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Thoughts, advice, comments...yes please!

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Thoughts, advice, comments...yes please!

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Old 03-08-17, 06:28 AM
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OldNfat
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Thoughts, advice, comments...yes please!

As the name implies I'm old (53) and fat (obese per the graphs).

I want to get started with biking. Looking to purchase a decent road bike. I've been advised by friends to purchase a more "comfortable cruising bike to start".

Fair advice. But my argument is this: if I start with comfort and a weighty cruising bike I'll become frustrated by it being too cumbersome.

I think I should start with a lighter, more serious road bike and adjust my riding patterns to work up endurance, and hopefully weight loss.

I don't want a grandma bike.

Am I thinking unrealistic? Any suggestions or comments welcomed!

Thanks, OnF
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Old 03-08-17, 06:45 AM
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You told us how old you are (really means nothing) but haven't told us how heavy you are (might make a big difference), so it will be even harder to recommend anything for you.
Go to a local bike store, look at all the different bikes, try them and decide what you like best. Depending on your weight, you might want to consider a sturdier bike.
Don't worry about anything other than comfort and bike strength. Those extra pounds of yours and the bikes will help get you into a better shape more quickly.
Ride often and for as long as you can, regardless of mileage. As your strength improves, so will you speed.
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Old 03-08-17, 07:00 AM
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Thx NY

You're right...so here goes (gulp) I'm 5'7" and about #245.

When I was younger and half my current weight I was a rider. Road bike, really nice circa 1980 Takara. And have had a few more comfortable bikes since then. Im somewhat familiar with the feel of the varieties.

My goal here is diet and exercise. The cruisers just don't equate to either of those for me. BUT I don't want to be stupid either.

The bigger part of me (pun intended) says go with a serious bike (nice, lighter weight road bike) and adjust my routine for endurance.

Make any sense?
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Old 03-08-17, 07:16 AM
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Perhaps you should consider a hybrid. I am older and lighter now and enjoy my lively hybrid. They are better with tires that are not knobby, leave those for trail riding. Hybrids do provide an upright riding position which is more comfortable than having you thighs hit you stomach. Yes, I have been near your weight and now am 35 pounds lighter because of that bike.
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Old 03-08-17, 07:30 AM
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Just my personal experience, but when I returned to riding I started on hybrids because everyone said they were more comfortable for older guys. Didn't work for me at all. I was much more comfortable when I got a road bike. I rode a lot as a kid and I think my body still had that memory. I wouldn't have stuck with it on a hybrid. Just wasn't fun.
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Old 03-08-17, 07:41 AM
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Ride what you feel comfortable on and don't put too much stock in the weight of the bike or its racy appearance. Remember that the weight of a bike is a relatively small percentage of the total weight you're moving and weight only really matters if you actually ride competitively. I have to laugh when I see people on high dollar road bikes that don't ride much, do so at a moderate recreational pace and never get into the drops of the bars and actually have their ergos set to an upright position, their hoods are set above the saddle height. These people would have been better off with a decent hybrid instead. I still have one of my old training bikes from the mid 80s that I ride occasionally but for the most part I do most of my riding, which consists of recreational, commuting and touring, on single speed cruisers or my folding bikes. That usually equates to at least 125 miles a week year round.

In short pay more attention on improving the motor instead of paying money to look the part. Performance is first and foremost a matter of the rider's abilities, not the bike's.

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Old 03-08-17, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by OldNfat View Post
As the name implies I'm old (53) and fat (obese per the graphs).

I want to get started with biking. Looking to purchase a decent road bike. I've been advised by friends to purchase a more "comfortable cruising bike to start".

Fair advice. But my argument is this: if I start with comfort and a weighty cruising bike I'll become frustrated by it being too cumbersome.

I think I should start with a lighter, more serious road bike and adjust my riding patterns to work up endurance, and hopefully weight loss.

I don't want a grandma bike.

Am I thinking unrealistic? Any suggestions or comments welcomed!

Thanks, OnF
Welcome to Bike Forums and the 50+ forum.
I was 55 when I started riding again as an adult. This was my first bike. A brand spankin' new 1999 Raleigh R600.



Get a decent road bike and all will be well.
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Old 03-08-17, 07:47 AM
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I can remember tipping the scales close to that but I'm a little taller. Go get a nice drop bar road bike but maybe raise the bars & get a good leather Brooks saddle. Go to a local bike shop for professional & personal guidance. Good luck!
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Old 03-08-17, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
Just my personal experience, but when I returned to riding I started on hybrids because everyone said they were more comfortable for older guys. Didn't work for me at all. I was much more comfortable when I got a road bike. I rode a lot as a kid and I think my body still had that memory. I wouldn't have stuck with it on a hybrid. Just wasn't fun.
My experience also. Got back into cycling last June by buying a Trek fx fitness hybrid for the much of the same reasons as jon c. I'm 62, plus I had hip replacement surgery, so I figured I needed to take it a bit easier in my old age. WRONG.

After a couple of months I went from 32mm tires to 28mm gatorskins. Then I changed my cassette. Finally, after a few more months I realized that the hybrid just wasn't doing it for me anymore and bought an endurance road bike. Very happy I made the switch. I love throwing myself around the roads at faster speeds. If you used to ride a road bike and enjoyed the experience then don't let your age or added pounds stop you. Besides, the riding should help you shed some of those pounds. I lost about 12 or so myself.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:20 AM
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A lot of bikes can work at 245. I would start with a hybrid. Although you are heavy, you are not so heavy that you need a grandma bike, as you mentioned. But, you might find a full road bike uncomfortable at this time. There are tons of good hybrids to be found on CL. By the way, I bought a MTB and hybrid at about that weight, and now I am in really good shape. You can do it too, you just need to keep riding and likely change some eating habits.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by OldNfat View Post
You're right...so here goes (gulp) I'm 5'7" and about #245.

When I was younger and half my current weight I was a rider. Road bike, really nice circa 1980 Takara. And have had a few more comfortable bikes since then. Im somewhat familiar with the feel of the varieties.

My goal here is diet and exercise. The cruisers just don't equate to either of those for me. BUT I don't want to be stupid either.

The bigger part of me (pun intended) says go with a serious bike (nice, lighter weight road bike) and adjust my routine for endurance.

Make any sense?
I'm 6' and 220 lbs but was as heavy as 240, riding a typical CF road bike and never had any issues other than truing my wheels more the the average rider. So, with that said, go to your LBS and look at ALL of the bikes, ride them and take home the one that you like best. Don't buy the latest and greatest, the flashiest or anything other than what feels right for you. Comfort is important as you will want to be comfortable while you are getting back into the sport and getting into better shape.

Buy a little better bike than you think you need and grow into it. That will save you upgrade expenses later on. Consider a GPS device and safety gear then go ride. Hood up with friends and local clubs to help encourage you to ride.

Focus on your improvements by keeping a diary. Take monthly pictures of yourself and compare them. Those things will help with your motivation. If you are anything like me, you will go out and try to beat your segments times but ignore other people's times as you are only racing against your "old" self with the new and improving version.

Good luck and have fun riding.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by OldNfat View Post
You're right...so here goes (gulp) I'm 5'7" and about #245.

When I was younger and half my current weight I was a rider. Road bike, really nice circa 1980 Takara. And have had a few more comfortable bikes since then. Im somewhat familiar with the feel of the varieties.

My goal here is diet and exercise. The cruisers just don't equate to either of those for me. BUT I don't want to be stupid either.

The bigger part of me (pun intended) says go with a serious bike (nice, lighter weight road bike) and adjust my routine for endurance.

Make any sense?
If you buy the bike you like, you will want to ride it much more than a bike you kinda wanted. Up in our C&V forum are several heavier riders that enjoy classic steel in racing geometry. Check out the "Clydesdales" forum (you probably knew that). The main thing you will need to pay attention to is the spoke count on the wheelset. Go with standard 36 spoke wheels for now. Are you wanting drop bars? If that is too awkward you might look at the hybrids. I tuned a Giant Rapid3 last summer and was quite impressed with the light and quick feel. The hybrids as earlier mentioned will be fun to ride but will have a flat bar arrangement. I wholeheartedly understand your want for a drop bar classic roadie configuration. It's doable. You know you wanna.
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Old 03-08-17, 10:55 AM
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FWIW, here is my advice.

Unless you have boatloads of disposable income, don't buy anything akin to an uber bike straight off. Buy something on the economy side, but with quality parts (e.g. Sora level or equivalent). If you end up really taking to the sport, you'll want to have two bikes anyway (it's always nice to have a second for rainy days or when the other bike is in the shop). If you don't take it up, you've spent a minimal amount.

Personally, I am not a fan of hybrids. I find good old road bikes to be most comfortable over distance because they spread your weight out more equally between your feet, hands and rear end. And they are more efficient. Also, your weight is high, but not so high that you can't get reasonably comfy on a road bike. I had a guy BLOW by me this AM that probably had your BMI.
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Old 03-08-17, 12:10 PM
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I've been at 245 and a road bike is no problem though you may have to invest in a good strong wheel.

Hybrids are frustrating because you will want to keep up with friends and if they are on road bikes, you will have a disadvantage.

There are road bikes that are more relaxed but yet fast. Most major mfg'ers have their line of more relaxed geometry road bikes.

Plus you can instruct the bike shop to leave the fork tube uncut to allow more height for the handlebars allowing you to sit a bit more upright. This makes the road bike more relaxed than a full on positioned road bike racer type.
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Old 03-08-17, 12:40 PM
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How serious are you?

Before shopping for a bike, I think that you should go shopping for a bike shop. Interview all of the bike shops in your area. You'll know the "right" one when you see it because of the way that the people treat you.

The bike shop people will know the good places to ride and will be able to match you with an appropriate bike for those routes. Pick a bike that you like at a price level you can afford and you'll never go wrong.

The cost per ride of a bike that you enjoy and use a lot keeps going down every single time that you use it. The cost per ride of a relatively cheap bike that you don't ride can be quite high.
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Old 03-08-17, 12:58 PM
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When I was (gulp!) 220 plus, it was definitely noticeable on my road bike. That extra belly fat gets in the way of achieving aero position. It's not a game-ender, just a challenge. I'm much more comfortable now at 175-ish and rethinking about my goal of 155 to 160 (in the sense of "it's time to push harder and cut out the BS that's stopping me). I felt the best I ever did when I was at 155 some years back (late 2000s). And it was definitely much easier to ride.

You've gotten good advice above. Ultimately it's your decision, but I think your gut instinct (no pun intended) to go with a road bike is probably a good one, it's just a question of finding the right road bike for you.
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Old 03-08-17, 01:12 PM
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Ride a few different styles of bikes (hybrid, road, recumbent, even) and find out what suits you. If you can find something used in the style you like, so much the better. Get a bike you can use for commuting, running errands, etc. The more you can use the bike, the more you will ride it, and the more benefit you will get from it.

N.B. this may eventually require more than one bike.
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Old 03-08-17, 01:29 PM
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I prefer starting with a Hardtail Mountain bike with skinnier tires. Then you can get more aggressive tires for Mountain biking and buy a Road bike for a second bike. I like the security of slightly fatter tires. You don't get as many flats and you have better surface contact, more control. When you develop you mad cycling skills, then go skinny tires.


As far as the weight ratio, 245 plus an 18 pound bike and 245 plus a 25 pound bike is not noticeable. You may be trying to over think this issue.
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Old 03-08-17, 02:17 PM
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I started at 50 with a used 10-speed road bike, bought for $100. After a year, I traded up to a better used 12-speed road bike for $200. I rode that on my first double century a year later. After another year, I bought my carbon road bike which, 17 years later, is still my favorite bike ever. That all worked very well.
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Old 03-08-17, 02:19 PM
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I know many overweight guys who ride TourEasys because they're relatively fast and easy to ride, not because they're trying to lose weight. I've read that the best weight loss exercise is walking. Any bike will help, but the trick is to not eat it back on after the ride.
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Old 03-08-17, 02:24 PM
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You don't have to marry the bike. Just pick one and start riding. After awhile your body will tell you what it prefers.

When I resumed cycling in 2015 after 30 years away I was in pretty bad shape. Busted up back and neck from old car wreck injuries. Weak from Hashimoto's thyroiditis that wasn't responding to synthetic thyroid meds. Asthma, the whole mess.

I started on a heavy comfort hybrid with suspension fork, fat cushioned springy saddle. I was a far cry from the 10 speed road bike I had in my 20s. But it was perfect for me at that stage in life. Got me back into shape gradually.

A year later I added a 1990s rigid fork hardtail mountain bike. I had to modify it a bit with 2" riser bars to accommodate my neck mobility issues. Otherwise I usually prefer it for fitness and casual rides.

If my fitness and mobility continues to improve I might consider a road bike in another year. But it'll still need to have the bars fairly high, no lower than saddle height. But with more flexibility physical therapy I might be able to handle the drops without pain.

Meanwhile I kept the big heavy cushiony comfort hybrid. Mostly it's an errand bike now for short hops. But I still ride it 10-20 miles occasionally on days when back and neck pain would keep me from riding another bike. It's a bit slower but it's still a bike and still fun to ride.
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Old 03-08-17, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I've read that the best weight loss exercise is walking. Any bike will help, but the trick is to not eat it back on after the ride.
Walking didn't do it for me, either in aerobic conditioning or weight. Before resuming cycling in 2015 I'd gradually worked up walking distance after a car wreck several years ago. Until 2012-2013 I still needed a cane for longer walks, a mile or so.

It was better than no exercise, but I discovered on my first bike ride walking hadn't prepared me at all. I rode only a mile before collapsing. Now, if anything, riding has made me a stronger walker with less back pain on long walks.

Ditto, the post-ride calories. My weakness is beer. I usually have one or three after a ride -- that's another 200-750 calories back. My weight varies from 155 lbs (my peak condition weight since my 20s) to 165. Right now it's closer to 165 with a bit of a beer belly pudge. So my next mission, should I choose to accept, is to limit my beer intake to a certain fraction of my approximate caloric burn during riding.

I suppose I could give up the cream and sugar in coffee too, but... nah. I'll worry about that if I creep up toward 175 again like I was in 2015.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:27 PM
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Many, many thanks!

I definitly appreciate everyones advice, thoughts, and warm welcome. You all definitely helped!

I'm proud to say that today I purchased a second hand Bianchi road bike in pristine condition. Paid a very reasonable price. It will support my weight. Fits my height. And is just really pretty!

It came with gator skin tires, and the coolest 'C' shaped saddle.

Looking forward to hitting the road, feeling and looking better!

Tried to attach a photo...but couldn't seem to figure that out.

Thx again!
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Old 03-08-17, 08:54 PM
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Try using photobucket or another similar service, then just paste the [IMG] link.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:55 PM
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The correct bike depends on the type of riding you're going to do. I currently have a road bike, an old English three speed, and an older mountain bike. One is for road ride, on for cruising around town, and the last one is my winter bike.
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