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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.

New Athena here

Old 03-21-16, 05:55 PM
  #1  
Bikequery
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New Athena here

I am a 61 year old female. I'm 5'8" and weigh 262 or so pounds. I have always loved to bike but stopped 32 years ago when we moved to Southeastern PA. It's pretty hilly here with twisted roads where we live, plus my husband hasn't made any effort to get on his bike out or his self ready to go with me no matter how much I hint or ask him outright. He used to love to ride. I really don't want to bike alone. Anyway, up until recently people did not share the roads around here very well with bikers. All that has changed - a bike route is literally 2 blocks from our house now!!!

About 4 weeks ago my son told me he wanted to go on a bike tour from PA to Miami Florida. Of course I had a million questions but he satisfied every worry. He had obviously done his homework because unbeknownst to me, he had been thinking about this for 1 1/2 years. When he told me about his dream I secretly wished I could go with him. Then the following week when he said to me, "Mom, you should come with me" I was overjoyed.

I know it will be the hardest thing I ever do in my life but I'm up for the challenge. I had already hitting the gym pretty good since December. Even though I've only lost a few pounds I have dropped 5% body fat. (I have one of those scales that weighs muscle, bone, body fat %, and water). I still have a lot to lose but I can see that my muscle is increasing a lot and the fat is slowly falling off.

Ever since I committed to go with my son on this trip I have switched all my cardio to a stationary bike. On my next visit to the gym I rode 10 miles (albeit on the lowest level), just to see if I could do it. Surprisingly it was pretty easy to do. Now each time I go (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), I add another mile to my ride. I'm up to 16 miles, with 50% of the time on a random setting, then I ramp down, 2 miles at a time, from level 4 to 1. I feel stronger and have a lot more endurance then when I started that's for sure.

I know there is no substitute for being on a real bike but right now it's still pretty cold here in Pennsylvania. We aren't going on our trip until the middle of August so I figure I still have a lot of time to get out there on a real bike. Meanwhile I am building up my breath and endurance.

I have a crappy 1983 Panasonic 10 speed road bike that I will train on once the weather warms up a little. I did take it out for a short 3 mile ride but that day I had already gone 15 miles at the gym. The good news is I did not feel like dying. The bad news is I don't really know what I am capable of out in the real world. I do know that I need to raise my seat and my handlebars as I felt my head was down way too low. I couldn't see where I was going. I'm waiting to get some mountain touring shoes that I ordered. When I do I will start riding on trails as much as I can, assuming the weather cooperates. I know pedal clips will make my riding more efficient.

My son is all about training to go fast and wants to get himself a fast road bike to train on before he plunks money down on a touring bike. I'm not sure I should do that. I'm not really sure what I should do. Will it really matter? I'm thinking that if I just go for distance the handicap of riding on my crappy 10 speed could turn out to be a good thing.

I don't have unlimited amounts of money to buy two bikes as I know I will need a touring bike for the long haul as well as a LOT of gear and money for the road.
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Old 03-21-16, 07:47 PM
  #2  
PDKL45
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My advice would be to buy the touring bike. Most touring bikes are perfect for everyday riding and even if they're a bit heavy, it just means that they're also strong. You also get a better workout on a heavier bike.

I think there is a lot to be said for getting used to your bike and knowing it properly before you take off on tour. Your body remembers your bike, and before too long you are doing things automatically, like reaching to change gears and braking, as well as shifting your weight to corner and stop. By training on your touring bike, you prepare your body with muscle memory, as well as shake your equipment down and work out any little problems before you strike out on a tour. You also gain confidence in your equipment and familiarity with using it.

A lot of people will probably suggest a Surly Long Haul Trucker or a Disc Trucker, both of which are excellent touring bikes. However, they are not the only choice. Giant makes some decent hybrid bikes and Liv is their brand aimed at women. Giant hybrids can usually be fitted with fenders and racks and can be a little lighter, both on the legs and the wallet.

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Old 03-21-16, 09:04 PM
  #3  
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Tell us more about the ride. Is it an organized ride run by a tour operator or will you be touring by yourselves?

This will help us narrow down the type of bike you'll need.
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Old 03-22-16, 12:12 PM
  #4  
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I'll be starting another tour on Thursday. Taking PATCO from Philly to Lindenwold then riding to Belleplain State Forest for one night of camping. Friday I head to Cape May to catch the ferry to Lewes, DE where I will camp for two nights at Cape Henlopen S.P. Sunday I will ride the ferry back to Cape May and ride up the coats to A.C. to catch the train home.

I do several tours every year. (I'll be heading to Montana in mid-June for 11 days on the road.) What you will need depends on the how you plan to travel. Will you be camping and doing your own cooking? If not, then you have a lot more flexibility regarding bikes. A friend of mine rode from Philly to Atlanta last summer using his road bike because he stayed in motels and ate out. I usually camp and cook so I need a rig that can haul all my stuff. I have a Surly Long Haul Trucker which I bought from Trophy Bikes in Philly. They usually have a couple of LHTs on the shop floor.

One advantage of going with someone is that you can split up the load to some degree. If camping, you only need one tent, and you can divide the pieces if so desire. Also, you don't need duplicate cooking equipment.

Is you son familiar with Adventure Cycling Association? If no, he should check them out. The have created routes all around the country. Their Atlantic Coast route passes near Philadelphia and runs down to Florida, passing through Miami. The maps are handy, especially for first-timers as they show the locations of services such as motels, campgrounds, grocery stores and bike shops.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...tlantic-coast/

I highly recommend that you take some short, shakedown trips first. Depending where in SEPA you are, there might be some 2-3 day trips you can take from you house.

As noted, knowing the structure of the tour (e.g., camping or not) will better assist people in giving advice.

BTW...Hope you like riding in heat and humidity, because that's what you will likely encounter heading south from SEPA in mid-August.
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Old 03-22-16, 06:04 PM
  #5  
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My son is going to plan everything. I like the idea of one tent but he wants separate ones. :-(

I wish we could leave sooner. Trouble is I am involved with watching our grandsons over the summer. Maybe we should wait until September?
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Old 03-22-16, 06:12 PM
  #6  
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We plan on taking some short trips. He wants to sleep in the backyard and only use our gear for a few days before we go anywhere. We hope to stay at campsites along the way.

I'm curious as to how many miles people usually log daily on their tours. I think my son is being unrealistic to think we can ride 100 miles a day. What say you?
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Old 03-22-16, 06:16 PM
  #7  
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If extreme heat and humidity don't bother you like they bother me, go in mid-August. I rode across the country in '99. We had 90s+ for all of IA, IL and IN. Hottest day was 107. It was miserable. I was miserable.

Fuji makes a touring bike that is less expensive than some others. REI has the Radnonee that comes with a rear rack.
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Old 03-22-16, 06:24 PM
  #8  
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Why separate tents? That's just twice as much to pack and carry. it's not like the fabric provides any sound barrier anyway. I don't know about "only using our gear for a few days" before you go but you should definitely test everything for real. I think his idea is a tough way of ensuring you don't forget anything but maybe a checklist will be easier to tolerate.

As for 100 miles per day, yes, I think that is most unrealistic for most of us. If you average 50-60 miles a day you'll be doing pretty well. I assume you'll want to stop and sniff the roses along the way. That's not to say you can't do a 100 miler every now and then though.
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Old 03-22-16, 09:14 PM
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Hey ALL I am THE SON! Not sure that's a good thing!

Anyway, we will do a combination of hotels/motels/camping. I have heard of the adventure cycling club, I was going to use resources from the east coast greenway, and do some slight adjustments because I want to ride down the outer banks and ferry back to the mainland at the bottom! The goal is to ride to Key West, but I just don't know if I can handle those bridges....I'd be having a minor anxiety attack in a car let alone a bike! hehe

I don't think 100 miles a day is realistic, but at the same I don't think 50-60 is either. I want to be challenged, and at 1400 miles 28 days does not seem fun! I figured about 20ish days including a couple days off as we see fit (like Savanna for sure!). We will do some light tours to begin, there's an awesome trail from Pittsburgh to DC that follows old rail lines and tow-path. Also there are many Philly to shore rides all summer long (about 67 miles, unless you opp for the century loop).

Hope this clears up some stuff for everyone. Happy Biking!
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Old 03-22-16, 10:16 PM
  #10  
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Look into Warm Showers as away to get some support along way.
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Old 03-23-16, 12:28 AM
  #11  
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Are you a superclyde as in 400 lbs? Or super as in you wear a cape?

How many days in a row can you ride 60 miles right now? (and how about your mom?) Note that I said average - most people also schedule a rest day from time to time which will bring your average down. If you're a fast rider doing centuries on an unladen bike, figure about 6 hours a day of nothing but riding plus two hours or so of breaks in there and you'll be wiped out. Then you have to find a camp, pitch a tent, eat, blah blah blah. However, you won't be riding 17 mph on your touring bikes, in all likelihood.

Go here for some dudes touring long distances on bikes and see what they get up to: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/

Take indyfabz's advice and do a 3 day tour this summer to debug your kit and evaluate your readiness.
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Old 03-23-16, 05:42 AM
  #12  
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Random thoughts:

First, I'd post about yourself and your idea in the Touring subforum and see what kind of responses you get. That sub likely has a larger group of people who have done extended tours than the Clyde/Ath sub.

Next, I wouldn't embark on this long of a ride unless I had some significant seat time in on the specific bike I was taking on the trip. As in hundreds of miles over weeks of time, pre-trip. Your trip bike, shoes, saddle, butt, etc need to be broken in before the trip. Well broken in, functioning as a system.

My next thought is that riding in one of the hotter parts of the year might not be optimal. High heat is a stress even on younger folks with high levels of fitness. If I was planning a long distance ride for one of my 60 year old friends who hadn't ridden significantly for 30 years, August might not be my first choice.

My suggestion would be to acquire the bike you will be using for the trip as soon as possible. Get miles on it. If it were me, I'd make myself ride that bike 50 miles a day for 5 or 6 days consecutively to see how you handle that. I'd probably take a couple of three day weekends and actually ride and camp in the tent I planned on using. You want to have your gear down pat before you leave, to where setting up the tent, etc, is old hat. Oh, and practice changing a tire/tube, stuff like that. I wouldn't want to be totally dependent on someone else when a minor glitch popped up.

Good luck. Taking a 1000 mile bike trip at 60 when you are just getting in shape and back into cycling is a pretty ambitious goal. It can be done, and I applaud you for committing to it. Thumbs up. My dad is 68, and two or three years ago he rode his bike from San Diego to somewhere in Florida with a friend. I think he averaged 100 miles a day, but he's a machine, and in very good shape for anyone, not just for his age, and has a fair bit of cycling experience.

Some good info:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/res...travel-basics/

Last edited by syncro87; 03-23-16 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 03-23-16, 06:22 AM
  #13  
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Wow, this seems like a huge commitment. I am very happy for the both of you. What great stories you will have to share. I have to admit, I am a little jealous. I wish i had enough gal to even think about this.

I am very excited and nervous about my upcoming planned 35 mile ride.

I will be routing you on!
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Old 03-23-16, 08:14 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by SuperClydesdale View Post
Hey ALL I am THE SON! Not sure that's a good thing!

Anyway, we will do a combination of hotels/motels/camping. I have heard of the adventure cycling club, I was going to use resources from the east coast greenway, and do some slight adjustments because I want to ride down the outer banks and ferry back to the mainland at the bottom! The goal is to ride to Key West, but I just don't know if I can handle those bridges....I'd be having a minor anxiety attack in a car let alone a bike! hehe

I don't think 100 miles a day is realistic, but at the same I don't think 50-60 is either. I want to be challenged, and at 1400 miles 28 days does not seem fun! I figured about 20ish days including a couple days off as we see fit (like Savanna for sure!). We will do some light tours to begin, there's an awesome trail from Pittsburgh to DC that follows old rail lines and tow-path. Also there are many Philly to shore rides all summer long (about 67 miles, unless you opp for the century loop).

Hope this clears up some stuff for everyone. Happy Biking!
I would not follow the ECG in PA into DE. It's a theory with almost no green, and it passes through some not-so-nice and not bike friendly areas, like Chester, using busy roads.

The PGH to D.C. trails are the GAP and C&O. And road bike with skinny tires won't cut it on the C&O, which can be a morass in places after a period of sustained rain. The GAP is mostly crushed limestone and thus a more tamed beast. Still you probably want nothing less than 32c if you will be carrying loads. That's what I used for the GAP and would not have wanted anything narrower.

Those shore rides are supported charity rides, Needless to say, they are totally different animals than riding loaded.

Even at a slow pace of 10 mph, 20-ish mile days are going to mean very little riding time/day. They will also up your expenses buy requiring more overnight stays. I think you will get bored. Also, you have to remember that there might not always be lodging sufficiently spaced to allow for such a low average. To be safe, I think you should be able to handle days in the 50s.

As others have said, it would be a good idea to get the bikes you will ride sooner rather than later and head out for some short trips. You could head to French Creek State Park, which as camping. If you want to start out flat, you could head to Belleplain State Forest in NJ, which is where I will be heading tomorrow. Catching the PATCO trains allows you bypass Camden and some other congested parts of south Jersey. The way I have been going lately it's about 55 miles from the end of the line to the park entrance. Both locations have showers.

I have a couple other options for shakedown rides. One is very nice but requires transportation to Port Jervis, NY.
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Old 03-26-16, 09:34 AM
  #15  
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I am training. It's not like I am going to hop on a bike in August and start riding to Florida. So far I've trained on a stationary bike. I was going M-W-F. I started off with 10 miles on the lowest level. Now I can do 15 miles on the Random setting, with an additional 4 miles cooling down. Every time I go the the gym I add another mile. I am also lifting weights -working out my arms, shoulders, back, and legs, alternating between arms/shoulder and legs/back every gym visit.

I am totally planning on doing all my training on my new bike as soon as I figure out which one I want. Until then I will train on my 1982 Panasonic ten speed. LOL. Yesterday I bought Shimano mountain touring shoes and a new helmet so my son won't laugh at me. LOL. Now I don't look like a marshmallow. We put the pedals on my old bike yesterday and got the cleats fixed on the shoes this morning. I hope to take a ride today. I have changed my work schedule so I can go out and ride on my bike three days a week.

Son and I have plans to ride a number of short trips and will also take a longer trip before we head out on THE BIG TRIP. He wants to do some road races so he's got himself a road bike for that. I am going to concentrate on going miles and then as I get up in the miles start adding weight. Since I've never trained for something like this before that seems the most logical. If I can't get ready in 5 months I won't go but it will not be for lack of trying.

Yesterday we went out looking at bikes. I tested the Long Haul Trucker, which I liked. That same bike shop put together a Salsa Marrakesh for me that I need to take a test on. They just called to say it was ready. I tried another less expensive bike at a different shop but with my weight I'm not thinking too much in that direction. Meanwhile, does anyone have experience with either of those 2 bikes? I like the lower hand placement on the Marrakesh. It looks like your chest can open up more. My Panasonic keeps my chest pushed in - I feel like I can't draw a big enough breath when I go up hills. I'm thinking the Marrakesh will help with that. I also like that the SO height is lower on the Marrakesh than the Long Haul Trucker.


[h=1][/h]
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Old 03-26-16, 09:36 AM
  #16  
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Thank you very much NYSteve. I think this should be a real sweet memory maker.
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Old 03-26-16, 09:43 AM
  #17  
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Thank you for the suggestions on the best routes to take. When you plan a trip you aren't thinking about riding through Chester but it IS a reality. Thanks for putting that slant on our thinking. French Creek is a good idea.

As for the charity rides to the shore, I'm all for getting supported rides when I am first going out on a long trip. It will help to build my confidence. To me it's a good thing, not something to feel ashamed of.

I think son wants to do more than 50 a day with some centuries thrown in. Before I do any of that I will prove to myself I can do 50+. I don't want to be in a situation where I am letting him down. I am twice his age. I want to be challenged but not bullied. :-)
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Old 03-28-16, 10:50 AM
  #18  
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And do ride in inclement weather, not dangerous weather, but bad weather none the less. You won't be able to avoid rain every day on the tour and having the right gear and mental toughness to deal with it has to be trained in. Taking on any challenge is 100% mental. We can force our bodies to do anything we want, but first we have to want. I ride with my wife a lot and that is always my advice to her. The first time we rode 20 miles she was ready to give up, I pushed her mentally. 20 miles to her is a warm up now.

To add to this, I am jealous. Really Jealous, I need to plan a trip and ride it. Not for anyone else but me. Have fun, train hard and good luck to you.
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Old 03-28-16, 01:25 PM
  #19  
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I think this sounds like a ton of fun, and am jealous like previous posters! Over 60, plus over 250 pounds, plus just getting started with biking means that you have some hurdles to overcome, but with work you can do it. I'd echo the above comments -- you've got to get in biking on a bike (stationary bike miles feel different), and biking in all weathers. Bike *with* your son as much as you can so you make sure you're compatible bikers (is he going to get frustrated if you're slower?) -- and sometimes riding with someone faster/in better shape can help you improve your speed and stamina.

Again, though -- you should go for it. I'd do it in a heartbeat in your situation!
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Old 04-04-16, 01:26 PM
  #20  
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Well I ended up buying the Marrakesh. The Long Haul Trucker actually fit my body better but the Marrakesh is sturdier and will have the same tires as my son. To tell you the truth, though, I'm not sure if it is the right bike. When I told the bike shop I felt the bike didn't fit me they put posts on it to push the seat back and the handlebars forward. It's better but now I am not over the pedals and find myself scooting forward.

I AM riding with my son. My first ride with him on my new bike was for around 12 miles on Easter. The following Wednesday I had to get a tooth pulled. We didn't get out again until this past Friday. We did 20 miles. The following day we did 22. It was a hard ride - my butt was sore from the day before and I was pretty tired.

My bike is skipping gears, which I told the bike shop about last TUESDAY when I had the bike in for all those fitting adjustments. The mechanic there said he would talk to the other mechanic, who had similar issues on a Marrakesh, and get back to me. He never did. I called on Saturday to remind them and they said they would call the manufacturer this week. My nerves! I'm trying to train on a bike that doesn't work 100%.

We did encounter rain this past Friday. We were totally unprepared for it. Actually, this is pretty funny, but as we were riding up to the parking lot the wind picked up really hard and my son mistook petals from a cherry tree to be hail. He yelled, "GET IN THE CAR"! I froze and literally fell over. LOL. I"d been fighting cramps in my right calf for most of the ride. Then when I tried to get up I realized I had a cramp in my other leg. I literally couldn't stand up. I felt like Lucy and Ethel. We came home drenched. I have to find some rain clothes that fit big me. I'm 3X up top and 1x or 2x on bottom. Any ideas on rain clothes for big people?

The next day we put drank electrolytes before we went out. I had no problems with cramps.

I am also having trouble with finding a seat. My old Terry is great and doesn't hurt at all but everyone tells me it will end up chafing me on a long trip. The bike comes with a leather Brooks saddle that is for a man. I borrowed a Brooks rubber seat which hurt like hell. Then I tried a different seat that was better but not optimal. Finally I tried a seat with a split crotch like my Terry but it was quite painful. Son says stop switching seats. Should I get the Brooks leather seat made for a female? Should I try some other seat?

Last but not least, what are the best biking shorts for a long tour? I figure I will be in a saddle for at least 5-6 hours a day and sometimes up to 10 or more when we decide to do a century. I see lots of shorts but can't figure out what is best for me.

Lorie
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Old 04-04-16, 01:33 PM
  #21  
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indiana_jane, son has been pretty patient with me for the most part. I am double his age. He is riding a racing bike and I am on a slow touring bike. He says he is handicapped by weighing more. I think he's full of hooey. He does weigh more (maybe 70 pounds?), but he is also 11 inches taller - a true Clydesdale, complete with big feet. I don't mind him challenging me. I don't even use any apps to see how far we've gone. I sort of leave all that up to him.

One thing I realized I need to do is work on climbing hills. We went off the bike trail to stop at a restaurant about 1 mile from where we planned on turning around. We had to go up a steep hill. I was beat to snot from the ride the say before and had to walk up the hill.

I think I'm still pretty scared on my bike which didn't help. I have to get used to the shoe clips and being up so high, plus there was traffic and traffic lights. Heck, just wearing sunglasses is challenging me at this point!
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Old 04-05-16, 12:30 PM
  #22  
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I am going to say for larger clothing Cycling Apparel, Bike Shorts, Bike Jerseys by Aero Tech Designs is the way to go. With that being said, rain gear is harder to find for bigger folks. We got lucky and found some rain pants from LL Bean to meet our needs and I have a regular rain jacket that I just tuck the hood in. For my head I have a waterproof helmet cover and some shoe covers if it is cold and raining hard. Yes, it's a lot of gear, but necessary. That's why I gave the advice to get out there and ride in the bad stuff to understand your gear needs.
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Old 04-05-16, 02:22 PM
  #23  
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Glad to hear the relationship part of the planning is working. That's a crucial component.

As to gear -- Team Estrogen (you can google) sells clothing for plus-size women. Their selection is quite small, but it really is well-selected -- getting something from them means you're getting something that is tried and true.
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Old 04-05-16, 02:43 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Bikequery View Post
...

I am also having trouble with finding a seat. My old Terry is great and doesn't hurt at all but everyone tells me it will end up chafing me on a long trip. The bike comes with a leather Brooks saddle that is for a man. I borrowed a Brooks rubber seat which hurt like hell. Then I tried a different seat that was better but not optimal. Finally I tried a seat with a split crotch like my Terry but it was quite painful. Son says stop switching seats. Should I get the Brooks leather seat made for a female? Should I try some other seat?

Lorie
If the old Terry still works (not a given; we change), well, you've done the research and the verdict is in. Terry works. Go out and buy a new one. (Terry may have changed their design so keep that in mind. Terry uses one of the best seat manufacturers to make their seat; the outfit that made the racing seats I loved and rode for decades. Well, I changed and those seats didn't work anymore. Started riding the new seats with holes and grooves. And guess what? The best of the bunch for me is the men's Terry. I'd tour on it in a flash.)

Don't take the word of others that Brooks is the only way to go. It is the best for some. But others of us cannot even ride them. (I rode one for 4o years. When that bike got stolen, I realized that thief did me a favor.)

Ben
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Old 04-05-16, 06:36 PM
  #25  
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Ben,
You have made me a very happy woman. Terry going back on the Marrakesh! Maybe when my butt is smaller the Terry will need to be replaced but right now it feels great.
Lorie
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