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Comparing abilities now vs. 31 years ago

Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Comparing abilities now vs. 31 years ago

Old 10-09-19, 01:19 PM
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Comparing abilities now vs. 31 years ago

So in high school the bicycle was my main form of transportation. I did have a car that was driveable for about six months of my senior year, but I ended up getting hit while I was making a left hand turn (I was at fault). For me I rode 10 miles to school and 10 miles home and thought nothing of it, and later on it was 10 miles to school, five miles to work and 15 miles home... again thought nothing of it. At the time I was 6'4" and 175 pounds and 17 -18 years old. If I wanted to go somewhere I either had to bum a ride or ride my bike, and given those choices it was easier to just ride the bike. It wasn't uncommon for a 70-100 mile day back then with some of those miles having me wear a frame pack on my back carrying an alto saxophone to a football game or to the repair shop which was a 40 mile round trip ride.

I went into boot camp just a few weeks after graduating high school and never thought about riding seriously again until I was way out of shape in my mid 40s (6'3" and 406 pounds in March 2014). This is when I would get frustrated as I had an expectation of being able to ride like I did in high school when in reality riding a mile about killed me. I have since dropped down to 349 pounds, but then gained back to 380 pounds, and then lost to my current weight of 365 pounds. I am not the fastest rider, but I have done a 50 mile ride, and 15 miles is easy for me now.

Things that have helped me is to not get hung up on past abilities and ride anyway, make the ride fun, getting equipment that allowed a more upright riding position at first (I have since lost some belly and am able to ride a short stem on a race geometry frame), and using programs like Strava to track miles.

So to my fellow riders I say "Don't give up, keep turning the pedals, and have fun".
If you see an old fat guy levitating through town with his legs pumping furiously... well don't worry there is a bicycle underneath me.
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Old 10-12-19, 05:42 PM
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I have a slightly different problem. You're still young. At 75, I'm not. But I agree with you absolutely - enjoy what I can do, not what I can't.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:01 AM
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It's a shame we have become such an automobile dependent society. Except for 5 or 6 years in my 20's I have always rode a bike. However those roads I used to ride in high school are now practically freeways. Just think how much healthier we would all be if everyone used a bike for those trips that are 5 miles or less.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:46 AM
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Your accomplishments as a teenager with cycling are part of your cyclist’s resume. You did that and it was awesome. Can you do it again? Yes, but not the same way.

You already have strung together distances to different destinations by bike and watched your total mileage compound. You need that level of calorie burning and fitness now, don’t we all? It is definitely harder but you are also (hopefully) wiser. I’m not sure if you are a patient person or not but you have done a good job of reducing your weight a significant amount already and have established a new baseline easy distance of 15 miles. And the fact that you are making adjustments in order to ride a road bike comfortably at your current fitness level shows you are realistic and engaged.

Keep up the good work and know that the results will be cumulative over a longer period of time. I know that for me, I do better with cycling when I have a variety of riding experiences to keep it fresh and to minimize injuries and keep the experience positive.

Group riding with a bike club really helps if you aren’t doing it yet, solo riding for training, solo riding for errands or commuting to work, organized fundraiser rides, indoor spin classes, riding with people better than you or riding with people where you are more veteran than them. Any or all of these types of things can help.

Not sure what kind of road bike you have but just testing out your bike fit, optimizing saddles, tires, pedals, shoes, stems, etc... can be a productive quest. Some people thrive on this type of thing. I know that for me, something so seemingly insignificant as tire & tube and rim tape choice - gave me the last 2 years of riding 2 different road bikes in a sort of continuous road test mode. Riding open tubular clinchers that are as wide as your frame will allow with latex inner tubes and tubes and tubeless rim tape - has opened up new levels of comfort (and speed really) for me. I have a Lezyne digital tire gauge and pump my tires conservatively prior to each ride. And example is I might run 77psi front and 80psi rear on my Velocity A23 wheelset with Challenge Criterium 25mm open tubular tires.

My current weight is about 190 but I have been as high as 266#.

I’m not suggesting that you should run lightweight equipment while your weight is above your target weight but instead pointing out that small details matter. Another example is that as you amass more annual miles you are continually sorting out the mechanical performance of your steed. Eliminating one noise at a time will help your mechanical efficiency, ultimately leading to more fitness for you because you will feel more versatile on the bike - climbing out of the saddle, descending more confidently, etc...

Keep this forum up to date on your progress - the Clydesdale forum has always been one of the best ones.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:56 AM
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I don't have pics of me on a bike in my teens. But grew up.in rural Kansas. Rode my Sears Free Spirit ten speed all over. Gravel, cow paths, you name it. Didn't know any better... 6'3" 150 @18 years old went to Navy boot camp. And later took that bike to Albuquerque for my first duty station. I rode that bike till I was 20.

Got married, gave that bike to a friend. I changed duty stations a couple times, and rediscovered cycling at 28... Pic above shows me on a 1986 KHS Fiero I got in 89. I think the pic is 1990 on the left... I used a lot of other people's used parts on that bike the next several years. But rode that bike into the ground, or so I thought. Did a couple centuries on that bike. Took it on my next ship and rode it Australia, Singapore and more...

Retired from the Navy in 2001. Had pulled the old beast from slumber a few times, but I wasn't riding it...

2015 I pulled it out yet again. But now I was in the 350 range. I'm no longer 6'3", but 6'1" thanks to age, back injuries and gravity on my weighted self... But this time, I upgraded it substantially. Still used, but better stuff all the same. That is the middle pic...

Third pic was this summer. I was about 260 in that pic. Down from a heaviest of 378... That bike and I have a history. It isn't going anywhere. And I'm never going to ride it like I used to. However. In some ways, I am a better rider today. More patient. Thinking more of my body and how to be more efficient on the bike. I'm not as fast, yet, as I was. But I'm no longer mashing the pedals. Learned the value in spinning at times. But more, the value of enjoying the ride.

No way could I commute my 50 miles to work by bike. Not enough shoulder in the mountain pass to get there and back. My 30 year old self says sure, but my 56 year old beat up body laughs it off. Then again. Someone goes off the front in a group ride, I might give chase, for my own ego... And much more likely on my lighter bike than my KHS... Even if I don't catch them...

Nope. Not the rider I was. But the rider I am now is happy, and ok with that...

Awesome getting that weight off. It isn't easy. But it is worth it!
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Old 10-15-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kobe View Post
It's a shame we have become such an automobile dependent society. Except for 5 or 6 years in my 20's I have always rode a bike. However those roads I used to ride in high school are now practically freeways. Just think how much healthier we would all be if everyone used a bike for those trips that are 5 miles or less.
Living in a small rural town, an automobile is necessary. However, I do ride my bike around as much as possible when I need to go somewhere here in town. But it does seem that most people see a bike strictly as a toy or for recreational use only.
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Old 10-16-19, 04:27 PM
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Wow, 31 years ago I was about twice as fast as I am now. I was riding 25 miles a day (except Fridays, too many drunks early in the evening) and on my fastest time I completed it in 1 hour and 2 minutes. Now I ride 25 miles in around 2 hours. my weight difference from back then is about 5 or 10 lbs heavier and have about the same waist size. Retirement has been good, I lost about 20 lbs since I retired.
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