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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 girl checking in!

Old 06-03-13, 02:36 PM
  #26  
JackoDandy
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
This is all a lot to think about!

Thanks to everyone for their insight and encouragement. It was exactly what I needed.

When my mother asked what I was so furiously typing about (I am a fast typist!), I told her that I was researching a bike as a new form of exercise/recreation. She mentioned that my uncle had a few bikes in the shed and apparently some of them actually belonged to us. My mother is going to attempt to bring me the women's mountain bike next weekend when she comes to visit.

I'll take a photo of that bike or at least see if there is some sort of model number somewhere! If it will carry me down to the park and back a few times at least, it will be worth it to start out.
Awesome - you cant beat free!
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Old 06-03-13, 03:33 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
However, my brother's house is six miles away and it is 8 miles to work. It's a very quick drive and if I do well on a bicycle, perhaps it would be a great way to make that trip. Am I underestimating that mileage?
The savings from replacing car trips with bike trips will add up pretty quickly. So buy a cheap bike (realizing that you get what you pay for so you aren't discouraged if it breaks) and see how well you do with using the bike for errands and/or commuting. If you think it's something you can/will do on a regular basis, then it's much easier to justify the expense of upgrading to a better bike. If you're like most of us, within a month you'll be researching carbon fiber road bikes and fancy do-it-all commuter bikes so you can have a bike for every occasion.
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Old 06-03-13, 05:47 PM
  #28  
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Welcome, and congrats on your weight loss! That's an awesome accomplishment.

Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
Is it true that you never forget how to ride a bike?
Whoever said that is a liar! I started out a couple of months ago in the same position you're in - overweight (I'm 250 now, was closer to 260 at the time) and hadn't touched a bike since I was a kid. Getting back on one after decades...I was good as long as I was at a gentle roll with my feet hovering over the ground. But the first time I tried to pedal, I didn't have the momentum and promptly crashed my bike into a carport post. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I'd have had a huge bump on my noggin.

My best advice is this: don't allow yourself to get discouraged. After the aforementioned crash, I wanted to give up. But I made myself go back and try again. Now I'm confident enough to make trips to the grocery store riding down a busy highway through town. The old saw "You don't forget how to ride a bike" may not be true, but "Practice makes perfect" definitely is true.

There's been some great advice already about basic needs, so I'll just put in my 2 cents about bikes. My budget was about the same as yours. Plus, I didn't want to sink a lot of money into a bike if it turned out I wasn't going to like it. So I bought a $129.99 Schwinn beach cruiser from Target. To be quite honest - I love it. It's held both my weight AND 10+ lbs of groceries several times a week, it's never popped a spoke or given me any other mechanical trouble, and it's got a very pretty vintage look that I love. It's perfect for my needs right now. When my needs change, I'll think about getting something else. YOU'RE the one who has to ride your bike and look at the darn thing, so get the one you like.

Welcome to the awesome world of biking. I hope it works out for you the way it worked out for me!
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Old 06-03-13, 06:31 PM
  #29  
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OK my turn(cracking his knuckles and stepping up to the keyboard). I see you're from Millersburg. On the wrong side of the river from Liverpool. I'm from Shamokin by the way. I don't know bike shops down you're way. I will give you 2 contacts. The Dutch Wheelman in Bloomsburg,784-6524 and Marty's bike shop in Muncy 546-3142. Both sell used bikes. The Wheelman is a small shop, but sells used at a great price. Marty's is a very large shop and sells used as well. Give both of them a call and see what they have in stock. You never know what you'll find. The guys at the Wheelman ARE Dutch, so you will need to be a little patient. Hanz and Ronnie are fantastic guys. The guys at Marty's are also nice people.

As to what to buy I'd go used if you can. A good used bike is better than a Wally World bike. You need to know you're inseam. From crotch to floor in stocking feet. This is to get the proper frame size. My inseam is 30". I ride a 52CM road bike and a 17" mountain bike. One thing about Wally World bikes. They come in one size fits all. No choice in frame sizes. A Bike Shop bike can be had in up to 6 or more sizes in one model! One size does not fit all. I would get a mountain bike or a hybrid if I were you. The MTB can be made streetable if you decide to ride only on pavement. Hybrids can do well on roads and light trails. Crushed limestone trails and so on. But offroading is not doable really on one. MTB's are tough and easy to ride. Have great low gears to climb hills. Millersburg has some hills around you. Not as bad as up here. But good enough to want some good low gears. A MTB may be you're best bet.

Look on line for bike shops down you're way. See if they sell used. Look at Craig's list. Harrisburg is fairly active. I look on Craig's List a lot. Listen to Pam and Goldfinch. Both wonderful ladies, and know what they are talking about. Thier advice is spot on. Try the shops I mentioned. A bit of a run. But worth it for a good used machine. Be truthful with the people you talk to. Tell them you are just getting back in. And not sure what to get. The people at these shops will try to take care of you.

I wish you well in you're search and continuing weight loss.

Mark Shuman
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Old 06-03-13, 06:54 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
This is all a lot to think about!

Thanks to everyone for their insight and encouragement. It was exactly what I needed.

When my mother asked what I was so furiously typing about (I am a fast typist!), I told her that I was researching a bike as a new form of exercise/recreation. She mentioned that my uncle had a few bikes in the shed and apparently some of them actually belonged to us. My mother is going to attempt to bring me the women's mountain bike next weekend when she comes to visit.

I'll take a photo of that bike or at least see if there is some sort of model number somewhere! If it will carry me down to the park and back a few times at least, it will be worth it to start out.
A free bike is a great bike to start on. Take/post lots of pictures. Someone here should be able to look them over and tell you if there is anything wrong from a safety standard. For me, I would look for rot in tires, and make sure the breaks work before you attempt to ride, beyond that....I am not a bike mechanic.
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Old 06-03-13, 07:23 PM
  #31  
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The bike in storage would be a good way to start.

If you do buy new I would seriously consider skipping anything with a front or seatpost suspension. The ones on entry level bikes usually aren't designed to handle somebody of 200+ lbs. and will keep bottoming out.
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Old 06-04-13, 05:16 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
Thank you.

I can definitely appreciate the warning to big-box stores. I feel this way about most products, except for when I think that something could make a good "tester" product to see if I want to go out and get the real deal.

The above bike is on clearance for $150, which is a good price for me. I have not been able to find anything on craigslist, etc.

I suppose the bottom line is if there is anything out there, even if it isn't the above bike, that is "good enough" to start me out for a month or two while I learn how to bike around town.
Welcome to the forum and a huge congratulations on the weight loss!

By now, I'm sure you've been warned about box store bicycles (Walmart, Target, etc.) so the subject probably doesn't need to be discussed, but keep in mind you will want to get the bike checked over by a bike shop before taking long journeys. After all, keep in mind the same guy who built a grill built your bicycle. The assembly is usually less than stellar and you'd be lucky if the brakes worked, just for starters.

Most local bike shops won't guarantee their work on box store bicycles because the quality is so poor, and quite honestly, you could get a far superior bicycle for about $100 more from a local bike shop, which will usually be put together by someone with the necessary skills, plus they will over some sort of free service for the first year or two, and some may give you free lifetime adjustments.

You've hit the right time to be looking for a bicycle, as new models are on their way out. Shops are going to be making room for 2014 models within the next month or two and will be cracking pretty good deals so they can clear inventory of the 2013 models.

Also keep in mind MSRP and retail prices differ. A bike may MSRP for $400 but a shop may be selling it for $325 or $350. The prices on bicycles are usually pretty negotiable. You'll honestly find yourself with a far better purchasing/ownership experience by buying from a knowledgeable bike shop than a box store for more reasons than just the price.

You're going to have a lot of fun biking. It's great, and you will most certainly feel like that "little girl on the bike" again. The first time I got on a bike in over 20 years felt wonderful, I instantly felt like a kid again, and yes, it IS true you never forget how to ride a bike. Don't get me wrong, you don't just wanna get back on and go jump curbs right away; give yourself 20 minutes before attempting it.
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Old 06-04-13, 03:48 PM
  #33  
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Anything that'll get your butt in the saddle is a good thing
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Old 06-04-13, 07:12 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by ClydesMoose View Post
Anything that'll get your butt in the saddle is a good thing
^ This.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:47 AM
  #35  
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Thanks for your continued support, guys. It really means a lot.

My mother got the bike to me a bit earlier than expected and let's just say that a decade in the shed did a bit of a number on it. I was estimated the parts that needed replaced and the amount of time/frustration it would cost for a newbie to make the repairs (or pay a pro), and getting the cheapo Walmart bike started to sound like a better option.

The clearance bike out front was gone, so I took a swing past the bikes at the back of the store just to browse and not really expecting to find much of anything. To my surprise, there was a girl there with her father, looking over the girls' bike selections. I overheard him saying something along the lines of "Well, you're the birthday girl!" I smiled and had to butt in, informing the girl that today was my birthday as well and that I was considering buying a bike myself.

My husband and rest of my family were gone for the evening and being slightly depressed, I decided that the shiny purple bike at the top of the racks was looking pretty good. The <$100 price tag made me raise a brow, but the manual made me confident that it would be sufficient for at least a few weeks and hopefully get me from my home to my brother's house to see if biking was right for me. (Of course, I'll have someone on call for an emergency.) It took a bit of wrangling to get the bike down, but I managed to get it on the floor and wheel it to the check-out alongside my grocery cart. Not an easy task.

I got home and inspected the bike, making sure that everything was put together nicely as per the manual. Made a few adjustments, oiled a few things up, and strapped my helmet on. I felt like a little girl again and walked the bike down to the park. I hopped on cautiously and struggled with the first few rotations of the pedals until I realized that I didn't even have the kickstand up. Flicked that confounded thing up, messed with a gear, and then put my feet on the pedals again.

You should have seen the folks at the park watching me. They must have realized that this was my first time in a long time riding a bicycle. My arms were shaking like leaves and I had a hard time turning and braking with confidence. It only took about 20 minutes to gain more trust in myself and the bike, and before I knew it, I had already rode two miles.

I took a picture with my phone during my second trip through the park to show everyone my surprise birthday present to myself. I'll share it with you all.




I know how you all must feel about this cheap thing, but I feel like it was the right decision for me at the time. Give me a few weeks on this girl and I'm sure I'll be headed into the bike shop in the city to get myself outfitted more properly. For now... it's time to get some pretty ribbon and make myself some streamers for this bad girl!

Link for the curious, regarding specs and such: https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Avalon-...-Bike/21635128
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Old 06-06-13, 05:58 AM
  #36  
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Congratulations and Happy Birthday. Now just ride, ride, ride!

Last edited by msujmccorm; 06-06-13 at 05:58 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-06-13, 08:17 AM
  #37  
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Even though you didn't take my advice, I still wish you the best. And I do think if you keep riding for more than a few months, you will be looking for something better. Feel free to update this thread in the coming weeks regarding your progress, and on how you and your Walmart bike are holding up to regular riding.
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Old 06-06-13, 08:28 AM
  #38  
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Congrats and Happy B-Day!
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Old 06-06-13, 09:07 AM
  #39  
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Hi cagebird.

While I agree that a cheaper bike may not be as good as a quality second hand bike in the long run, I think anything that gets you out on a bike can only be a good thing.

I have the French equivalent of a Walmart bike, bought from a leclerc store in France and though I was resistent to buying them (my wife wanted us to be able to cycle while at our place there), I have to say they have been good value.

We have had them for 3 or 4 years now, and while initially they were a bit hard work, I've retrued the wheels, regreased and adjusted bearings, recently changed to narrower tyres and they work pretty well. Certainly better than driving.

The only issue with them was the wheels weren't particularly strong, and went out of true quickly, but I worked on them, upped the tensions and they have been fine.

If you decide you like biking (who wouldn't?) in the interim it might be worth getting someone to go over the bike and check and adjust/grease etc. Then when you wear that bike out, you will be able to justify (as a committed cyclist) buying a better one, and know what you are looking for.
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Old 06-06-13, 09:18 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by chewa View Post
Hi cagebird.

While I agree that a cheaper bike may not be as good as a quality second hand bike in the long run, I think anything that gets you out on a bike can only be a good thing.
+1

Congrats on the new ride and happy birthday!

Treat your new ride as if you were a kid again. Dont worry too much about the wheels not being 'true', dont worry too much about creaks or noises, dont worry too much about geometry, dont worry too much about 'fit', just go out on your new bike in the sunshine and ride but stay safe! You bought a helmet right?

Sounds like you've already got part of your $100 'moneys worth' with a cool maiden voyage.
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Old 06-06-13, 09:20 AM
  #41  
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Looks like a fun ride, enjoy it!
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Old 06-06-13, 10:49 AM
  #42  
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Please, as time goes along post about your rides and about the bike. Your impressions. What is working well. What isn't. What is comfortable, what isn't.
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Old 06-06-13, 12:50 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
Thanks for your continued support, guys. It really means a lot.

My mother got the bike to me a bit earlier than expected and let's just say that a decade in the shed did a bit of a number on it. I was estimated the parts that needed replaced and the amount of time/frustration it would cost for a newbie to make the repairs (or pay a pro), and getting the cheapo Walmart bike started to sound like a better option.

The clearance bike out front was gone, so I took a swing past the bikes at the back of the store just to browse and not really expecting to find much of anything. To my surprise, there was a girl there with her father, looking over the girls' bike selections. I overheard him saying something along the lines of "Well, you're the birthday girl!" I smiled and had to butt in, informing the girl that today was my birthday as well and that I was considering buying a bike myself.

My husband and rest of my family were gone for the evening and being slightly depressed, I decided that the shiny purple bike at the top of the racks was looking pretty good. The <$100 price tag made me raise a brow, but the manual made me confident that it would be sufficient for at least a few weeks and hopefully get me from my home to my brother's house to see if biking was right for me. (Of course, I'll have someone on call for an emergency.) It took a bit of wrangling to get the bike down, but I managed to get it on the floor and wheel it to the check-out alongside my grocery cart. Not an easy task.

I got home and inspected the bike, making sure that everything was put together nicely as per the manual. Made a few adjustments, oiled a few things up, and strapped my helmet on. I felt like a little girl again and walked the bike down to the park. I hopped on cautiously and struggled with the first few rotations of the pedals until I realized that I didn't even have the kickstand up. Flicked that confounded thing up, messed with a gear, and then put my feet on the pedals again.

You should have seen the folks at the park watching me. They must have realized that this was my first time in a long time riding a bicycle. My arms were shaking like leaves and I had a hard time turning and braking with confidence. It only took about 20 minutes to gain more trust in myself and the bike, and before I knew it, I had already rode two miles.

I took a picture with my phone during my second trip through the park to show everyone my surprise birthday present to myself. I'll share it with you all.




I know how you all must feel about this cheap thing, but I feel like it was the right decision for me at the time. Give me a few weeks on this girl and I'm sure I'll be headed into the bike shop in the city to get myself outfitted more properly. For now... it's time to get some pretty ribbon and make myself some streamers for this bad girl!

Link for the curious, regarding specs and such: https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Avalon-...-Bike/21635128
Happy Bday, and regarding that "cheap thing," you never know, it may treat you very well and for a while to come!

You should be excited about your bike, "cheap" or not! You haven't been on a bike in years and you're not sure whether you're going to enjoy cycling, there's no sense in spending a lot of money only to find out cycling isn't something you're interested in.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:40 PM
  #44  
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You go with yo bad self! Ride it like you stole it New bike is new bike, no matter the source.

In six months or a year, tell us about smoking the field in a cat 5 on your new C'Dale Evo hehe
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Old 06-06-13, 03:41 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post


Sweet ride.

Ride it like you stole it because for less than $100, you did.
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Old 06-06-13, 05:58 PM
  #46  
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Happy Birthday, and congrats on the sweet new ride! I'm envious that you were able to ride 2 miles your first time out. It took me a few weeks to work up to 2 miles. Looking forward to hearing about your progress!
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Old 06-06-13, 06:49 PM
  #47  
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New girl checking in!

Happy birthday and enjoy
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Old 06-06-13, 06:50 PM
  #48  
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Happy birthday! And I know you've already gotten your bike, but for future reference/for anyone else reading who might be in a similar situation, if you have a local freecycle.org group, you might be able to find a "tester" bike there for free, as the name would indicate. I have a few groups in my area and there are usually a few bikes being offered to whomever wants them because they're just collecting dust. I would doubt that there'd be anything high quality, but you never know, and if it's free you don't really lose out on anything but the time and possibly gas it takes to pick it up.

Last edited by Sammlyn; 06-06-13 at 06:50 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 06-07-13, 12:16 PM
  #49  
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Thanks, everyone! I did get a helmet. I bought one of the shell-type things (rather than the racy ones that look slicked back with all of the venting slots) so that I can put stickers on and such!

I bought a wicker basket at a yard sale to zip tie to the front to carry my water bottle, camera, wallet/keys, etc. Tonight's project is cutting up all of this ribbon I bought to make streamers for the handlebars. I'm a grown woman, but you're never too old for streamers.

As far as updates on the ride goes, there are a few things I'm not sure about. When I shift gears, it seems like it shifts a little hard. There is a bit of a clank when those bits go where they need to go. I'm not sure if that's a grease situation, or just the cheap parts.

I like the shocks! I try not to hit any bumps, but when I do, I get a nice little bounce rather than having the saddle jammed up you-know-where with solid force.

The brakes seem a little squeaky. Is this a grease thing? WD-40?
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Old 06-07-13, 12:22 PM
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JackoDandy
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Originally Posted by cagedbird View Post
Thanks, everyone! I did get a helmet. I bought one of the shell-type things (rather than the racy ones that look slicked back with all of the venting slots) so that I can put stickers on and such!

I bought a wicker basket at a yard sale to zip tie to the front to carry my water bottle, camera, wallet/keys, etc. Tonight's project is cutting up all of this ribbon I bought to make streamers for the handlebars. I'm a grown woman, but you're never too old for streamers.

As far as updates on the ride goes, there are a few things I'm not sure about. When I shift gears, it seems like it shifts a little hard. There is a bit of a clank when those bits go where they need to go. I'm not sure if that's a grease situation, or just the cheap parts.

I like the shocks! I try not to hit any bumps, but when I do, I get a nice little bounce rather than having the saddle jammed up you-know-where with solid force.

The brakes seem a little squeaky. Is this a grease thing? WD-40?
Streamers are cool at any age AND July 4th neighborhood parades are coming up
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