I’m Fat and I Finally Found a Bike!

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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.

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AtlantaCyclingEnter, 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!

WorksmanCyclesLogoSo, 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:

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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).

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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!

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41 thoughts on “I’m Fat and I Finally Found a Bike!

  1. Just ordered a Trek 4. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m a big guy (340). Lost about 85 pounds 3 years ago and started riding. I gained all my weight back and I can’t ride my old bike because I don’t think it can safely support me. I’m hopeful my new Trek will do the trick.

    • No problem! Actually, you’ve just inspired me. I purchased my bike while I was in Florida. Recently I moved to Georgia and all of these hills are incredibly intimidating. I haven’t rode my bike since I got here. The weather is clearing up though, so I know I need to try and ride. Reading this is a reminder to get back to it!

      And yes, the Trek should hold up. At my highest I was about 340 or 350. Now I hover in the lower 300’s and I hope to drop more soon. I’ve actually heard this Trek can hold up 450 pounds, so you should be fine. Like any bike, it will hold up under a frame that’s a bit heavier than it’s made for and given the strength and quality of these materials, the outlooks seems good even on someone over 350 pounds. Maybe you’ll have to do a bit more maintenance, but with the price of bikes for heavy people, that’s better than replacing the bike. Come back and let me know how you like it!

      • Hello Shaq,

        I’m currently in Georgia (Atlanta area) and I have been looking for a bike for a decent price for several months. I’m currently 5’9 and weigh 360 pounds, your blog has really inspired me, I’m checking out this website ASAP!

      • Hi,

        first I want to thank you for posting this.
        I never thought I would be leaving a comment on any of the social media sites as there are so many more beautiful things to do than sit in front of the PC (such as biking lol) BUT this is really great. Let me explain.

        I have an overweight father. And I want to help him. I know, he has to want to help himself in the first place, but it looks like the psychological side to being overweight many times prevents or makes it really hard to do something about it. Me and my sister have decided to help my father get a better, and more active life, because we think he is ready to face his own wrongdoings (overeating, passive lifestyle, etc.). He is now at a point where he has to sit most of the time because supporting his weight, 375 lbs at the age of 60 does not seem anything easy. And, he wants to do something about it, but he doesn’t know what. For quite some time, he has been talking about biking as a way to exercise and drop weight.I will take your insights on that if you don’t mind sharing.

        Point here is, we are from Slovakia and if you had a hard time with bike choices of overweight people here in the US, you can only imagine there are NO such choices back home. I live in the US, and my sister in Belgium, and the closest thing my sister found was a store in Germany but still not for his weight.

        I have no problem purchasing this TREK bike for him, money here is out of question because health is more important, but I want to make sure – you said this bike can resist over 350 lbs? Would it hold up to my father’s 375 lbs?

        We were told at another store that for such a weight it would be impossible to feel comfortable on standard seat – do you find the seat on this bike bigger and compatible with bigger person’s proportions/weight?

        I am definitely going to do more research and some phone calls, but interestingly enough, I came accros your post as the very first thing and so thank you for this information – something to start working with.

        I wish you all the best and many happy bike rides!
        Andrea

  2. How did you spec it out? After reading your post, I gave my local Trek store a call and they didn’t seem very knowledgeable about this issue.

    Maybe I’ll have to do a custom build or something.

    • Hi!

      Well, I’m no master bike rider here, so really, I just wanted something that wouldn’t fall apart after a few uses under my weight. As such, I wasn’t really looking to do much “spec” work. With that being said, the bike is featured in their catalog and on their website, so it was pretty easy to see what was on the bike. After that, I just chose my options. For instance, because I’m so short, I got the 13 inch frame. And once in the store, I decided that I preferred one of the seats they had on the wall to the factory seat, so I purchased a new seat. If you want a different type of wheel, you can ask if that’s available. It was all pretty easy and painless.

      I will say though, that I benefited from the knowledge of someone that had already heard of this bike, but I don’t think that’s a huge deal. I mean, Trek makes a TON of bikes. No sales person will know them all. All that you need is someone that understands the company and what it offers for bikes based on their build. I’d go back into the store and find a more seasoned sales person that can help you out. I hope you’ll come back if you purchase a bike and let me know how it goes!

  3. I found this post from a Google search, trying to find a bike for my fat ass. This post made me chuckle a bit, so I roamed the rest of your site, and found myself joyfully laughing right along with you through your words. You are an amazing, beautiful and intelligent woman, Shaq. Thank you! Thank you for being you. <3

    • Hi Cheri,

      Thank you for those kind words. I really do appreciate it. I actually haven’t posted anything in a few months. You’ve inspired me to get on that! I hope you’ll stick around. Man, you really did make my day!

  4. Needed this info bad. Went to a bike store and they told me this over a year ago. I have trust issues. Lol.But seeing this in print from someone with experience made my day. My kids are 6 & 3 and I want to keep up with them. I’m heading to get my trek and I now will be able to thanks to you. Best wishes!

  5. My dad got a Trek bike and is loving it…I bought a cheap Schwinn at Walmart and am always struggling to keep up, and it’s discouraged me from wanting to keep riding. So I searched for a bike for overweight people (my highest was 330, and I’ve gotten as low as 215, but now I’m back to somewhere in the middle). And funny enough, here’s your article recommending Trek…in Tampa even! Thanks for the info 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for this!! I found it after I was on Google trying to find a bike for overweight women. I have a 2 and 4 yr old and I want to ride with then so bad! I’m in kentucky so now I need to Google and see if I have a trek near me. Thanks again!!

  7. Just FYI, another option for bikes that are great for overweight people is Worksman Cycles in New York. They have a website. They’ve been around forever and specialize in ultra heavy-duty bikes for companies that use them to haul product, etc.

    They have several bikes (and trikes) that are suitable for people up to 500 pounds and they’re super nice to work with over the phone. I ended up with a cute cruiser that I’m loving.

    Thanks so much for your blog and that’s a great bike you’ve got there. I’m not quite down to that weight (yet), but when I am, that might be a great bike for me for trail riding.

    • Thanks! So many people have since told me about Worksman Cycles. No regrets though, I’m very happy with the bike I found. Still, I’m glad people have posted here about it. I hope folks are reading down and finding out. I’m updatiing the post today though!

      How is your journey coming along?

  8. Actually, there IS another retailer that offers a bike for *big* people. It’s Worksman Cycles, and they have a factory in New York. I am enclosing their website and the weight limit for their bikes? 450 lbs. At least, the two I viewed are, I know they have a *lighter* weight offering as well. Just thought you might be interested .. like you, I wanted a bike, and am fat, and don’t trust those scrawny bikes available and the shops were totally unable to help. Keep ridin’ and smilin’ !

    http://www.workmanscycles.com

    • Yes, I know of them, however, I didn’t at the time of my bike purchase. I’m currently about to update this post, something I should have done a year ago. Thanks for your post! I really hope people read the comments and found what you said.

      So, have you purchased anything yourself?

  9. Hey Shaq!

    Are you still using that bike?!?
    This post was funny, helpful, and encouraging.
    I was online looking for a bike to fit my ass on!
    I’m going to go check out Trek and Zize rit now!
    Thanks!

    Wendy

    • Ha! I wish! I’ve since moved to Georgia. All of these hills are daunting. Now my poor bike is just locked away. I hope to eventually take it to a park, but I doubt I’ll ever ride daily again. I never really noticed, but a big part of why I rode so frequently is because I lived in beautiful, flat, sunny Florida. Now I’m surrounded by hills, crazy drivers, this crazy Georgia weather and hills the size of God-like mountains. Good grief.

  10. I’m so grateful to find this blog. I am really missing having a bike. I find walking for exercise incredibly boring, I’m too big for aerobics (and the impact is a killer). Water aerobics is great, but hard to schedule. I’m definitely going to have to save, but I’m headed in the right direction. Thanks for your hard research!!

  11. Hey, girl! Thanks for the great post, it really helped me search for a bike. I’m 6’1 and 330, but I bike all the time on an expensive ebike. Trouble is that I can only ride it for pleasure and little adventures, which is great. But I wouldn’t dare lock it up anywhere I couldn’t see it directly. In Chicago, it would be gone in less than 5 minutes. So I wanted a commuter to ride around and excercise, but that I could actually lock up for a little while to do some shopping or grab a bite. To let everyone know, they have stopped producing the Trek Shift 4 🙁 I just found one locally after a long search, all the trek stores were out of stock for the 21 inch. And it was on sale! The shop told me that Trek is phasing out the Shift 4, but will keep producing the 3? That seems almost deliberately shutting out their only option for our demographic. I find that strange since it is rated 5 stars everywhere, and it’s out of stock in most places. I guess big people don’t ride enough to make it worth their while. Mine being on sale reflect that, I guess. If I didn’t read your article, I wouldn’t have acted quickly enough to find one of the last around. I test rode it, it was amazing, and I purchased it on the spot. $700 including tax! They are installing Mr. Tuffy liners and slime (I do this to all my bikes, and haven’t had a flat in over 12 years) this evening, and I’m picking it up tomorrow! Whoo-hoo! Love the brushed aluminum finish, it looks pimp…

      • I’ve loved it more than any other bike I’ve owned. I rode the hell out of it last year until I threw out my back. I was riding about 4 times a week for 20 mile rides, and was losing a good deal of weight. When the nicer weather hit a few weeks ago, I brought it into my local bike repair shop because I realized I could not put down the seat. They told me that I bent the frame at the top of the seat post area, because I rode it hard without having the seat post far enough into the frame. Goddamnit! I brought it back to my local Trek dealer begging them to exchange it, but they wouldn’t since it was obviously my fault. That really made me feel fat: I broke a bike design for a fat dude! They said that could have happened to any normal sized person 🙂 They did take some money off a new one, and changed all of my many accessories over to the new bike free of charge. That was cool of them. So, I ended up paying $600 including tax to get my bike back (it was on sale). I love it so much, I bought it twice! Let’s see someone beat that. It was their last one, too. I’m gonna baby this one, I want it forever. Thanks again for the help in finding this awesome bike, and I hope you get back into it soon. I’m sure there are local bike trails that you could drive it to, that way you don’t have to worry about dangerous auto traffic. Good luck!

  12. Thank you so much for your info on the bike you bought. I’ve been avoiding going to a regular bike shop, now I’ll get what you got and be very happy! ~Maria K, Calif.

  13. They no longer make this bike. They make up to a Shift 3 and say it isn’t recommended for anyone more than 300lbs. Its $659. I’ve scoured ebay and craigslist to no avail. Bike people have been less than helpful. Might skip Trek and try the Worksman. I read another guy on thread say he used a Trek 7200 at over 400 lbs.

    • The Trek Product Manager is this YT vid states that the Trek 3 is rated up to 350 pounds! Maybe this is why they phased out the Shift 4? It would be great if they educated their dealers of this fact. We may have cause to celebrate!

  14. Hi everyone

    I’m responding from Worksman Cycles, Americas oldest bike manufacturer where we specialize in commercial grade adult bikes and trikes We are pleased to let all of you know that we offer models for riders up to 500 lbs.

    So if you feel you or someone you know requires a heavy duty bike or trike please visit http://www.worksman.com or call us at 800 962 bike weekdays 9-5 eastern time

    Thanks for reading this. Now get out and ride!

  15. Hey Miss Shaq,

    I came across your blog a few months ago when I was looking to buy a bike for my 350 lb. frame. Your post about finding the perfect bike is really cool and I finally found the right bike for me a my local Trek dealer. I have spent the past few months getting out of debt but now I have all the money ready to buy my bike and start losing weight! I have the motivation and I am eating right so all I need now is one of those bike stereos and I’ll be cruising on the streets of my city in no time. Have a good one Shaq and stay happy!

  16. Hi
    I am a 63 year old man with knee problems and some issues from a back injury last year. It made using my 1993 Trek 700 metrotrack too painful here in Athens GA. About one month ago I got a RadWagon from Rad Power Bikes in Seatle. I am back to riding every where with the motor assist on the lowest level. It is a cargo bike with a 750W motor that helps me on those hills and was only $1600 with a full year warranty. Worth a look It is rated for 350 lb and while heavy(75#) handles easily
    David

  17. Hey shaq! Nice blog! I’ve been cycling for years with a BMI in the “Obese” category. Cycling Is great for your heart, not bad on the knees like walking or jogging…and make me feel like a kid again! Have you tried the “Silver Comet trail” in northwest Atlanta? It’s a great safe, long, no traffic path! Be safe out there!

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