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Old 09-16-09, 09:49 PM   #1
Zelnar
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Doc is taking away my Harley, need some advice

Ok, after reading a good amount of reviews and such, I am coming here, although, after reading some of these forums, I am a bit hesitant, but here goes.

I am a 47 yo male, 6'2" and 250 lbs. with diabetes, missing disc in lower back and arthritis (from a smashed heal many years ago) in my right ankle and the doc says I need to spend less time on my old Harley and put some time on a "real" bike (her words, not mine). The treadmill does a job on my ankle and she says that a bike will be much better. So, that, coupled with the fact I am heavily involved with Scouting (except when they are on bikes) I am looking to buy a bike to lose weight and use with Scouts. Now, I have NEVER bought a bicycle in my life (yes, had one as a kid, my parents bought it). So, I turn to you all for opinions and advice. Yes, I am a total newbie and this post show the extent of naivety.

I will be riding mostly on rough back roads and bike paths (packed dirt) and trails such as the C&O Canal in MD. Not back woods but rough enough that I don't think a road bike will do.

The last thing is that with the economy and all, I can't really afford a lot. I have to keep it around 450ish.

In my local town we have 3 local bike shops (not including the Harley dealer which after going in and talking have recommended the following;

1: Specialized Crosstrail - $439.99 - initial setup included
2: Trek 7100 - 399.99 - Initial Setup, Service for life, 10% discount part 1st 30 days
3: Jamis Explorer 2.0 - 439.99 - initial setup, 1st major tuneup in 30 days, "minor" service for life

All three of these seem to fit my request though the Jamis 'seems' to have better equipment (I know little about these things) the dealer selling the Trek seems to have the better lifetime deal.

Honestly, I'm not going to be out there 5 days a week, I'll prolly be out there 2 and try for 3. I'll never be a hardcore bicyclist, I love my Harley too much, BUT, I do want to live to ride that Harley and that means I need to lose the weight ...

I'll add in here that I have seen a few posts that say to stay away from the seat posts with the shocks in them which most the bikes I have seen have, are they really that bad?

So, opinions, advice, etc.?

Thanks in advance, I just don't want to waste $400+ (a lot to me) when asking a few newbie questions might save me later on.

=Dave
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Old 09-16-09, 11:03 PM   #2
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Any one of those bikes will work for you. I can't speak specifically about those models but all three come from established companies with good reputations. When you buy the bike get an under the saddle bag and ask the dealer to put together a flat tire kit for you. If you'll Google "how to fix a flat bicycle tire" you should get about 6,000 tutorials on how to do it. Buy some gloves, they'll help absorb the road shock and make the ride a little easier. There is as much argument about this in the bicycle community as there is in the motorcycle community, but I recommend buying a bicycle helmet. Not wearing a helmet and going a couple of miles an hour I feel off my bike and broke bones, I didn't hit my head fortunately but I considered it a pretty good warning. The deal with the seat posts with shocks is that they absorb some of your pedal power, they're also annoying as hell when they bob up and down.
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Old 09-16-09, 11:07 PM   #3
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I don't know so much about new bikes (my newest ride is a 15-year-old hybrid), but they all seem to be reasonable. Kudos on getting on the bike though. I had great success with South Beach Diet to lose weight in 2005: 70 lb. in 6 months, before I started riding. SBD is kind of an anti-diabetes diet, but if you decide to try it, check with your doctor.

I've gained some of the weight back, but with the riding I find I can carry a little extra weight and still be healthy (as measured by blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides). Exercise does nothing but good stuff to blood chemistry. I'm sitting at 210 (6'-2") and ride to work most days, with longer rides on Saturdays. (Sundays is usually a day off the bike.)
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-16-09, 11:10 PM   #4
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About helmet use: If you're just getting back into bicycling, I recommend getting a helmet. If you're going to crash, you're most likely to do it in the first week or two, before you get totally used to the bike again.

One other tip.... if you're a little freaked out about clipless pedals, try platform pedals with toe clips and no straps. You get some of the benefit of clipless without having to worry about unclipping if you lose your balance.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-17-09, 07:18 AM   #5
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Zelnar: you prolly don't want to hear this. I have an '00 FXDX with 95cui kitted motor and custom flame job. I bought a Trek 7200 when I got to DC in '05 just to ride to work because I didn't want to put the Harley through the salt in the winter,and I wasn't one of those weird bike people. Since then,I doubt I've put 1k miles on the Harley,and I've had to replace the battery because it died due to lack of use. Meanwhile I've put thousands of miles on the bikes,I now own 20,and what my Harley gets used for most of the time is a place to set my helmet while I unlock one of my bikes. I've also lost about 18lbs and 3" off my waistline with no dieting. I'm now one of those weird bike people. So don't feel bad if you start wearing fewer black t-shirts and start wearing hi-viz ones.
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Old 09-17-09, 07:21 AM   #6
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@ Grillparzer - "When you buy the bike get an under the saddle bag and ask the dealer to put together a flat tire kit for you. ::snip:: I recommend buying a bicycle helmet."

My theory is that at 60mph on a 700lb bike if you crash it doesn't matter if you are wearing one or not, you're toast. However it is at the lower speeds where it is going to help you, I'll assume that is the same for a bicycle and wear one.

@ Doohickie - "if you're a little freaked out about clipless pedals, try platform pedals with toe clips and no "straps. You get some of the benefit of clipless without having to worry about unclipping if you lose your balance."

Erm, I never even though of pedal types. Do bikes come standard with these types pedals these days?

@ Doohickie - "I had great success with South Beach Diet to lose weight in 2005: 70 lb. in 6 months, before I started riding. SBD is kind of an anti-diabetes diet, but if you decide to try it, check with your doctor."

Hmmm, good to hear, they have been telling me to try the SBD so it is good to hear your results, I'll be looking into that too. And I'd be thrilled to be at 210!
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Old 09-17-09, 08:27 AM   #7
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I love my Crosstrail,, it just needed better flat protection. Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. The lock out suspension is a godsend. Yes, suspended seatposts are that bad. I love clipless pedals, and Brooks saddles... Ergon Grips, bar ends, Mountain Myrracle rear view mirrors, racks and panniers, Kool Stop Salmon brake pads. 30-50 miles on a bicycle every day is a true joy!

And, my Goldwing (with 200,000+ miles) has become my favorite place to store my bike helmet, gloves, and helmet,)
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Old 09-17-09, 08:33 AM   #8
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p.s. I had a friend get off, after a high side, at 70MPH on I-44. An Aerostich Darien Suit w/armor, Helmet, gloves, and boots, resulted in a bruise the size of a silver dollar on his forearm. That's it! We were riding together when it happened. $8000 damage to his Beemer, plus $1300 for a new Aerostich suit and helmet.

Proper safety gear, will give you a lot of protection.....
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Old 09-17-09, 10:28 AM   #9
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My physical, motivational and financial situation is similar to yours (except the Harley) - I've been biking for about 6 months now. I've made progress - lost 25 lbs, cut back on diabetes meds from 3 to 1 (and that at a lower dose), and feel much better than I have in years. Being retired, I can ride every day if I want but usually I ride 4 or 5 times/wk for about 2 hrs - about 15-20 miles each time. I don't dawdle, its important to prudently push yourself.
You will likely find that you make time to ride once you get used to it - those same brain chemicals that are triggered by salt, sugar and fat which keep you overeating can also be activated by the exercise of riding. At the same time the no impact aspect of pedaling means typical sports injuries are avoidable.
Financially, its Fishonomics - 79 cents for the goldfish and $7 for the bowl, food, accessories, etc. but you won't mind as long as you make substantial progress. Besides, if you cut out most fast and processed food you will save a lot. Good luck! obtw, get a rear view mirror and avoid the recreational rush hours on Sat on the Mt Vernon and W&OD bike trails.
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Old 09-17-09, 10:46 AM   #10
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If you do look into SBD, my suggestion is this: Read the entire text portion of the book (I think about the first third, before the meal plans and recipes). Get acquainted with how the diet is supposed to work. I bought into the idea of the diet, and saw it as a kind of magic formula. I understood the overall effect, but not the inner workings of it. So I was very hesitant to mess with the formula and followed the diet very, very closely. About the only things I did that weren't "allowed" on the diet is I continued to eat cole slaw (too sweet I think, but I didn't eat too much of it) and I drank coffee, which is discouraged but not, if I remember correctly, forbidden.

On January 1, 2005, I weighed 240. By the end of June I was down to 168. I actually lost too much weight to be honest. I kept it off for a while, but I actually tried to gain a little, then gained a little too much, peaking again at about 220. I'm back down to 210 now, I kind of follow SBD (in terms of minimizing carb intake), and I seem to be slowly losing weight again, maybe a pound or two a week. My goal is to get maybe just below 190 and maintain there.

I think when I first started riding again in early 2008, my tendency was to think that since I was riding, I could eat significantly more. Don't fall into that trap; I was actually down below 200 early on in my riding, and gained up to 220. I try to stick to a sensible diet and don't "carb up" before or after rides. My weight stabilized, and now it's started to slip down a bit.

Even with the extra weight, my other health indicators all do much better when I'm riding regularly, at least 4-5 times per week for a minimum of an hour per day that I ride.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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