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Old 01-09-09, 11:00 PM   #1
Theologic Bear
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Fat newbie mountain biker wants tips!

Hey guys, I'm brand new to these forums and to mountain biking.

I went to my local bike shop two days ago and bought a '09 Gary Fisher Piranha in hopes that it would help me lose some weight and get back in shape. Three years ago, I was skinny and playing tennis and rugby regularly. Then, I was diagnosed with aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis which over the course two or so years I gained over 100 pounds (there were times I could not walk). It has been a long battle, but I am doing much better now, thanks to my treatments, but I am also extremely out of shape and fat (320lbs)! Anyway, I really love the new bike. I'm sure I stress it more than it was intended to be stressed (that is why I got a fairly nice bike with hydraulic disk brakes).

My question is, are there any other overweight riders out there with tips to help me out as I am just beginning? My main problem right now is that I live in a hilly area (the foothills in upstate South Carolina) and the uphills kill me!!! I am not a weakling. I have a former athlete waiting to come back inside, but with all this extra weight, the uphills stop me much faster than I was even expecting. My goal is to ride at least 45 minutes a day at least 5 days a week, so I can lose weight (I'm getting married in May). Anyway, happy riding and thanks for any tips you might have.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:20 PM   #2
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For the climbing thing maybe changing the gearing around will help with the climbing at first but as you get stronger to go to a harder gearing. Also pedalling a bicycle uses different muscles than the muscles used for running and walking. After awhile those muscles will build up and same with the endurance(again) and you'll find that climbing will be easier.
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Old 01-10-09, 12:03 AM   #3
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If your new to bikeforums.net you must not know about the group on the main page for us big guys.
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
8th one down under classic and vintage.
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Old 01-10-09, 08:13 AM   #4
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Good to hear you're getting back in shape. Thats awesome. My wife has RA so I have some idea of what you're dealing with. My best advice is to just take it a little at a time. Try to find a loop that has minimal uphill to start and work from there.The main thing is to keep it fun.If it's fun you'll stick with it and look forward to your rides. How is the trail riding in the thriving metropolis of Taylors? Thats not far from me,you might need to guide me around one day.
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Old 01-10-09, 10:11 AM   #5
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Go Bear!!!

Cool dude, keep it up. The gears are your friends, that's why you have so many of them. As a bigger guy myself, I have a hate love relationship with hills, hate the ups/love the downs. After you've been riding for a just a little while you should be able to figure out what gears to be using. The guy who got me into riding was an ex-professional cyclist from Europe. That guy changed gears ALL the time, so I do too. On even short climbs I will use multiple gears, sometimes it's to make it easier on me, sometimes to go a bit faster, sometimes to just stretch my legs a bit. I guess my point is to just be aware of the tools you have and not get into a low gear and just stay there, always be exploring to find the best trade off between speed, ease of pedaling, and comfort. I bet you'll quickly find that you're able to climb in higher gears afer very litle riding.

And drink water too, you'll feel a lot better after hills if you've been hydrating all along. Good luck!!
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Old 01-10-09, 10:28 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input and that's cool that they have a group for big guys! I'll head over there.

I went out again this morning for about an hour, and things are already getting a little better. Also, my weight's down about 5 pounds since a week ago!
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Old 01-10-09, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theologic Bear View Post
My question is, are there any other overweight riders out there with tips to help me out as I am just beginning?
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ysprune=&f=248

Remember, gears don't make it any less work to go up hills, they just reduce the amount of force required. If you weigh 320 lbs and ride a 30 lb bike, it takes 35,000 ft-lbs of work to lift you and your bike up a 100 foot hill. But in lower gears, you don't have to push as hard on the pedals...you just have to turn the pedals more times.
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Old 01-11-09, 02:05 PM   #8
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Hey Bear
You should read this thread by another bear. It transformed my life.
http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=287013

My sister lives in Taylors, maybe we can meet up for some bike riding this year.
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Old 01-11-09, 05:24 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input and that's cool that they have a group for big guys! I'll head over there.

I went out again this morning for about an hour, and things are already getting a little better. Also, my weight's down about 5 pounds since a week ago!
Bear, as a big guy myself I gotta say that you just keep pedaling. Change gears when you have to. If you can't make it, there is no shame in walking a hill. I have walked plenty. But, as time goes on you will not have to walk hills as much. I started at 431 lbs. I now weigh about 250 lbs. I know I am still big but I feel like a lightweight weight weenie comparitively speaking. Just keep it up. It does get a little better (not necessarily easier) I promise
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Old 01-11-09, 05:56 PM   #10
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spend another $50 and buy a heart rate monitor. Ride at a effort level that keeps your pulse at an reasonable level. Don't worry how fast or slow eveyone else is going, and just enjoy the ride.
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Old 01-11-09, 07:18 PM   #11
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Just get to know your bike, and your gears. Just take the uphills slow in a low gear, and work on your leg strength. As you do this more and more, you'll be able to take it faster, with the same effort.
Time on the bike is better than time spent sitting doing nothing, so just ride!
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Old 01-11-09, 08:19 PM   #12
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Hey guys, I'm brand new to these forums and to mountain biking.
I hope you enjoy riding because that's what will carry you through.
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Old 01-11-09, 11:27 PM   #13
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Wow, thanks for all the support! And, yes, I am really enjoying riding!
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Old 01-12-09, 12:01 AM   #14
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Hey nobody said it (I don't think) but congratulations on getting married dude. Get that riding in while you still can
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Old 01-12-09, 12:05 AM   #15
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Carry momentum where you can starting a climb. Don't downshift to an easier gear too soon. Spinning out going into the climb wastes energy.
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Old 01-12-09, 12:36 AM   #16
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Don't worry how fast or slow eveyone else is going, and just enjoy the ride.

This is the most important part.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:50 AM   #17
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I think the hills are going to benefit you as they'll present a fairly consistent challenge, versus trying to remember to keep your cadence up and not slacking off on level ground. If you have to stop and walk (don't cop out and give up at the base of the hill, give it a real attempt), so what, just make note of how far up the hill you made it and relish in the progress you make ride after ride.

You live in some of the best biking country on the East coast, take advantage of that (I'm certainly jealous... I dream of moving from the Midlands to Greenville).
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Old 01-12-09, 06:58 AM   #18
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I'm 260# myself, with mild arthritis, and I think I know where you are coming from.

As has been said above, you need to pay attention to your gearing and cadence.

Riding in too high a gear, and mashing the pedals really slowly to get up hills, will put you in a world of pain. The trick is to pedal fast in a gear that gives minimal resistance.

It takes a while to build up to it, and in the begining your cardio-vascular won't keep up and you'll be breathless very quickly. But stay at it, and you'll improve faster than you think. Ride 3 or 4 time a week and after a few weeks you'll be in a whole new world.
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Old 01-12-09, 08:31 PM   #19
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Thank you again. I went out today and rode for an hour and already, as Abacus says, it is getting better faster than I thought possible. I think I've finally found something that is going to work to get me back in shape. I'm hoping I'll be half way there by the time I get married, and then my wife and I will ride the rest of the way together (not that she needs to lose any weight).
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Old 01-12-09, 09:57 PM   #20
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I'm running about 320 these days with the new tires...I can sympathize.

Congrats on marriage, the drive to get in shape, and the choice of bikes. As others have already said...keep it fun and the weight will lose itself. I lost 30lbs in about 4 mos in 2005...'couldn't have done that w/o having some serious fun on the trail.

Ride with friends...it's easier to push yourself when you have others helping you. It's also less boring on the fire road climbs.
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