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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 06-01-12, 01:10 PM   #1
Big_Easy51
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I think I have arrived at my new home.

I have been lurking here for a while, and decided to register this morning.
Tom, you are an inspiration. My personal story is this: I played linebacker in college football years ago. My "fighting weight" was always between 230 and 240, at 6'4."
I rode a Raleigh Grand Prix 10 speed road bike in the mid 1970s, and then in the mid 90s I got a GT Alterra Karakoran. I was living in Vermont, and a mountain bike was the ONLY way to go.
I never felt particularly comfortable on either of those bikes, mostly because of low back pain.
In 2003 I was diagnosed with stage 3 bladder cancer. If I hadn't ignored the symptoms for 2 years, I could have caught it at stage 1. But, it is what it is. I had surgery to remove the tumor, then chemo directly into my bladder as well as general chemo. It's 2012, I still have my bladder and my check-ups show me to continue to be cancer free.
HOWEVER: while I was on and off the chemo, I was on steroids to handle some of the side effects. My weight almost doubled to about 440#. I have felt like crap for the past 11 years, and it finally came to a head for me in January. I became a vegan on 26 January...no animal products, no free oils, no refined grains or sugars. Lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Blood pressure is now 115/62 without medication, cholesterol went from 258 to sub-normal, triglycerides are normal, and fasting blood sugar averages 88. All very good indicators. Oh...and I was down to 370 at my last weigh-in three weeks ago. (70 lbs in 104 days)
Recently, I began thinking about getting a bike. I scoured Craig's list but couldn't find anything suitable. I did a great deal of research, and narrowed it down to 3 bikes that would fit my budget and what I want to do with the bike: The Specialized Expedition, the Giant Sedona, and the Giant Suede DX.
95% of my riding will be on gravel and packed dirt roads in the National Wildlife Refuge here East Central Florida. I am a professional photographer, and there are roads that have been closed to motorized vehicles because of wildfire damage, but a bike will be ideal. I can also get a lot closer to the animals I photograph (Florida panthers, bobcats, otter, bald eagles, heron, egrets, gators, etc) on a bike than in a loud vehicle. I will need to fit the bike with a basket to carry some camera gear, but other than a flat repair kit, spare tube and pump, I don't see the need for much else (at least not yet).
Riding on the paved roads scares the hell out of me. 25% of vehicular traffic is teens who have seen "Fast and Furious," bought a Honda and drive like Jeff Gordon on amphetamines; another 25% are rednecks who drive their monster trucks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a case of Coors, and about 30% are blueheads who should have stopped driving when they lost their eyesight and vision 20 years ago. (I live in Orlando.) So I'll transport the bike to the coast and ride off road there.
I went to a LBS and was very pleasantly surprised. They had the Specialized Expedition in stock in my size, but the Giant Sedona they had was too small (they had the correct size frame in stock) and they didn't have a Suede DX in stock at all. (I am looking at the Suede because of the "pedals forward" geometry, and the DX because of the front suspension absent on the regular Suede.) These folks at this LBS were terrific. They told me not to buy anything yet. They ordered a Suede DX in my size, and said when it comes in, they will assemble it along with the Sedona in my size, and have me ride the Specialized, the Sedona and the Suede DX and decide which of the bikes feels right.
Additionally, they offer free parts and labor for a year (including rims and spokes), free replacement tubes for the life of the bike (just a labor charge for them to install the new tube), and free adjustments for a year. If I want to spend $50 more, they warranty everything except brake pads and tires for 3 years (parts and labor) against any mishap (like having the bike in a rack on the back of the car and getting rear-ended by a semi), and for $25 more the warranty extends to 5 years. It's transferable.
So...as soon as the Suede comes in, I will be test-riding 3 bikes. I suspect I'll spend 3 days/week in the refuge, and at some point I will likely venture on to the back roads in the least populated area I can find. But for now, I'm excited as all get out, and I can't wait to test those 3 bikes. (Oh...they wouldn't even accept a deposit against the purchase of a bike. As I said, I really like these people.)

I'll keep you updated on my progress, and my goal of losing another 150#.

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Old 06-01-12, 01:21 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Orlando ...didn't you forget the other 25%.. tourists who are looking at everything else besides the road?
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Old 06-01-12, 01:39 PM   #3
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I do my best forget that demographic...
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Welcome!

Orlando ...didn't you forget the other 25%.. tourists who are looking at everything else besides the road?
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Old 06-01-12, 01:46 PM   #4
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Welcome BIG E!
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Old 06-01-12, 01:50 PM   #5
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Big: great job bro! Please keep us updated and it the shop you mentioned sounds great. I feel that the majority of the people who want to start riding might not have the best shops around to help them. Maybe I am wrong but it is nice to hear you have a great shop like that.

p.s. if you wanna really make a great impression, bring the shop (sales people AND mechanics) cookies. They will love you (not to forget that by doing that, the mechanics will more then likely turn your bike around faster when it needs fixed..... at least it works for me! )
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Old 06-01-12, 01:53 PM   #6
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I used to work for a Vermont ice cream company whose initials are Ben & Jerry's. I brought everyone ice cream. (Whenever I flew anywhere, I was always upgraded to 1st class. It always to take care of the folks who take care of you.
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Big: great job bro! Please keep us updated and it the shop you mentioned sounds great. I feel that the majority of the people who want to start riding might not have the best shops around to help them. Maybe I am wrong but it is nice to hear you have a great shop like that.

p.s. if you wanna really make a great impression, bring the shop (sales people AND mechanics) cookies. They will love you (not to forget that by doing that, the mechanics will more then likely turn your bike around faster when it needs fixed..... at least it works for me! )
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Old 06-01-12, 01:54 PM   #7
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Welcome Big E.....and you bragged on your photography, so you realize, you have to now post examples from your rides.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:56 PM   #8
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I used to work for a Vermont ice cream company whose initials are Ben & Jerry's. I brought everyone ice cream. (Whenever I flew anywhere, I was always upgraded to 1st class. It always to take care of the folks who take care of you.
I have done some R&D work for them in the past. Me love ice cream!
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Old 06-01-12, 02:06 PM   #9
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Amen! post some pictures.

I'm not sure how you plan on porting everything around on a bike but here's a possible solution for you:

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Old 06-01-12, 02:28 PM   #10
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Eeek!!! Not a way to treat L-glass! It is the right size, however.

Welcome aboard. I think we may need a sub forum for cycling photographers soon. Here's how I safely carry my 50D in a rack trunk:


Rack Trunk for 50D by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
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Old 06-01-12, 02:50 PM   #11
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Amen! post some pictures.

I'm not sure how you plan on porting everything around on a bike but here's a possible solution for you:

I should come over there and beat you over the head with that lens!


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Old 06-01-12, 03:25 PM   #12
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OK, Big Easy. Here we go.

First, welcome to the forum. You found a great place full of very supportive people who have walked your path before and will gladly help you do the same. Besides, we have fun here!

Second, I feel like we're twin brothers separated at birth. I have been a professional shooter for 20+ years. In my prime, I did mostly food and portraiture. Used to do a ton of food photography for Nestlé, but others as well. Portraits were exec's and high school seniors, which I still do quite a bit of. I did cave and get into a sales role in broadcasting, but I love it and still shoot enough to get my creative juices flowing.

I also just completed a year of chemo myself. I found a knot in my right hamstring while sitting at my desk one day in Feb 2011. I blamed it on riding hard a couple of days before and not stretching. Yup, I'm getting older. Guess I need to start doing that. 3 days later, it was still there and just didn't feel right. On the 4th day, I gave up my man-card and went to the doctor. Not my style to go that quickly, but the docs say it saved my life. [/soapbox: It's only a copay people. If you know it's not right, or are concerned about anything about your body. GO TO THE DOCTOR!!!! It could save your life! /end soapbox] It turned out to be stage one Ewing's Sarcoma, but in a muscle instead of the lungs and bones where this cancer usually manifests itself. What's even stranger is that it's a pediatric cancer....and at 45, I ain't a juvenile (at least physically!) You know you're in for a long road when your surgeon says "This one is very interesting!". You NEVER want to be "interesting" to a surgeon at one of the top cancer centers in the US!!! So, 14 rounds of chemo, 68 days in the hospital and two surgeries (one to remove my right hamstring) later, I am cancer free as well. I just wrapped chemo up on March 17th and have one scan which showed all clear, but you know the routine. I have a long way to go until they say "cured". I still have the port in my chest for administration and they'll leave it there for another 6 moths or so, just to be safe.

And yes, the steroids SUCK!

I'm glad you're doing well, too. It's such an encouragement to hear other success stories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Easy51 View Post
Oh...and I was down to 370 at my last weigh-in three weeks ago. (70 lbs in 104 days)
AWESOME progress. Keep it up!

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I will need to fit the bike with a basket to carry some camera gear, but other than a flat repair kit, spare tube and pump, I don't see the need for much else (at least not yet).
This scares the bejeebers out of me. I'm sure you would pad it all well, but if it were me, I would be looking at one of the Tamrac or comparable backpacks. Your body is already absorbing a lot of the road shock. I'd rather take advantage of that and carry the camera on my back where it's isolated from the bike a bit more....unless you have other reasons I'm not considering? Maybe it's faster to get to the camera from a basket?

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Riding on the paved roads scares the hell out of me. 25% of vehicular traffic is teens who have seen "Fast and Furious," bought a Honda and drive like Jeff Gordon on amphetamines; another 25% are rednecks who drive their monster trucks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a case of Coors, and about 30% are blueheads who should have stopped driving when they lost their eyesight and vision 20 years ago. (I live in Orlando.)




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I went to a LBS and was very pleasantly surprised. .....They told me not to buy anything yet. They ordered a Suede DX in my size, and said when it comes in, they will assemble it along with the Sedona in my size, and have me ride the Specialized, the Sedona and the Suede DX and decide which of the bikes feels right.......(Oh...they wouldn't even accept a deposit against the purchase of a bike. As I said, I really like these people.)
Very impressive. That will be a good shop to support you on your journey. They seem like they get it! That level of support is priceless!

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I'll keep you updated on my progress, and my goal of losing another 150#.
Please do. I suspect you'll nail that 150# in no time! And don't just let us know about your progress, share with us about the journey. I get the feeling you'll have some fun stories to share.

Oh, and as always:



BTW, my wife is also on a weight loss journey and is riding with me. I LOVE it. Our longest ride to date since we started on April 15 is 26 miles. We'll break 30 on Saturday if all goes well. She's even looking for hills to climb now. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can build up your mileage. Then, with your healthy eating AND your exercise, watch the weight drop off!
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Old 06-01-12, 03:33 PM   #13
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p.s. if you wanna really make a great impression, bring the shop (sales people AND mechanics) cookies. They will love you (not to forget that by doing that, the mechanics will more then likely turn your bike around faster when it needs fixed..... at least it works for me! )
Welcome E to a great forum ful of encouragement and lots of expertise.

OK did this strike anyone funny... for E to bring cookies to the shop when the man is trying to lose weight and "stay clean" off of refined sugars? Not saying it doesn't work however!

My buddy in life is starting Optifast because he has not been able to control his diabetes... what I am hoping is that drives me back (since he is my eating buddy as well) to a almost vegan diet... little meat, lots of veggies and complex carbs. No refined sugars (my down fall). It sounds like you have embraced the clean living good diet manta full heatedly. That's half the battle for us all!
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Old 06-01-12, 03:39 PM   #14
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OK did this strike anyone funny... for E to bring cookies to the shop when the man is trying to lose weight and "stay clean" off of refined sugars? Not saying it doesn't work however!
Yah, I thought that was pretty funny!
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Old 06-01-12, 03:46 PM   #15
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I should come over there and beat you over the head with that lens!

Try it, I'll hold you off with my monopod. It's a gitzo (and not carbon fiber either!) and you have one less muscle than I do, so be warned!

Frankly, I don't know how you can get a sufficient quantity of camera gear (and presumably a nice stable tripod) onto a regular bike... one of those big cargo bikes might be better, and then just bolt a pelican case to the back or something. I hate riding with backpacks - too hot. Of course, you won't be doing any hiking with a pelican case so maybe you'll also need a nice pack. To me, wildlife photography = big honking heavy lenses, not sure what you're using.

Maybe something like this? http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy

They also have trailers, just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
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Old 06-01-12, 03:59 PM   #16
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Try it, I'll hold you off with my monopod. It's a gitzo (and not carbon fiber either!) and you have one less muscle than I do, so be warned!
We're not going to start comparing sizes of our monopods now, are we?

Mine is only a Manfrotto..not Gitzo.
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Old 06-01-12, 04:03 PM   #17
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http://www.amazon.com/Case-Logic-SLR...588035&sr=8-31

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d7000/

That is my current setup for photos. Now I just need to know how to use the darn thing. Now I know who to ask.

I love to look at people's pictures of when they are out riding, just too lame to post myself...
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Old 06-01-12, 04:18 PM   #18
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Then it is highly likely that we know each other. :-)
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I have done some R&D work for them in the past. Me love ice cream!
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Old 06-01-12, 04:33 PM   #19
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That Gitzo likely cost more than my new bile is going to cost me. My tripod is a carbon fiber Gitzo, magnesium ball head. Camera case is a Lowepro Nova 200AW. Holds the D300, D800, 28-300mm lens, plus 3-4 other lenses. The AW means "All Weather...there is an attached rain cover in the bottom that renders the whole case waterproof. I need the camera where I can get to it quickly. Will likely strap the case down in the basket with 2 short bungee cords. I DO have a Lowepro backpack that holds 2 bodies and about 2 extra lenses. And if I need to get off the bike and hike a bit, the case has a shoulder strap. I'd rather not ride with the backpack. Temps are going to be averaging high 80s to mid 90s into December.
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Try it, I'll hold you off with my monopod. It's a gitzo (and not carbon fiber either!) and you have one less muscle than I do, so be warned!

Frankly, I don't know how you can get a sufficient quantity of camera gear (and presumably a nice stable tripod) onto a regular bike... one of those big cargo bikes might be better, and then just bolt a pelican case to the back or something. I hate riding with backpacks - too hot. Of course, you won't be doing any hiking with a pelican case so maybe you'll also need a nice pack. To me, wildlife photography = big honking heavy lenses, not sure what you're using.

Maybe something like this? http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy

They also have trailers, just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Last edited by Big_Easy51; 06-01-12 at 04:34 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-01-12, 04:43 PM   #20
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I should come over there and beat you over the head with that lens!


That looks like something I made as a kid to shoot tennis balls out of using PVc and lighter fluid
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Old 06-01-12, 04:47 PM   #21
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The first photo gives you an idea of the surface on which I will be riding. The bobcat was caught just before dark. The spoonbill and gator (that one was a 12 footer) are common in the refuge. Welcome to my world. With the bike, I will be able to go down roads that have been closed to vehicles for four years or more.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Refuge_Road3_Web_Edit.jpg (101.0 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Visitor4_Web.jpg (102.3 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg Spoonbill_small_file.jpg (98.7 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg Smile!_edit2B2.jpg (118.3 KB, 19 views)

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Old 06-01-12, 04:48 PM   #22
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Welcome E to a great forum ful of encouragement and lots of expertise.

OK did this strike anyone funny... for E to bring cookies to the shop when the man is trying to lose weight and "stay clean" off of refined sugars? Not saying it doesn't work however!

My buddy in life is starting Optifast because he has not been able to control his diabetes... what I am hoping is that drives me back (since he is my eating buddy as well) to a almost vegan diet... little meat, lots of veggies and complex carbs. No refined sugars (my down fall). It sounds like you have embraced the clean living good diet manta full heatedly. That's half the battle for us all!
When you are in the culinary business, it works. ALWAYS. While you wait to have your bike repaired, I am in there getting it fixed, watching the mechanics and asking them questions..... while they eat what I brought them. AND.... I walk out with my bike, same day while your bike is still in the shop! Works ALL the time! For EVERYTHING. Need my truck fixed when I owned a honey business. No problem, brought the guys some honey and I was in and out same day while they had cars backed up to work on!
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Old 06-01-12, 04:52 PM   #23
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And to think I just bring the shop guys beer... next time cookies and honey!
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Old 06-01-12, 04:54 PM   #24
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And to think I just bring the shop guys beer... next time cookies and honey!
The point...........

............it works!
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Old 06-01-12, 05:12 PM   #25
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Nay sir! I buy camera gear used, no point in taking the depreciation. My monopod is one of their heavy metal ones, cost me $100.

Those gitzo tripods give me the willies just thinking about how expensive they are.

you may want just a pannier or rear bag set up for your gear and just a basket type arrangement for one body & lens for accessibility.

Or one of these jobs for your "on hand" camera - http://buy.cottoncarrier.com/cotton-...p/635rtl-s.htm

Shopping for camera gear is almost as fun as shopping for bike gear. My wife made the mistake of asking me just the other day if I had all the camera gear I needed for our upcoming trip to Alaska.
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