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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 guy, new bike, new experience...

Old 10-27-13, 09:37 AM
  #1  
RFord04
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New guy, new bike, new experience...

Hey everyone, I'm new to the forum, though I have been lurking for about a month. A little over 2 months ago, I began riding a bike again for the first time since I turned 16 and got my drivers license (I'm 27 now), and I got started on my dads old walmart Schwinn Jaguar cruiser. I started losing a bit of weight before I started riding, as I was down from about 410 lb to about 390 lb. I'm about 6' tall, btw, so I'm definitely one of the heavier guys. My current weight is right around 350. So far, until today anyways, I've done nothing but paved bike trails and neighborhood/road riding... so there's my brief introduction.

I probably put between 150 and 200 miles on that Schwinn up until yesterday, when I got my new mountain bike. I spent a lot of time looking on the forums here, finding out what works and what doesn't for us larger fellas, and after a couple of different cheap entry level bikes that I've been looking at on craigslist fell through, I ended up getting a couple hundred dollars for my birthday a few days ago, and I just so happened to come across a great deal on craigslist. I picked up a 2009 Specialized Stumpjumper (Hardtail) for $535, and from what I've seen on craigslist over the last few weeks, no other bike has come close in terms of bang for the buck. It feels like I stepped up from a Buick to a Land Rover. Much less comfortable, but soooooo much more capable.

I took it out to my preferred LBS this morning to get a new set of platform pedals for it, as it came with some Shimano Clipless pedals, and I'm not even going to think about those for a while as well as picked up some presta valve adapters for my air-pump, and got my Fox fork aired up to 125 psi while I was there (though I plan to keep the fork locked out until I lose a lot more weight). Then I took it out for a short ride at the park near my house that has a bike trail that is paved, but also has some off-road off-shoots that go through the woods. It was pretty cold here in Michigan today (about 45 degrees with a cooooold breeze), but boy were some of the views amazing this time of year. Going off road without fear of annihilating my bike was pretty awesome. The ride was about 5 miles, which is not my longest ride (25 miles is my longest yet) but it was a lot more challenging than a fully paved version of that 5 miles, and I ended my ride by climbing a massive and somewhat steep hill at the front of the park, and then after resting for about 2 minutes, I rode it back down, rear break engaged the whole way down Not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous to go down it, but the bike handled it like a champ. I never would have dreamed of trying to go up or down that hill with the old Schwinn, but climbing that hill was just so easy with the Stumpjumper, and I felt like Rocky Balboa when I got to the top. "Yo Adrian, I did it!"

Anyways, I found out that switching to this new bike is kind of feeling like it felt when I first got on the Schwinn, in terms of general discomfort. I've been cruising around on a plush seat in the upright position for a couple months, but now I'm leaned forward quite a bit more, and the saddle is a lot smaller. My first inclination is to look in to a different saddle, but the guy at the shop said the one that's on it is actually going to be a really comfortable one once I get used to it, and my fellow Clyde friend who rides with me and has been riding for a couple years agreed that it is a nice seat, so I'm going to try to suck it up for a bit and see if my rear end gets callused, so to speak. I'm strongly considering getting a different set of handlebars or some kind of extensions to bring the bars a little closer to me so I can be a little more upright for now, as I want to raise my seat a bit more to get a little more leg extension, but my gut tends to get in the way a bit as I bend forward more. I'm hoping I might be able to just raise the handlebars a bit first without buying anything for it, but I haven't tried yet.

So that's my story for my first day on the new bike. I'm really hoping to put in a few more good rides before I bring it inside for the winter, though I better make it quick, because Michigan weather tends to change very quickly, and our spring and fall seasons tend to be a bit abbreviated. As it is, we've already had snow fall on three separate days this past week, though none of it has stuck as it has been too warm, if that tells you anything. I'm considering getting an indoor trainer of some sort, but I'm a little worried it might be a bit strenuous on the bike (and the trainer) at my weight. I don't know if I'm quite capable of using rollers yet, but they do look like a fun challenge. We'll see what the winter has in store...

Looking forward to learning more here as I go along.

-Rick
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Old 10-27-13, 03:17 PM
  #2  
hammond9705
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Glad you found the bike. Seems like a good fit.

Do you have any bike shorts? They would help u get used to the new saddle. Wear them with some tights this time of year
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Old 10-30-13, 01:42 AM
  #3  
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Good job, dude, I am impressed that someone of your size and (in)experience actually rode up the hill! Many would have had to walk or give up.

"Good seat", schmood schmeat. Seats are possibly the most subjective component of a bike. Just because it's good quality doesn't mean it's a good fit for you. That said, you kind of have to learn about your anatomy and how to sit. You need to get used to feeling your sitbones (protruberances from your pelvis) resting on the meat of the saddle. Not the nose (pressure between the sitbones on soft tissue! Yikes!), not the 'rivets (too far back, pressure on the front of the sit bones). You also don't want to be sliding forward or back. Once you get used to that feeling of resting stably on your sitbones, you will hopefully start to learn to tell if a seat is really supporting you properly. You might have to try a few before you find one that's right.

Also, yes raise your seat, you need full leg extension. Rule of thumb is you should be able to just graze your heel on the pedal, that way when you pedal properly with the ball of your foot over the center of the pedal, you'll have a good (small) amount of knee flex at bottom of stroke. (And hold on to those clipless pedals, after a while you may want to put them back on. But platforms are fine; certainly for now, maybe forever)

And yes, raise your handlebars too. Get the seat height right, and then work on raising handlebar height until you're comfortable. (unfortunately, higher bars also changes your torso angle and shifts more weight onto the saddle...). 2009 tells me you probably have a threadless stem. For one thing, you want to get it as high on the steerer tube as possible. If there are any spacers above the stem, unscrew, swap around and get that stem up top. If that's not high enough, then I would recommend looking for an adjustable stem, where you can raise or lower the angle, hopefully enough to feel right.

And take a few pics and post them! That will help us give advice. As they say around here: pics or it didn't happen!
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Old 10-30-13, 01:46 AM
  #4  
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Also, I wouldn't necessarily getting bike-specific clothing just yet. But padded shorts can help, and another option is just a padded liner, then just toss shorts or sweats over top. Just make sure it's somewhat stretchy. I hate riding in cargo shorts, the fabric doesn't flex, and it resists every time my leg is at the top of the stroke. I ride in padded liners under basketball shorts. And a "technical" tee. Wicks better than a regular cotton tee. Usually can be got from Target or such for $10 or less. Bike-specific stuff is always much more spendy.
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Old 10-30-13, 02:42 AM
  #5  
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Six years ago, I started riding, at 318lbs. Stick with it, I am now about 220 and unstoppable. Best day was 126, best year just over
12,000.

First eight mile ride took six hours. An overpass I used to push the bike up, I now sprint it, sometimes I can hit 30mph at the top.
Takes a lot out of me, but feels good.

You are adding years to your like, keep it up.. Proud of you and what you are doing.

Give the seat a chance, we are all different, if it doesn't get better in a week or so, check out some seats.
I have four bikes and all have the same seat.

From a $80 Walmart:



to a $40 yard sale Trek



This picture is after 20,000 miles and a total rebuild, only the frame
and fork are original.

To a custom Salsa:



Share some pic's of your bike with us.

And keep pedaling and be safe. God go with you my friend.


Edit, the night the Trek came home.


Last edited by BHOFM; 10-30-13 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 10-30-13, 07:47 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
I have four bikes and all have the same seat.
For reference, what is that one seat to rule them all (for you)?
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Old 10-30-13, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
For reference, what is that one seat to rule them all (for you)?
Zefal Gel. , one is the latest version just a bit different but the butt can't tell.

Old"






New"

https://www.walmart.com/ip/24530213?w...ctedSellerId=3

After I complained about their dropping the old version, they sent me a new one
to try.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
zefal_tru_gel.jpg (11.8 KB, 1 views)
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Old 10-30-13, 09:24 AM
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Nice! The price is right too!
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Old 11-03-13, 11:05 AM
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If you can afford it, try a Brooks. I got mine on ebay for $45 after a lot of searching. It is hard leather, and after some time fits my butt. Im riding to lose weight too, and lost 12 pounds this summer. (down to to 240) look at calorie count forum. changing diet is a huge part of it.
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Old 11-04-13, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for the words of encouragement, guys. Over the last week, I made a few changes to the bike to make it feel a bit better for the time being. I went to my LBS and had a stem riser installed as well as a new seat. I went with a Serfas RX women's saddle. I like the shorter nose on the women's saddle versus the longer nose on the mens. The day I had that stuff, I headed straight from the bike shop to a 20 mile trail that was nearby and rode the whole thing in about two hours. It was pretty cold that day, and it even snowed for a few seconds about half way through it, but it didn't phase me much. I was pretty well dressed, so my own body heat and layers of clothing kept me plenty warm. I had rode the same trail once before on my old cruiser, and I was ready to die by the time I got to the end, but this time, I had the feeling that I could have done another 10 miles, so I'm getting in better shape, and I'm sure the nicer bike helped a lot as well.

I'll be sure to post some pics of the new bike and the old one later today, but for now, I'm going to head out to our local nature preserve and ride some of the off road trails they have. Now that my bike is capable, I'm finding that I really like riding through the woods much more than on paved trails. It's just so much more fun to me because it's a much more challenging ride mentally and physically. When I ride for 30 minutes off road, it feels like I got more accomplished than I did in an hour on pavement. Off I go.
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Old 11-04-13, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by alaskadude View Post
If you can afford it, try a Brooks. I got mine on ebay for $45 after a lot of searching. It is hard leather, and after some time fits my butt. Im riding to lose weight too, and lost 12 pounds this summer. (down to to 240) look at calorie count forum. changing diet is a huge part of it.
I'd love to try one of these Brooks seats, but my LBS unfortunately doesn't carry them, but if I start taking g longer rides and I notice pain after a while, I might give one a shot. For now though, the Serfas RX is serving me well. It was an immediate improvement from the stock seat for me. It feels similar to the cushy cruiser seat I used to use, but it's much smaller, and it has three separate layers of padding. The outer one is a bit soft, but the inner ones are nice and firm, so it doesn't completely compress under my weight. They go for around $40, and they have a lifetime warranty. The shop told me if it ever broke or if I hated it, bring it back and they'd exchange it for a different one.
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Old 11-04-13, 08:59 AM
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(a) $45 for a Brooks is a steal, unless it was in really rough shape and you had to recondition it or something. Seems everybody knows the value of a brooks nowadays, hard to get used ones for much less than new.

(b) RFord, you are strong! 20mi and felt ready for 10 more? Way to go! You are in a lot better position than a lot of clydes that come here for their first encouragement. Enjoy your new healthy addiction!

(b.5) That said, don't fool yourself into thinking just biking will take your weight off. Since you're already strong, you may miss out on the early rush of dropped weight associated with just getting fit enough to ride at all. I started this year full-time bike commuting, I was at 250, I dropped to maybe 235, and have now climbed back up to 240-245. And I know exactly why, I haven't stopped eating.

(c) 30min off road vs hour on pavement: it kind of depends on the trail (some groomed or hardpack trails can be almost as easy as road), but generally speaking, a 2:1 effort ratio is about right. On trails you get more turning, swerving, steep little ups and downs, roots, trees, rocks, etc. There's just a lot more going on, the upper body gets involved more, the mind is more engaged (looking for obstacles, planning a line through a rock field, etc.).

(d) A shop with a saddle exchange policy is a good thing.

Last edited by RubeRad; 11-04-13 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 11-04-13, 02:49 PM
  #13  
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I had a Serfas in the early 90's and loved it. It was gel, with large cutouts and a sort of magic material suspension in the cut outs...

A bit of crash damage and the cover was failing. Afraid I couldn't find an equivalent.
But Serfas are still here! And it seems the RX is it's great-great-great grandson!

I have a Serfas Rx as well. For me, It is marvelous!
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Old 11-04-13, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
A bit of crash damage and the cover was failing. Afraid I couldn't find an equivalent.
Problem Solved
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Old 11-04-13, 05:33 PM
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Favorite seat= Terry Liberator.
Other favorite seat = Brooks B17.

The terry liberator is 1/2 the price of the brooks.
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Old 11-05-13, 06:30 PM
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Here are a couple pics of my bikes. Excuse the messy garage in the background... just had a garage sale.

Here the new (to me) one, the 2009 Specialized Stumpjumper


And here is the cheap-o bike I started out on a few months ago, a Schwinn Jaguar


I actually added some riser handlebars to the Stumpjumper that were a bit wider which made it a bit more comfortable, along with some ergo grips. After I added the riser bars, I took a few spacers out of the stem riser to get it back down near the same height that it was at to make it easier to climb steep hills when riding it off road.
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Old 11-05-13, 11:54 PM
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That Stumpjumper looks pretty schweet. But it's hard to see how you can get that far if you only have chain on the top half!
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Old 11-07-13, 02:49 PM
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Haha, that is weird. The chain is there, but is hard to see because it blends with the background.
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