Hello fellow fat bikers! This is my main post about biking. Read on to find out how to purchase your bike, learn about retailers that cater to us, and enjoy my experiences as a fat biker. This post has been around for a long time and I keep updating it, so some of this may not interest you. Just keep scrolling until you find the information you need. Happy riding!
April 2016 Update: When I updated this post last month, I found myself thinking more and more about how much I missed riding my bike. As I’ve said in this post, I’ve relocated from Tampa, FL to Atlanta, GA and this new, mountainous terrain has definitely deterred me from riding. While I’ve always enjoyed riding my bike, I’ve never been particularly coordinated on it. I don’t blame this on my weight, haha, though it definitely doesn’t help! Overall, I’ve just always been more geek than athlete. I’m most comfortable with a pen, not whipping handlebars through traffic. Suffice to say, Atlanta’s terrible drivers, massive hills and overall bad design do not excite me. I keep having dreams that I’m trying to get down the street when someone beeps at me, then commences to mow me down! Am I being dramatic? Possibly, but I’m far too out of shape to take the risk.
Enter, my resistance trainer (the contraption on the back of the bike that has my tire an inch above ground). I just couldn’t stop thinking about riding, so I finally dusted my baby off and found myself a bike store. I am now an Atlanta Cycling customer. They were awesome! Unfortunately, like most bike shops, they don’t really have anything that would work for a fat biker, but the salespeople were knowledgeable, so if you’re in Atlanta and need some help, these guys might be able to help you figure something out. Though I recommend you scroll down and find the information about fat bikers I’ve added in.
Anyways, I took ShaqqyPoo (my current bike name) in to the Ansley location and gave a tune up! She’s like new over here! Then I purchased my trainer. I went for the CycleOps Mag+ Trainer with Adjuster. As I always say throughout this post, biking is expensive. Especially fat biking, so prepare yourself for the sticker shock. After taxes, this will set you back about $240. On the plus side, this is all you need to spend. Take my advice and don’t spend more. Resistance trainers are amazing. They come with so many features and gadgets. My dear fat friend, please do yourself a favor and don’t fall for any of that. You are not Lance Armstrong. All you need is something that will let you ride. This will do that.
So am I biking again? YES! And it’s killing me! I used to ride every day. Now I’m just in the kitchen chugging along in five minute increments. Hopefully, in a few months, I’ll have a higher tolerance. But at least, I’m riding! So, if you have a bike and have also found yourself in a position where you can’t ride, a resistance trainer might be for you. Happy fat biking!
March 2016 Update: Oh my goodness! Can I just say THANK YOU to everyone that has ever seen this post? There are a ALOT of you. This post has turned out to be my most popular. According to WordPress, over 41,000 hits. That means someone reads this every day! Let me tell you, this blogging thing is hit or miss for me. Sometimes I’m really into it, sometimes I’m silent. Nevertheless, thanks to this post, my blog always has activity. I’m so glad I’ve been able to help so many of you!
So, I wanted to update this blog to make sure I mentioned Worksman Cycles. They’ve popped up in the comments a few times and I believe they deserve a look, especially since Trek has phased out my bike, the Trek 4, which is how this post ultimately got a happy ending. I’m sad about that, but fat bikers, be encouraged! We still have options, even if they are the cost of your first-born child!
As for my personal journey, I am unfortunately, no longer a daily bike rider. If you actually read my blog, you’ll see that I experienced a few personal setbacks and my life has altered a bit. On the bright side, I’m finally at a great place and have never been happier! I did lose my love for biking though. My life’s journey took me from bright, sunny, flat Tampa, Florida to dry and hot, traffic congested, mountainous Atlanta, Georgia. I really took for granted how easy it was to bike ride in Florida. You can see in front of you! Now I’m surrounded by hills and terrible drivers. It’s a bit discouraging for someone like me, who isn’t an experienced, fit rider. Ya’ll keep me in prayer. I hope I’ll find my way back to it, but so far, my beautiful baby is mostly in the garage.
Anyways, keep those posts coming and read down for my original post! Also, please, share photos of you all with your bikes! If possible. Can you even share images in my comments?!
THANK YOU FOR READING!!!
Previous Post from September 1, 2013:
Unfortunately, shopping for a bike as an overweight rider is a real pain in the ass. If you want something that will support your weight and not break down within a few months of regular use, you’ll find slim pickings for the fat people!
There is literally only one bicycle company that caters to oversized riders in the United Sates: Zize Bikes. They have bikes that carry people that weigh anywhere from 300-550 pounds. Impressive, given that most bikes cap out at 215 pounds.
Let me tell you, figuring out that Zize Bikes might be my only option was extra frustrating. It took hours of website/blog trolling for information, followed by endless reading about bike frames and wheels. Thank God I actually enjoy being full of useless information!
And you know what else? Finding all of this out would have been super embarrassing if I were any less confident. This is because I was forced to go into bike shop, after bike shop, seeking an alternative to Zize Bikes, only to end up informing THEM that Zize Bikes existed…as their mouths hung open in shock. Finally I asked a sales associate in one bike shop, “You don’t get many fat people coming in shopping for bikes, hunh?”
His reply: “Well, no. No we don’t. I suppose I never thought about it.”
Clearly, we have an untapped market here!
Unfortunately, Zize Bikes anomaly status was exactly why I was hesitant to purchase from them. Because the company is located in Oregon, it would have ended up costing me over $1,300 after purchase, shipping, assembly and accessories. Plus, if there were any issues, I’d have to do everything by mail AND I’d have been waiting 3-4 weeks before the bike even arrived! I was not feeling this thought at all. By the way, if you gasped out loud at that price, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re going to keep gasping. Inexpensive bikes are only for thin people. Overweight riders pay, PERIOD, so start saving your pennies!
Anyways, I’d pretty much given up all hope and was working on psyching myself up for the Zike Bike purchase, when I stepped into the only shop I had left on my list. This bike shop was Trek.
Trek has multiple franchises across the country and is very well known. This allows you the luxury of being able to purchase a bike locally and then visit their store with any questions, issues, upgrades and bike maintenance. Given that I was completely new to biking, this was VERY important.
Now, the first sales associate I talked to wasn’t quite sure if they had a bike for me, but he gave me a Trek catalog to peruse. That was a bit overwhelming. The Trek catalog is HUGE. They sure make a lot of bikes! But then, the next associate, a very nice gentlemen, heard my story and immediately told me a story of his own. It was about a brand new bike they had, new to their line, that had been designed for a man that was of a large build. He went on to give me this whole backstory behind how the bicycle came along. Imagine that. Even with an international company like Trek, it’s not normal to have a bike for overweight riders. I guess we’re only fat in America, eh?
Anyways…The good news: Trek offers a bike with a max weight of 350 pounds: The Trek Shift 4 WSD. This bike actually looked cool (Zize bikes are more function than flash) AND I could have it in a week. Another great thing about Trek is that a bike you purchase from them will have multiple frame options. By this I mean, you can choose a bike for men, that has the vertical bar across, or for women, that has the dip in the middle, as well as frame heights. Frame heights for the Trek Shift 4 WSD are: 13.5 (for small people like me, I’m 5’1 and a half inches tall), a 16.5 inch (for average heights) and a 19 inch (for the taller person).
The best news: Even after I loaded it up with crap and bought a ton of accessories, my order was below $1,000. Fuckin right!
So, how did this end? Well, I purchased the bike and it’s awesome! I can’t say enough good things about my purchase or the Trek store in South Tampa. They were incredibly helpful and my visits to the store have made me a fan for life. Here’s their information: 530 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33609. Call them at (813) 712-8000.
Now check out a photo of my bike and one of me looking like a jackass on it! Don’t judge, I’m still working on the whole fat bike riding outfit. Haha!