Big Gal needs honest answers

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by oggal, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. oggal

    oggal New Member

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    What a great forum! I am a 300 lb female, 58 years old, in quite good shape actually because I swim and walk a lot. I want to add biking 5 days a week for exercise variety and to add more calorie burning activities. I used to ride a lot, even commuted via bike for many years, but that was 20 years and 50 lbs ago. I'll have to push my bike about 2 blocks up a steep hill, but then I can ride forever on relatively flat pavement, just some gentle hills. I am 5' 10" and long-legged and worried about finding a good fit. I tested a Trek 3-speed automatic today with coaster brakes, but all they had was a man's bike and it scared me way too much. I REALLY want a woman's bike. The one I rode today was 26" wheel and 18.5" frame. The bike shop guy said I needed at least a 20" frame--but that none of his brands came that way. I called the other 2 bike shops in my remote area and one said the same thing, but the 3rd guy said, Oh sure, we can order you one from any of our makers. So I doubt I will get to test the bike before ordering. 3 speeds would be plenty; the simpler the better. I don't want to go fast, just steady and enjoy the view. But I need to feel stable and that the bike can carry my weight.

    I also have these concerns: bad back, so I need to know what posture is best for that (full upright or slightly bent forward). Also chronic achilles tendon problems, so is there a special kind of pedal I should get to offset foot stress/pain? And last but not least, some history of mild knee injuries (which has made me stay away from leg presses at the gym). I understand that a great fit is essential to avoid more knee problems, but are there any tips for riding to protect knees?

    Price range for new bike is up to $700. Any ideas? I don't want to be sold a bike that is wrong for me by an overeager salesman. Am I nuts for trying this? I just remember how much fun it is to feel the wind in your face and the thrill of the gliding. I'd love to feel that again and lose some weight while I'm at it.

    Thanks for your advice!:)
     
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  2. Gaz from Oz

    Gaz from Oz New Member

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    I don't know how isolated you are but I would not recommend buying without having tried it. Even if the bike is one size too big or small they should be able to adjust so that at least you can try it. I rode an older bike for a couple of years and when I purchased a new bike this year I was shocked at how much more comforable a proper fit made my rides. Back problems mean you could waste your money if you purchased a bike that caused you back pain. I know that this is not much help but it might be worth a trip to a bigger centre to try a few bikes. I am 50yo and have mild knee problems and having my bike set up has meant I have never had a problem on the bike.
     
  3. geo8rge

    geo8rge New Member

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    As far as losing weight, bikes are not really good for that. A bike is very efficient at taking your calories and turning them into motion. The problem is you will probably not burn many calories due to efficiency, you might even burn fewer than you consume in Gatoraid.

    As to bikes an internally geared hub like the three speed is a good idea. You might want more than 3 speeds due to knees. Handle bars that are above the saddle, and a seat with springs would be very good.

    See if there is a cycling club near you. There will be many styles of bike for you to test.

    Pedals: The only things I know of you can do is:
    1) the cranks come in slightly different lengths.
    2) there are 2 types of pedals the kind where your foot is connected to the pedal so both feet work at the same time, and the type where the foot just sits on top and one foot at a time does all the work. Some pedals use special shoes, those might help you, or maybe not. Only you can tell.
    3) you can change the bottom bracket to make the distance between pedals wider.
    4) This site might be interesting http://bikefitkit.com/

    Consider a recumbent bike, or a bike like Giant Revive.

    Folding bikes like Dahon, or Downtube are very practicle due to ease of transportation and storage. Downtube is about $400, and can be resold on eBay if you do not like it. Folding bikes are easier pack and to ship.

    Some claim that fixed gear bikes have a different effect on knees, and might be worth considering.

    sheldonbrown.com is a site worth visiting.

    If you or a friend know bikes buying used off craigslist could work. Basically you would buy a cheap older bike and if you like it bring it to a shop and pay a few $100 to overhaul it.
     
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