Archive | February, 2008

On Choosing a bike: Part 1

29 Feb

It seems a fair amount of people that end up here are looking for advice on purchasing a bike for a large rider. So I am going to start writing a series of posts on choosing a bike.

The most important thing to consider is what type of riding you will be doing.

If your running simple errands around your home and just want a fun way to get a bit of exercise I would recommend something with a more relaxed riding position. These bikes could take several forms. I am a big fan of Dutch and Dutch-style city bikes. They are simple to maintain, stylish and very comfortable to ride. The down side to a Dutch bike is the expense, Making it more of a commitment but what better to commit to than a life time of fun on your bike.

Side note:

A good bike is an investment; if you treat it well you could have it for a lifetime. Buying a cheap bike can cost you more to maintenance in the long run if not giving out completely.

Other bikes would include a cute vintage cruiser. These are fun but aren’t built for speed if that’s something you desire. The other downside of these bikes is that they don’t always include a big range of gears so getting up a hill may be more of a challenge than it would on bikes with more speeds. Some of these bikes are equipped with a very low gear, which is nice for climbing. So if you want one find out about gearing options.

A note on step-trough or “girl bikes”:

If you want to ride in a dress or skirt and don’t want to wear bike shorts underneath you will want a step through bike. The downside to these bikes is the loss of some of there structural integrity in other words; they can break easier than a “mans” frame. There are a couple ways to get around this. Mixte frames! They are cute and tough (tougher than some “men’s” frames) unfortunately there aren’t many on the new market but plenty for sale used (see note on buying used). Some step-though bikes are tougher because of design and manufacture than others. This is again a time when paying more can save you some stress in the future.

Buying used:

Buying a used bike can be a great way to go! There are plenty of old bikes to be had in most parts of the country and you can something good. The problem with buying used is you can also get a bike in bad shape without knowing it. If you already know a lot about bikes you’ll know what to look for If you don’t it’s hard to know if important things are striped or the last time the bike was given a good lube. So for the beginner I would only buy a used bike from a shop. The shop should have already given the bike a good once over.

Lastly a hybrid or “commuter bike”. These bikes are often similar to mountain bikes in the gearing and braking system. The uprightness will depend on the bike. Basically a hybrid is a very utilitarian bike, lots of gears fairly upright and can be easily modified depending on your purpose. You could also modify a mountain bike for this purpose.

Other people have found that recumbent bikes do the trick for them. I have never ridden a recumbent and really don’t have much knowledge about them. If they seem like what you might be interested in I would go to your shop and check it out.

The second major consideration is what the frame is made out of. Mr. Sheldon brown has a good guide about this but roughly here are the goods. You want a strong bike. There is nothing wrong with a good steel frame. Chromoly or “CroMo” is a great choice in my opinion because it can carry a load but it’s much lighter than traditional steel. The material I would most caution against is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is very brittle and can break without warning and is usually not recommended for people over 200lbs. This is usually used in Road bikes that are intended more for racing than the kind of basic use and travel you would be doing as a beginner starting out. If you want to start training to race more power to you just be advised that along with the added performance of carbon fiber there are problems.

If you want a road bike but you want it tough I would say look for a Touring bike. There are built and designed to carry heavy loads long distances. It’s a small part of the road bike market but they build them tough often with more forgiving gearing than a racing bike.  A Cyclocross bike is as strong as a Touring bike but without the storage rack.  With the popularity of cyclocross racing more bike are available and at lower prices than the few touring bikes on the market.

As far as specific bikes Electra makes a Dutch-style bike as well as several cruisers. If your in the Portland, Oregon Clever Cycles has a wonderful collecting of Dutch bikes and is one of the only places in the US to get some of the wonderful bikes they carry. As far as a hybrid goes most major manufacturers like Trek and Specialized make them. Surly also makes some great bikes; The Long haul Trucker being a bike I own and would highly recommend to anyone. Bianchi also makes some great bikes, A touring bike the Velpe, the Milano a cute city bike as well as some hybrids.

Next wheels and saddles.

Thanks for the hits

26 Feb

    I just wanted to say hello and thank you to the people reading this blog.  Every month I get more hits and I always wonder who is ending up here and why.  So pipe up!  If you have questions ask and if you have something to add say so.

A couple posts ago I mentioned bike information specific to large riders.  I am tackling bike styles and frame materials first.  And I am in the process of writing it.  In other words what kinds of bikes are good for what.  Hopefully that should be up by Friday.

Cute Monday:

25 Feb

I just got home from school and what do I find in my inbox? A lovely video (PSA) from London.  It’s a little sappy but I’m happy it exists.


Fatties for Bikes?

22 Feb

Ok, after talking to my partner in crime we decided a wiki would be the way to go. I don’t want to skirt around the issue that it is a wiki for fat people on bikes to share knowledge specific to weight and cycling. I was thinking of calling it “fat girls on bikes” or “fat girls for bikes” but I don’t want to neglect fat men from the forum.

I suppose the info is the same for the most part. It could be directed towards women but have a men’s section. Yes I like that, I thing we know there are a few less things for women than men out there. My knowledge is centered around being a woman and those of future co-conspirators would be as well.

Things to discuss:

Choosing the right bike or parts

Plus sized clothing


respect from your local shop.

Brilliant Idea?

18 Feb

Write this blog is great and all but if your trying to find certain information it could be pretty hard to navigate.  I have realized If I really wanted to create a tool for big riders (fat, curvy, stocky etc.) I would  be better off creating a database or wiki.  A basic old database would be nice, maybe mimic Sheldon Brown but large specific.  Or a wiki where if would be easier for many people to add content.  I also think a forum would make a good addition so people could ask more specific questions.

Any ideas?  The more feed back I get the more I might actuallly get around to doing this.

Don’t be afraid of the Big Riders Workshop

18 Feb

Citybikes is a adding classes to their line up of awesome services.  The mainteance for pansies class was a sellout and plenty of you signed up for the big riders class but I didn’t see you.  Maybe there was some confusion but the class was pretty cool and would engage any skill level weather you’ve been riding for years of don’t even have a bike yet.

Seriously, If this class is offered again show up.  Citybikes is the least snooty shop in town, you’ll always be treated with respect and kindness.  Hopefully they’ll keep it up and if they do I’ll post the dates and classes.

Remember large rider class at citybikes tomorrow

16 Feb

Citybikes workers cooperative will be hosting 4 FREE workshops in February!
All workshops are from 6-8pm at the Citybikes Annex, located at 734 SE Ankeny (one block south of E Burnside).
call to pre-register at 503.239.6951

Sunday, February 17th:  The Big Rider
This workshop is tailored for larger riders.  Which components should i use? What bike companies make well fitting, plus size clothing?  and much more!

I just wanted to put the word out again.

Weather is on our side and love is in the air

13 Feb

Weather is on our side and love is in the air.  What is more wonderful than a bike date.  A bike date on valentines day.  Velotines as some are calling it these days.

Bulbs are sprouting, birds are chirping and is plenty warm  to get out there and have some lovely times with the one you love.  If it’s that special girl or boy in your life or that special bike get out on the road and spend some quality time together.

Remember breaks in rain are for lovers.

Also for my fat sisters out there:  Have you been dreaming about wool cycling tights or knickers?  I may have just found the place.  I’m getting a pair so I’m going to wait until I try them to endorse them.  I shouldn’t take me more than a week or two to find out.

More on the cyclist in Beaverton

12 Feb

More from the Oregonian here.

He was a teenager who went to an arts academy. This all really bothers me. I am an art student and classmate at my school and an alumni where killed in October. It’s all coincidence but it’s troubling.

Via the Oregonian

11 Feb

Beaverton cyclist killed in TriMet bus collision