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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 07-24-13, 09:36 AM   #1
joshuatrio
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How to help the father in law..

Good morning guys - I usually post over in the commuting forum, but think this post belongs in here. This post actually pertains to my father in law who is in his mid 50's.

My father in law used to be a century rider and would log 100+ miles on his days off just for fun. This was back in his 30's and early 40's. He was in great shape; lean and fast on a bike. Just 10 years later and he doesn't ride anymore, and now weighs (guesstimating) in the high 200's, low 300 lb range. He is only about 5'11".

Anyhow, I've been trying to get him to ride with me and my son (5 year old) on the weekends. Figure that may help get his love of riding back, plus, with my son riding as well, it keeps the average speed nice and slow, eliminating any ego's and it's easy for him to ride along. Been trying to do this once a week. The rides usually run 7-11 miles. He occasionally joins us.

Because of where we live, there is a dedicated bike trail that would take him right into work (same one I use daily). It would be about 11 miles each way if he started commuting by bike. I try to "gently" mention that he should ride in with me one or two times a week, since I bike commute, but he keeps shrugging off the idea. He has two very nice road bikes in his garage - so gear is not an issue - plus he has showers at work, so there really is no excuse to get in better shape.

We have a good relationship. We can discuss just about anything... but fitness and weight are a path that I've never ventured down with him. It's a double edged sword - I don't want to offend him and tell him he needs to seriously lose weight - but at the same time, don't want to see him keep going down this path and end up with a massive heart attack or other serious health complications - so talking to him, may actually be the most "loving" thing to do. My wife and I are really concerned, but if he keeps up his habits, there's no way he'll be around much longer.

How would you approach this, and what do you guys recommend? Thanks again in advance.
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Old 07-24-13, 09:47 AM   #2
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Concern For F-I-L Health

is a tricky thing, because you want to treat him with both concern and respect. I would recommend that your wife initiate this conversation. She has the longer relationship with him, and can express it as, "Dad, I'm concerned about your long-term health situation." and "Does your inactivity concern you, and how have you thought to approach it?"

It's about his long term health and ability to enjoy the grandhild[ren] and family in his later years. If he decides that exercise is what he wants, he'll naturally go back toward bike riding, because it's what his body knows. He's probably tired and ashamed, too. Have you explored whether he suffers from depression in any form?

Good luck.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:08 AM   #3
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. . .How would you approach this, and what do you guys recommend? Thanks again in advance.
Phil_gretz has a good idea, but I'd take it a little further. Have your wife talk to her mom, then have your mom talk to her husband. I'd insist that somewhere in the conversation the desire for your son's grandfather be there to see him grow to maturity. To stress that your son needs his grandfather to act as a mentor, inspiration, and confidant as he grows to be a responsible member of society. Enlist your father-in-law's blood relatives to help. Maybe even get your mother-in-law involved in cycling with her grandson. Good luck.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:11 AM   #4
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avoid the topic, just let it go
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Old 07-24-13, 11:54 AM   #5
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He no doubt knows he has a weight problem, but people have to reach a point that they want to help themselves. It sounds to me like you're doing all that you can reasonably do, and you do not want to endanger your relationship with him by pushing/nagging him. Riding with the grandson should make it fun and worth the effort. After that, it is up to him to decide he wants to change. He may want to start back with a mountain bike for stability and for his image, but again, that will probably have to be his decision.
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Old 07-24-13, 02:12 PM   #6
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Talk to him some more about his century rides - what did he enjoy about them, how did it make him feel, and maybe hardest for him to talk about, what caused him to stop?
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Old 07-24-13, 02:28 PM   #7
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He is a grown man who is well aware of his past riding and what shape he is in now. You made the gesture, he did not bite, don't bring it up again.
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Old 07-24-13, 02:38 PM   #8
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Riding a bike will not necessarily cause him to loose weight.

Let it go and try to loose 10 lbs on your young body.
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Old 07-24-13, 02:39 PM   #9
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Tough to make other people do what you want them o do, no matter the good intentions or need.

How about printing this thread out and giving to him to read? You said it beautifully on paper.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
is a tricky thing, because you want to treat him with both concern and respect. I would recommend that your wife initiate this conversation. She has the longer relationship with him, and can express it as, "Dad, I'm concerned about your long-term health situation." and "Does your inactivity concern you, and how have you thought to approach it?"

It's about his long term health and ability to enjoy the grandhild[ren] and family in his later years. If he decides that exercise is what he wants, he'll naturally go back toward bike riding, because it's what his body knows. He's probably tired and ashamed, too. Have you explored whether he suffers from depression in any form?

Good luck.
Phil, thanks for the feedback. That’s great advice and will run it by my wife sometime this week.


I’d hate to pull the grandchildren card, but if that’s what it takes for his long term health it’s not off the table. He’s made a few comments about his weight in the past – comments like “somethings gotta change.” Would rather something change now, than before it’s too late.

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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Phil_gretz has a good idea, but I'd take it a little further. Have your wife talk to her mom, then have your mom talk to her husband. I'd insist that somewhere in the conversation the desire for your son's grandfather be there to see him grow to maturity. To stress that your son needs his grandfather to act as a mentor, inspiration, and confidant as he grows to be a responsible member of society. Enlist your father-in-law's blood relatives to help. Maybe even get your mother-in-law involved in cycling with her grandson. Good luck.
Hmmmm, I see where you’re going with this. Maybe if we are able to get her mom a little more involved, it would be easier to get him motivated. We think that if he just got back in the groove of riding, he’d be all over it like he was just a few years ago.

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avoid the topic, just let it go
Pretty bad advice. If someone who you cared about were holding a ticking time bomb, would you let them continue to hold it? Or would you at least make an effort to help them if you had the opportunity?

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He no doubt knows he has a weight problem, but people have to reach a point that they want to help themselves. It sounds to me like you're doing all that you can reasonably do, and you do not want to endanger your relationship with him by pushing/nagging him. Riding with the grandson should make it fun and worth the effort. After that, it is up to him to decide he wants to change. He may want to start back with a mountain bike for stability and for his image, but again, that will probably have to be his decision.
You’re right, ultimately it’s his decision. We haven’t mentioned it, or brought it up, other than “we’re going for a bike ride, wanna go?”



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He is a grown man who is well aware of his past riding and what shape he is in now. You made the gesture, he did not bite, don't bring it up again.
He was actually the one who brought it up the other day, when he saw my riding crew commuting into work. As in, he expressed interest in it – when I said “you should ride in with us” – his excuse was “ahhhhh, I don’ t know.”

It’s like, the interest is there, but the execution is not.


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Riding a bike will not necessarily cause him to loose weight.

Let it go and try to loose 10 lbs on your young body.
I don’t have 10 lbs to loose.

Also disagree that bike commuting several days a week will not cause you to loose weight. For this commute, most would burn an easy 1200 + calories a day, which can be pretty hard to make up in diet. I guess it’s possible to not drop weight, but doubtful.



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Tough to make other people do what you want them o do, no matter the good intentions or need.

How about printing this thread out and giving to him to read? You said it beautifully on paper.

You are exactly right. It’s up the individual. My wife and I see that he’s still interested in cycling… it just seems like he only needs a push, and then he may be back into his old cycling habits. We just don’t want to push too much.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:13 PM   #11
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As for bike riding, seasons come and seasons go. From your post it looks like the riding season is past. It may come again. But like calendar seasons timing isn't yours to control, or even influence.

Weight and fitness is a separate matter. The key there is motivation. Maybe getting the family together to figure out what might motivate him. Then arrange some way to put that into action.

One thing is absolutely for sure; until he wants to do something he won't. If you like and respect him as much as ypur post indicates you will respect that, no matter your feelings.
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Old 07-25-13, 11:11 AM   #12
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Hi,

Might not be a good idea, but an electrically assisted
bike might be a good way of getting your father in law
into that daily commuting habit, then tag along sometimes.

If that works, then things should improve rapidly *.

rgds, sreten.

No expert on electric bikes but you can set them up
to help most when going slowly, hills and headwinds,
and reduce help the faster you go under pedal power.

* Presumably old habits will re-emerge.

Last edited by sreten; 07-25-13 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 07-25-13, 11:45 AM   #13
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Hi,

Might not be a good idea, but an electrically assisted
bike might be a good way of getting your father in law
into that daily commuting habit, then tag along sometimes.
We have a bingo!
Look at the Currie iZip E3 Zuma step-through... no leg lifting. It has a brushless 500w geared motor with the torque to get him going.
On-line they can be had 10% off w/free ship. PM me for a store in SoCal as I just ordered an iZip Express today. Be here Tuesday.

At 66 I had a bad shunt, knocking myself out. Gained 15# during the 6 weeks I was off the bike but still eating like I was doing 20 mile a day average.

Regards,
John

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Old 07-25-13, 12:14 PM   #14
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I think what you are doing is great. Keep inviting him and even ask him to do a few fatherinlaw/soninlaw rides.

I wouldnt push the issue any farther than that. He's a grown man and he is entitled to make his own decisions about his health and weight and activity levels.
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Old 07-25-13, 01:32 PM   #15
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For this commute, most would burn an easy 1200 + calories a day, which can be pretty hard to make up in diet. I guess it’s possible to not drop weight, but doubtful.
You can burn 1200 calories with a 22 mile (11-mile each way commute) ride? I have a little over 14.5 mile each way commute (mostly flat, but a couple of miles of hills at the end) and I'm lucky if my Garmin says I burned 400 calories each way. And I think my Garmin is optimistic. I've done 40+ mile rides into the foothills and my Garmin still says I'm less than 1200 calories burned.
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Old 07-25-13, 02:20 PM   #16
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You can burn 1200 calories with a 22 mile (11-mile each way commute) ride? I have a little over 14.5 mile each way commute (mostly flat, but a couple of miles of hills at the end) and I'm lucky if my Garmin says I burned 400 calories each way. And I think my Garmin is optimistic. I've done 40+ mile rides into the foothills and my Garmin still says I'm less than 1200 calories burned.
I figure 40-60 calories per mile, depending.
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Old 07-25-13, 03:11 PM   #17
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Hi,

Might not be a good idea, but an electrically assisted
bike might be a good way of getting your father in law
into that daily commuting habit, then tag along sometimes.

If that works, then things should improve rapidly *.

rgds, sreten.

No expert on electric bikes but you can set them up
to help most when going slowly, hills and headwinds,
and reduce help the faster you go under pedal power.

* Presumably old habits will re-emerge.
That's actually a great idea. Not sure if he would go for it - the neighbor got one, and he didn't see the point, since the motor "can" do all the work if you wanted.
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Old 07-25-13, 03:14 PM   #18
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You can burn 1200 calories with a 22 mile (11-mile each way commute) ride? I have a little over 14.5 mile each way commute (mostly flat, but a couple of miles of hills at the end) and I'm lucky if my Garmin says I burned 400 calories each way. And I think my Garmin is optimistic. I've done 40+ mile rides into the foothills and my Garmin still says I'm less than 1200 calories burned.
My Garmin shows on average 550-600 calories burned for an 11 mile commute. There are some pretty good hill climbs, so maybe that's the reason? Really not sure why all the discrepancies...
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Old 07-25-13, 03:17 PM   #19
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Another vote for letting it go.
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Old 07-25-13, 05:42 PM   #20
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That's actually a great idea. Not sure if he would go for it - the neighbor got one,
and he didn't see the point, since the motor "can" do all the work if you wanted.
Hi,

Well letting the motor do all the work renders an electric bike next to useless.

But if you do they are also useless - you may as well have a small motorcycle.
(Or a petrol powered bicycle, legal in the States I understand, not here.)

Without going into all the details the fundamental difference between a basic
motorcycle and a basic electric bike is on a electric bike all the power comes
as you set off and the faster you go it drops off - its rubbish compared to
a motorcycle where generally the faster the revs the more power you have.

Consequently to make decent progress you need to pedal an electric bike.
It helps setting off and more the slower you are going, uphill / headwinds.

But if you don't pedal it becomes a bit of a joke as it slowly speeds up.
The power drops off the faster it is going hitting a very slow brick wall.

Not an expert but make sure if you go for one its geared for decent speeds,
and the only way of hitting those speeds will be pedaling it properly.

rgds, sreten.

Electric bikes with wheel motors are generally as I describe above.

Consequently electric bikes with hub drive and rear gears are
better as they only react to pedaling cadence, but are better/
worse in that they give more assistance at higher speeds.

Last edited by sreten; 07-25-13 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 07-26-13, 12:38 PM   #21
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Hi,

Whatever the point of that utterly miserable post is, letting it go
/ leaving it well alone is not an option, for a responsible person.

There is far, far more to be gained than lost by tackling the subject. It is
not like the guy has been a slob all his life and your trying to change him.

rgds, sreten.

Mainstream Americans don't ever ride 100 miles + for fun, they drive.

FWIW seeing your FIL use to ride a lot he will rapidly get the point
of an electric bike with the right gearing used for commuting.
You don't have to pedal, but you go a lot faster if you do.

If he really knows bikes, gearing etc, then the myriad options
available in the US are open to analysis. In the EU your pretty
stuck with the regulations unless your into illegal modding.

But most mods are about pedalling as hard as you can manage,
just like a normal bike, and going faster. Still though setting
off, hills and headwinds, you are faster than normal.

Last edited by sreten; 07-26-13 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:38 PM   #22
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He no doubt knows he has a weight problem, but people have to reach a point that they want to help themselves. ....
This is it in a nutshell... all you can do is keep asking him to ride with you. Don't lose your patience. Being overweight is sometimes an anchor (I know from experience) that keeps one tied down and unable to act. You can't do it for him... he has to want to change but remain his friend and a good example and hopefully he will take that next step...
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Old 07-26-13, 02:41 PM   #23
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Life is a big responsibility and some people, for whatever reason, are not up to the task over the long haul. Still, I'm in agreement with sreten, as a responsible person it is natural to be concerned about your family. I wonder if you can approach your Fatherinlaw as a supplicant asking for advice in building up to century rides. Perhaps an approach something along this line might stir up an interest in riding again.
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Old 07-26-13, 02:49 PM   #24
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Hi,

Personally I think the participation thing is a very big red herring.

Its bonus for sure, but to be brutally honest pootling around on
a bike behind a five year old (where you should be) is not my
idea of a bike ride that would stir any sort of reminiscence.

In fact I'd say go out in a bike ride with him and give it some,
for a bit, "unintentionally", leading out. I'm sure he knows
about drafting, and probably knows in decent shape for his
age, as a pair with you up front, he would be able to keep
up quite easily, except for big hills of course.

What your after is he rides a lot full stop as his habit again,
and the daily commute is clearly the main opportunity to
address that issue, and an electric bike would ease that.

In the UK I don't really see the point of electric bikes once
you are fit, unless you have daily nasty hills to deal with.

0nce you want to be fit, and the course isn't onerous they
make even less sense, but the point is initially to make
the effort put into a daily commute very dynamic.

You can take it easy, without being painfully slow.
You can push hard pedalling if you want to.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 07-26-13 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 07-26-13, 02:59 PM   #25
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Also disagree that bike commuting several days a week will not cause you to loose weight. For this commute, most would burn an easy 1200 + calories a day, which can be pretty hard to make up in diet. I guess it’s possible to not drop weight, but doubtful.
You must never have been fat. I can ride 500 miles in a month and easily gain weight. I was obese and lost weight. It is a constant effort to keep my weight down. I am always effing hungry. And, I only have somewhere between a 2% and a 25% chance of keeping off the weight. As it is, I gained back 10 pounds this year despite the fact that I rode more miles this year than any other year.

Last edited by PhotoJoe; 07-27-13 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Deleted quote of deleted post.
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