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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 11-18-12, 04:08 PM   #1
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What to buy/How to buy, 300 pound, female.

I haven't owned a bike since I was 17. I haven't RIDDEN a bike since I was 17. That was 30 years ago. My longest ride at the time was from Valparaiso Florida to Flomaton Alabama (109 miles).

A few years ago I hit a high weight, (see my signature). I have poly-cystic ovarian disease, thyroid problems, diabetes, sleep apnea, psoriatic and ostreo arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, etc. My knees are shot, and I have had two operations on the right one. My last shot to put chemicals in my knee to buffer the meniscus is tomorrow, and I will be 'good' for about 6 months. Might have to do the left knee soon too. When I finish losing the rest of this weight, I will be scheduled for knee replacement. I have lost 110 pounds. I walk between 30 minutes and 90 minutes a day. My goal for walking is 4 hours a week. I want to add to the walking with biking with my teen girls. Neither of them have ridden a bike since they were about 10. *(They are 15)

So, I am in Arizona, city of Tempe, in the market for three bikes. Two for teen girls One is 5-1 and 105 pounds and the other 5-3 and 120 pounds, one VERY athletic,(volleyball, wrestling and cross country... one not so much - her idea of exercise is walking the dog a few times a day 100 feet to the dog park and back!).

I am 5-8. Short legs, long in the torso. I am at 323 or so (lost a lot this week). By the end of January I should be just under 300 going by how I have been losing.

We plan on using the bikes for now, in town, on the bike paths that go across town and along the lakes and canals in the area. We have a lot of streets with bike lanes. We also want to be able to take the bikes with us camping eventually. However, for now it will be biking around town together.

If something happens, and for whatever reason we have to leave the house with supplies and no car... bug out... I want the bike to be able to pull a small trailer too.

So what type of bike for a female, over 300lbs, and what kind of tires, spokes, seats etc. I can't wear biking apparel I don't think they come in 30-32 womens! I need a well padded seat, because despite my weight, my backside ISN'T well padded.

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Old 11-18-12, 04:39 PM   #2
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First off... Congratulations on losing so much weight in the last year. That alone is quite an accomplishment. And, good for you for wanting to be even more active. It sounds like you're on the right track.

As far as bikes go, it's hard to pin-point a make/model that would work best. However, based on what you say you will be using the bikes for, a general hybrid bike sounds like it might be a good shot. Maybe something similar to a Trek FX or Specialized Crossroads. These are kind of no frills bikes but work much better for riding aorund town and running errands.

Tires: Probably a touring or city tire would be good. These have minimal tread but are tough enough to withstand the daily grind. Something in the 700 x 35 to 38 range would be good.

Spokes: Look for a bike with 36 spoke wheels. These should be plenty strong to carry the rider and bike. The less spokes, the less stout the wheels will be.

Seats: That's a personal choice. Look for something with gel in it to provide some firm padding.

More than anything, at any size, weight, age, etc. if the bike doesn't fit you well, it's going to be uncomfortable.

Where are you looking to buy? Through a local bike shop or buy used bikes?
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Old 11-18-12, 04:48 PM   #3
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I'd look for a used mountain bike from CL.

This TREK looks like it might work.

You would want to get the wheels true and TENSIONED. At least the rear, since it carries the heaviest weight + the pedaling forces.
Smoother "road" tires would probably be a good addition. Something around a 26X 1.50-1.75" size.

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 11-18-12 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 11-18-12, 04:51 PM   #4
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My guess would be a comfort bike, otherwise known as a ladies "cruiser". 3x9=27 speed, upright sitting position, comfort jell saddle, 26 inch wheels like a mountain bike, but not the knobby tires. This bike should last you until you drop below 200 lbs. By that time, you will know how much you like biking, and if you want to move up the bike scale... you will also know more about what would suit you and be your own "expert". The cruiser may be all you ever need.

As for the girls, scout out the bikes alone before hand and come up with a realistic price range. Tell them the limit, and let them choose their bikes themselves. Remember helmets for everyone.

I can't recommend particular brands and models, because I don't normally look at this type of bike.

When you are shopping for a bike, you are also shopping for a bike store. Buy the bikes from a store that seems competent and serves you well. Future bike service at the bike store will be part of your life. The big box stores offer what look like real deals, but their bikes are usually made with crappy components and the bikes are poorly set up. (Brakes and Gears work poorly right from first day)

Good Luck, Have Fun, and Be Safe.
And report back here with more questions or reports on how your cycling is going.
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Old 11-18-12, 05:20 PM   #5
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Congrats on your progress so far Angela! I started bike riding last year after about 30 years for exercise and fun and started out with a cruiser from Amazon ( Schwinn Lakeshore - $150). I put about 500 miles on it and just upgraded about 2 months ago to a Giant Escape 2 - $389. You dont need to go out and spend a ton of money but do get one that fits you right and is compatible with the enviroment you will be riding in. Keep it up!
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Old 11-18-12, 06:00 PM   #6
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I don't think they come in 30-32 womens!

Try Aerotech Designs for larger sized bike clothes:

(Not saying you MUST ride in spandex, but it IS available when you want to give it a try).

As skilsaw mentioned -- Common guidance on this forum is to go visit a LBS ("local bike store"). It can be intimidating to go in, but don't let it phase you. The good ones will listen to your story, find a frame that fits, and will help you make a good investment. That bad ones ... apparently don't need your money.

As for bikes, the suggestions here are good. You didn't mention a budget, but you might consider an Electra Townie ( ) for the ability to put your feet down easily at stop signs. Mrs. Zoxe put quite a few miles on a Townie before giving it to her Stepmom. These are fun, colorful bikes with tons of options and they're great for cruising at 10-14mph. shows a ton of Electra dealers near you.

Last edited by Zoxe; 11-18-12 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 11-18-12, 06:33 PM   #7
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Everyone else can give the advice, i just want to say that you are awesome and keep up the good work
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Old 11-18-12, 07:43 PM   #8
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+1 - nice work so far.

Say, what chemical is it they are injecting in your knee? That wasn't synvisc was it? I've had two arthroscopic knee surgeries myself and my doc says I have the knee of an 80 year old man, which is sad given that I'm only 44. Anyway, just curious. Mine was injured when I was hit by a car. I had a series of synvisc once and it didn't seem to do much so I gave up on it.
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Old 11-19-12, 09:08 AM   #9
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Welcome to the herd~! I started out much like you, but haven't lost as much weight, from a high of 419 to 387lbs when I joined BF, and am around 295lbs now. Nine knee surgeries with one knee replaced, one hip replaced, and one shoulder rebuilt (so far).

My first bike was a 2010 Giant Suede DX comfort bike:

Then I moved to a TerraTrike Rover recumbent trike (400lb weight limit)

I'd like to suggest a trike for both more comfort, and as a way to do more miles without feeling 'beat up' at the end of the ride?

A few links for you to consider?

Here is my story (if you're bored)!

And if you'd like to learn more about trikes, try BROL (BentRidersOnLine) here:

Congrats on the health changes to date, I wish you the best, and hope you will find a comfortable route to even more success~!
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Old 11-19-12, 04:31 PM   #10
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buying that many bikes with little to no real experience with bikes, I would go used. Scour craiglist for things in your price range. Try them out, and if you get serious about a bike see if the owner will meet you at a lbs for them to give it the once over. Most will do this for a nominal fee and you can have both security and peace of mind about buying a used bike. also gets you familiar with a bike shop so they can do the repairs.

I wouldnt spring for anything new until you know you are going to ride, and know what you want to ride, in that order.
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Old 11-19-12, 04:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
buying that many bikes with little to no real experience with bikes, I would go used. Scour craiglist for things in your price range. Try them out, and if you get serious about a bike see if the owner will meet you at a lbs for them to give it the once over. Most will do this for a nominal fee and you can have both security and peace of mind about buying a used bike. also gets you familiar with a bike shop so they can do the repairs.

I wouldnt spring for anything new until you know you are going to ride, and know what you want to ride, in that order.
I have to say that if you know little about bikes, Craigslist is the best way to get ripped-off.

I have nothing else to ad except to say that you are my hero. Keep up the good work.
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Old 11-19-12, 06:10 PM   #12
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Congrats on your weight loss!!!

Definately go to your LBS and see what they offer,i got lucky and found 1 who had an ex Clyde there,so he understood where i was headed,lots of great advice and has been there for me as problems (that only Clydes could understand)came up...

Even if you dont buy a bike from them its good to still have a relationship with a local shop.

Again congrats on all you have accomplished,the hardest part was getting off the couch..
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Old 11-19-12, 06:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
I have to say that if you know little about bikes, Craigslist is the best way to get ripped-off.

I have nothing else to ad except to say that you are my hero. Keep up the good work.
The more I know about bikes the more problems I see with Craigslist bikes. I have looked at quite a few as I have helped friends and relatives buy used bikes. People misrepresent condition, sometimes I am sure unintentionally. For example, brakes may squeeze and stop the tire (Brakes work good!) but the pads are worn down to nubs and the cables are frayed. Or they rub the out of true wheel. The chains are often worn to the point that the cassette or freewheel need replacement. Wheels are out of true. Spokes are often very loose. Rear derailleurs are bent. Etc. Sometimes bikes are so dirty you can hardly tell if there is something decent under the grime.

Aint2nuts, if you buy used I would take someone with you who knows bikes and can help you evaluate the bike. Otherwise, there are decent choices for all of you new, it depends on how much you want to spend. If you give us you budget we might be able to get more specific.

And yes, there are bike clothes for big women. Terry has some nice choices.
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Old 11-19-12, 06:50 PM   #14
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Ive had good luck with bikes from Bikes Direct. Here's a decent looking ride for $350 though I admit 'comfort bikes' arent my speciality.

I wouldnt invest a large amount until your sure its going to be an ongoing passion.

Good luck!
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Old 11-19-12, 06:57 PM   #15
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Another on your progress. That is GREAT.

My wife just passed the 300 lbs mark and decided to make the jump from a Trek "granny bike" (her words, not mine). It's a Trek200, which is a full upright, small sofa for a saddle, shocks in the forks and seatpost, etc. If she didn't have to pedal it, she would call it the lazy-boy recliner and take a nap on it.

She came to the conclusion that she would be happier and more comfortable on a more "road" oriented bike. So, we just bought her a Cannondale Quick a couple of months ago. SHE LOVES IT! Now, I'm not sure the low spoke count wheels are going to hold up too long, but they're still round, so we keep using them!

I would find a good bike shop, and go talk to them. Tell them about your health, discomforts, goals, etc. and see what they recommend. Did I miss it? What is your budget?
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Old 11-19-12, 07:10 PM   #16
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I don't have anything to add to the bike shopping front as others have that well covered.

I do want to WELCOME you to the forum. Give you a big HUG from all of us. I am so very much in awe of your progress so far and your determination. Keep us posted on your journey. There are so many here who can use the inspiration and we love to cheer others on.

You mentioned needing to maybe bug out and abandon your car....that made me worry that you are maybe not in a safe situation. Please know the various hotline numbers in your area and keep them handy.
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Old 11-19-12, 07:36 PM   #17
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I lost about 70 lbs in '04. Which makes me a chump next to you. I am happy, healthy and it was the best thing I ever freaking did. Way to go. I have no useful advice but I just want to cheer you on!
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Old 11-20-12, 03:37 AM   #18
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Congradulations on your efforts to date.

Tempe is a pretty good area for cycling, I try to ride Tempe Town lake at least once a week. I ride a steel frame hardtail (no suspension) mountain bike that works out pretty well for the area and my weight (currently ~ 390lbs). I do ride the canals on occassion and if I were going to do that a lot, I might consider something with suspension. Mostly ride on paved surfaces and use the canals to "bridge" my routes.

+1 on clarkbre's view point, probably going to go that route once I get down a little more.
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