Bicycling – the perfect exercise for the larger individual. The non-weight bearing position bicycling allows ranks it #1 in terms of no impact on the joints (better than running, walking and even using an elliptical). And large size on a bike does not handicap your performance like it would in a weight-bearing activity. In fact, larger size may actually translate into greater power output on the bike. So if you are seeking to resume regular activity, let me suggest that you look to the bicycle.
If you already have a bike, you may need to consider some modifications. Josh Prater, former head of Service at Bicycle Garage Indy, suggested the following possible small modifications for individuals over 300 pounds:
o Replace the quick release seat post with a bolt.
o Do not use a suspension seat post. These are generally rated to around 220 pounds.
o Use strong, mountain bike platform pedals.
o Use a non-adjustable handlebar stem.
o Do not position the saddle in the furthest position back on the railing. The railing can literally bend when the rider sits on the saddle.
The single biggest modification to your bike would be to the wheels, swapping them out for a much stronger and more durable set. Josh suggested having the Bicycle Garage Indy service team hand-build you a 36-hole, double-wall cassette hub wheel. This will be your biggest, but best investment of money.
If you need to shop for a new bike, let me share with you the biggest fear that I have observed in larger, novice cyclists. The act of slowing, scooting off the seat and getting your feet onto the ground seems to be the most harrowing aspect of returning to bicycling. If you have any problems with balance, then this concern is only magnified. Over the last several years, the bike industry has responded with a design which greatly reduces this problem.
Called a crank-forward position, this bike design allows you to remain seated at a stop with your feet flat on the ground.
Bicycle Garage Indy carries many Electra models and is happy to assist you with a test-ride.
Another option for larger individual and where balance is an is adult tricycle. Bicycle Garage Indy offers both a single speed and 3-speed Torker Tristar, an adult tricycle with a step-thru frame and pedal forward design for ease in mounting.
If you wish to continue researching the best bicycle for your frame, then you will want to read the following article in Bicycling Magazine:
Be sure to follow the embedded links to bicycle clothing for both men and women, as bike clothing is a huge factor in maximizing your comfort on the bicycle, and in the past has been hard to find for larger bicyclists.
Bicycle Garage Indy is dedicated to helping ALL individuals share in our love of biking. Come on in and let us assist you in getting started.