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Bicycle question

Post in 'The Green Room' started by JustWood, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Just bought a 4 cylinder pickup to cut down on the useage (gas consumption)of the V8 pickup. Would like to further reduce gas consumption by purchasing a bike for the trip to town (1.5 miles ) to the bank or hardware for a bolt and nut.

    Problem is I'm 6'5" ,310 lbs. I'm in good shape just a big guy. I don't think the average bike will work for me. Does anyone know a manufacturer that makes a bike that would fit me. I don't want a chiropractic nitemare like a 10 speed racer either.

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  2. Haston

    Haston Member

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    Check out something akin to a Gary Fisher mountain bike. With their singular geometry, GF they might be able to accomodate a rider your size. I have both a hardtail for commuting (20 mi/day) and a suspension verison for fun/trails. The shock on my suspension bike can be dialed in for riders approaching 300 pounds. Brand names aside, I would suggest taking the time to visit your local bike shop. The professional staff there will be able to steer you in the right direction and see for sure if somethig will fit before you make a purchase. Whatever you do, go for a highend brand name (Trek, Gary Fisher, many others), as these bikes are built very well and will give you the longest and most consistent service life. I am suggesting that you go with a mountain bike for the greatest flexibility and stability as you ride. Many brand-name moutain bikes can be purchased for reasonable prices in the $300-500 range. Also, if you go forward, do invest in a good helmet. Every single time I have crashed (and I have crashed often because I tend to push the envelope), I have smacked my head-- even in a low-speed, totally operator error wipe outs. Good luck. Biking is a great pleasure and once you get used to the equipment and the actual process of riding regularly, it will feel very natural and will provide great exercise and an even more rewarding sense of freedom. H.
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Lees - you are on the right track, great decision. What about selling that big V8? I had a small pickup, found that I really didn't need the box that much, and sold the pickup. Then got a trailer with a box size at least equal to the pickup. Now, I use a 32 mpg car for all travel, and just pull the trailer when I really need to carry a lot. One high mpg car saves a lot.

    I also bike a lot, now 61, and still at it. Take time to get really used to the bike so you don't take an unexpected and possibly dangerous spill on the road.
  4. dlpz

    dlpz New Member

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    Check out WWW.MTBR.COM They have some great forums like HEARTH.COM In particular they have a Clydesdale/Tall Riders forum. Good advice on bike selection and biking in general, no attitudes as well.
  5. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    What you need to look for is 36 spoke rims. 32 spokes might work but 36 will suit you best. I would try to stay away from suspension bikes. They really offer little for the person that is going to ride on the rode in a town setting for here and there errands.

    Performance bikes to the contrary when set up proper (fitted to a rider, adjusted) can be ridden at great comfort for many miles, I know as I do at elast two century rides every year if not more than that. But they clearly are not what you are after.
  6. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    So far the Chevy S10 is getting 26mpg and with the small box I can make parts runs etc. but when I gotta haul the big stuff like truck tires or a couple of stacks of pallets I gotta have the 1 ton. Wish I could get rid of it but business warrants it.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    No personal experience, (I prefer bikes with motors) but you might consider looking at a "recumbent" style bike. I've been told by some of their owners that they are stronger than the traditional style bike, and that they are more efficient - less air drag and better physical positioning of the pedalling muscles, plus the backrest on the seat gives you a brace on the power strokes... Don't know how true it is, but there is a logic to their claims.

    Pay a lot of attention to the frame size, get one that matches your leg length, as that will also get you appropriate length pedal cranks...

    I am of the opinion that having the right setup is more important than having the highest tech equipment... I remember back when I was in HS, reading an article about the "10-speed craze" as these were the bikes that were becoming hugely popular - and seeing a blurb about how to configure them, mentioning that most bikes weren't set up properly. I decided to apply the lessons in that article to my traditional 26" Huffy "boys bike" Single speed, coaster brake, with the 26" x 1.75" balloon tires, buckhorn handlebars, etc... I dropped the bars as low as I could, and flipped them over. I jacked the seat up as high as I could. I installed toe-clips... After doing so, I found myself regularly passing 10-speeds on hills, and riding up hills where others were pushing... Our town had one of those "rideathons" - I finished the first year 40 miler - only about half the starters did. The next year they shortened it to 20 miles, and I was in the first 50 finishers, and at least the first 30 were treating it as a race (I wasn't, just riding my normal pace...)

    Gooserider
  8. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I suggest a hardtail MTB. Find a nice bikeshop in your area, go there on a weekday if you can so you can leisurely spend time talking to the salesperson and have them fit you to a bike (which these days comes in S,M,L, unlike the days when i bought bikes). If they aren't willing to spend time helping you, go somewhere else. At 310lbs, you will be hard on rims/wheels, much more so than all of my 130lbs would be. Don't go for fancy straight laced wheels... 36 spokes, and a good beefy rim is nice. I prefer hardtails because I commute on some railtrails, maybe you do and I know our roads around me are barely classified as paved. :) Don't bother with rear suspension.

    Might want to consider a good mechanical disc brake for the weight, if you ever think you'll be doing more miles other than the 1.5 miles to town. That's a lot of mass to stop, discs offer the most power and is nice in winter. However, if it's a 1.5 flat miles, you can get by without them fine. You never know though, perhaps the 1.5 miles are so much fun, you might try longer rides, railtrails, etc. etc.

    Recumbents are nice, but since they're such a niche market, they're not going to be cheaper than an entry level MTB with the same equipment level, economies of scale and such.

    Jay
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Besides XC skiing, I think biking is some of the best all-around exercise you can get. And if you like mechanical things (and who among us does not?) using a multi-speed bike is a lot of fun. You can modulate your exertion level with the flip of a gear lever. And with the right bike and little conditioning, you can cover a surprising amount of ground with relatively little effort.

    Do you guys think he should look for an aluminum frame or chrome moly?
  10. dlpz

    dlpz New Member

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    Since I don't have any pictures of chainsaws to post, I'll put one up of my bike.

    I have to agree with other posts, you want a hardtail and not a full suspension bike (assuming your going to get a mountain bike).
    since you are a big dude, you don't want a dept. store bike, you'll kill it. Do go to a local bike store and get sized for a bike but don't feel guilty of buying it there. I bought mine through www.ibexbikes.com, I have an older Trophy Pro which for price vs. component is an awesome deal. At your size you really need to buy a good bike, others to look at are Kona and Specialized.

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  11. zendiagrams

    zendiagrams New Member

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    I am the same weight as you, but stand 6'7". I have a Trek Bike that I am very happy with. Mine is a Bike Path Series, Navigator, a cross between a street friendly bike, adn something to do light trails/dirt paths. It holds my size very well and the ride is great. However, the bike isn't as masculine looking as some other bikes.
  12. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Wouldn't worry about AL, CRMO, etc, although most entry level MTBs are AL anyway and with more weight, AL bikes are generally stiffer (not because of the material, just that mfgrs use more of it since it's lighter than CrMo gram for gram).

    Don't forget the helmet and the red LED blinkie on the back and white LED on the front!

    Jay
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I'll second the recumbent bikes! However, with your size you also might want to look at a recumbent trike. They sit very low but will take a lot of load and are fun to ride...and fast....and super fast going downhill.

    I bought my first recumbent bike (Bacchetta Giro 26) almost a year ago. I had looked at recumbents for many, many years and liked the looks of them and all that I had read about them. I have a terribly beat up body but do love to ride bike. Not real big time but have put on over 5,000 miles in a year.

    I had not been able to ride for many years but kept trying every year. Last spring I told my wife I just had to get back on the bike and had to do something to make this swelling go down in my body! She said it was only fat, but... Also, riding my road bike hurt my wrists, elbows, shoulders and especially my back and neck. Yes, I'm a bit of a mess. So, I made up my mind to get a recumbent.

    They say to ride as many as you can before choosing because there are so many different recumbents on the market. But finding these recumbents to try out is not easy. I was able to find two bike shops that handled some but they were a long ways off. Still, I went to both and tried what they had. I finally settled on the one I wanted but ended up having a bike shipped to our local bike shop and he set the bike up for me.

    Wonderful! I am now able to ride bike again and not hurt like crazy. I'm even able to walk fine after a long ride. No more saddle sores either. Granted, I didn't put on a great mileage last summer (and can't ride here in winter) but did get 1600+ miles in. Also lost 25 lbs doing it.

    Some have a problem the first time riding as it is so different riding them vs a regular bike. That causes a death grip on the handlebars and a not relaxed body. But once you relax you can ride just like a normal bike.

    The only negatives about recumbents are that they are expensive and when you replace a chain, it takes a lot more chain. But believe me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

    btw, in June I will be part of the crew backing up John Schlitter who is riding a recumbent bike in the Race Across America. RAAM John is the number one recumbent rider in the U.S. He will be riding a Bacchetta and hopes to cross the U.S. in less than 9 days.

    One good site that talks about recumbents is BentRiderOnline
  14. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the makes and models guys. I wanted to check them out online before I went in to a bike shop and had piles of info shoved down my throat and a salesmans presure to boot. Wanted to narrow it down before I got there ,thanks again. Backwoods ,you sound like me. I'm all beat up from years of logging. Torn ligament in knee, dislocated hip (2 years ago and still lots of pain) that I still haven't recovered from, 2 breaks in the same arm (2 seperate accidents) that required 7 pins, seperated clavical, and torn ligament in wrist. All on the right side. Too many years of logging I guess.Would be interested in what model you bought Backwoods.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Lee, you are right about the bodies. I did some logging many moons ago so know what you are talking about and how your body got in such rough shape.

    My bike is a Bacchetta Giro 26. Bacchetta and Rans are probably the best bikes around but there are many others too. Bacchetta has probably grabbed most of the market share in the last year or two. They are a good company and Mike is easy to talk to via email or via telephone.

    I looked in the 2007 brochure and the weight limit on mine is 275 and that is on most of them. However, the Agio, which is a long wheel base recumbent vs. the short wheel base of the Giro, has a weight limit of 350 lbs. That is a good bike too.

    Recumbents come in SWB, LWB, USS, etc. (short wheel base-long wheel base-under seat steering). The LWB are probably the easiest to ride and give a great soft ride plus still have the advantage of reduced wind resistance and comfort. The SWB are generally a faster bike but not necessarily so. The USS certainly are different. I haven't tried one but wouldn't be afraid to try.

    On my first couple of rides on the recumbent I was wobbly. I needed lots of room. On my visit to a second bike shop the shop was so that there was a very slight downgrade by the shop. He told me to just coast down the slope without peddaling. I did that twice and felt more comfortable. The third time I put my feet up on the pedals and then just kept going. No wobble at all.

    In short, there is a learning curve, but it is very shallow. The bottom line is that you can ride with comfort and not hurt like the dickens when you get off. Watch a regular bike rider walk after a long ride and then watch a recumbent rider walk after a long ride. With the recumbent, he doesn't even look like he's been riding! No sore butt either.

    Here's a link to Bacchetta: Baccheta Bikes

    Lee, don't be afraid to PM me for more info.
  16. Johnny Ringo

    Johnny Ringo New Member

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    You know how a submarine has "counter measures" to deploy when being tracked by a torpedo??? That's how our recumbent guy functions in our bike club when the german shepherd comes out right before the big hill!!! LOL He's a big fan of GRIZZLY STOPPER PEPPER SPRAY......... Sounds kinda goofy but at least around here we do have a lot of dogs that really love to play with bikes. It's something to consider if it could be a problem where you want to ride. It shouldn't have to be but that doesn't help when the dogs chewing on your shoe....
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Being closer to the dogs level makes it better for the guy on the bike. Start growling at them. Throws their whole scheme all out of kilter. Funny, I got bit by a dog for the first time last year...on my road bike, before I got the recumbent. Rode all summer long and never had one problem on the bike. That really surprised me because we have lots of dogs around here, but honestly, I had zero problems. I do keep pepper spray handy though, just in case. And a 4' length of rubber hose. Not vinyl hose, but rubber. Works much better. At my age you can't outrun the dogs any more.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    A dog handling tactic that is taught in Motorcycle safety classes MIGHT be useful on a pedal bike, I'm not sure - it works like a charm on an M/C, but not sure if a pedal bike can manage the needed speed change... It also takes a bit of pre-planning and advance looking - doesn't work on the "ambush mutts" that spring out of hiding. However most dogs are visible, and they have a readily observable "windup" behaviour pattern if they are inclined to chase - visible tracking, and going into a crouch, etc., clearly a different behavior from the dog that has no evil intent.

    What the motorcycle safety people say is that as soon as you see a dog doing the "windup", you should SLOW DOWN slightly, just back off the throttle 3-5mph and then maintain a steady speed. Then as soon as Rover starts to make his dash, accelerate back up the same 3-5mph. It is amazingly effective - Rover ends up about 20 feet behind you, in a tremendously confused state. First time I tried it, I nearly fell off the bike laughing at the expression on the dog's face as he tried to figure out where I'd vanished to...

    The theory is that dogs have been chasing things for eons, and have evolved a very efficient "intercept calculator" to tell them when and how fast to run in order to catch a meal moving at speed X, but it only works while they are stationary, they can't recalculate "on the fly". If you slow down while they are planning their move, then speed up once they commit, you screw up their calculations and they end up well behind you, in a serious state of mental bafflement that you aren't where you were supposed to be...

    The advantage over "encounter" tactics is that you never get close to the dog, thus there is no risk of him grabbing whatever you are trying to hit him with and taking you down, or otherwise disturbing your stability - also doesn't have the risk of the irresponsible dog owner seeing you attempt to "damage precious Muttley" and doing something unkind in return...

    Gooserider
  19. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Goose, may work but I don't think the speed difference and max speed of a bicyclist vrs a dog would make that trick effective for long. Would throw them off for a bit but a decent large sized german shepherd like dog is probably going to have a higher max speed over long periods than a cyclist on a straight and level road.

    What is useful on cyclists and on motorcycles that folks should learn (not just for dogs) is how to countersteer. You'll be able to turn a lot quicker once you gain the skill and habit. Countersteering is similar to a motorcycle in that you turn your handlebar a split second in the opposite direction you want to turn, it naturally puts the momentum of the bike in the direction you want to turn, unlike if you are going any speed and simply turn the direction you want to go. Works like a charm.

    Once, I ran over the back of a groundhog on my bike commute, although I slowed down enough so that I didn't literally run him over but my front tire put a mark on the guy's backside and he took off to my left... :)

    Jay
  20. Johnny Ringo

    Johnny Ringo New Member

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    I think goose may be on to something. Seems a lot like football when a defender has got the angle on a running-back but then the back kicks it into a higher gear. I've seen many a Viking defender looked dazed, confused and totally baffled when this happens to them.. :) Personally I would not want to give up my momentum on a pedal bike and prefer to accelerate as soon as the evil entent was verified, or to be perfectly honest, slow acceleration begins with me and continues until it is clear the dog has no interest. But... If he's up there waiting for me then the water bottle comes out. Flicking water at them always works. It's like they assume there is going to be big trouble if any of that unidentified stuff gets on them. Now it takes a leap of faith on the cyclists part to yell and flick water with authority.LOL But it's worked for me every-time. Except for that one time....... I had no time to do any of the above. That dog was clearly faster, quicker, and more intelligent than me. Ambushed on a hill......
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Getting off the bike is still probably the best. I've seen very few dogs that you can't make back down. However, there was one time that I did have a problem getting back on the bike. Every time I turned my back the dog would come at me. I finally did get away and also called the sheriff when I got home. No more problem with that dog.

    Had another neighbor who had a mean one. One day I went by, or tried, and the dog came right out and I could tell making friends was not on his mind. I wasted no time getting off the bike and had the dog backing up when someone came out of the house. Well, at least they stuck their head out the door. I not so politely informed them they would be missing a dog shortly if that continued as I would personally take care of the matter. But I also did call the sheriff again. No more problem with that dog either.

    If you do get off the bike they say the best thing is to keep the bike between you and the dog. I probably would if it required but as stated, I've not had much problem backing down a dog....and I've had lots of experience because of the type of work I used to do which required going into lots of people's driveways. You meet all sorts. Only two types I was afraid of; dobermans and St. Bernards. Dobermans are so fast and usually circle you and St. Bernards are just plain stupid and you have to knock them out before they will stop.

    Still through it all, I've been bit by only one dog in my life...and that was last spring. Had some times though that certainly had me a bit scared, but still managed to get out of the situations.
  22. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    As a bike commuter and tourer I've haven't had much incedents with dogs, been chased lazily by a few but they were more of the playful kind, nothing like teeth bare, growling, etc. etc. I have had numerous insane squirrels and one deer in Maine that crossed my path and the said groundhog I barely hit... I, however, think that most of the unleashed dog population would be found in more rural parts of the nation, not NJ where there are cars everywhere. Cars, here in NJ, do a good enough job to cull the leashless pets enough that I don't worry about leashleg dogs too much, most everybody rightfully uses a leash.

    The few times I've dealt with dogs is when I'm in nowhere, Maine or places like in rural VT, etc.

    Jay
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Actually my experience was the opposite - when I was doing delivery stuff, I always found the dogs to be scared about were the little "drop-kickable" psycho-mutts - toy poodles, chihuahas, etc... People with big dogs mostly realize that their dogs are potentially dangerous and control them, plus big dogs "advertise" when they have hostile intent... (Biggest problem with big dogs is when they are FRIENDLY - they are likely to knock you over, especially something like a Bernie tries to put his paws on your shoulders and give you a welcoming "doggie kiss" it's a bit of a load... ) The (mostly ladies) with psycho-mutts think of them as "cute" and don't try as hard to control them, and it is hard to tell the hostile behaviour pattern from the general yap-o-matic bouncing around until they come up and try to take a chunk out of your ankle. Most delivery guys I've mentioned this to say the same thing, little dogs are NUTS and thus unpredictable. I figure it's just an inferiority complex, they figure they have to do somethng just to make sure you notice them....

    Gooserider
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I agree on the virtues of countersteering, it is good for evading all sorts of issues. The trouble is turning in the direction the dog isn't... What the MSF teaches w/ regard to dogs, and other living obstacles like wildlife and pedestrians is to steer straight at them as long as possible while slowing, at the last moment, AFTER they have started to make their break for it, countersteer to avoid... Theory being that they can be hard to predict as to what they will do for evasive manuveurs - will they break straight ahead, or turn around and try to make it back to the sidewalk? By waiting for them to make their move you avoid the risk of dodging the same way they make their break...

    I did run over a dog once - medium small size, somewhere between a beagle and small collie size. Was a chronic chaser, and lived at the intersection of two streets where I had to make a corner, so had to slow to his speed for the corner and couldn't do the usual accellerate trick. I'd gotten him once with a steel toe, so he mostly kept his distance, but was still an annoyance. However one day I was accelerating as he was running along side and about 10' ahead of me. We approached the back of a parked car, so he did a jog to dodge the car and ended up right in front of me - I used the standard "obstacle surmounting" tactics (also taught by safety classes) and gave it the gas while pulling back on the handlebars - got three bumps, so I'm pretty sure I got him with both wheels and the frame. Found a big gob of hair hanging off the kickstand return spring when I got to work, but the bike never even wobbled. Saw the dog scrabbling for the curb in the rearview but couldn't stop as I would have been late for work.

    Did go to the house I thought he belonged to that evening, apologized to the lady, but told her that her dog should have been trained right in the first place. She claimed it wasn't their dog, only a stray that they fed, but that she would have her husband look for it. I did see the dog a few weeks later, so he did live through it, but I never got chased by him again - in fact all I ever saw of him was the back end as he high-tailed it the other way any time he heard me coming. (I'm not complaining....)

    Gooserider
  25. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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