BikeBiz reported on SuperSizedCycles, a new business catering to Clydesdales cyclists. Bike forums always have questions from heavier cyclists about the right kind of bike to get. According to business owner Joan Denizot, bikes built to hold up to larger riders are difficult to find. "The people who really understand bikes told me that, in fact, it was very risky to ride a bike that was not built strong enough for my weight. Even bikes that were built for big riders only went up to 300 pounds, maximum."
Most of the cycles carried by Super Sized Cycles are built to hold 500 pounds. They are made from steel, the frames are all solidly welded together, the wheels, spokes, and rims are extra large and extra tough.
I asked Joan a few questions about Super Sized Cycles.
1. How long has Super Sized Cycles been in business? The store is brand new. I published it less than a month ago. At present, I've heard lots of positive feedback, but haven't made any sales. Since I'm still spending quite a bit of time refining the marketing side of the site, I know that www.SuperSizedCycles.com is not easy to find (yet!). I do know that the numbers of potential riders are huge (no pun intended), right now I've got to let them know about my store.
2. Where do you get your bikes? Currently the bikes I'm selling are built in NY state. There is a bike builder in AZ who is building me a prototype of another bike, which I hope to have within a couple of weeks. I am actively looking for more bikes, tricycles, and recumbents.
3. Any tips for new riders? Try it, you'll love it! Like Tom (The Amazing Shrinking Man), I had bariatric surgery a few months ago, and like him, I am so excited to get riding again!
I think that folks who haven't ridden in a while should do a few things to make themselves comfortable. This includes getting a bike they're not afraid of (i.e.--the tires won't pop or the frame won't crack). Invest in a good, soft seat.
It's always a good idea to have the okay from your doctor before undertaking any activity, especially if you are severely obese.
Start slow, and start flat. Find a nice paved bike path or road without any hills. Just get used to being on a bike again--practice using the brakes, getting your balance, making turns.
Gradually increase your distance each time you go out. Try a gentle hill when you're feeling strong.
Drink water while you're biking--it's important to keep hydrated!
If you're very worried about balance, think about a tricycle. You can get them both in the "traditional" style and also as recumbents.
Dress comfortably, but avoid baggy pants that could get caught in the chains.