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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 06-10-13, 01:08 PM   #1
icul8rg8r
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New Athena hoping to shed some pounds taking up biking!

Hi - posted on the INTRODUCTIONS and 50+ forum; thought I'd drop in and say hi here, as well.

I'm a 53-year old Homeschooling Mom (kids ages 8 & 9), 5' 2" tall (and shrinking), 200 pounds. Just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes so I'm seriously trying to change my eating habits and sedentry life-style. I've been missing out with the evening and weekend bike rides and some incredible rails-to-trails in this area - my kids tell me all about their adventure and I want to join in the fun.

But since taking a tumble last year off my bike last year, I'm hesitant to get back on a bike. Not to mention my knees and back (and even my hands) just can't take it for very long and it's now hard for me to mount and dismount. I think getting a new mommy style (or grandma style as my kids call it!) bike might be just what the doctor ordered. Literally. She suggested I take up swimming and/or bike riding.

I really like the concept of the crank-forward and low step-thru model bikes. I think being able to stand behind the pedals would give me more confidence and a balanced ride. And of course having the step-thru would make it easier to mount/dismount.

Through my research, I've narrowed my list down to the following three models that I want to take a look at and give a test spin - I was wondering what y'all thought of my choices:

Electra Townie 21d, the Trek Pure, and the Trek Shift Comfort 2 or 3.

Do any of you have experience with any of these bikes? If so, what is your opinion as to the pros? Cons? Any other brands/models I should consider? Like the Raleigh or Specialized?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by icul8rg8r; 06-10-13 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-10-13, 01:40 PM   #2
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DW loves her Trek Lime. Step-through model.
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Old 06-10-13, 02:13 PM   #3
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Welcome. I can't give advice on bikes but with a low carb diet Ive been able to get my diabetes under control
and now have normal blood sugar values. I was 352 lbs now 224 and do lots of very slow biking...

Charlie
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Old 06-10-13, 02:21 PM   #4
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Did you mean the Shift Comfort? Of the listed bikes, I say the shift comfort. The other bikes are overly stylish. The comfort has a design that is more timeless. At least for a longer while. Albeit, all would be worthy vehicles.
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Old 06-10-13, 04:33 PM   #5
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Can't offer any advice on those bike choices but, Welcome to BF!..... Don't forget to post pics of your new ride when you get it
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Old 06-10-13, 08:25 PM   #6
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Welcome.

My wife is also looking at the Trek Pure but honestly, any brand name bike in the proper size and your choice of riding style will serve you well. The important points are: Is it comfortable? Is it appropriate for the kind of riding you intend to do? and Do you like it?

If you are looking to control body composition and help get your diabetes under control, it is important to remember that all the training in the world doesn't make up for bad nutrition. Cycling is a wonderful adjunct to a healthy lifestyle but you need good nutrition and plenty of rest as well.

Good Luck and have fun
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Old 06-10-13, 09:30 PM   #7
icul8rg8r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitarzan View Post
Did you mean the Shift Comfort? Of the listed bikes, I say the shift comfort.
Yes, I meant the Shift Comfort. Edited my original post. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-13, 09:32 PM   #8
icul8rg8r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursa Minor View Post
Welcome. I can't give advice on bikes but with a low carb diet Ive been able to get my diabetes under control and now have normal blood sugar values. I was 352 lbs now 224 and do lots of very slow biking...

Charlie
I'm slowly getting my carbs under controlled (not as easy as I thought) - that, and trying to exercise more!
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Old 06-11-13, 05:25 AM   #9
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The Biria Easy Board bikes might be worth a look. Here's a link: http://www.biria.com/series/easy-boarding P2
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Old 06-11-13, 08:34 AM   #10
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Hi and welcome. I'm just getting back after a long winter. Biking has been great for me.

My wife started with a Townie 3 speed. She loved it at first because it was very comfortable, but hills were murder on that bike. The 21d might be better because of the additional gears, but I think it was also the "pedal forward" design that made riding it over any distance a challenge for her.

We Got her a different bike, and which one is really stumping me now because I swear it was another Electra but I'm not seeing it on their web site. At a minimum, she has more gears which has helped a lot. I wish I had more advice for you on the specific bikes. However, I'll add that most bike shops will allow some pretty generous test rides. I know it feels weird, but a good shop will not bat an eye at you showing up in riding gear, asking them to set the bike up for you, and letting you go for a 30 minute ride.

I rode 6 bikes before I decided.

Welcome!

Mike
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Old 06-11-13, 12:19 PM   #11
icul8rg8r
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Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
. . . . I'll add that most bike shops will allow some pretty generous test rides. I know it feels weird, but a good shop will not bat an eye at you showing up in riding gear, asking them to set the bike up for you, and letting you go for a 30 minute ride.

I rode 6 bikes before I decided.

Welcome!

Mike
Mike - good to know. I thought maybe I'd have to stay in the parking lot and just for a few minutes. Now I know to ask them what time they'll need their bike back!

Oh - and if you remember the made/model of your wife's new bike, let me know! A LBS friend of mind mentioned the same concerns and said I'd probably be happier with the SHIFT line of bikes from Trek. Just need to see how far forward the pedals ar. But boy do those Townies look sweet!!

-Cindy
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Old 06-11-13, 01:15 PM   #12
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I don't know much about the bikes you are looking at but I believe that at least the Electra Townie is a one size fits all bike. You probably are too short to have it fit comfortably.

EDIT: I see the Pure Lowstep is also a one size bike. It might be a touch too big too. You will have to try it out to see. My problem as a short person on these kind of bikes is that the seat goes plenty low but the handlebars end up too high and too far away to be comfortable for anything other than a very short distance. I am three inches shorter than you so you may be OK but it may very well be an issue for you.

The Trek Shift at least comes in three sizes and the smallest should be fine for you.

Last edited by goldfinch; 06-11-13 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 06-11-13, 05:52 PM   #13
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She got the Electra Verse 21d. We did get her a bigger seat with some padding.
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Old 06-12-13, 02:03 PM   #14
icul8rg8r
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Had a chance to test ride the Electra Townie 7d. Really comfortable seat, but had to have the seat all the way down to fit me. The LBS adjusted the handlebars a bit forward/closer to perfect the fit. But could only ride on flat terrain (want to see how it would do on slight ingrade hills like you find on some of the rails-to-trails paths).

HOWEVER ... I couldn't seem to get use to how bent my knees were since I had the seat all the way down (knees came up to an almost 90 degree angle). So I raised the seat but could then no longer reach the ground with both feet when I came to a stop. I still could get on/off the seat with no problem due to the pedals being so far forward. And I could stay on the seat when stopped with one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal which actually worked well - I was able to easily start up again fast that way. Over-all a very enjoyable ride on a really cool looking bike (a few passerbyers even stopped to ask me about the bike!). Would have loved to compared it to the 21d, and on inclines, but they were out of stock.

Even though that particular LBS store also carries Trek, they did not have the Shift or Pure in stock (said those were special-order only). Went to REI down the street and they were also out of the Electra Townie 21d. When I got home I called around and found a Trek dealer about 45 miles away that has the Pure, Shift 2, and Shift 3 in stock, so I'm going to go test-ride the Treks this weekend.

I've gotten over my sticker-shock on the price of these bicycles. BUT I may have found a way to get a $549 Townie (71d) for $366 (plus no tax). Here's how: we're REI members, so right away I'd get 10% back at the end of the year (which I can choose as cash refund). AND, there's a special that if we open up an REI Visa Card, we'd get a $100 REI Gift Card *AND* an additional 5% off the retail price of all purchases (yes, on top of the 10% member refund). So when I deduct 10% and 5% of the retail, and apply the $100 gift card toward the purchase, the adjusted price is $366. AND, we live only a couple hours away from Oregon (and have a few camping trips already scheduled in Oregon). Oregon has no sales tax (so we always try to buy big-ticket items there - like computers, cameras, etc). So if I buy the Electra Townie at REI while we're in Oregon, no sales tax - my price would be $366.65 - a savings of over $180. Not bad for a brand new Townie 21d. About the same price, if not a little less, than what the used Townies are selling for on eBay around here (and most of them are the 7d models).

Wish I could find a way to get that sort of deal on a TREK Shift at a local LBS. Yes, I could still buy tax-free in Oregon (but not exactly local). I see Trek has their 2013 Summer Sale going on now, but the Shift and Pure bikes are not included.
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Old 06-13-13, 08:19 PM   #15
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Yeah! We brought my new bike home tonight. And it is NOT a Townie, like I thought it was going to be. Nope. Went to the Trek store tonight and test-road the Shift 2 and fell in love with the bike. By far, the most comfortable, best-fitting, stable bike I have EVER ridden. Love, love, LOVE IT! And like the LBS as well (in Enumclaw, WA). Came away with the bike, a kickstand, back rack, cup holder, and upgrade ergo paddle grips. Already have a helmet, but will probably try to find one that matches the bike better.

So excited! We're riding the Orting rails-to-trails bike path this weekend!
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Old 06-13-13, 08:31 PM   #16
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Congratulations! Seems like a great choice. Now, you have to post the obligatory picture of the bike and give us a ride report after the weekend ride..
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Old 06-13-13, 09:00 PM   #17
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If you have no idea of what you're looking for, I suggest you go to a LBS (Local bike store), let them know you budget and your needs; and let them help you find a bike that does the needful.

Sizes matter when it comes to whether or not you stick with cycling.
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