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Bama Adam 08-22-09 10:47 AM

New Uberclyde Introduction and lots of bike buying questions
*Please forgive the length of this post, as brevity isn't one of my strong suits.

Hi, I'm Adam, and I'm an uberclyde. I'm 25 year old living in Tuscaloosa, AL and I am in horrible shape. I don't currently have a scale, though I would estimate my weight to be near the 350-360 pound range. I have decided that it is time to stop being miserable with my size and do something about it. After having become a greater fan and followed cycling more this year than in years past I know what I want to do.

I have not ridden a bike since I was 14 or 15 years old, and after following races all summer and lurking these forums for the past week or two, I cannot wait to get out on the road. I'm much more interested in road cycling than mountain biking, and due to my real job being part time (20-25 hours a week) and my other "job" of playing poker best being done after the sun goes down, I should have plenty of time to ride. This luxury does not come without costs though, namely, I am poor.

After having looked over some of threads listed in the index thread and doing some digging to find early posts by some of you who started out as uberclydes, I have more than a few questions about bike selection.

At 360ish pounds will any of the road or hybrid bikes work for me, or am I limited to a mountain bike with road slicks?

What I gathered from the threads I read was that putting road slicks on steel framed mountain bikes with no suspension, such as a Specialized Hardrock or a Trek 800 series, seemed to be a popular choice for uberclydes. In addition to being concerned about the bike being able to handle my weight, I am also concerned that my body may not be in a good enough form to cooperate with a less upright riding position of a road bike. I carry most of my weight around my midsection, and I'm not entirely sure my gut would leave enough room for my legs.

I want to start riding ASAP, but because of my current financial situation, the less expensive the bike I get the sooner I can get it. Is it worth it to go for a cheap used mountain bike to get me on the road sooner, or should I just save that money for something more appropriate for the type of riding I want to do?

I think I already know the answer to this. I expect to hear "get something, get anything, ASAP!", and really, that's how I feel. There are a few Trek 800 series for sale on my local craigslist that appear to be in very good shape, and each is listed at $150. There is also an older Trek road bike for sale for $225, though it has a 19" frame and at 5'10" I'm not sure that it's the right size. Another option is out in the garage. My roommate has a specialized rockhopper that has two flats and some rust, and I'm fairly certain that it hasn't moved in at least two years. He'd probably sell it to me for very little, though I'm not sure it would be worth even that.

I've got more questions, but I'm pretty sure this post is already way past the point of anyone wanting to read all of it, so I guess I'll save those for a another post or thread. I'm so glad I've found this community, as the people here and the stories they have are absolutely inspiring me to get up off my butt and do something!

John Bailey 08-22-09 11:14 AM

First of all, welcome to the forum Bama.

If you've been reading this forum, you've probably been inspired by some of the folks here. I know I was. You'll get the best advice here. Those of us in the Clyde category sometimes get less than good advice from the wee-folk. They often are well meaning, but they haven't lived it.

3 yrs. ago I bought an old Trek 820 mountain bike. It was a great bike and I enjoyed it. I wasn't going to beat any roadies, but that's not why I got it. I bought it for $50, took it to a shop that tuned it up for another $50 and bought a more "fitting" seat for it for another $40. I had $140 in the bike and it was great. I recently gave it to my 6' 1", 160 lb. son and it's still going strong. I bought a Trek FX 7.3.

My suggestion is to not spend much money right now. The older mountain bikes will do you well as you're starting to get in shape. I would go out and ride as long as possible at an easy pace until you get in better shape.

Oh, and another thing, most of your battle is going to be diet. It's fairly established that dieting will help more than exercise. You need both, but the diet is what got you where you are, and it's diet that will make the most difference. I've found, since I've been on a fitness plan the last month, that the more I ride the less hungry I am. I'm a vegetarian, and I think that helps.

There are so many on this forum that have been where you are and been successful in loosing weight. Stick around and learn as much as you can.

Good luck, and let us know how you're doing. You'll get Clyde-sized support here.


turtlewoman 08-22-09 11:26 AM

Welcome to the forum, Bama Adam. Not matter what kind of bike you ultimately get, don't forget the most important part------post the pix!!!

txvintage 08-22-09 01:11 PM

Welcome to the herd!

Seeing that you are in a large college town my first recommendation would have been Craigslist, but it seems you have already found that one. With classes starting up there should be lot's of bikes for sale. The same will be true for the end of each semester.

If your roommate's Rockhopper will fit and the price is right, that is your best solution. Clean up on a bike with some rust is not that hard, and it's cheap. Keep in mind if it's been sitting you may need some overdue preventative maintenance and probably some street tires unless you are going to hit the trails.

EDIT: Just realized the possible down side to your roomies bike being a RockHopper. Does it have a suspension front fork? If it does, does it have a lock out on it?

meanwhile 08-22-09 01:28 PM

Good point about the suspension fork, Tx, but at this point the (not really huge) loss of pedaling energy shouldn't really matter. The point is to burn calories. Plus a used rigid fork off ebay would be really cheap.

An MTB probably would be best. Partly for the strength of the frame, but more for the fat, bouncy, weight-bearing tyres. Your build will force you to pedal relatively upright, which means jolts will go straight up your spine, whacking the disc together. This is not good, so you need jolt protection - which means those fat, bouncy tyres. Fir Schwalbe Big Apples if you can. (On bikes that stretch you out flat the spine is curved and just sways with jolts - so those bikes are fine with narrow tyres, if you have the flexibility and strength-to-mass ratio to support a good part of your upper body weight on the bars.)

A bike that's been stored in a garage for a couple of years should need much more than oiling. And the brakes checking. Never forget the brakes.

bamacrazy 08-22-09 02:05 PM

Greetings from a fellow Alabamian Adam! Great to have you. Do you currently have a bike? If so, that is where you should start. Take it to a local shop, have it checked out and start riding. As John said, the biggest battle will be getting your diet under control. Stay away from the TV. Those commericals are murder! Get a check up and ask you doctor for weight loss advice. Choose your diet and STICK TO IT! We have all tried and failed to achieve our ideal weight. Understand that you are going to have setbacks. The important thing is to keep at it. Join Miss Bumble's Biggest Loser Thread. We weigh in every Monday. A great time BTW as it helps us avoid weekend bingeing. Set weekly goals and share your results with us. See if you can find a local support group. Once you find that you are going to stick with biking, then start thinking about getting a new bike. Trust me, if you fall in love with cycling you will always be drawn to shiny expensive new bikes. Set a goal that you will buy that bike when you reach a particular milestone. My current rides are a 2004 Specialized Hardrock Pro and a 1988 Bianchi Axis Cross Bike. My origional Panaracer Fire DH 2.3 and Marzucci shocks are stored in my work room. I recently wore our my 1.6 slicks and replaced them with a set of 1.75 Panaracer Pasela Tour Guards. I would love to have a Specialized Roubaix, but that will have to wait until I lose down below 250.

The folks on the Clyde and Athena board are extremely helpful and supportive. Visit often. Read, post , discuss, and learn. Once you are cleared by your doctor, start out easy on the bike. You may only need to ride 1 mile per day for the first week. Try adding 1/10th of a mile per day for the next 3 weeks. Drink lots of water, drop fried food, beer, and empty carbs. Don't allow yourself to get too hungry. That's when you really fall off the wagon. Keep low cal healthy snacks around (raw carrots, raw almonds, sugar free Jello and pudding). Force yourself to eat slowly. Make your last meal your smallest and don't skip breakfast.

Good luck and remember; we are here for you. Stick around and enjoy the ride!

gapwedge 08-22-09 02:18 PM

Welcome Bama Adam. First, i hope playing poker is not what is keeping you poor :) I may not have started as heavy as you, but I promise I was just as out of shape as you. My cardio was non-existant. I would suggest you also begin a walking program even on the days you ride. The mental part of it is lacing up some shoes and moving. On days I was not riding I was walking. Now 9 months later I am 100% riding. I had to stop on hills and walk my bike up the hills because my cardio was so bad. I wore a heart rate monitor and my max heart rate would not take the strain of the hill climb. At 56 I did not want to have a coronary.
Take it a step at a time or a pedal revolution at a time, but fight the mental demons when they say it is much easier to stay inside and veg out. You will have to make yourself get your butt up off the couch and out the door before it becomes habit. You can do it. It will do you no good to get a bike then end up not riding it. I have had several treadmills that had become clothes hangers if you know what I mean. START MOVING!! Keep us posted.

RatedZeroHero 08-22-09 02:23 PM

if the friends Rockhopper fits get it!!! great bikes...

I'm gonna say get it get it tuned up... ride the crap out of it... as you go and lose some weight and get to feeling better...
reward with a new bike... but a Rockhopper is a better bike than a Hardrock or a Trek 800 anyday...

ride it ride it and then ride it some more....

cbrown9064 08-22-09 03:23 PM

Hey Adam!

I am new here too. As a Specialized Fan, I would check out the Rockhopper your roommate has. If it has a hard front so much the better. Take it to your local bike shop (LBS) and have them tune it up. I may need some shifter adjustments or a new shift cable. Much easier to pay those guys to do it right. Depending on what your roommate wants for $, you could get going for less than $100.

Also, while at the LBS, get a helmet! Basic ones start around $40.

Good luck! Start riding like others said.

Bama Adam 08-22-09 05:08 PM

Here's a pic of the rockhopper, and as you can see, it has a rigid fork.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that one of the pedals is broken, the middle chain ring is busted up some, and the brakes definitely need to be adjusted (but I guess that is to be expected). I checked out the components and have determined that this is a 1993 Rockhopper (bikepedia link). I don't know a thing about what components are good or bad, but I did see a post somewhere where someone was saying that the ones on this bike weren't too great. That's assuming they are still all working properly, of course. I'm a bit wary of investing too much into fixing an old bike like this if I could get something much newer and shinier for a similar price.

gitarzan 08-22-09 05:15 PM

Chain = $10 to $15

Pedals = $10 and on up plain pedals.

Tires and Tubes = $40 and on up

Repair instructions = All over the internet.

New Bike = $400 and on up for one that is OK. Compare to a Trek 7.1 fx On sale for about $450 They are on sale NOW.

Bama Adam 08-22-09 05:25 PM

Thanks for all the advice on bike selection, you all certainly seem to be in line with what I gathered from the index thread.

As far as the diet being both the key to weightloss and the hardest part of it, I certainly have no doubts. Fortunately I have a 5 day start on the diet already, I know it's not much, but it's a start.

I don't currently have a bike bamacrazy, but I will be getting something ASAP now. As gapwedge suggested, I have already started walking, and I guess he's right that I'd better keep that up after I get the bike. I know my dog would certainly like me to do so.

Also, gapwedge, I appreciate the concern, but the poker should actually be called the "real job" as I both spend more time on it and make more money doing it. It's too bad it doesn't come with any benefits though...

Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate all of the advice.

moose67 08-22-09 06:05 PM

As a super uberclyde I too welcome you to the neighborhood. I bought a Specialized Carmel 3 26 April 1st. My first ride was just over a mile. The first few weeks I was happy to hit 2 miles. Since then I've rode when I can, which is every chance I get. One thing to watch out for is spokes. I popped about five before I had my wheel rebuilt. With our size that is one of the most tender areas on our bikes. Get to know the guys at the bike shop. The guys I use have been great. My good fortune was when I popped the fourth and fifth spoke they wanted to keep me riding while they figured out how to address this. They let me borrow a wheel they had and sent me on my way. Not all places are going to be like that but it's nice when you find one. You will see a drop in appetite when riding but definitely watch the eating and smaller portions are one of the biggest keys next to staying away from fat and sugar. There's a lot of places and stuff you can find to log your miles so keep track of what your riding and it helps you set goals. My longest ride to date was a couple of weeks ago when I rode 15. I'm about a hundred pounds heavier than you so I have farther to go. We all have and are fighting the same fight. Keep'em spinning and have fun.

pointatopointb 08-22-09 06:51 PM

I'm in the same boat my friend. I spent about $150 on a dept. store mtb, helmet and a couple tools. I rode like 3 miles for the first few rides (over a week), then just 'went for it' and did like 15. I felt great for like 3 days afterwards. If I can pass on some advice: stretch before and after, or you'll pay for it the next day. Take as much water as you can, you'll need it. Travel light, but be prepared: flats, slipped chains, etc etc ruin a ride quick.

Diet is the biggest part: drink lots and lots and lots of water, cut the pop and alcohol, those are the calorie killers. healthy snacks between meals are key for me: grapes, baby carrots, fruit and nuts are slowly taking the place of the junk food I adored for so long.

keep at it, set your goals REASONABLY. There was a guy in Canada named Terry Fox, he ran across the country to raise money for cancer. People asked him how he did it, his answer was 'one telephone pole at a time'. it was meant to signify that small steps are the key. by the way, he did it with one leg, ran like 3000 miles before he had to stop. What we're up against is really nothing.

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