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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 12-14-13, 06:57 PM   #1
MillieKY
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Some thoughts after 3ish years of cycling as an Athena

Some things I wish I could tell myself, when I was just getting started.

1: It does get easier.

When I started I brought my first bike home rode it around my little cul-de-sac and could barely walk because my legs were so jelly-fied. Now I can go 25ish miles before I even have to think about it, and I've gone much farther. It's common here to read "It doesn't get easier, you get faster," which is true, but only after you get past that initial bump. It can suck in the beginning. But not for very long at all.

2: I haven't lost much weight.

Or rather I have lost weight, but put it back on. My weight has everything to do with my food input. The cycling is great for other things like fitness, state of mind, etc. (I'm currently working on putting a true diet plan together. 2014 looks good. ) My FITNESS has increased exponentially.

3: After a while, it's fun to push yourself to your limit.

Once I got past the "oh my god this is so hard how can I ever and what was I thinking" phase, the exercise part of it became FUN. I took my short (5mile) commute home the other day and now that that is a sub-20min ride I pushed hard the whole way and had my personal best average mph for any ride. Working hard and breathing deeply and pushing past the discomfort feels great.

4: N+1

Oh just bought my first road bike? Must immediately begin looking at a good mountain bike. And a dedicated commuter. And a Surly Pugsly, because why not.

5: Cycling specific clothes are worth it.

At first I refused, and wore sweat pants and tee shirts, or whatever was convenient. But now that I've got a few pairs of cycling shorts and a pair of fleece-lined tundra tights and a cycling jacket, I'd never go back. I still look silly in them, but I am on the bike enough to make it worth it. Comfort is key.

6: I am never, EVER, in a bad mood after a ride.

This includes the commutes where I've had flats, and my Saturday rides where I've gotten caught in the rain. Cycling makes me feel better, and THAT'S why it's my favorite thing.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:07 PM   #2
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Awesome!! That's truly how it's been for me, and it's great that you can share this with us--hopefully it motivates many more.
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Old 12-15-13, 01:18 AM   #3
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Agreed on all points except the last where I have to admit having had some bad days when I turned back after just a mile or two. I think that once you've built up to 25 mi you can really be on the cusp of being able to lose weight but you're surely right in that riding for an hour or two a week isn't enough. A burger and fries or a big bowl of macaroni and cheese can wipe out an hours ride and then some. You have one key ingredient and that's simply enjoying the exercise. If it's not fun it won't be a lifetime activity. Changing eating habits is very, very hard. I've done it and combined the two ingredients, losing 90lb in the process but I'm the first to admit that I will always miss the food I used to eat. I haven't put a bit of butter on any food in 8months and I've had one meal with meat. I'm sure one can lose weight with a less dramatic diet than mine but meat, cheese and fried foods ring our brain's chemistry and making any change requires discipline. Congratulations on your success thus far in very rewarding journey.
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Old 12-15-13, 02:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MillieKY View Post
Some things I wish I could tell myself, when I was just getting started.

1: It does get easier.

When I started I brought my first bike home rode it around my little cul-de-sac and could barely walk because my legs were so jelly-fied. Now I can go 25ish miles before I even have to think about it, and I've gone much farther. It's common here to read "It doesn't get easier, you get faster," which is true, but only after you get past that initial bump. It can suck in the beginning. But not for very long at all.

2: I haven't lost much weight.

Or rather I have lost weight, but put it back on. My weight has everything to do with my food input. The cycling is great for other things like fitness, state of mind, etc. (I'm currently working on putting a true diet plan together. 2014 looks good. ) My FITNESS has increased exponentially.

3: After a while, it's fun to push yourself to your limit.

Once I got past the "oh my god this is so hard how can I ever and what was I thinking" phase, the exercise part of it became FUN. I took my short (5mile) commute home the other day and now that that is a sub-20min ride I pushed hard the whole way and had my personal best average mph for any ride. Working hard and breathing deeply and pushing past the discomfort feels great.

4: N+1

Oh just bought my first road bike? Must immediately begin looking at a good mountain bike. And a dedicated commuter. And a Surly Pugsly, because why not.

5: Cycling specific clothes are worth it.

At first I refused, and wore sweat pants and tee shirts, or whatever was convenient. But now that I've got a few pairs of cycling shorts and a pair of fleece-lined tundra tights and a cycling jacket, I'd never go back. I still look silly in them, but I am on the bike enough to make it worth it. Comfort is key.

6: I am never, EVER, in a bad mood after a ride.


This includes the commutes where I've had flats, and my Saturday rides where I've gotten caught in the rain. Cycling makes me feel better, and THAT'S why it's my favorite thing.
Excellent points, and thanks for sharing!

Regarding "it gets easier", you are right, it does get easier (I doubt I've gotten much faster!), and I wish there was a better way to describe the situation.

I'm just shy of my third year back on a bike, and I too haven't lost any weight that stayed off. Early on I lost nearly thirty pounds, but I seem to be hungry every three hours now, and I know I use the fact that I'm getting some exercise to eat poorly at times, more than counteracting the good I do cycling. I'm hoping to make a new years resolution (and stick to it!) to eat better.

My girlfriend has come around to N+1 too! At first she questioned why I needed all these different bikes, but now she's got a dedicated tourer, a city bike, and a dedicated mountain bike. If we had more room to store bikes (and more dough!) I think she'd pick up something very clean with an internally geared hub, she really likes the aesthetics of bikes with nothing extra.

Although I wear a mix of cycling clothes, street clothes and athletic clothes, I have to agree that having some bike specific clothes is necessary if you ride regularly or for any real length of time. Cycling undergarments and gloves are most important IMO. I like the stiff soles of cycling shoes as well, but wear ones that are otherwise much like sneakers.

The last one you mention is uncanny. I can get behind the wheel of a car, and within three blocks be ready to shout at people, but it doesn't matter if three idiots almost run me over on my ride in to work, when I'm cycling I'm always even tempered, and often elated or happy.

I have to admit, I haven't really done #3 . Since I've now given up on attempting to go to work full time and be in school 5 days a week, I think I'm going to try and take advantage of not being exhausted all the time and try and push it sometimes.

Nice to hear from an Athena! I've got encourage my girlfriend to join bike forums, she needs to do some research on Athena specific clothing, especially wet weather clothing as we live in Seattle.
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Old 12-15-13, 04:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MillieKY View Post
6: I am never, EVER, in a bad mood after a ride.

This includes the commutes where I've had flats, and my Saturday rides where I've gotten caught in the rain. Cycling makes me feel better, and THAT'S why it's my favorite thing.
I quickly get in a bad mood when my ride is cut short!
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Old 12-17-13, 12:23 PM   #6
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I agree with the OP on all points -- unfortunately, point 2 applies to me also!
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Old 12-20-13, 03:39 PM   #7
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I lost about 25 lbs, where I stopped to plateau short of my 45lb goal. I'm sure I need to make more of an effort on my diet, but now that it's not daylight savings time anymore, I've not been on my bike very much. My best excuse for riding was the 16 mile commute to work, but now leaving before dark and getting home after dark is far too cold and depressing for me to maintain. Next year I'm thinking I'll make a bit more of an effort to drop below my plateau weight of 180, but I won't trade quality of life for it.

Everything else in the OP I readily agree with.
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Old 12-20-13, 04:19 PM   #8
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Well said, my favorite:

6: I am never, EVER, in a bad mood after a ride.
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