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Old 10-07-08, 07:01 PM   #1
screwdriver
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Need a few honest unbiased recommendations

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not and will never be in the condition I once was. I envy all of you guys and gal that can get out and do some serious biking. I attempted to take my '76 Superior out for a few mile spin and thought I was going to have to call and ambulance to bring me home. I've got a few health issues that are working against me. What I want to know is, what in your opinion is the best most comfortable cruiser for a 5'10" slightly on the heavy side at 208 lbs down from 300 lbs. I'm going to try my best get in 4 to 8 miles per day but I've got to have something more comfortable than my beautifully '76 Schwinn Superior. I've got an '81 Miyata on it's way but I've got a feeling it's not going to be much better for me than my Superior 10 speed. I would like to have a multiple speed bike but I have no idea what style or brand. Prefer something used and moderately priced.
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Old 10-07-08, 07:10 PM   #2
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Any bike will do for your riding right now.
Once you get toward being in shape you will know much more what you might like.
Took my legs 500 miles to get strong. 1000 miles to get ready for faster long rides.
Riding is 10 Percent Bicycle.... 90 Percent Motor.
Keep pedaling. Go Slow. You will get better each week.
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Old 10-07-08, 07:34 PM   #3
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Check out Rans line of Long Wheel Base recumbents. Comfort like you have never known on a bike before. bk
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Old 10-07-08, 07:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
I am not and will never be in the condition I once was.
I'm not either, and I have cycling to thank for that.

Started in March '06. My first ride was 0.67 miles and I had to stop and rest halfway. It was weeks before I could ride more than a mile without resting.

I'm at 4,389 miles so far this year, and the literal high point of my year was riding to the top of Mt. Evans in Colorado, at 14,130 feet, it's the highest paved road in North America.

10 Wheels has it right. It's not the bike but the motor. Any bike that's comfortable (a *very* personal matter that only you can decide) and in good repair will do. Take it slow and easy for the first while.
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Old 10-07-08, 07:41 PM   #5
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Try alternating your bike rides with really long, really vigorous walking. Walking is under-rated as a way to get back into shape, especially on days when you aren't able to bike.
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Old 10-07-08, 08:03 PM   #6
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Two cruisers I've liked

First, +1 on the comments about walking - it's highly underrated.

Second, although I'm a perennial skinny 44 year old, I've had various wrist and foot problems that have twice taken me out of cycling for over a year periods since I was 20, and I know that comfort is critical when getting back into cycling. I also know that more than any medicines, riding daily has provided me control over my asthma and eliminated my propensity to get multiple upper respiratory infections each winter.

For pure comfort, recumbents are great, and I throughly enjoyed both of mine. But if your wrists and bottom can handle a more traditional bike, then something like the Townie cruisers or similar upright-position bikes by Giant, Raleigh, etc. can be a much cheaper, easier-to-adapt-to alternative - at least until you get a few seasons in and then find that you are ever more comfortable on a more traditional frame.

Good luck to you!
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Old 10-07-08, 08:27 PM   #7
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Find some local bike stores, tell them your situation, and see what they have to offer. Take some test rides. You might want to buy a hybrid/city bike or something else. Cycling technology has signifinately improved since your 76 and 81 bikes so the shifting, braking, and handling is much easier. Plus as we get older and less flexible, different bikes are more comfortable.
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Old 10-07-08, 08:51 PM   #8
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"thought I was going to have to call and ambulance to bring me home."
"what in your opinion is the best most comfortable cruiser"

Okay, is this a fitness issue? Or a comfort issue? Or both?
If comfort, what exactly is the problem? The seat? Leaning over? Pressure on hands?
If fitness, what is the problem? Legs too tired? Out of breath?

Two of the biggest problems for people seem to be seat height and proper gear. If your seat is too low, it is extra hard on your legs. Like if you squat halfway, then try to walk like that. You can do it, but in 50 feet your legs are shot. You'll see people riding on bikes with the seat way down low. There are some reasons to do that, but for general riding, you want the seat where your leg is pretty much extended on the downstroke.

If you try to ride in too high of a gear, it will kill your legs. Solution is downshift, so you're pedaling faster but easier.

If your seat is uncomfortable, there are lots of other posts about that. Some people swear by one kind of saddle or another. Getting used to it seems to be part of the answer. Wearing the bike shorts seems to be part of the answer (particularly for longer rides, not for 4 mile rides).

If you're out of breath, that's a different issue. First off, check with your doctor and make sure you don't have some heart problem going on that needs to be treated before you even think about riding. If you're reasonably healthy there, the solution is just slow down, gear down, find a speed that you can maintain and keep going.

On the "most comfortable cruiser", there's actually not too much variation. One type to notice is the foot-in-front style, which lets you sit lower and still get reasonable extension in your legs. I haven't used one, but some people really like them.

One thing to keep in mind is that going from a '76 Schwinn road bike to a modern cruiser may make things a little easier (or may not, there's drawbacks there, too!), but it is unlikely to change the riding from "ambulance calling" status to pleasure riding. Try to make sure you know what the problem is before you assume a different bike will fix it.
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Old 10-07-08, 10:11 PM   #9
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When I got back into cycling I started with a Semi-recumbent that was pure comfort. I started with 5-mile rides and moved to 10 and finally 25 mile rides. After about 500 miles I bought a MTB. The 500 miles was not wasted because my first dirt ride was 22 miles and other than discovering I needed to adjust the bar up and back I felt pretty good. About 150 miles later I got a road bike. My fitness level is getting better. My rides are now 100 to 140 miles a week. Whatever gets you to ride is what you need to get or maybe you need to just get to your LBS and have your bike adjusted and serviced. Not to take away from Nike but to get in shape, just do it.
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Old 10-07-08, 10:37 PM   #10
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I just got back to biking this year, the last time before i rode on a bike again was way back in high school / college when i was still doing crazy stuff on a BMX bike, and racing for whatever reason.

So when i got back on to a bike for commuting, it was puffing and pain for the first week, the 2nd week got better, but still no where quicker.

it took like 2 month later, before i can zip over a hill without changing gears.

now i'm back in shape, and totally looking forward to Winter Commuting.
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Old 10-07-08, 11:13 PM   #11
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screwdriver, you ride as far and as fast as you want to, and you don't have to go crazy with the miles game. I've been riding for decades, I ride as far as I need to, and I don't get over twenty five miles on any given day. Somedays I'll just ride the bike to the grocery store a few blocks away, other times it's an extended trip around the town. The bottom line, just ride at the speed and distance you're comfortable with.
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Old 10-08-08, 07:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
As much as I hate to admit it, I am not and will never be in the condition I once was. I envy all of you guys and gal that can get out and do some serious biking. I attempted to take my '76 Superior out for a few mile spin and thought I was going to have to call and ambulance to bring me home. I've got a few health issues that are working against me. What I want to know is, what in your opinion is the best most comfortable cruiser for a 5'10" slightly on the heavy side at 208 lbs down from 300 lbs. I'm going to try my best get in 4 to 8 miles per day but I've got to have something more comfortable than my beautifully '76 Schwinn Superior. I've got an '81 Miyata on it's way but I've got a feeling it's not going to be much better for me than my Superior 10 speed. I would like to have a multiple speed bike but I have no idea what style or brand. Prefer something used and moderately priced.
Same issues as you, and I ended up on a Trek 6000 hardtail MTB. It is great on the road, and still gives me the freedom to go off-road, dirt road, doubletrack, singletrack, etc. There a lots of great MTB brands starting at $500.
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Old 10-08-08, 03:41 PM   #13
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In the current Cycling Plus (UK), there's a letter from a bloke who was 19 stones (266lbs to you lot), 18 months ago when he started riding. His first 5-mile ride to work took him an hour.

He's now down to 175lbs and is a fully fledged, "Orbea owning, carbon barred, lycra-wearing cycling junkie".

Good luck
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Old 10-08-08, 04:14 PM   #14
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You might want to check in with the Clydesdale/Athena subforum. It's a very supportive group. Best of luck.
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Old 10-08-08, 06:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
"thought I was going to have to call and ambulance to bring me home."
"what in your opinion is the best most comfortable cruiser"

Okay, is this a fitness issue? Or a comfort issue? Or both?
If comfort, what exactly is the problem? The seat? Leaning over? Pressure on hands?
If fitness, what is the problem? Legs too tired? Out of breath?

(etc.)
Best post yet in this thread.

Another question: screwdriver, have you grown taller since getting that ol' Schwinn?
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Old 10-08-08, 08:59 PM   #16
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No such thing as an unbiased opinion on most comfortable bike and saddle. Everyone has a personal taste for one size, product, and design that works best for him, but maybe not for you. My wife hates normal upright bikes, but loves her crank forward Trek Sole Ride to the tune of 30-50 miles a week, including commuting to work and school.

There is more to it then just the bike. Tune up the old Schwinn, get some new tires and maybe a new saddle, and give it a try. Baby steps first with 2-4 mile rides and some intervals. Pick a section of your route to just hammer the pedals as hard as you can for 2 minutes, then ease off. Then progress to longer rides and more interval sessions.
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Old 10-08-08, 09:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atbman View Post
In the current Cycling Plus (UK), there's a letter from a bloke who was 19 stones (266lbs to you lot), 18 months ago when he started riding. His first 5-mile ride to work took him an hour.

He's now down to 175lbs and is a fully fledged, "Orbea owning, carbon barred, lycra-wearing cycling junkie".

Good luck
I started riding in May and I was pretty close to 19 stones. Now I am 17 and looking forward to next year.
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Old 10-08-08, 09:48 PM   #18
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I am 60 and just getting back into cycling after a 25 year layoff as well. I had my old road bike gearing changed to MTB triple on the front so I could get up the hills around here and started with short mile or so rides. I am now doing 8 to 12 miles which take me up to an hour but I am getting stronger and faster every week. I use my low gears quite a bit on the hills and only get to the high gears on down hills. I am riding a 35 year old bike on 30 year old tires. I also have a Trek 820 that I bought for $10. Re lubed it and put street slicks on it and use it as a grocery getter and general stuff. I do not ride every day but try not to take more than 2 days in a row off. I intend to ride all winter weather permitting.
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Old 10-09-08, 03:25 AM   #19
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I cannot recommend the Electra Townie enough for folks in your state of being.
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Old 10-09-08, 06:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
There is more to it then just the bike. Tune up the old Schwinn, get some new tires and maybe a new saddle, and give it a try. Baby steps first with 2-4 mile rides and some intervals. Pick a section of your route to just hammer the pedals as hard as you can for 2 minutes, then ease off. Then progress to longer rides and more interval sessions.
Bad advice IMO

Intervals and hammering should be saved for after you have a 1000 or more miles in and have some endurance built up. Most people would be well advised to skip them even then unless working on speed.

Go out and do short rides often, daily if possible, but if not at least a few times a week. When that feels good gradually lengthen them. Don't overdo to the point that you are too sore to ride the next day. Progress will come. I was in the same boat as you and rode coast to coast less than two years later.
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