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Overweight and desiring to ride!

Old 07-17-18, 09:47 PM
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Sunnytadpole
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Overweight and desiring to ride!

I'm a heavy girl (5'3" & 240) looking to get into cycling for fitness, and as a means of transportation. This is something that will be a lifestyle change for me. Turned 40 this year and said some things have got to change. So here I am after some serious online "window shopping". I plan on going very soon to test out a few models to know what would work for me. But, I have my eyes set on Specialized Crossroads, Alibi c, and Trek Versas.
I'm pretty new to this, haven't been cycling in more than 20 years! I have no doubts this is something I will love- I loved it many years ago. I think right now I'm worried about the embarrassment of being on the side of the road with tire/rim/wheel issues due to my weight. In the last 3 months I've lost 40 plus lbs and the weight is expected to continue to fall. So this wont be a concern once I get to a more normal weight for my height.
I've talked to LBS and they stated if I have issues then I could always talk to the guy who custom builds wheels. I could also have the custom wheels built at time of purchase. Not really sure which route to go, or if I need to consider different bike?
What do you folks recommend?
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Old 07-17-18, 10:10 PM
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Buy the bike you're most comfortable on.

Ride it a lot.

It's as simple as that.

Don't worry about your weight and the bike. The bike will support 240 just fine, especially in a hybrid style with slightly wider tires. I'm 220 (6 foot, but weight on the tire is weight on the tire. Tires don't care how tall I am) and my Crosstrail doesn't strain under my weight at all, even with a full load of gear on top of that. And that's running 37mm tires compared to the 45 mm tires that come on the Crossroads.

You'll want to keep your tire pressure higher than normal, but that's about it. At 220 with high pressure in my tires....I'm not going to say I've never had a flat because I don't like antagonizing the biking gods....but....let's just say the only spare inner tube I've bought for this bike has never been used. Don't go buying fancy expensive wheels.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
I'm a heavy girl (5'3" & 240) looking to get into cycling for fitness, and as a means of transportation. This is something that will be a lifestyle change for me. Turned 40 this year and said some things have got to change. So here I am after some serious online "window shopping". I plan on going very soon to test out a few models to know what would work for me. But, I have my eyes set on Specialized Crossroads, Alibi c, and Trek Versas.
I'm pretty new to this, haven't been cycling in more than 20 years! I have no doubts this is something I will love- I loved it many years ago. I think right now I'm worried about the embarrassment of being on the side of the road with tire/rim/wheel issues due to my weight. In the last 3 months I've lost 40 plus lbs and the weight is expected to continue to fall. So this wont be a concern once I get to a more normal weight for my height.
I've talked to LBS and they stated if I have issues then I could always talk to the guy who custom builds wheels. I could also have the custom wheels built at time of purchase. Not really sure which route to go, or if I need to consider different bike?
What do you folks recommend?
When I was about your weight (I'm quite a bit lighter now), I was commuting on a comfort bike with a pretty heavy load of books, computer, etc. I did end up replacing the wheels because they couldn't keep true and spokes would bend, BUT there was never any major sudden failure where I ended up on the side of the road. So, buy the bike you like, ride it a lot, and just check the true and spokes a lot. I think you would have plenty of warning before you would have catastrophic failure. Most bikes these days seem to be rated as safe for combined weight of bike and load of 300 pounds, so unless you buy a really heavy bike and/or load it down with a lot of cargo like I did, you should probably be fine with the stock wheels.
Have fun! One of the great surprises is just how much easier riding gets as you lose weight, so if you find it difficult at first and not fun, don't be afraid to set the bike aside and come back to it 20 pounds or so lighter. When I got wayyyyy heavier than you are now, I tried going back to riding and found my abilities depressingly awful compared to my memory, so I set it aside for a couple years losing weight and working out on the elliptical before I came back to it with a vengeance - I'm riding further and almost as fast as I did 35 years ago. Psychologically, I needed to do the "rehab" with something I had no history or expectations of. So, if you can handle the likelihood that it won't feel as good as it did 20 years ago until you have been doing it or some other physical activity for a while, you're probably going to love this.

BTW, one of the things I do to motivate myself is to give myself a fun destination for the ride, and I gradually increased the distance of those destinations. I love riding, but it's even better I go somewhere I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't been riding. Riding's big advantage over other forms of aerobic exercise is that it is intrinsically fun and interesting, so it's easy to do more of it than anything in a gym. My biggest piece of advice is keep it fun and you'll want to do more of it. Do not succumb to "no pain, no gain". That's a recipe for hating it.

​​​​​I wish I had done this at 40 instead of my 50s, so good on ya'!
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Old 07-18-18, 05:53 AM
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1. Get a bike that your comfortable with and shop the used market for a better deal.
2. Give the seat a chance regardless how uncomfortable it look.
3. Get some hi viz color shirts at walmart. The ones that runners use and a pair of bicycle shorts (padded).
4. Go out at night of your shy but no one is watching you to make fun of you.
5. Have a blast and feel like a kid again.

one last thing look at the Clydesdale forum here they have some Athena's there ad well that will give you detailed info.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:12 PM
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I just checked--the Verve, the Crossroads and the Alibi are all rated for 300 lbs, so that's plenty of capacity for you, the bike and a little bit of cargo.

Assuming you aren't planning on doing a lot of rock-hopping or hauling bowling balls, stock wheels should be fine.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
I'm a heavy girl (5'3" & 240) looking to get into cycling for fitness, and as a means of transportation. This is something that will be a lifestyle change for me. Turned 40 this year and said some things have got to change. So here I am after some serious online "window shopping". I plan on going very soon to test out a few models to know what would work for me. But, I have my eyes set on Specialized Crossroads, Alibi c, and Trek Versas.
I'm pretty new to this, haven't been cycling in more than 20 years! I have no doubts this is something I will love- I loved it many years ago. I think right now I'm worried about the embarrassment of being on the side of the road with tire/rim/wheel issues due to my weight. In the last 3 months I've lost 40 plus lbs and the weight is expected to continue to fall. So this wont be a concern once I get to a more normal weight for my height.
I've talked to LBS and they stated if I have issues then I could always talk to the guy who custom builds wheels. I could also have the custom wheels built at time of purchase. Not really sure which route to go, or if I need to consider different bike?
What do you folks recommend?
congratulations on your change of lifestyle. The bikes you are considering should hold your weight. As for the wheels, that is a legitimate concern. I would say, pay attention to spoke tension and air pressure in the tires. But don't lose sleep over it. Make sure you discuss your concerns with the bike shop so the mechanic can check the spoke tension, both when the bike goes out the door and again after you put 100 to 200 miles on the bike.
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Old 07-18-18, 07:25 PM
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You guys are pretty awesome! Thanks for the support, and advise!
i won't spend crazy on wheels etc if I don't need to. I will be adding a rack though I haven't decided if I want a plain one or a touring one with the options for side bags. I do plan to visit the library and grocery so it makes sense to get them. Or maybe wait til I reach that ability point.
I am totally prepared for the discomfort and/or pain that will come with getting conditioned to riding again. I've been making trips to the gym and using the spin bikes to get use to the motions again. That being said, I'm also prepared for the immense pride and satisfaction I'm going to feel when I finally get to ride it to the library!
This is going to be one fun adventure and I can't wait! I'll post a pic of the one that ends up coming home with me this weekend. thank you everyone!
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Old 07-18-18, 07:27 PM
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Please do! Welcome to the forums, and welcome to a super fun and enjoyable way of life.
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Old 07-18-18, 10:42 PM
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Oh, how nice to hear! I think you will find this an excellent adventure, challenge and a whole lot of fun. As to what others think, don't be concerned about that. That is an internal voice. Most people will see you riding and think "good for her for going after it and turning things around!"
Do let us know what bike you choose and how it works for you! Those are all good choices, and it will come down to what feels best for you.
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Old 07-19-18, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
You guys are pretty awesome! Thanks for the support, and advise!
i won't spend crazy on wheels etc if I don't need to. I will be adding a rack though I haven't decided if I want a plain one or a touring one with the options for side bags. I do plan to visit the library and grocery so it makes sense to get them. Or maybe wait til I reach that ability point.
I am totally prepared for the discomfort and/or pain that will come with getting conditioned to riding again. I've been making trips to the gym and using the spin bikes to get use to the motions again. That being said, I'm also prepared for the immense pride and satisfaction I'm going to feel when I finally get to ride it to the library!
This is going to be one fun adventure and I can't wait! I'll post a pic of the one that ends up coming home with me this weekend. thank you everyone!
I like the Planet Bike racks which are cheap, durable, and light. They can last for decades. I've proven that with experience. I've used the racks that just attach to the seat post, and I'm not a fan, they are pretty much useless for books and groceries. The lighter Planet Bike rack is the Eco Rack, which is probably the best bargain in biking. If you need something a little bigger, they also make the KOKO rack, but that one isn't compatible with some rim brakes. If you get disk brakes, it will limit you rack choices somewhat because the frame attachment points are different.
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Old 07-19-18, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If you get disk brakes, it will limit you rack choices somewhat because the frame attachment points are different.
I'd say that most modern bikes, that have the brake caliper inside the rear triangle (mounted to the chain stay), don't need a disc-specific rack. I have a Topeak MTX rack on my Roam, and I used the non-disc version of that rack because my calipers are mounted down below the rack mounts. Some bikes today do still have the brake calipers up on the seat stay (mounted high), and those bikes are the ones that require disc-specific racks.

In this picture, you can see how the caliper is mounted down low on the chain stay, and the threaded mounts for fenders and racks are above and behind the caliper on the seat stay.

roam06 by jnjadcock, on Flickr
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Old 07-19-18, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I'd say that most modern bikes, that have the brake caliper inside the rear triangle (mounted to the chain stay), don't need a disc-specific rack. I have a Topeak MTX rack on my Roam, and I used the non-disc version of that rack because my calipers are mounted down below the rack mounts. Some bikes today do still have the brake calipers up on the seat stay (mounted high), and those bikes are the ones that require disc-specific racks.
Thanks for the info--I've never had any kind of disk brake and didn't realize there are different mounts.

My advice to her would be pick the bike/brake first based on what is most comfortable/affordable for her ("comfortable" including how secure she feels riding the bike with its brake set up), then after she buys the bike, make sure any rack she buys is compatible with it. How she feels using the brakes is going to likely be a much more important factor than finding an affordable good quality rack because there are so many good options for various bike set ups..
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Old 07-19-18, 08:42 AM
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Regarding brakes-i am likely going to stick to the standard v- keep things simpler. I plan on learning to do my own maintenance every now and then for when those out of the blue moments happen while out.
Lots of different racks to choose from is a good thing.
I've been reading more on the Specialized crossroads and I'm leaning more towards that over the Trek. I'm not sure I know the real difference between the regular and the sport models. So I need to see those side by side to figure that out. I am wondering also about the pedals-they're a composite. Should I swap those for metal?
Should I opt for airless tires or get the tubes?
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Old 07-19-18, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
Regarding brakes-i am likely going to stick to the standard v- keep things simpler. I plan on learning to do my own maintenance every now and then for when those out of the blue moments happen while out.
Lots of different racks to choose from is a good thing.
I've been reading more on the Specialized crossroads and I'm leaning more towards that over the Trek. I'm not sure I know the real difference between the regular and the sport models. So I need to see those side by side to figure that out. I am wondering also about the pedals-they're a composite. Should I swap those for metal?
Should I opt for airless tires or get the tubes?
If you can afford discs, get discs. Hydraulic disc brakes are pretty bomb proof and relatively maintenance free for most people. They work better in crappy conditions. They are not a maintenance nightmare by any means. Pads last fro 1,000 - 3,000 miles (or more, depending on use) and are easy to replace. And hydraulic disc brakes are self adjusting. No tweaking cables. Mechanical disc brakes have the same stopping power but need more adjusting. Personally I hate working with v brakes. Just a pain in the rump to me (most bike mechanics will disagree that they are difficult, but they drive me bonkers and I'd rather adjust a disc any day. Different strokes for different folks)

As far as pedals, the ones it comes will are fine until they break. I cracked one after about 200 miles when I tried to hop off a curb and missed....pedal went into the curb and cracked it. Even then it was still ridable. I'd say don't bother buying new ones until you either brake the ones it comes with or decide you want something specific. (Clipless, pins, toe straps, etc) There are 900 threads around here about pedals with all kinds of suggestions.

Nice thing about plastic pedals is that when you scuff one (and you will) it's usually not noticeable because the color is the same through the plastic. When you scuff a painted metal pedal, you scrape the paint off and expose bare metal that is obviously a scuff.

Keep the inner tubes. You say you want simple maintenance? Keep the inner tubes. The design of an inner tube tire and wheel hasn't changed much in about 100 years for a reason. Tubeless is slightly lighter, which is it's big advantage (if you're racing) but has a host of other issues that can make is more complex for a novice.
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Old 07-19-18, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Keep the inner tubes. You say you want simple maintenance? Keep the inner tubes. The design of an inner tube tire and wheel hasn't changed much in about 100 years for a reason. Tubeless is slightly lighter, which is it's big advantage (if you're racing) but has a host of other issues that can make is more complex for a novice.
I think she was talking about airless tires rather than tubeless tires. Specialized do offer a line of tires (Nimbus Airless) that are actually airless (on their Alibi model). In theory, those should be completely maintenance-free, requiring only replacement when the tread wears down. In practice, I don't know how good they are. I do imagine that you can't "customize" the ride like you can with pneumatic tires (with air pressure), so the tires may feel too soft for a heavier rider and too firm for a lighter rider. Though I don't know for sure, I think they require special rims, so you couldn't swap back and forth between airless and typical pneumatic tires. But do ask your Specialized dealer about that, if you are interested, because I may be wrong on that.
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Old 07-19-18, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I think she was talking about airless tires rather than tubeless tires. Specialized do offer a line of tires (Nimbus Airless) that are actually airless (on their Alibi model). In theory, those should be completely maintenance-free, requiring only replacement when the tread wears down. In practice, I don't know how good they are. I do imagine that you can't "customize" the ride like you can with pneumatic tires (with air pressure), so the tires may feel too soft for a heavier rider and too firm for a lighter rider. Though I don't know for sure, I think they require special rims, so you couldn't swap back and forth between airless and typical pneumatic tires. But do ask your Specialized dealer about that, if you are interested, because I may be wrong on that.
Well ain't that fancy? I thought you were drunk or something or got your link from The Onion or something when you posted that. I mean airless tires? What kind of dark sorcery is that?!

So I googled it and sure enough...it's a thing!

I wonder if it's like that rubber they put on shoe soles lately. If so I feel like they'd do okay on gravel or hardpack crushed stone but that they'd chew up quickly on pavement/ cement

Here's a write up on them....

https://bikerumor.com/2017/01/02/rev...d-alibi-sport/

And a cross ection photo


Last edited by Skipjacks; 07-19-18 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 07-19-18, 10:54 AM
  #17  
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My quick advice is:
Go to a bike shop (check Yelp/Google for the best reviews) and ride a variety of bikes. I personally have loved the durability & customer service Trek Bikes from Trek Dealers. I'm a larger guy - and have had a solid experience on Trek bikes.
My go to bike right now is a 2018 Trek FXS4. They have a women specific design as well.

Regardless of brand/model - a solid bike shop is the second most important component here (outside of what bike feels comfortable for you) A solid bike shop will be your one stop shop: sales, getting you fitted to the bike, buying any gear you would need, safe cycling routes and paths and the in-house service department.

Best of luck on your shopping and welcome to the best moments heading your way on the bike. Enjoy!

Cheers!
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Old 07-19-18, 11:06 AM
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Congratulations on your decisions and your weight loss. You will do great. You're already doing great. If you lived in NYC, you would see there are plenty of heavy people on bikes, and you are not alone. You will work out the bike problems soon enough. Your weight is not likely to cause mechanical problems, and if they do, there are mechanics there to help. We are here to help, too.
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Old 07-20-18, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
Regarding brakes-i am likely going to stick to the standard v- keep things simpler. I plan on learning to do my own maintenance every now and then for when those out of the blue moments happen while out.
Lots of different racks to choose from is a good thing.
I've been reading more on the Specialized crossroads and I'm leaning more towards that over the Trek. I'm not sure I know the real difference between the regular and the sport models. So I need to see those side by side to figure that out. I am wondering also about the pedals-they're a composite. Should I swap those for metal?
Should I opt for airless tires or get the tubes?
I swapped out my pedals for a pair of Raceface Chester platform pedals. They're a really good big pedal, it's extremely durable plastic so they're a lot cheaper than metal pedals of the same quality. They have sharp studs that make your sneakers really grab the pedal. If you're like me and like to be able to just hop on and off the bike without changing shoes, I strongly recommend replacing the stock pedals with something like that.
The Chesters are known for being really durable, so don't worry about the plastic. They're originally designed for mountain bike descent, so you're not going to do anything more stressful than that. Plus, you get a choice of colors!
I've never ridden airless tires. Stuff I've read suggests it's a technology that isn't quite there yet, with complaints about the feeling of the ride. I'd probably steer clear if you can't try them out first. I also think you are likely to want to try out different tire pressures.
I've never had disk brakes. I have seen people on the side of the path who couldn't figure out how to get their wheels back on because the disk got messed up. I'm too cheap to want to pay for them, and "They're better in the rain" just doesn't seem important enough to me to justify the expense and learning curve. If I were a commuter, I might feel differently about the rain.
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Old 07-20-18, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I swapped out my pedals for a pair of Raceface Chester platform pedals. They're a really good big pedal, it's extremely durable plastic so they're a lot cheaper than metal pedals of the same quality. They have sharp studs that make your sneakers really grab the pedal. If you're like me and like to be able to just hop on and off the bike without changing shoes, I strongly recommend replacing the stock pedals with something like that.
The Chesters are known for being really durable, so don't worry about the plastic. They're originally designed for mountain bike descent, so you're not going to do anything more stressful than that. Plus, you get a choice of colors!
Plus one on Chester Race Face pedals. Best cheap easy improvement I've ever made to a bike.

Lightweight, low profile, durable, and they grip like they are holding on your your shoe for dear life. Best part is that despite the glue like traction, you can still easily pick your foot straight up. You're not locked to the pedal at all. But you will never slip off of them. Not even when your shoe is covered in mud. (Which is when not pinned platform pedals usually become useless)

You can't ride barefoot in them. Not that you ever should because that's a quick easy way to rip the skin off your toes.

Occasionally you will smash the pinned pedal into your shin. Usually when you're off the bike and moving it to a rack or pushing it in the door or just holding it up while you make an adjustment...you have to be really careful not to spin the crank arms because those pinned pedals are right at shin level and they are not forgiving. It's not the end of the world and you learn VERY quick to pay attention to where the pedals are.
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Old 07-21-18, 07:48 PM
  #21  
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Congrats on the weight loss. As others have said, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your weight. I have a Trek dual sport and haven’t had any issues with it at my size. I was 230 when I started riding it last summer, and am down to 210 after finishing training for a triathlon I just finished. I find cycling to be so helpful for keeping my weight down. My husband has a Trek Verve and it’s so comfortable but you may find that you want something a little more aggressive as you start to get faster. If I had to buy over again, i would have probably gone with a Trek FX.
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Old 07-22-18, 06:18 PM
  #22  
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Folks you have been awesome with all the advise and words ok f encouragement.
Unfortunately neither of the 2 LBS we went to today carry either the Specialized Crossroads or the Trek Verves. I did see A LOT of models of Trek bikes. DS, FX, stagger just to make a few. They did have Specialized Alibi, but only 1 and I'm partial to red. :/ can I ask the stores to order a specific bike?
Are these good options that I should consider?
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Old 07-22-18, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
Folks you have been awesome with all the advise and words ok f encouragement.
Unfortunately neither of the 2 LBS we went to today carry either the Specialized Crossroads or the Trek Verves. I did see A LOT of models of Trek bikes. DS, FX, stagger just to make a few. They did have Specialized Alibi, but only 1 and I'm partial to red. :/ can I ask the stores to order a specific bike?
Are these good options that I should consider?
They are definitely good bikes, and if they are in stock, try a test ride. You'll have to ask the store if they can order, some will, some won't.
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Old 07-23-18, 02:46 AM
  #24  
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You don't have to jump right into an enthusiast quality bike. Buying some cheapo alternative from a yard sale or store should work fine for a couple months. You'll have more time to think about your choices. In a couple months with continued weight loss your choice may be entirely different.

What's important now is to ride it regularly. Keep it short, keep it fun. If you try too much at first you might just get to hate it. A bike ride should be fun, not an ordeal--at first. Congrats
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Old 07-23-18, 05:54 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Sunnytadpole View Post
Folks you have been awesome with all the advise and words ok f encouragement.
Unfortunately neither of the 2 LBS we went to today carry either the Specialized Crossroads or the Trek Verves. I did see A LOT of models of Trek bikes. DS, FX, stagger just to make a few. They did have Specialized Alibi, but only 1 and I'm partial to red. :/ can I ask the stores to order a specific bike?
Are these good options that I should consider?
They will absolutely order a bike -- some will offer to order it and keep it on the sales floor if you don't like it (if they think they can sell it), and others will make you buy it first, and then they'll order it in and assemble it. Bike shops have to purchase the bikes they display on the floor, and they're pretty good about knowing what sells in their area, and what stock to keep on hand. If they think they won't have any trouble selling the bike you'd like to try, they may offer to order one and build it for you just to see if you like it, and they'd keep it on the sales floor and sell it themselves if you don't.

My local Specialized dealer doesn't stock many Crossroads models. They have a ton of Roll, Sirrus, and Crosstrail models (plus various road bikes). But not many Crossroads.
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