Questions for/regarding potential new cyclist



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Lars S. Mulford

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Howdy folks!

I've a friend who recently received a bad "report card" from his doc, and it sufficiently motivated
him to want to get in better shape. He's 33 years old, 5'11" and 320lbs. He wants to bike, and wants
biking to be a part of his process of losing weight and also to be an ongoing factor in his life.
There's a monkey wrench here though.

He's never ridden at bike. EVER.

He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.

He wants to learn to ride and to make it a part of his life. He asked me for some guidance in a bike
that will handle him at the higher weights. Initially I directed him to check out trikes, but he
made it very clear that he wants to learn to ride a two wheeler.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a bike that would not only handle his weight for now, but also
have docile enough manners that we can use it to teach him how to ride?

Initially he was interested in upright bikes, but he's seen my recumbents and thinks that they would
be easier on his back. Anyone have any thoughts on a recumbent (or recumbents) that would handle his
weight and also be mannerly enough for him to be taught to ride?

--
"Sea" ya! --Lars S. Mulford "You can find evil anywhere you look. The question is, why are
you looking?"
 
"Lars S. Mulford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> He's never ridden at bike. EVER.
>
> He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.

This is a troll, right? If not, I really feel sorry for the chap. But OTOH he's in for the time
of his life.

> Initially he was interested in upright bikes, but he's seen my recumbents and thinks that they
> would be easier on his back. Anyone have any
thoughts
> on a recumbent (or recumbents) that would handle his weight and also be mannerly enough for him to
> be taught to ride?

Otima Orca : http://www.optima-cycles.nl/eng/2-08-1.htm (OSS, dual 26" and full suspension) Some LWB
or CLWB, but I have no experience.

Regards, Torben
 
Lars S. Mulford wrote:
>
> He's 33 years old, 5'11" and 320lbs.
>
> He's never ridden at bike. EVER.
>
> He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.

I think a low bottom bracket trike would be the best option. Very easy to ride, and may be better at
supporting the weight, plust they are a lot of fun to ride. Something like a Lightfoot
(http://www.lightfootcycles.com/HTML/overview_trikes.htm) or if he doesn't want to spend a lot of
money, an EZ-3 (http://www.easyracers.com/ez_3.htm) would be an excellent choice.
 
Torben Scheel wrote:
>
> Otima Orca

Not exactly a beginner's bike in my humble opinion. Keep in mind that the guy has never ridden a
bike. A reclined seat and very high bottom bracket is not the right combination for the uninitiated.
 
Howdy folks!

Ok, to answer some things brought up in earlier replies:

No, this isn't a troll. Unfortunately, this is a real situation. The guy is one of my best friends
from college days. He wants to bike, has never even been close to a bike, and is now facing some
health issues that must bring about some habit changes and lifestyle changes. He wants to battle his
weight first. He has a great desire to learn to ride a bike and likes the idea that recumbents would
be less painful for his back.

I showed him the EZ-Racers EZ-3 Trike but he didn't like the looks of it at all. He said that he
wants to learn to ride a two wheel bike, because that will give him more options down the road when
the weight starts coming off.

--
"Sea" ya! --Lars S. Mulford "You can find evil anywhere you look. The question is, why are you
looking?" "Joao de Souza" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> Lars S. Mulford wrote:
> >
> > He's 33 years old, 5'11" and 320lbs.
> >
> > He's never ridden at bike. EVER.
> >
> > He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.
>
> I think a low bottom bracket trike would be the best option. Very easy to ride, and may be better
> at supporting the weight, plust they are a lot of fun to ride. Something like a Lightfoot
> (http://www.lightfootcycles.com/HTML/overview_trikes.htm) or if he doesn't want to spend a lot of
> money, an EZ-3 (http://www.easyracers.com/ez_3.htm) would be an excellent choice.
 
"Lars S. Mulford" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> I showed him the EZ-Racers EZ-3 Trike but he didn't like the looks of it
at
> all. He said that he wants to learn to ride a two wheel bike, because
that
> will give him more options down the road when the weight starts coming
off.

The bike he wants now may not be,-- indeed likely will not be,-- the bike he wants 100 lbs
later/lighter... The best bike for exercise is the bike he'll ride *often* and long *now*. Trying to
optimize for future needs probably won't help.

Assuming his health does improve as the result of biking, the cost of a bike now and another one
later is bound to be cheaper than by-pass surgery! That's what I tell my wife, regarding the cost of
my bike habit, anyway.

Jon Meinecke
 
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> I showed him the EZ-Racers EZ-3 Trike but he didn't like the looks of it at all. He said that he
> wants to learn to ride a two wheel bike, because that will give him more options down the road
> when the weight starts coming off.

I suppose this sound frivolous but... can you fit training wheels to an EZ-1?

--
brandiweed at lanset dot com
 
Lars S. Mulford <[email protected]> wrote:

: He wants to learn to ride and to make it a part of his life. He asked me for some guidance in a
: bike that will handle him at the higher weights. Initially I directed him to check out trikes, but
: he made it very clear that he wants to learn to ride a two wheeler.

Maybe a 2nd hand BikeE?

--
Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html varis at no spam please iki fi
 
Joao de Souza <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> Lars S. Mulford wrote:
> >
> > He's 33 years old, 5'11" and 320lbs.
> >
> > He's never ridden at bike. EVER.
> >
> > He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.
>
> I think a low bottom bracket trike would be the best option. Very easy to ride, and may be better
> at supporting the weight, plust they are a lot of fun to ride. Something like a Lightfoot
> (http://www.lightfootcycles.com/HTML/overview_trikes.htm) or if he doesn't want to spend a lot of
> money, an EZ-3 (http://www.easyracers.com/ez_3.htm) would be an excellent choice.

Well, the guy *wants* a bike. I think a steel EZ-1 would make a good "learner" bike.

A couple techniques: since he hasn't ridden a bike (not even a motorcycle?) ever, he'll have to
learn how to balance. Have him coast down a slight slope without putting his feet on the pedals.
(Grass covered is better- falling down just puts stains on the clothes.) A 'bent makes this easy-
starting and stopping with feet down is effortless.

Once he's capable of coasting with his feet off the ground, practice starting on flat ground. A
moderately low gear helps- you might want to run alongside, but I'd allow him to develop the
reactions on his own. Large flat areas help, too- a playground or the far reaches of a parking lot
usually don't have obstacles than can jump out at the unwary.

Once he's comfortable starting, stopping, and manuvering, time to get out on the road. Neighborhood
streets are OK- but intersections can be scary to a new rider. I've tried to tell myself "Make
yourself visible, believe that you're invisible"... even after riding for 35 years I'm still
relatively unscarred.

Good luck to you both.

Jeff
 
Joao de Souza <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> Lars S. Mulford wrote:
> >
> > He's 33 years old, 5'11" and 320lbs.
> >
> > He's never ridden at bike. EVER.
> >
> > He's never sat on a bike, never had one as a child. NOTHING, NADA, ZIP.
>
> I think a low bottom bracket trike would be the best option. Very easy to ride, and may be better
> at supporting the weight, plust they are a lot of fun to ride. Something like a Lightfoot
> (http://www.lightfootcycles.com/HTML/overview_trikes.htm) or if he doesn't want to spend a lot of
> money, an EZ-3 (http://www.easyracers.com/ez_3.htm) would be an excellent choice.

Joao,

You overlooked his desire for a two-wheeler:

"Initially I directed him to check out trikes, but he made it very clear that he wants to learn to
ride a two wheeler."

You are still on to something with the Lightfoot--only the Ranger. It is pretty tough. It would be
easier to make a recommendation if we knew the price range. A low bottom bracket LWB is the bike of
choice. If he can afford a Tour Easy, then that should be first choice. He may be over the rider
wieght limit, but a set of tandem wheels should make it OK. If he watches his diet and rides the
bike, the first few pounds will drop quickly and get him under the rider weight limit for the bike.
 
Bobinator wrote:
>
> Joao,
>
> You overlooked his desire for a two-wheeler:
>
> "Initially I directed him to check out trikes, but he made it very clear that he wants to learn to
> ride a two wheeler."

Doh! I read in a hurry, and skipped that part. That's what happens when I read after a mug of
espresso (yes, a mug! ;)

> You are still on to something with the Lightfoot--only the Ranger. It is pretty tough. It would
> be easier to make a recommendation if we knew the price range. A low bottom bracket LWB is the
> bike of choice. If he can afford a Tour Easy, then that should be first choice. He may be over
> the rider wieght limit, but a set of tandem wheels should make it OK. If he watches his diet and
> rides the bike, the first few pounds will drop quickly and get him under the rider weight limit
> for the bike.

I second all of that. For a good list of long wheel base bikes, see
http://www.bentrideronline.com/2002%20Buyer's%20Guide/LWB%202002.htm

I would also make sure to contact the bike's manufacturer before buying it, to ask about the
weight limits.

And I also agree with Jon Meinecke's "The bike he wants now may not be,-- indeed likely will not
be,-- the bike he wants 100 lbs later/lighter..." statement.

Cheers.
 
Lars S. Mulford <[email protected]> wrote:
: I showed him the EZ-Racers EZ-3 Trike but he didn't like the looks of it at all. He said that he
: wants to learn to ride a two wheel bike, because that will give him more options down the road
: when the weight starts coming off.

Umm 2-wheeled bents being more versatile than 3-wheeled? I'd think vice versa... 3-wheeled bents
have many extras other vehicles don't, like you can just bathe in the sun lying in the couch
comfortably, without putting your feet or hands on the ground ;p

2-wheeled bents are faster, while upright bikes might be most versatile as comes to riding
applications. I think if you have a different idea of versatility, then velomobiles or other trikes
are the most versatile... Is your bike for riding in -15 C? Heavy rain? Black ice?

Anyways, if his riding changes a lot he wants a new bike/trike anyway...

--
Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html varis at no spam please iki fi
 
"Brandi Weed" skrev...
> I suppose this sound frivolous but... can you fit training wheels to an EZ-1?

Actually met someone who did just that when he was learning to ride his new recumbent (an Evita-2).
He said they slowly bent so the transition to two wheels was gradual.

M.
 
Brandi Weed wrote:
>
> I suppose this sound frivolous but... can you fit training wheels to an EZ-1?

The main question is: Can an EZ-1 support a 320Lbs rider? And if he leans over, can the training
wheels support it? I doubt it.
 
Lars, Have your friend look at the EZ line of two wheel recumbents with low bottom brackets. They
seem to be very friendly to beginning bent riders. Maybe never having ridden a bike wont't be such a
disadvantage. He won't have to unlearn anything. Don
 
"Joao de Souza" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> Torben Scheel wrote:
> >
> > Otima Orca
>
> Not exactly a beginner's bike in my humble opinion. Keep in mind that the guy has never ridden a
> bike. A reclined seat and very high bottom bracket is not the right combination for the
> uninitiated.
>
Well, at least it would put the theory saying "learning to ride a recumbent isn't harder than
learning to ride an upright, if you newer tried either". Come to think of it, a LWB wouldn't work,
because the aerobelly is mandatory - not exactly what this guy needs ;-)

Seriously, the Orca has some advantages - the height gives a bit more reaction time than lowriders,
the OSS should feel least akward to most (i.e. if they ever rode a car), and it should give him
speed, when he's ready for
it. And I'm biased - never rode a LWB.

Regards, Torben
 
"Lars S. Mulford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Howdy folks!
>
> Ok, to answer some things brought up in earlier replies:
>
> No, this isn't a troll. Unfortunately, this is a real situation. The guy is one of my best friends
> from college days. He wants to bike, has never even been close to a bike, and is now facing some
> health issues that must bring about some habit changes and lifestyle changes. He wants to battle
> his weight first. He has a great desire to learn to ride a bike and likes the idea that recumbents
> would be less painful for his back.

Sorry if I offended you (or him) - not my intention. It just sounded like some kind of "Greystoke"
story - i would very much doubt that it could happen around here (Denmark) unless the person had
some serious handicap from birth. I wish him all the luck in the world with the project.

> I showed him the EZ-Racers EZ-3 Trike but he didn't like the looks of it
at
> all. He said that he wants to learn to ride a two wheel bike, because
that
> will give him more options down the road when the weight starts coming
off.

I think he should go with a bent with a little "sport" build into it - maybe he will feel more
sporty day by day, and keep riding because of that. Or perhaps he's the kind of person who
appreciates Bigha's or cannondales semi-recumbent build-in bragging right? Whatever keeps him on the
road, as other have mentioned.

Regards, Torben
 
"Torben Scheel" skrev

> Sorry if I offended you (or him) - not my intention. It just sounded like some kind of "Greystoke"
> story - i would very much doubt that it could happen around here (Denmark) unless the person had
> some serious handicap from birth. I wish him all the luck in the world with the project.

In that case I met Lady Greystoke yesterday. She was fooling around in the left side of the bikepath
and when I pulled up behind her and tried to get her to move over right (rang my bell) she sorta
panicked and went left and stopped instead. Looked pretty shaky before that too. Hope I didn't scare
her off bikes completely. In her middle twenties with boyfriend cheering her on.

Mikael
 
"Mikael Seierup" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In that case I met Lady Greystoke yesterday. She was fooling around in the left side of the
> bikepath and when I pulled up behind her and tried to get her to move over right (rang my bell)
> she sorta panicked and went left and stopped instead. Looked pretty shaky before that too. Hope I
> didn't scare her off bikes completely. In her
middle twenties
> with boyfriend cheering her on.

I bet she was imported ;-)

Nobody can live that long with public transport!
 
Lars S. Mulford wrote:

> Does anyone have any suggestions on a bike that would not only handle his weight for now, but also
> have docile enough manners that we can use it to teach him how to ride?

A Rebike and an EZ-1 would handle his weight. The Rebike would be far easier to learn to ride
because the pedals are lower.

If he lives near the San Francisco Bay Area, he's welcome to come try out mine and see if he could
learn to ride it.

--
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. -
Mother Teresa
 
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