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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Jul-13-06, 16:24
j13's Avatar
j13 j13 is offline
Posts: 2,033
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 445/305/220 Male 6'
BF:
Progress: 62%
Location: Connecticut! From Jersey!
Question Bicycles for very overweight people? (bikes)

Hi there. I've x-posted this in the low-intensity forum because I wasn't sure where I'd get the best response. I'm very sorry if this is against ettiquette for the site. Also, if this has already been discussed, please send me a link to the thread - I tried searching and didn't find anything that answered my specific question.

Some background: I've been doing Atkins since January, have worked very hard and dropped 90 lbs. so far. I exercise for ~1 hour a day ever day - I lift weights (dumbbells, kettlebell, machines) 3 days and week and do some form of cardio the other 4 days. I very rarely take a day off, and even when I do I generally get in 20 minutes. In addition to the weight loss, through exercise I've managed to lower my resting heartrate from 92+ to under 60.

Here's my problem - I want to excercise in new ways to (1) keep from the monotony (hence the kettlebell - which is awesome, btw), and (2) to add things that challenge me more than walking, which doesn't do it for me like it did when I started. For this reason I'd really like to start using a (real, non-stationary) bike. But at this point I still weigh around 350 lbs, and I'm afraid that any bike I might buy would, basically, crumple beneath my weight. It's not like I want a super-light 10 speed or anything - just a mountain bike with multiple gears that I could use instead of my car when I run to the store, or just to ride for fun on streets and bike paths.

Can anyone recommend a sturdy bike that I could ride? I'd like to spend less than $1,000, preferably somewhere in the $350-$600 range if possible (but if more expensive options are my only options, I'd appreciate learning about them, too). If I'm too heavy for most anything, can someone please let me know around what weight I could start looking into getting a bike?

Thanks very much for any info-

-j.
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Jul-13-06, 16:37
penelope's Avatar
penelope penelope is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 10,098
 
Plan: Controlled carbs
Stats: 218/195/150 Female 62"
BF:
Progress: 34%
Location: Alberta
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Check out ebay to find some good bargains and googl* up the bikes on auction in there
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Jul-13-06, 20:27
Dodger's Avatar
Dodger Dodger is offline
Posts: 8,255
 
Plan: Paleoish
Stats: 225/175/175 Male 71.5 inches
BF:18%
Progress: 100%
Location: Longmont, Colorado
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Go to your local bicycle shop and ask an employee what bikes have the strongest frames and wheels.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Jul-13-06, 23:00
j13's Avatar
j13 j13 is offline
Posts: 2,033
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 445/305/220 Male 6'
BF:
Progress: 62%
Location: Connecticut! From Jersey!
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I appreciate the responses; what you're suggesting, however, is kind of what I've been doing already and getting (almost) no useful information. I mean, a 350 lb rider really isn't what the bikes are marketed towards, nor is it someone that a random guy working the floor of a bike shop encounters every day, so neither is too much help. I'm really interested to know if anyone has anything specific they can recommend.

Thanks again for any further suggestions-

-j.
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  #5   ^
Old Fri, Jul-14-06, 09:21
Ogden Ogden is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 113
 
Plan: Modified Atkins
Stats: 325/283/200
BF:
Progress: 34%
Location: Boston
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I've been a 330 lb bike rider before. A good bike is a good bike. Don't drop $1000.00, you don't have to. Do some reasearch online, look for reviews of bikes and look form something that is recommended as a quality bike, that is in your price range. Don't worry about the weight, you are not going to find any info regarding that. Worry about getting a good bike. You don't have to break your bank, you might find that you hate riding and want to do something different. but I'm guessing you will spend $300-$600 for a decent, quality bike. I picked up my Specialized hybrid for about $150-off on sale, and I got my moutain bike for $700, down from $1100 at a "we're not carrying this line of Bikes anymore" sale. Get a mountain bike if you want, but unless you are going to actually do some serious trail riding, get a decent hybrid. Fine for mild trails and still great on the road. If I hadn't bought the MB first, without really thinking about my needs, I would have just bought the hybrid.

You can put mountain bike tires on it if you want to, but you probably don't need to. Hybrids have a better seating position too, especially if you don't have a strong back yet, and hybrids are pretty rugged. You donít need a bike that can be launched off a cliff. Don't worry about supension, if it has it, that's fine but don't worry about it. My hybrid has a shock absorbing seat post, and in all honesty, at 280 lb currently, it still has a hard time working with me. I might switch it out in favor of a more standard post until I lose another 20-30 lbs..

If your bike doesnít come with one, get either an anatomically correct saddle (different for men and women) or get a nice spongy gel seat. I have the gel on my hybrid and need to get an anatomical one for my mountain bike. I also have some gel-padded cycling gloves that I really like.

You're going to have to watch the tires. Buy a portable frame-mounted pump and get tires with schraeder valves. These are the usual standard valves and are more universal then the other kind (whose name escapes me at the moment). You can pump up a schraeder valve tire at pretty much any gas station that offers air. The tires are gonna squish down when you ride and make a bit of extra noise, but as long as you check them to make sure they are good and pumped up before you start, and then every now and then if you stop for drink or something, you will be fine. Just donít let them get too low. If you do you will bend your rim, no matter how strong it is. Also, get a little pack and stock it with a multi-tool, tire irons, and a patch kit.

Get a couple of frame or ahndlebar moutned water bottle racks, or get a camel pack. If you are new to riding and itís the summer, then you need to stay hydrated and you wonít necessarily be able to get to water when you need it if you are out on the road.

Other than that, there really isnít much else to say. You are right that bikes arenít aimed at people as big as we are, and somewhere out there might be a bike that you can buy this is, but it will cost you an arm and a leg. IMO, you are better off getting a decent bike and just keeping up with the things that you will need to watch. The worst that will probably happen, is that you may go through more tires and maybe even a rim if you are not careful, than your average rider, but that will change as you lose weight.

Last edited by Ogden : Fri, Jul-14-06 at 09:38.
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  #6   ^
Old Sat, Jul-15-06, 10:29
j13's Avatar
j13 j13 is offline
Posts: 2,033
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 445/305/220 Male 6'
BF:
Progress: 62%
Location: Connecticut! From Jersey!
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That was a great response; thanks very much, Ogden. My main reason for wanting to get a mountain bike is that it seems to me that it will be more sturdy and hence more able to take my weight. Is this irrational? The thing is that when I was in my late-teens (and probably weighed slightly more than I do now, but not much), I was on a 10-speed road bike (thin tires, light frame, etc), and the front tire literally just crumpled after I ridden it for maybe 45 minutes. I mean it literally turned into an oval, and I hadn't hit anything with it, etc. I was, as you'd imagine, totally mortified and consequently I haven't gotten on a bike since. What I'm afraid of, really, is that happening again, especially if this time I was 20 miles from my house (which wouldn't be impossible since I'm now in much better shape than I can remember being in my life, even though I'm still quite overweight). Is this fear not rational?

Also, from anyone, I'd take some brand-name recommendations if you have them. Finally, any thoughts on "urban" bikes or foldable bike? I can't imagine any of the foldable bikes are sturdy enough, but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks again; that was a tremendously helpful post.

-j.
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  #7   ^
Old Mon, Jul-17-06, 10:01
Ogden Ogden is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 113
 
Plan: Modified Atkins
Stats: 325/283/200
BF:
Progress: 34%
Location: Boston
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No problem. I don't know anything about folding bikes, but I ahve a Specialized hybrid and a Diamondback Mtn. Bike and both of them work fine for me.

I'm not beating around the bush here, we are big people, and so we do have to make some adjustments. You will have to watch the tire pressure when you are riding at first. Check them as often as you think you need to while riding. You'll probably do it alot at first, then less over time as you gain more confidence and more knowledge of the equipment and how it performs. Keep a rack-mounted pump with you, and do some shorter rides near your home. Get comfortable and then hit the road. No one will care that you stop every now and then to pinch the tires.

For city riding, I much prefer a hybrid. You should be able to get a hybrid, and have the bike shop put on Mtn. Bike wheels and tires it, if you don't mind the extra expense.

I haven't bought a bike in years, so do some research, do some google searches for reviews of bikes. Don't buy a bike at Sears or Wal-Mart. Go to a real bike shop, near your home and see what you can find.

Last edited by Ogden : Mon, Jul-17-06 at 10:12.
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  #8   ^
Old Mon, Jul-17-06, 16:49
waklee1's Avatar
waklee1 waklee1 is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 98
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 300/259/225 Male 71inches
BF:
Progress: 55%
Location: Clovis, Ca
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I agree 100% with Ogden. A hybrid is a good place to start to see if you like cycling. You can usually get them for around $500-700. If you have a performance bike shop they always have sales. Try checking Craigslist as well. Biggest thing is the tires. Get a rim with 32spokes if you are concerned with damaging them. I was 300lbs when I started riding last year, and never had a problem. I even started, and fell in love, with a road bike. Just make sure tire pressure stays high and you should be fine. A minimum of 120psi should work. If you feel you need more ask the local shop for tires that are rated to 140 or even 160psi. Good luck and have fun.
sean
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  #9   ^
Old Mon, Jul-17-06, 18:16
letsgo1 letsgo1 is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 54
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 194/180.5/145 Female 63 inches
BF:
Progress: 28%
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I recommend getting a "city bike". It looks like a hybrid but you sit fully upright. It's a substantial bike as well. Here's a link from the electra site for their townies http://www.electrabike.com/06_new/flash_index.html
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  #10   ^
Old Fri, Jul-21-06, 12:37
thebigbear's Avatar
thebigbear thebigbear is offline
New Member
Posts: 12
 
Plan: atkins/my own
Stats: 360/242/195 Male 6'
BF:fat? chunky!
Progress: 72%
Location: third stone from the sun
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any good quality steel fram bike will work fine...it maybe a bit *heavier* than aluminum, but it's stronger and the ride quality is better(in my opinion).

I ride a Kona hardtail with front suspension and shock absorbing seatpost...I'm a very *hard* rider...I just bully my way through the woods...point is, don't obsess over the weight of the bike...just concentrate on getting comfortable(with the bike). My bike is a *tank* compared to a lot of the guys I ride with(fully suspended bikes)...in many cases, it's not your *ride* that makes the difference...it's the rider. Best of luck...cheers!
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  #11   ^
Old Sun, Apr-29-07, 21:04
SnowLion's Avatar
SnowLion SnowLion is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 55
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 365.0/347/175 Female 5' 10"
BF:
Progress: 9%
Location: Washington State
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Hey did you ever find a bike? Fat chicks looking for bikes want to know...
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  #12   ^
Old Mon, Apr-30-07, 15:34
j13's Avatar
j13 j13 is offline
Posts: 2,033
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 445/305/220 Male 6'
BF:
Progress: 62%
Location: Connecticut! From Jersey!
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Funny you should ask...I actually got a bike yesterday, but being that I was ~350 when I originally posted this and I'm now around 75 lbs less, I didn't get one that was specifically designed to be overly tough.

A friend of mine was selling his bike super-cheap - a Kona Dr. Dew, which is somewhere around $1,000 new and after the extras he put on it he'd probably spent around $1,250-$1,300 on it. He sold it (and extra tires, a helmet, a pump and some other random stuff) for $250, which was obviously a deal I couldn't turn down. I've yet to do more riding on it than around the parking lot at his apartment complex, but it seems really nice.

If I *had* gotten a bike back then, though, my research indicated the the Kona Hoss was the way to go - it's built to be very, very rugged. The main thing that I've learned is that you need to be very concious of keeping the tires fully inflated whenever you ride it.

Good luck-

-j.
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  #13   ^
Old Sun, May-06-07, 15:16
Helen H's Avatar
Helen H Helen H is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,066
 
Plan: CKD
Stats: 225/180/175 Female 179cm
BF:
Progress:
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I bought a girlie bike when I was about 250lb and nine months pregnant. I waddled into the bike shop and said I wanted something that would safely carry me and a toddler behind me. I got a midrange town bike, and at my request, they put extra strong wheels on it, as my local roads were full of potholes at the time.

I got about 30,000 miles out of it before it got stolen recently.
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  #14   ^
Old Mon, Jul-02-07, 19:05
davedog davedog is offline
New Member
Posts: 17
 
Plan: atkins/paleo
Stats: 238/195/175 Male 72 "
BF:
Progress:
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I ride recumbents. comfortable over the long haul, fast once you learn to ride one. many are very well built. from personal experience i recommend bikes from RANS and Lightfoot. (google them.) used bikes are available if you look- try craigslist or
bentrider online.

the electra bikes are nice too. also check out the RANS crank forward bikes, on their website. used ones are out there; again, check bentrider online.

the best bike is the one you will ride.

happy trails- dave
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  #15   ^
Old Tue, Jul-03-07, 17:32
ysabella's Avatar
ysabella ysabella is offline
Don't Call Me Sugar
Posts: 4,209
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 293/287/230 Female 65 inches
BF: :^( :^| :^)
Progress: 10%
Location: Auburn, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davedog
the best bike is the one you will ride.

So true. I have a really nice road bike, but I'm not that comfortable on it. My stomach makes it uncomfortable to ride hunched over, so I mostly sat up on it, and it's just not designed for that. Plus I've just never been such a great bike rider, and I've had some bad wipeouts. I started getting a real mental THING happening around biking.
I just bought a "comfort bike" from REI; it's a sitting-up bike, and I easily put a foot on the ground as needed. I'm really enjoying riding it. I think it was $300 well spent.
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