   #12
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Pift it isn't that bad till you are on the ground screaming "it burns it burns" ..... kidding .... maybe .


One thing I will point out , in regards to your forced off road experience.The problem you might being having there is the problem a lot of us faced when we started out . That is you tend to think "on no i don't want to ride off there " and you look at it , and thus our wonderfully evolved brain goes "oh look he wants to go that way because he is looking at it" and next thing you know you are the above mentioned part of being on the ground.

The trick i found is to look a few meters ahead at where i want to go , works for me but you might find a better way.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:16 PM   #13
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Overall, it was an "ok" first ride. I didn't crash and burn, but geez did it hurt when I got off the bike. Now the hardest part......making sure it happens as close to everyday as I can get!
That's right! Rock on!
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Old 04-10-12, 10:17 PM   #14
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The trick i found is to look a few meters ahead at where i want to go , works for me but you might find a better way.
On any 2 wheeled vechile that trick works for me. On my motorcycle I just look at the spot I want to be at and suddenly I'm there. Its the same with the bike. My body knows how to get there so I just get the thinking part out of the way.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:22 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies and encouragement. Ride #2 is scheduled for tonight. I know, I know, it's like three days later, but sometimes life doesn't allow better scheduling.... I think I might try a different route today. I'd much rather have a longer gentle upslope than the drastic upslope we had last time.
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Old 04-11-12, 12:10 PM   #16
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It will get easier. I had to get off and walk up all the hills when I first started, and now I can stand on the pedals and climb them. Don't be afraid to take it slow.
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Old 04-11-12, 12:36 PM   #17
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It's harder to balance when you are going slow, you're exhausted, or if your muscles aren't conditioned. That will get better.

Numb hands can be from putting too much weight on the handlebars, rough terrain/road buzz, death grip on the handlebars, or medical issues.
Move your hands around and shake them out during the ride.
Numbness or hand weakness that persists after your ride is definitely somthing you should address.

Steep hills have a way of flattening out when you've more miles in your legs. They are fun to ride later and marvel how much progress you've made.
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Old 04-11-12, 01:20 PM   #18
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I know how you felt with the lungs being on fire. I had my first ride on a road bike after 5+ of being dismounted. I rode 5 miles, my legs were sore, and I was gassed. I road 7 the next day and wasn't gassed. I rode 8 miles last night and I feel great. don't give up and keep pushing yourself to go ride.
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Old 04-11-12, 02:56 PM   #19
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It will get easier. I HAD to get off and walk up all the hills when I first started....
LOL! I still have to get off and walk up some hills. And that's just a fact! But it's all good as long as I get out and ride.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:17 PM   #20
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Brokkin,

The weight on your hands may be from the seat being too far forward. You may have to do some bike adjustments.

Your butt will be less sore are it gets used to riding. Give it some time and see if the soreness goes away. If not, then you might need to explore some seat options.

Conquering hills is a function of stamina, cadence, and learning to effectively use your gears. You have plenty of gears on your MTB. You will have to get better at managing them.

Balance and stamina come with time in the saddle and practice. As you continue, you will be able to ride faster and farther. You can practice slow riding skills as your balance improves.

Get out as often as you can and keep rinding!
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Old 04-11-12, 05:32 PM   #21
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If you have the stock riser bar on your Kona, have a look at Ergon grips. I found them to help with numb hands.
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Old 04-12-12, 07:30 AM   #22
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If you have the stock riser bar on your Kona, have a look at Ergon grips. I found them to help with numb hands.
I actually ordered a pair of Ergon grips yesterday. The grips I have are insanely rough and small, and I wanted something with "bull-horns"? so I could at least adjust how I was holding the handlebars eventually. Unfortunately bad weather kept me in last night, but trying again tonight!

As to my seat being too far forward, that is very possible. My standover height is somewhat small (I'm 6'1" with an inseam of 28-30), but my overall reach is a little larger. Maybe I'll try bumping the seat back a bit. I also have some biking pants coming (my wife insisted, she wears them, so I have too to.....), so that will likely help with my tush.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:13 AM   #23
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I, too, just had a ride like this. I've tooled around on my new bike a bit, but this was my first serious (ha, yea) trip. I only went 1.8 miles, but it kicked my arse. I'll be out there tomorrow or the next day doing it again for sure!
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Old 04-12-12, 06:04 PM   #24
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Actually biking shorts make a big difference. Without them I'm good for 3 hours or so then it starts to get uncomfortable. With them I can ride all day and not notice. They do take a little getting used to. I wish there was biking gear that was a nice plain 1 or 2 colors without all the fancy logos.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:09 PM   #25
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Actually biking shorts make a big difference. Without them I'm good for 3 hours or so then it starts to get uncomfortable. With them I can ride all day and not notice. They do take a little getting used to. I wish there was biking gear that was a nice plain 1 or 2 colors without all the fancy logos.
There is. That's most of what I wear.
Plain black bike shorts, HiVis jersey "club cut". Cheap, simple, and comfortable.
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