Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
Reload this Page >

New Heavy Rider Feels Unsteady on the Bike

Notices
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 Heavy Rider Feels Unsteady on the Bike

Old 05-10-21, 03:58 PM
  #1  
jca2112
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
jca2112's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
New Heavy Rider Feels Unsteady on the Bike

New to the forums. New rider (6'4", 350lbs) looking to try out cycling. Starting out with little/no experience -- haven't ridden a bike since I was a little kid. Went to a local bike shop and ended up getting a Trek Verve 2 Disc Lowstep. Question:

Does the correct seat height make it so your toes barely touch the ground?

The guy at the bike shop said the seat was set at the right height. Since I haven't ridden a bike in decades, I'm pretty unsure/unsteady on the bike (since I can't stand with my feet flat on the ground) and it makes me feel like an anxious kid – I assume I will have to re-learn being on the bike? Is this feeling normal?

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks.
jca2112 is offline  
Old 05-10-21, 05:06 PM
  #2  
kirby999
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere South
Posts: 1,336

Bikes: Electra Fat Tire ,Specialized Rockhopper, Hardrock.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Liked 2,080 Times in 700 Posts
Lower the seat a little until you get your cycle legs back . A seat too high is bad on your knees anyways . One too low just makes you work more .
You can worry about having the “ correct” height after you’ve lost a few pounds .
Good luck with your endeavor .

Last edited by kirby999; 05-10-21 at 06:42 PM.
kirby999 is offline  
Likes For kirby999:
Old 05-10-21, 05:22 PM
  #3  
UCantTouchThis
Senior Member
 
UCantTouchThis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 1,414
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 540 Post(s)
Liked 1,141 Times in 543 Posts
Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Yes. When stopping for a short time I usually lean the bike to the left and just put my left foot down. When stopping for a longer time (e.g. long stop light) I slide off the saddle and put both feet down.

You'll get the hang of it quickly.

also: when you're stopped, spin the pedals backwards so your strong side (right side in my case) pedal is about at the 2 o'clock position to make starting off easier.

WOW, are you riding a very small bike? I can't do that, no way on a 58 being 6'1. I have to slide off the seat at full stops. If I remained on the saddle and leaned to my left, I'd pretty much be a really wide A frame structure.

Against a curb, yes but on on flat gorund.
UCantTouchThis is offline  
Likes For UCantTouchThis:
Old 05-10-21, 05:56 PM
  #4  
shelbyfv 
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 8,397
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2267 Post(s)
Liked 2,213 Times in 1,201 Posts
I agree that it won't hurt anything to lower your seat until you get confident on the bike. Probably as long as your rides are under a hour or so you won't hurt anything. At some point you'll want to move it back to where the shop set it.
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 05-10-21, 06:20 PM
  #5  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 3,388

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1818 Post(s)
Liked 1,169 Times in 554 Posts
Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
WOW, are you riding a very small bike? I can't do that, no way on a 58 being 6'1. I have to slide off the seat at full stops. If I remained on the saddle and leaned to my left, I'd pretty much be a really wide A frame structure.

Against a curb, yes but on on flat gorund.
Now that I think about it, I do slide off the seat to keep a foot on the ground. I'm going to delete my above post - it's doing more harm than good.
tyrion is offline  
Likes For tyrion:
Old 05-11-21, 09:32 AM
  #6  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 24,013

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 122 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4120 Post(s)
Liked 1,609 Times in 983 Posts
Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
WOW, are you riding a very small bike? I can't do that, no way on a 58 being 6'1. I have to slide off the seat at full stops. If I remained on the saddle and leaned to my left, I'd pretty much be a really wide A frame structure.

Against a curb, yes but on on flat gorund.
I fully agree. I can’t even drag my toes on the ground when I stop, much less put my toes on the ground.

As for riding with the saddle too low, it isn’t easier on your knees, it’s harder on them as well as harder on your quads. When setting up a new bike, I can instantly tell if my saddle is too low because my knees ache.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 05-11-21, 10:09 PM
  #7  
guachi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 405
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 189 Post(s)
Liked 261 Times in 139 Posts
My wife has the same bike as you and it's currently slaved to our smart trainer. And, yes, toes barely touching the ground is about the correct saddle height. The benefit of the lowstep is you can stand off the saddle with both feet flat on the ground.
guachi is offline  
Old 05-12-21, 11:23 AM
  #8  
taylorgeo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 18 Posts
Originally Posted by jca2112 View Post
New to the forums. New rider (6'4", 350lbs) looking to try out cycling. Starting out with little/no experience -- haven't ridden a bike since I was a little kid. Went to a local bike shop and ended up getting a Trek Verve 2 Disc Lowstep. Question:

Does the correct seat height make it so your toes barely touch the ground?

The guy at the bike shop said the seat was set at the right height. Since I haven't ridden a bike in decades, I'm pretty unsure/unsteady on the bike (since I can't stand with my feet flat on the ground) and it makes me feel like an anxious kid – I assume I will have to re-learn being on the bike? Is this feeling normal?

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks.
This is exactly why I went with the Electra Townie 7D. Forward crank, balls of feet on the ground while seated, proper leg extension when pedaling.
taylorgeo is offline  
Old 05-12-21, 01:37 PM
  #9  
jca2112
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
jca2112's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Appreciate all the responses and advice so far.

Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
Lower the seat a little until you get your cycle legs back.
Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I agree that it won't hurt anything to lower your seat until you get confident on the bike.
Unfortunately, the seat is already as low as it can go on the size Trek Verve 2 that I have. So I'm under the impression that the lowest seat setting on this frame also happens to be the correct seat height for me. Plan to go out to a parking lot this weekend to test things out for the first time.
jca2112 is offline  
Likes For jca2112:
Old 05-12-21, 02:10 PM
  #10  
kirby999
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere South
Posts: 1,336

Bikes: Electra Fat Tire ,Specialized Rockhopper, Hardrock.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Liked 2,080 Times in 700 Posts
Originally Posted by jca2112 View Post
Appreciate all the responses and advice so far.





Unfortunately, the seat is already as low as it can go on the size Trek Verve 2 that I have. So I'm under the impression that the lowest seat setting on this frame also happens to be the correct seat height for me. Plan to go out to a parking lot this weekend to test things out for the first time.
Sounds like you may have needed the next size smaller bike .
Shops and size charts try to put people onto bikes based on their height . A better way would be stand over and inseam , IMO .
I’m 5’11” but have a 28” inseam . I have a heck of a time fitting a bike .
With my medium Specialized Rockhopper, I had to cut the seatpost to get it low enough to where I didn’t have to leap off it when I stop .
If you’re cursed with short legs like I am , you may want to check out the crank length . I was about to give up biking until I figured out the 175mm cranks I had on several of my bikes were destroying my knees .
kirby999 is offline  
Old 05-12-21, 04:28 PM
  #11  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,394
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 427 Post(s)
Liked 259 Times in 201 Posts
Originally Posted by jca2112 View Post
Appreciate all the responses and advice so far.

Unfortunately, the seat is already as low as it can go on the size Trek Verve 2 that I have. So I'm under the impression that the lowest seat setting on this frame also happens to be the correct seat height for me. Plan to go out to a parking lot this weekend to test things out for the first time.
Not having cycled in decades, you're fighting two things here it seems: being unsteady due to the balance issue, which as you recall from youth can take a number of rides to nail down; and the sizing question.

Most cyclists don't size it such that sitting on the seat while riding allows the feet to touch the ground. Most bikes with a reasonable fitment for a rider have a taller seat height than that.

But there are some exceptions. The Electra Townie bike comes to mind. With its "feet forward" placement of the bottom bracket, the pedals are noticeably ahead of the saddle compared to a typical bike. Particularly in the low-step variants of the Townie line, a relatively low seating position can still work with proper fit and pedaling, yet still afford easy reach to the ground. (In my case it did, last time I took one for a spin, and I've got pretty short legs for my height.)

If you purchased from a dealer, they ought to be able to help you identify if your bike's size and fitment is the correct one for you.


The parking lot idea is a good one. One with lots of space, no cars, no obstructions to run into or worry about. And likely lots of lines to practice weaving around, following. Until you get your "sea legs" (balance), it's a good idea to spend numerous sessions in that lot until you're not having to think about the balance aspect. Be sure to practice lots of stops and starts, to get comfortable with the sequence of steps that works.

Might turn out the feeling of "instability" on the saddle simply isn't about the seating position or the ride height off the ground so much as just the basic balance question of keeping the bike moving forward and in control.

Once you've nailed the balance aspect, you can then revisit the position on the bike in relation to the ground, and your ability to safely stop and start the bike touching the ground. With most people and most bike fitments, it'll involve feet on the ground while standing in front of the saddle, placing one foot onto the pedal, then riding forward balanced as you move up onto the seat. (As kids we also used to be running alongside the bike, placed one foot on the nearest pedal, then swung the other leg over as we sat down.) It'll take a little experimenting to see which method feels safest and easiest to accomplish. I suspect standing across the top tube forward of the saddle then placing one foot on the pedal as you move forward will turn out to be the method that'll feel most comfortable. At least, for starters.


Some years ago, dealing with old leg/hip muscle injuries, I found that I'd lost my ability to be stable on a bike saddle. Acquired a previously-owned $20 Next LaJolla low-step bike. (Not a quality bike, but it was the right size for my situation.) Big wide padded saddle, feet-forward pedaling arrangement (in relation to the saddle), and very easy to get onto and off of. The low-step frame design really helped with on/off. I deliberately acquired a smaller one than reasonable, until I got my hip stability and balance back. Took only a few days of tooling around for the balance aspect. But, the muscle damage in my hips/legs took awhile to get the stability strength back. After a year, I was going along like it was just any other bike (that long, due to the injuries). Got a "proper" bike at that point, once my injured muscles had gotten stable and strong enough to handle.

You might find the balance question quickly resolved, once you get a few weeks' of riding in. You might find the ease of getting on and off the bike to be more problematic, if the sizing is in question. If you're already bottomed-out with the saddle it might well be a bit large for you, but that's a general fitment thing the dealer (or any dealer, really) ought to be able to assist with.

Last edited by Clyde1820; 05-12-21 at 05:38 PM. Reason: clarity, spelling
Clyde1820 is offline  
Likes For Clyde1820:
Old 05-18-21, 08:12 AM
  #12  
zjrog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,694

Bikes: 1986 KHS Fiero, 1989 Trek 950, 1990 Trek 7000, 1991 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, 1992 Trek 1400, 1997 Cannondale CAD2 R300, 1998 Cannondale CAD2 R200, 2002 Marin San Rafael, 2006 Cannondale CAAD8 R1000, 2010 Performance Access XCL9R

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 272 Post(s)
Liked 251 Times in 172 Posts
Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
WOW, are you riding a very small bike? I can't do that, no way on a 58 being 6'1. I have to slide off the seat at full stops. If I remained on the saddle and leaned to my left, I'd pretty much be a really wide A frame structure.

Against a curb, yes but on on flat gorund.
Same 6'1", I ride 58 and 60cm roadbikes. I hate to think how my knees would feel if I could touch to ground from my seat.
zjrog is offline  
Old 05-18-21, 08:41 AM
  #13  
zjrog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,694

Bikes: 1986 KHS Fiero, 1989 Trek 950, 1990 Trek 7000, 1991 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, 1992 Trek 1400, 1997 Cannondale CAD2 R300, 1998 Cannondale CAD2 R200, 2002 Marin San Rafael, 2006 Cannondale CAAD8 R1000, 2010 Performance Access XCL9R

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 272 Post(s)
Liked 251 Times in 172 Posts
Originally Posted by jca2112 View Post
New to the forums. New rider (6'4", 350lbs) looking to try out cycling. Starting out with little/no experience -- haven't ridden a bike since I was a little kid. Went to a local bike shop and ended up getting a Trek Verve 2 Disc Lowstep. Question:

Does the correct seat height make it so your toes barely touch the ground?

The guy at the bike shop said the seat was set at the right height. Since I haven't ridden a bike in decades, I'm pretty unsure/unsteady on the bike (since I can't stand with my feet flat on the ground) and it makes me feel like an anxious kid – I assume I will have to re-learn being on the bike? Is this feeling normal?

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks.

Pic provided to show where I've been and where I am now. So the left was me 32 years ago, about 225. Middle was 6 years ago about 350. And the right was 2 years ago, about 245. Same bike though, just a lot of changes over the years. Sort of like me... Oh, I'm 6'1"...

I suspect your bike is too small for you if you can touch the ground from the seat. But. I was pretty unsteady on my bikes at my heaviest weight of 378. Even on my indoor trainer I felt I could fall over at any point. And that is a very uncomfortable feeling.


After breaking my back in a cycling crash 10 years ago, I wasn't on a bike for 3 years. This 29er mtb was a gift at a time I needed a boost. But, I didn't feel as top heavy. It certainly boosted my confidence, so I rode from time to time.

3 years ago I got a lot of bad health news, and was up to 378. I chose weight loss surgery as an expedient tool to keep me off insulin, and other meds. Which, worked and put me in a position to be able to stay out of diabetic range, but also got me of my BP and heart meds. And reduced my pressure in my CPAP as well.

For you, I would just ride to get more steady and confident, raise your seat from that point. Your knees will thank you later.
zjrog is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.