REALLY embarrassing question.....

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by SierraSlim, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hey, y'all....

    I am MORTIFIED to have to ask this question, but it's necessary before I buy a bike.

    If a rider is really fat.... as in 250 pounds fat.... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif will ordinary aluminum bikes be okay to ride, or should I buy some specialized heavy-duty industrial-strength super-hero-sized cast-iron rhino bike or something so it won't collapse under me?

    Okay, you're allowed to snicker once.... but at least I've lost 30 pounds so far, biking, and want to use the new bike to lose 100 more. But I can't do that if the new bike is gonna fold like a house of cards when I start pounding on it. So the question -- and my mortification -- stands.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    Slim, (I just answered your PM.) I just want to say that you are indeed brave and admirable for posting your details. I speak from experience of knowing women and how sensitive this issue is. Saying that, and considering the bike that we discussed via PM, I really would have second thoughts about a bike with a carbon fiber fork. It may be fine, but then again it may not, and you don't want the weakest link to be the fork. Now Grant Peterson (Rivendell) would argue that you should go with a quality steel bike, like the ones he sells, and then there'd be no problem. I suspect that a quality aluminum frame like Trek probably makes, would be fine with the weight. You're not looking at stupid-light racing frames, but all-purpose frames. Just my 2 cents, and some it is speculation. Hopefully others here can offer more specific info about rider weight and aluminum frames. By the way, there are quality steel bikes out there, in addition to the rather expensive ones that Rivendell sells; if you decide to go the steel route.
     
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  3. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    The type of bikes you have been looking at will easily support your weight, as long as you stay with quality name brand bikes ( Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, Trek, Schwinn, etc. ), so don't worry about that aspect.

    Whether you choose a bike with a carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel frame is really up to which you like the best and can afford. I like aluminum or steel the best myself, but lots of folks are buying those carbon frame bikes now. Any of them will easily handle your weight.
     
  4. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Okay, Steve and Paramount,

    My embarrassment is now exceeded by my appreciation for your kindess and tact in answering my question. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

    Part of my excitement over biking is that, for the first time in maybe 30 years, I'm feeling confident that I CAN lose this weight once and for all, finally, if I just continue eating healthy (notice I did not say the D word) and riding my bike as far and as often as possible. I've lost and regained 1,000 pounds in my lifetime, probably, and I truly believe it's because I couldn't exercise. Swimming was out, because people kept trying to roll me back into the water, and walking was out because I have genetically skewed knees that need surgery. But -- miracle of miracles -- the biking doesn't seem to be bothering my knees almost at all, and it's an exercise I actually ENJOY, so I'll never give up doing it.

    I can't WAIT to find the perfect bike to help me in that plan! I, too, am suspicious of the 'if it looks too good to be true it probably is" bike deals, so will be exceedingly careful, but knowing at least in part what to look for helps me sooooo much, and the advice of the nice guys on this forum like you has been invaluable. I may end up just buying a new bike, in spite of the cost, to make sure it's not a lemon. But either way, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the help.

    SierraSlim (or will be)
     
  5. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    You're very welcome, Slim. You have a better chance of finding the "perfect bike" if you do deal with a good bike shop. However, sometimes it's an evolving process. I'm sure that the next bike that you buy, and ride your tour on, will be a joy and a revelation. So keep riding, keep reading, and keep posting here. BTW, I'm from Sacramento. You're not far from Rivendell (Walnut Creek), should you want to visit that shop. I'd love to, personally. Cheers, Steve
     
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  6. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Slim,
    I have read a few of the threads you have posted and see that you have been getting some very good advice and encouragement. I would just like to add that when you do decide to plunge in head first and make the trip to the bike shop you prepare yourself as much as possible. Research the brands the shop carry's. You need to be the one to tell them what you are looking for, where you have been and where you are going. Make sure you test ride more than one bike. They are the experts that will get you on the right bike sized for you. The test ride will be the proving ground.
    Good luck to you as you become increasingly addicted to cycling. The side effects are extreme- increased energy, stress relief and the worst of all explained weight loss.
    Dave
     
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  7. BHOFM

    BHOFM Active Member

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    Slim, this is not about your bike, but your future, this could happen to you!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN8kAjbuCIA
     
  8. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Dave, and thanks for the advice! I know it's good, because the few times I've ventured into a bike shop knowing nothing, the clerks are either throwing questions at me faster than I can answer them, or trying to steer me to a bike they want to sell me, without knowing what I need. So I'm doing exactly what you suggested.

    And I love what you said about the side effects; how many people have habits that are actuallhy GOOD for them, lol? I got the okay from my surgeon today to start biking again in a few days, so I am counting down the hours. After just 2 months of biking, I can't believe how much better I feel on the days I do... and how awful I feel on the days I don't!

    Thanks for the support; I'll take all I can get, lol.

    Sierra
     
  9. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    BHOFM, are you saying I should just Ride, Forrest, Ride??? ROFLOL. I intend to!! Thanks! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  10. tallrider721

    tallrider721 New Member

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    Hi Slim,

    Your enthusiasm is just wonderful to see and read about. This is going to be a really cool journey you are embarking on and yes, there is a lot to be discovered, just starting with the equipment. And make no mistake, cycling is a very equipment oriented sport. It is interesting how you characterized the approach that different sales people had at the few shops you visited. And those would be, unfortunately, common experiences among bike dealers these days. But there are some really excellent ones out there too.

    Find a good bike club in your area. Not a team, but a club where the focus is more on riding for fun, maybe graduating up to doing centuries (long organized rides). Clubs generally have with a strong sense of community and there will be other newbies there along with folks who love to share their passion for cycling with others. Talk to them and find out what is happening with the local bike shop scene. The various people you talk to will have varying opinions, but usually there are one or two shops in any given area that have really solid service and sales.

    As others have already mentioned, there are a lot of really good brands out there, so as long as you go to a reputable dealer you will get a good quality bike. I would stay away from carbon for your first bike unless you have the money to spend. I would concentrate on getting a model of bike that fits you properly (this is a huge issue, search for threads on this) and that appeals to you in general. But it is your relationship with the staff at the shop which is important, in my opinion.

    As far as what configuration of bike to go with (I assume we are talking about a road bike here) bikes with oversize aluminum tubing can be extremely strong, but do have a bit of a harsh ride. Steel is still a great material for fram building though and is extremely durable. But it may be more succeptible to frame flex with a big person on it.

    I would be mostly concerned with getting a decent frame that has the proper fit (preferably a model designed for woman, the geometry is different) and has good, servicable components. After that I would consider getting a local wheelbuilder to design some wheels specifically for you. Wheels can have a massive effect on the ride quality and reliability of a bike. I am currently 220lbs and build wheels differently for myself than I would for lighter weight riders.

    Lastly, make sure you get something you will be excited to ride every time you throw your leg over it. It sounds like the bug has bit with you anyway and don't require futher encouragement. Just get out there and have FUN. Riding a bike is one of the few things we, as responsible adults, get to do that connects us to that child within. Freedom.

    Happy Trails,

    Mark
     
  11. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Mark, great to meet you!

    I am SO impressed with how friendly and helpful people are on this site; I'm excited to see what gems of advice I've been offered every time I come! I will definitely look for a bike club, and should have thought of that sooner. While I'm not really comfortable among large groups of people, I'm sure there would be smaller groups within the bigger ones, if that makes sense, that I could latch onto. (They have no idea what they're getting into, LOL.)

    And I never would have thought of having wheels custom built; heck, I barely knew you could customize BIKES, lol. But, as concerned as I get about the weight issue, having a really strong frame and wheels will be super important, or I will be planting a hefty-sized backside imprint in the road. So that info was invaluable.

    I don't think it will be hard to find something I'm excited to throw a leg over -- or, in my case, crawl a leg over. I've already looked online at so many bikes of the brands that were suggested to me that I think I have a bad case of Cycle Fever or something. They're so dadgummed PRETTY -- though an awful lot of them seem to be just black or just white. For my personal taste, that would be pretty boring... but I'm also getting hooked on accessories for the bikes, so I could dress it up with jewel-toned saddles or handlebar covers (what are those things called??). The bike that came closest to giving me cardiac arrest caused by cuteness (how's that for alliteration) was black with white polka dots, believe it or not, and hot pink accessories. Now THAT's a bike, lol, though I can just imagine the looks on the others' faces if I were to pull up on that at the tour. Too funny for words. Seriously, though... I love jewel tones, and if I could find a cobalt blue or candy-apple red or -- yummm -- royal purple bicycle, I just might not be able to turn it down. And will have to remember that all the how-good-a-bike-is-it stuff is more important! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif

    Now, if I can just find biking clothes made by Omar the Tent-Maker, I'm in business, lol.

    Have a great one, and thanks again for the wonderful encouragement.

    Sierra
     
  12. mccornwall

    mccornwall New Member

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    My old Cannondale gave up the ghost (non-weight related failure and parts hard to come buy except for fleabay) so I was forced <grin> to buy a new bike. I got a Specialized Secteur Elite...it's aluminum with a carbon fork. I was 263lbs when I (re-)started riding this year. I no longer weigh that but the point is...no problems. I believe the rear wheel is 32 spokes with less spokes on front. I'm not at home to confirm that though. I'm happy to ride it every single time I can find/make time.
    Ride on!!
     
  13. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Mike, and thanks for the input!

    I have seen some Specialized bikes online and on Craigslist, but didn't know anything about them. Is having more spokes, then, preferable to fewer? I guess it would make sense that more of them would support my weight better than fewer of them would. The things I never thought about keep jumping up and biting me, lol. I DO plan to ride on, lol. Since I recently retired I can ride just about every day, so really need a bike that can stand up to that with me on it.

    Thanks again!

    Sierra
     
  14. mccornwall

    mccornwall New Member

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    The LBS guy made a point of mentioning it when I expressed reservations about my weight so I would think so. The old C-Dale was a touring bike so front and back had a zillion spokes each I think...meant to carry weight like panniers and such.
     
  15. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Awesome, Mike!

    Every bit of info I get on these boards helps me to narrow down what I'm really looking for, and this is one more piece of the puzzle. Lots of spokes it is. Another guy who replied to me even suggested custom-made wheels, so I may go down that path, which of course could include lots of spokes. Since I'll have a Sag wagon on the tour, I won't need too much in the panniers, I wouldn't think; but my hefty self is quite enough, lol.

    Thanks again!

    Sierra
     
  16. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Nice choice, Mac. The Specialized Secteur is an especially good choice for overweight riders because of its "endurance" geometry. The head tube is longer so the rider has the option of a slightly more vertical torso angle, which leaves the diaphragm and personal parts less crowded. Most of the frames supplied by internet dealers will not have this feature, so be aware. They are good bikes, but you will work harder trying to get into a comfortable position on them.

    As you lose weight the stem can be lowered accordingly.
     
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  17. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Wow, Bobcat! I actually understood what you were talking about. That doesn't always happen for me, lol.

    I went to their website and looked at some Specialized Secteurs. They look really nice! I think they're out of my budget for my first bike, but I will definitely keep them and a vertical torso angle in mind.

    Thanks!!

    Sierra
     
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