I just found the forums here - and especially this forum - today and I've spent a bunch of time reading. So many great stories and inspiration that I'm hoping to feed off of to get back on the bike and continue the fitness/health journey I started a few years ago.
I have a lot of reading to do, but wanted to introduce myself and then ask a couple of starter questions.
I am 44 years old, 5'11" tall and currently weight about 240 lbs. Three years ago I hit my all time high weight of 347 (or thereabouts - that was the highest reading I ever got, but the scale only went up to 350 - and at the time I wasn't prone to weighing myself regularly). I'd been overweight since freshman year of college (I was 175 at the start of freshman year - already at my full 5'11" height and the "Freshman 10" turned in to the "Freshman 25" for me - I haven't been back under 200 since). I weighed 250 - 260 by the time I got married in 1994 and over the next 4 years put on another 40 - 50 pounds. I had not been under 300 pounds from some time in mid 1998 until February 2012.
Three years ago, my followed my daughters to a taekwondo school and enrolled in the classes after much support and encouragement from the owners/teachers. After 20 years of not having ANY physical activity hold my interest enough to get past the initial VERY HARD phase of just getting moving, taekwondo became that thing that I had been looking for. I started taking three 45 - 60 minute classes each week and over the next 20 months I got fitter and stronger - but didn't lose a lot of weight.
On January 1, 2012 I was still 320 pounds - great improvement, but with by testing for first degree black belt just six months away, I knew I wasn't going to get there unless I really changed things. So, I enrolled in MyFitnessPal online and for the first time ever I really started to track what I ate. Along with that, I started walking, and shortly thereafter started running. The combination radically changed my fitness and my health. In 2012 I lost 87 pounds and ended up running three half marathons and a total of nearly 1000 miles.
I still have a ways to go however, and eventually the dreaded plateau did hit me. I have been stuck between 235 and 245 since January, and though I am still running (I did my first Philadelphia Broad Street Run 10 miler this past sunday and I have two more Half Marathons already scheduled for later in the year.), I think I need a change of pace/additional challenge to kick start me back toward finally getting out of the obese category on the BMI charts (sub 215).
As a kid, I loved to ride my bike. It was exercise and freedom... allowing me to get around town before I could drive and get around the city when I lived in Philadelphia during college. One of the many aborted attempts at finding physical fitness was to purchase mountain bikes (for both my wife and myself) in 1998.
This leads me to my basic questions.
We still have the bikes mentioned above (1998 Trek 800 Sports). They were purchased from a LBS here in SE Pennsylvania (Bike Line for anyone who is familiar with the area). I think we had two or three rides total back then, and they went into storage. They were pulled out and tuned up by Bike Line in 2002 or so - had a couple more rides and then went back into storage again. Finally, I tuned them up myself in about 2007 when we bought a second hand child trailer and hauled the kids around for a few paved trail rides. Other than that they have sat in the garage and gathered dust and rust.
So while wanting to get back on the bikes (the kids are finally learning how to ride) the first thought was of the old Trek 800s. We know that they are strong enough to take our weight (my wife is also overweight, she'd be in the athena class, but she has lost over 90 pounds as well) since they are very sturdy bikes and were sized/fitted to us when we were both MUCH heavier than we are now. I would say that a reasonable estimate of total mileage on each bike is somewhere between 50 and 75 miles.
What we are not interested in is really doing any mountain biking at this point. I am interested more in endurance events and would like to start building up bicycling endurance with an eye toward either a bike/run duathlon or a triathlon. I've never been much of a swimmer so I think duathlon is probably more my speed.
Speaking of speed... I'm not fast at running. I don't expect to ever be fast and I'm coming to the realization that I'm not sure I would even WANT to be fast. (The Broad Street Run was the first race longer than 5K that I have ever run with a real time goal in mind. I got close enough to be pleased with my performance - about a 20 minute PR vs. my last 10 mile race last August - but I was so focused on time that I didn't have as much fun as I did in my other long distance events.)
I pulled the bikes out last night, pumped up the tires and took them around the block for a test ride and they both work fine. I think a good cleaning/lubrication/tune up of the brakes, shifters and deraileurs is all that is really needed.
So... I am interested in ideas of what I can/should do to change our Trek 800 sports to more suitable bikes for paved paths/roads. What kind of tires should I look for, etc.
The frames are solid even if they are so old. The accessories/connection points - brake levers, handlebar stem, seat post, etc show some surface rust and/or oxidation, but they seem to be solid as well. Other than getting the drivetrain cleaned up, lubed and everything adjusted is there anything else I should be doing to ensure I'm good to go?
Thanks for reading this if you've gotten this far.
I'm excited to be getting back into cycling and I am looking forward to getting to know you folks.