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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 08-08-13, 11:59 AM   #1
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Make it fun in So. Cal

My sister is not an athena. Long time vegetarian. Actually pretty skinny. But she needs encouragement on how to ride in So Cal (Irvine area) in a manner that would allow her to build fitness. She is prepared to buy a decent bike but currently she rides a mile here and there on sidewalks to friends' homes and is not prepared to ride in streets even if there are bike paths.
Anybody have tips on resources/maps/groups or thoughts on how to help somebody move from riding a bicycle on the sidewalk to cycling in a more serious way? She's prepared to buy a decent bike and can probably afford whatever she wants. She's not ready for a drop bar road bike so I'm encouraging her to look at aluminum hybrid bikes but I'm not at all sure about how to connect her with the resources she'd need to learn to safely cycle in So. Cal. without being fit enough to join a cycling club where people are riding much faster than she can do. Currently she can only do a slow, slow ride of 5 or 6mi so she's really at the start of all this.
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Old 08-08-13, 02:18 PM   #2
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You may want to consider posting this in the SoCal regional sub-forum. You'll probably get a lot more response/input. Sorry I can't specifically help. I live at the opposite end of the basin and only get down that way once a year, if even that. Good luck.
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Old 08-08-13, 02:47 PM   #3
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If she is really that timid about riding I suggest you just encourage her to continue riding all the wonderful bike paths running through Irvine and down into Newport Beach. She can check the City of Irvine website for a map of all the local trails.

BTW I just got back from JAX (an Irvine store) and helped a friend buy a beautiful bike - a Trek Domane 4.5 WSD (carbon/ultegra) for $2100. This is the time to buy - lots of deals out there.

Once she feels more comfortable on the bike and can go 10 miles, she should check out the Bicycle Club of Irvine (website: and join one of their "newbie" rides - instruction on riding is offered and the ride is "docent" led. See the website for more details. Also she can try and meet up with other women through I started a ride group many years ago through that website.

And this works for a friend of mine - she meets ride partners through Your Sister can post "new rider, needs to go slow need others just starting out" and see what happens.

Private docent led mountain bike rides through Limestone Canyon. Go to and register today! Also available: hikes, equestrian rides and family events as well as trail maintenance and science study.

Last edited by Pamestique; 08-08-13 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:06 PM   #4
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Irvine is a very bike friendly area, with several bike paths and many roads having a dedicated bike lane. I would also recommend Santiago Cycling in Tustin as a great family owned LBS. They were awesome at answering our questions as total new road riders. They also have a great group ride that my wife has been riding.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:56 PM   #5
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Spot on advice so far. I'm nowhere near Irvine, so use a grain of salt...

She needs an experienced "ride buddy" to coach her along and ride with her from time to time. There are women's riding groups/clubs around that she may be able to find someone, but I'm afraid I don't know many more specifics. (One of them I think climbed GMR with our C/A ride, but I don't know how to get ahold of them.) Check at LBS's ask them. They're not all self-absorbed and love helping new riders.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
(One of them I think climbed GMR with our C/A ride, but I don't know how to get ahold of them.)
VNTGDRMS (Lisa) owns a women's specific cycling shop in Costa Mesa. Beachgrad05 works there. They know their stuff, are incredibly encouraging, love helping women get into the sport and do weekly rides. I think their rides are mostly on the street, but they would be an excellent resource. Also, they carry women specific cycling clothes, including plus-sizes (not that your sister needs that).
[MENTION=259639]vntgdrms[/MENTION] and [MENTION=298410]Beachgrad05[/MENTION] have both climbed GMR with the C/A group.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:28 PM   #7
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Hey [MENTION=179168]digibud[/MENTION] - yes indeed your sister might find The Unlikely Cyclist (1673 Irvine Ave, Costa Mesa) to be just what is needed to help her if she truly wants to get involved in cycling more and to feel more confident no matter where she rides.

Lisa (@vntgdrms) is the owner. She is a fabulous source of info and encouragement. She (and I) love to mentor new riders and watch them grow. Her shop has a slogan of "empowering women" and she means it.

Have your sister stop by and just check it out with no pressure. Lisa is friendly and very welcoming.
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Old 08-09-13, 07:37 AM   #8
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Thanks so much. She can do 10mi now. Being a vegan that is not overweight (like me) she got to 10mi rides with no effort. She was very encouraged when she got on a decent spare bike of ours. I passed on your suggestions and I think there's a good chance she'll follow through.
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