Author Topic: Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP  (Read 7196 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline midlifeblues

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« on: September 18, 2004, 06:07:58 pm »
Hello, I'm 47 years old 30 pounds over weight but have this burning desire to ride a bike across the united states. I would like to ride from Disneyworld to Disneyland. I live in California. I have an old mountain bike that I cruise around on. I would like to start this trip June 1 2005. As I will need to get a cross crountry bike what about recumbents? I would really appreciate any advice you have for me. Thank you for your time and help and if your passing through Truckee California you are more then welcome to spend the night. Thanks again have a great day

Offline Peaks

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2004, 08:50:40 pm »
Well, I'll jump in here with a reply.

First, what type of bike?  By far, the most popular seems to be the touring bike.  But, we used road bikes, and others used recumbants, others have used hybrids or mountain bikes with smooth tires.  The key is to find what is comfortable for you and within your budget.  

If you use a recumbant, then you will probably also use a trailer rather than paniers.  Nothing wrong with trailers.  We used them.  

Second, your trip is about 9 months away.  Use the time to loose some weight and get in shape for your trip.  You will appreciate it later.

Offline jitenshaka

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2004, 06:18:01 am »
 30 pounds overwieght on whose scale ? You might find you're in better shape than ya' thought.

   You can tour on anything as long as it fits you properly. Make sure you ride whatever you get at least 1000 miles before your long trip, this should not be a problem in the 4 months you have between March - June etc....

  If you go recumbent, I'll reccomend Terracycles' Easy reacher underseat rack for panniers, allows you to carry 2 sets of panniers on a 'bent. They work fabulously. (

  The BOB yak is a great trailer for touring, with one you can use just about any bike you like. just don't get silly and load the thing over 50 pounds.

 Me, I prefer something with wide tires and disc brakes (no knobbies) so the bike can deal with anything that happens along the way.

   Where on earth is Truckee , CA  ?

Offline bikerbob

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2004, 05:38:13 pm »
Go fulfill your dream. At age 63 I decided to go for it across America. I had read so many great stories about people who had done this ride.
I went on the Northern Route with Adventure Cycling. I had the pleasure of being the lone Canadian in an international group of 11. I cannot say enough good things about the team leader and the great people in the group. What a fantastic life adventure. Even today I still have flashbacks of the trip.
I now ride a Bacchetta Giro recumbent and plan to add racks and use my Arkel bags for my tour of Quebec in the summer of 2005.In 2006 I plan to ride the Pacific Coast route. One of the riders on the trip used a Easy Racer Tour Easy recumbent. He blew us away in terms of speed on the plains and he did well uphill as well.
One of the lessons I learned is have your bike geared properly to go over those challenging mountain ranges. Look for something in the neighborhood of an 11-34 on the rear cassette and a granny gear on the front of 24. In your training program practise spinning at 90 RPM. I put 1000 mile on my bike in preparation for the trip. My legs were never tired during the 60 mile days and I credit it to the conditioning. Your weight will melt of and then you can enjoy all that ice cream and pie that you eat during the the trip.Due to heart condition that was diagnosed after I returned I was not a strong steep hill or mountain climber. I was not in the least embarassed about walking the bike. We were partners. My condition in no way limits me. Before I departed for a rim to rim hike of the Grand Canyon this year my doctor said to listen to my body. I did fine and finished only 10 minutes behind a couple of 40 year olds.
Go for your dream. You are only coming this way once. See America for what it is. Absolutely fantastic country. You'll meet many absolutely fabulous people on the trip like the complete stanger in Cardston Alberta who cooked all of us buffalo stew with bisuits.

Offline rootchopper

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2004, 07:00:49 pm »
You are getting some good advice.  I have done three short 3-7 day tours, one on a conventional touring bike and the other two on an Easy Racers Tour Easy EX recumbent.

Recumbents tend to be more expensive than conventional bikes.  I do not have the under seat bags and racks but plan on getting them.

I recommmend shopping for a bike now.  Go somewhere where you can ride a whole bunch of them in a day. Choose the one that feels best, has the right gearing, and can be set up for touring.

I an fortunate in that I liked the Tour Easy and its EX configuration is very well suited for touring.  One other but of advice on recumbents; your body will take some getting used to the bike so plan on riding 1000 miles pre-trip. Not only will this get you in better shape but it will allow your leg muscles to adapt to the somewhat different stresses of a recubent.

Offline dano

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2004, 02:56:45 am »
Lots of luck!I began riding again after years out the saddle...did the adkins thing and working out to drop the weight and started riding with a huffy mnt. bike.then got me a good used road bike.Just ride every chance you get and go a little farther each trip,just dont overdo it right away.As for bikes,I did my last trip on a hybrid($300)and an old burley trailer I picked up used with no problems.Dont go too cheap but you dont need to spend a mint either.Lots of luck and enjoy!

Offline Sxphn

Mid Life & Over weight Crossing USA HELP
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2004, 06:34:34 am »
Midlifeblues:  Your main question seemed to be about recumbents.  I just got my first recumbent 2 months ago after years of riding upright bikes and I will tell you about my impressions.  
   First the negatives about recumbents.  The biggest negative is price -- my impression from shopping around is that a recumbent cost 2 to 2 1/2 times as much as an upright bike of the same quality.  So expect to pay $2000 for a recumbent that is roughly the quality of a $800 - 1000 upright.  When you buy accessories for a recumbent you will have fewer choices and often higher prices.  The second negative for me is that slow speed maneuvering is more difficult (at anything under 6 MPH, I am noticeably more unsteady on the recumbent.)  Starting from a stop is also more difficult which is a problem for me in traffic.  I also feel that I am somewhat slower climbing hills on my recumbent.
   Among the positives about recumbents for me is that I am convinced I am faster on the flats and really faster down the hills.  The slightest, shortest downhill makes my recumbent accelerate to the mid-twenties and a downhill over a hundred yards long puts it in the thirties with little work from me.  It also helps with certain physical problems I have had with riding.  There is no pressure at all on my hands -- this is wonderful!  With an upright bike, I was never able to ride more than a few hours without at least some numbness in my hands.  There is also no stiff neck and so far no stiff back on the recumbent.
    There are a few things which are sort of a wash between my upright and my recumbent.  One is visibility.  Recumbents have the advantage of a level head looking straight forward in a very relaxed, natural position without craning the neck -- great for sight-seeing and general comfort; upright bikes have the advantage of a higher seating postion with a better view over the front tire for pavement obstructions, better view over cars in traffic, and an easier look behind.  As for rear-end comfort, the recumbent is somewhat more comfortable but there is still a lot of pressure on the hip muscles can cause considerable discomfort.
    For touring I would suggest a long-wheel-base (usually abbreviated as LWB) recumbent, meaning that the front wheel is in front of the pedals. On a short-wheel-base (SWB) recumbent, the pedals are in front(and over top) of the front wheel.  Easyracers and Rans are both brands that are noted for long-wheel-based recumbents, are respected, and have been around for a long time.  Visit their websites.  I have also read positive comments about Burley recumbents.  There are also websites with information about recumbents that you can find easily using your favorite search engine.  
   I bought a used Easyracer Goldrush and I am happy with it.  I believe it will be superior to my upright for both touring and speed.  However, after the first 550 miles I still feel I am learning about the bike.  The 1000 miles training some respondents have suggested is probably a good figure to shoot for. Be careful and watch out for injuries as they can stop your preparations dead in the water.