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  1. #1
    Junior Member rhodesmk's Avatar
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    Questions about weight, age, etc.

    Hey folks. New to the forum, I'm 59 (will be 60 in November) and haven't been on a bike in over 20 years. I also went from 185lbs in 1973 to 385 in 2012. I'm on my way down, so far at 310, but have hit that dreaded plateau. Been at 310 for a few months, so I thought biking would be a good way to kick-start the weight loss again.

    That brings me to my questions. I don't have a bike yet, but I tried my wife's that's been in the garage untouched for the past 2 years. After putting two new tubes (proper size, proper inflation) just because their "un-use" made them brittle in my mind, I rode around the block. However, just as I rounded the corner to my driveway, the rear tire blew. Bad tube, bad tire, or my weight...who knows? But it got me wondering if there is a bike configuration that is recommended for folks my size?

    Her bike is a retro style, pedal brakes, with 26" x 2.125 tires. After some reading, I'm assuming it's a mountain bike, but was bought on the cheap at Wal-Mart.

    When I get mine, I'd rather go to a bike shop, but not sure my budget can handle it just yet.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Used to be fast surfjimc's Avatar
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    Welcome back to the cycling world. Hope you love it and stay. It sounds like there could have been a tire issue, possibly/probably a pinch flat from putting the new tube in.
    Any bike that gets you riding is a good one. 26" tires are a good start for a big guy. I got back on the bike at 300 lbs, now down just under 240. All my miles have been on 700cx35 or 700cx23, so you know road bike tires will work for you when you get to that place. Stick with it, and if you are worried about weight or support, check out the Clydesdale forum, where the big boys like us hang out too. Both 50+ and Clydes are good places to visit and learn with much less of the BS than other forums.

  3. #3
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    As surfjimc says, you'll find a lot of good advice in the Clydesdale forum. My own suggestion would be that you look at a lower-end "fitness" hybrid from Trek, Cannondale, or Specialized. For ~$500 at your LBS, you'll get a bike that fits you well (so is comfortable) and will have quite decent performance (meaning you'll enjoy riding more). This bike will get you through your first year or 50 pounds (whichever comes first); by then you'll have a much better idea of what kind of cyclist you'll want to be long-term, and what kind of bike will take you to 2020 (and beyond).

    Good luck and have fun!

  4. #4
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    I'd suggest tires, tubes and a tune-up on the wifes bike ~ $100. Then ride IT for the summer. By then you'll know if you'll continue cycling and a better idea of what you might want for a bike. PLUS if the wife sees you enjoying riding she might want to ride with on her bike that you fixed up.....

  5. #5
    Senior Member bransom's Avatar
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    To go back to the tire issue (until you get a bike of your own): As surfjimc, you probably got a pinch flat or there's something poking the tube. It's not your weight.

    You may already know all of this but just in case: When you change the tire again, carefully check the inside of the tire by feeling for any little sharp thing that could cause the flat. Check the rim tape to be sure it's properly covering the spokes. Put the new tube in the tire and try to mount on the rim without using any tools; just use your hands. Then check all the way around both sides for any bit of tube sticking out between the tire and rim. Inflate slowly and check that the tire is seated properly all the way around. If so, blow it up to its maximum pressure (see the tire sidewall for the max). Especially when you're heavy, pressure is your friend. Keeping your tires blown up hard will help minimize flats.

    And welcome back to biking!

  6. #6
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Glad to see you are taking your health seriously and planning for a fun and healthy future. Just our of curiosity how tall are you? Thanks to age and injury I'm down to 5'9" and am at 180 lbs. Aside from the 1 1/2" loss this is pretty much what I was playing college football 50 yrs ago. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise that will give you all the workout you will need (less weight bearing activity) and not beat up your joints. I would look at any money I spent cycling as an investment. Don't worry about "wasting" money on a bike or gear that you may get rid of later as you progress. And, when you hit your target weight (whatever that may be) celebrate by buying yourself a great bike and gear. Might as well have another incentive no? Good luck.

  7. #7
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    I count the tire blew because of your weight. Tires degrade over time and it's worse when they sit flat on the floor.

    When I finally got on my mountain bike bike a couple of months ago, I got new tires for $40 each. I am still working my way back to a better rider. The more I ride and look at bikes, the more I think I want a touring bike. Someday.

    I hope you will be back to tell us how the riding goes.
    sharon

  8. #8
    Senior Member ButchA's Avatar
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    rhodesmk,

    I just sent you a PM. I hope you can read it being that you are new with only 1 post. I included my email address in case you can't reply to the PM. Just email me back if you want.

    Welcome to the forums... There is a wealth of knowledge on here!

  9. #9
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    I wasn't quite as heavy as you when I got back to cycling but I lasted less than 2 mi on my first ride. My only advice is to save up as quickly as you can for a reasonably decent bike, but more importantly buy it at a shop that welcomes you and is willing to fit the bike to you as best they can. Sometimes shops can be snobs and spend hours fitting an elite athlete but figure big folks don't really "count" in terms of a good fit. Nobody our size can ride a drop bar bike properly because there's no way for us to have the core strength needed to keep weight off our hands/arms so I second the recommendation to start with a "fitness" bike that will put you in a fairly upright position. It's not what you'll want three years and 100lb less, down the road, but it will let you sit comfortably while you get aerobic exercise. Note that you WILL have a sore butt for many miles and also note that there can be a HUGE difference in comfort from one saddle to the next and a very slight tip up or down can make a big difference too. Try many small adjustments and some different saddles to find one that is the most comfortable, knowing that as you lose weight you'll want to gravitate to less padded saddles. Best of luck.
    Alaskans for global warming.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    When I get mine, I'd rather go to a bike shop, but not sure my budget can handle it just yet.

    What are your thoughts?
    whats your budget , Got stuff to sell you dont use, to add to that budget. ?

    Yes One advantage to buying thru a bike shop is service after the sale ..

    some shops take in Used bikes either on consignment or trade ins, from upgrade sales .

    wall mart sells things , to them the bike is just another thing to sell,
    they dont fix them and often dont even put them together right, in the first place.


    there are better made Cruiser Bikes in bike shops .. that you may like (as a Style)
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-04-14 at 11:02 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    money thrown away

    I would add that IMHO waiting and saving up until you DO have enough to buy a bike from a bike store will be worth it. Buying a cheap bike from walmart is simply throwing money away for anyone who wants to use the bike to get in shape and actually go out cycling. Most folks that buy a cheap bike don't put 200miles on their bike in a year. Anyone looking to use a bike to lose weight by gradually increasing their mileage and aerobic activity will very quickly outstrip a cheap bike's ability to deliver.
    Even decent home mechanics have a hard time getting a seriously cheap bike tuned up properly and the bigger you are the more important it all becomes as the stress on the bike is greater than some kid picking up a bike to ride to a friends house. Wait...save...eat oatmeal and dog food until you can afford a decent bike and watch craigslist if you're in a big city.
    Alaskans for global warming.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Just wanted to add my congrats on your improving fitness. As noted, post again as you work your way through this. The sooner you can reasonably drop additional weight, the better it will be for your heart, knees, etc. Many of us, or our relatives and friends, are facing these issues and you'll find lots of support here. Also, I'm with Digibud on buying a decent (non-big box store) bike. And regarding oatmeal - Hey! I eat that stuff every morning!
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  13. #13
    Junior Member rhodesmk's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your comments, PM's, and support. One asked how tall I am. I am currently 5', 10.5". In 1973 (high school graduation year) I was 5', 11.5" and 135lbs. So, over the past 40 years or so I grew one direction and shrunk the other. :-)

    Will definitely look at replacing the tires and tubes on my wife's bike first, and riding that over the summer. By the fall, I should be able to start shopping for my own bike.

    Thanks again!

  14. #14
    Junior Member rhodesmk's Avatar
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    One more question, which I understand could be a long shot as there are folks from several countries on the board.

    I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (about 1/2 way between the two cities, but about 20 miles south). Is there anyone living in this area that can recommend a good bike shop that doesn't look down their nose at us larger/older folks?

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Welcome back!
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhodesmk View Post
    Hey folks. New to the forum, I'm 59 (will be 60 in November) and haven't been on a bike in over 20 years. I also went from 185lbs in 1973 to 385 in 2012. I'm on my way down, so far at 310, but have hit that dreaded plateau. Been at 310 for a few months, so I thought biking would be a good way to kick-start the weight loss again.

    That brings me to my questions. I don't have a bike yet, but I tried my wife's that's been in the garage untouched for the past 2 years. After putting two new tubes (proper size, proper inflation) just because their "un-use" made them brittle in my mind, I rode around the block. However, just as I rounded the corner to my driveway, the rear tire blew. Bad tube, bad tire, or my weight...who knows? But it got me wondering if there is a bike configuration that is recommended for folks my size?

    Her bike is a retro style, pedal brakes, with 26" x 2.125 tires. After some reading, I'm assuming it's a mountain bike, but was bought on the cheap at Wal-Mart.

    When I get mine, I'd rather go to a bike shop, but not sure my budget can handle it just yet.

    What are your thoughts?
    It would take a tremendous weight to burst a tire, these days... Most likely when you put the new tubes in, one snuck between the tire and rim, and it doesn't take long for the tube to wear through and burst. Best solution, is when you install a tire put enough air in to make the tube round, then poke it into the tire, once one side is on, then install the second tire bead....

    If you can't afford a new bike shop bike, consider a pre-owned one....

  17. #17
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhodesmk View Post
    One more question, which I understand could be a long shot as there are folks from several countries on the board.

    I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (about 1/2 way between the two cities, but about 20 miles south). Is there anyone living in this area that can recommend a good bike shop that doesn't look down their nose at us larger/older folks?

    Thanks!
    Any locally owned bike store (LBS) should be fine as long as it doesn't cater to the racing crowd. If they sell hybrids and such they should be grateful to get you as a customer. Resist the temptation to buy bikes or upgrades at this point, just get that bike tuned up with suitable rubber and off you go.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhodesmk View Post
    One more question, which I understand could be a long shot as there are folks from several countries on the board.

    I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (about 1/2 way between the two cities, but about 20 miles south). Is there anyone living in this area that can recommend a good bike shop that doesn't look down their nose at us larger/older folks?

    Thanks!
    I'm not familiar with DFW, but I have noted over the years that the amount of complaining about bike snobbery is disproportionate to the actual number of bike snobs out there. I've found most bike shops to be quite helpful even though I'm a 50+ Clydesdale who doesn't spend huge amounts on bikes or accessories. Cycling is exploding among the 50+ generation and the USA is well known for its weight issues, so any bike shop that only caters to 20-somethings with a BMI around my shoe size is missing out on very significant portions of the market and most shop owners realize this, especially in this day of competing against online stores. The last thing a good shop owner wants to do is insult or discourage anyone interested in cycling.

    Enjoy riding the bike you have while you put on some base miles. Over the summer stop by some bike shops and test ride a variety of styles and models to find out what you like. Some shops or recreation areas rent bikes by the hour or day, the selection will be limited but it is another way to try out different bikes for more than a quick jaunt around the block. It also helps to find some cyclists who are or have been in situations similar to yours. I started at 300+ pounds and 5' 11" in my mid-40s.

    What kind of riding do you envision yourself doing a few years from now? Commuting to work? Cruising paths and trails? Touring? Road Riding? Off-road? A little of everything? Here are a few general suggestions for styles of bike you may want to look at depending on what you want to do:

    Surly Cross Check or Long Haul Trucker = similar to most road bikes but with more relaxed riding position and able to take larger tires for comfort and mixed road surfaces.
    All City Space Horse, Macho Man, or Mr. Pink = same as above.
    Trek 520 = a chrome moly touring bike that also makes a great commuter or general recreational cycle.
    Salsa Vaya = Good all-rounder with a nod toward touring.
    Salsa El Mariachi or Fargo = Front suspension MTBs that have lock-outs on the forks to make them good commuters capable of getting well off the beaten path when you want to.
    Specialized AWOL = Kick Ass all purpose bike
    Specialized Dolce = Road bike with a more relaxed riding position designed for comfort and distance

    This list covers a range of general purpose bikes that I would consider suitable for myself and my tastes, but there are many, many others.

  19. #19
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Your wife's walmart mountain bike probably won't last long if you start riding it extensively. A decent entry level LBS road bike or hybrid that you like riding is the best option, but if the budget doesn't allow and your choice is a big box store bike or nothing, you don't have to shy away from the GMC Denali road bike while gathering the budget for a bike shop. It's heavy and has quirks, but durable and safe and until I "knew better" I enjoyed riding it for 20K+ miles.

    I'll ditto the opinions about the tube blowing, more likely installation than your weight.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhodesmk View Post
    One more question, which I understand could be a long shot as there are folks from several countries on the board.

    I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (about 1/2 way between the two cities, but about 20 miles south). Is there anyone living in this area that can recommend a good bike shop that doesn't look down their nose at us larger/older folks?

    Thanks!
    Mansfield? Local bike shop at Debbie Lane /287 are decent enough folks, there is also a good shop at Little / I-20 south arlington

  21. #21
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    The blown tire could also be a result of a spoke poking through the rim liner. Walmart bikes are poorly adjusted. Check that nothing is poking through the rim liner. After that, it possibly was an installation job. Most of us have learned the hard way on that. Make sure that the brake is not rubbing on the tire as well. I have blown a tire and tube from dragging a brake pad on the tire. I have done most of the stupid stuff at one time or another.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Your wife's walmart mountain bike probably won't last long if you start riding it extensively. A decent entry level LBS road bike or hybrid that you like riding is the best option, but if the budget doesn't allow and your choice is a big box store bike or nothing, you don't have to shy away from the GMC Denali road bike while gathering the budget for a bike shop. It's heavy and has quirks, but durable and safe and until I "knew better" I enjoyed riding it for 20K+ miles.

    I'll ditto the opinions about the tube blowing, more likely installation than your weight.
    Second this, especially if you're mechanically inclined.
    I've trolled the cheap bike threads and noticed this is the key to making the cheap bikes work for you. You'd be wise to check over the initial assembly to ensure it's correct. After that keep an eye on things and listen to the bike as I hope you'll listen to you body.

    But then if you can spin a wrench ( or willing ot learn) craig list for an old school non suspended mountain bike would work as well or better...


    Here's the best thing I cannot stress enough. EVERY MILE IMPROVES your health. Regardless of weight, activity will dramatically improve your health.

    Please check out the clyde section.

    I'm a clyde. We face some challenges whether we're clyde's by choice or act of nature. I'm both...

    Heat, hills, equipment, and clothes are a bit more challenging. They'll save you time, money, and frustration...
    The people here in the over 50 and there in the clyde/athena are extremely supportive and helpful.

    From my perspective:

    Heat:
    plenty of water, breathable clothes.

    Hills:
    lower then normal gearing, sit and spin

    equipment:
    Our weight can challenge light weight equipment.
    Non-suspended mountain bikes with their 26'' wheels and lower gearing goes a long ways to help with hills and reliability/durability.
    Smooth road tires mounted on mountain bikes improve ride and rolling resistance.

    Clothes:
    Walmart athletic clothes can be low cost alternative. I use them for my lifting shirts. Not all breath though, so..
    Large size bicycle specific clothes can be had reasonably from: Aero Tech Designs | Cycling Apparel, Bike Shorts, Bibs, Bike Jerseys I've been happy with them from price, quality, fit and durability.


    You may notice I ride a road bike. It was built specifically for my requirements with heavy emphasis on durability and reliability.

  23. #23
    Junior Member rhodesmk's Avatar
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    All you folks who have responded here...and to those couple of you who sent me private messages (to which I can't reply because I haven't yet made 50 posts!)...

    Thanks for all your advice and comments. Very, very helpful.

    A couple of you asked the age of the bike. It's three years old, but has sat, flat, in the garage for two years. I took the tire that unseated on me twice to a LBS. He said it looked warped where it sat for two years, so I bought a new tire. Works great...holds my weight just fine. the LBS and I also checked the rim and spokes for any issues, but found none. While there's a small chance I pinched the tube, I was pretty careful, so I believe it was the warping of the tire, not me. Any warping on my part is from the brain. :-)

    Someone else asked what type of riding I plan to do. Most of my riding will be on paved streets in the neighborhood and around the small town I live in (about 15 miles southeast of Fort Worth, 15 miles southwest of Dallas), but I am also a wanna-be photographer and would like to ride out away from the city to get some decent landscape/old farm/old town type pictures from the great state of Texas where I live. :-)

    Since I'm just getting started...one more quick issue. The seat is too low, and has a "quick release" that works great for lightweight folks, but the seat drops down again when I sit on it. So, I'm hoping they make seats with a "nut-and-bolt" system that goes through the seat post. In the meantime, how hard would it be to create one with the existing seat? What size/type/strength nut and bolt should I use, and would it weaken the post (on the seat or the bike) if I drilled a hole or two in it for this purpose?

    Thanks again...I look forward to your reply.

  24. #24
    Junior Member rhodesmk's Avatar
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    Yep...Mansfield. I tried the LBS on Debbie behind Lowes just after you posted this. I really liked the attitude I got there. I'll keep going back! :-)

    Thanks!

  25. #25
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    Glad I could help, that quick release seat should be able to tighten up, open the lever hold the nut oposite spin lever a couple turns clockwise and reseat the lever, should give more compression on seat post.

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