20st Ex Road Rider Wants To Get Back On The Road

Pantani99 Posts: 5
edited November 2010 in Road buying advice

I used to do a lot of road riding and was hardly ever off of my old Cannondale. 170 miles per week commuting plus a midweek 10 TT and regular weekend group rides. Around 7 years ago I became ill and couldn't ride for some time. I lost fitness and found it hard to get back on the bike. That was the beginning of the end of my cycling.

Now, 7 years later, aged 45 and around 8st heavier, I'm thinking I really should do something about getting fit again. The trouble is that I daren't get back on the Cannondale (yes I kept it, I couldn't bring myself to part with it) for two reasons. 1. I couldn't get into that riding position at the moment as I have too much excess baggage in the way. 2. I'm scared it will collapse under my weight.

I am able to buy a new bike through the 'ride to work' scheme that my employer provides. I would probably look to start by commuting (12 miles each way) once a week and build up again. I am thinking that I should probably get a hybrid until I am able to get back on the road bike. The question is, which one?

I loved the feel of speed that the road bike gave me so I am leaning more toward a bike with 700c wheels. My concern is that these won't be strong enough to carry my 20st. I have been looking at the Specialized Sirrus but I'm worried about the wheels.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    Hello and welcome.
    I have no experience of the bikes but do you have a local bike shop that might be able to advise you?
    Have a go at the search function here as well with 'weight'.
    I'm sure there have been similar posts recently.
    Good luck :)
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If you keep on top of the maintenance and particularly make sure your wheels are trued and tensioned, there's no reason why the Sirrus shouldn't be up to the task - fwiw Speciailized are one of the best in terms of warranty support if worried about the limitations of your bike. There's no reason why you can't ride your Cannondale either - AFAIK they have no weight limitation either.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Supergoose
    Supergoose Posts: 1,089
    Fwiw I wouldnt jump on a light weight road bike, particularly with lightweight wheels at 20stone. I think your idea about the hybrid is bang on. If it were me Id perceiver on that till I had shed some weight. I am not qualified to answer your question, just my opinion.

    All the best to you though, fair play for getting back on your bike.
    Rock 'n' Roule
  • mroli
    mroli Posts: 3,622
    Dude - 20stone is big, but it ain't THAT big - check out this guy's blog: http://theamazing39stonecyclist.wordpress.com/

    I would say that the biggest obstacle to you losing weight will be prevarication/delay. Just get on your bike and ride it - and good luck.
  • Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.

    I think that a hybrid is definitely the way to go. My main concern is that I'd like to get 700c wheels but I'm not sure they'd be strong enough for my weight.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Course they would.

    Get a decent wheelbuilder to make them up.

    Deeper rim will be stronger and go with quite a few spokes too.

    Lastly don't go too narrow on tyres - the wider the tyre - the more air you have to absorb impact.

    Cycling alone won't bring the weight down though if that's part of the plan - you will need to control what you eat.

    Good luck !
  • eh
    eh Posts: 4,854
    I think people under estimate how strong wheels are in a verticle plane. Just think of the forces that go through a wheel when you hit a cattle grid at 45+ mph, and everything is just fine.

    However, if you are really concerned then you could always get some mtb wheels in 700c (29ners) that are now THE big thing in mtbing.
  • cougie wrote:
    Cycling alone won't bring the weight down though if that's part of the plan - you will need to control what you eat.
    That's true. I found previously though that when I got into riding I didn't want to eat so much. In fact, I became pretty obsessive about it and used to keep an eye on my wife in case she was putting too much fat in our food. :)
  • Hi Mark, i see a Specialized Sirrus has been recommended. I was 21 stone when i first got my Sirrus (Elite), in June - on the cycle to work scheme. I'm now 17 stone dead, and have got the bug, and am looking for a new dedicated road bike with drops etc.

    Anyhow, the wheels supplied with the Sirrus have stood up to my 1400+miles since June with just one broken spoke - during month 1, which was probably from a cattle grid i go over once every 4/5 days on an extended commute home. After getting the bug and a stone or two of weight loss, a pair of Conti 4000 tyres (23) on it and enjoyed watching the speedo go higher!

    Seriously recommend the Specialized Sirrus, and you've got your Cannondale waiting in the wings, i just have my soon to be over-stretched wallet...
  • carrock
    carrock Posts: 1,103
    would it not be easier to get a cheap £300 hardtail mtb that would auomatically be strong enough, drop 4 stone, get back on the dale and keep the mtb for trailis?

    Plus you'd burn more calories on the mtb
  • Canny Jock
    Canny Jock Posts: 1,051
    Maybe look at cyclocross bikes which should have tough wheels and take wider tyres, something like a Tricross?
  • That should be more than up to the job!

    Its great that your getting back in the saddle, alot of admiration for you as it wont be an easy thing that alot of people would give up on.

    Will be worth it though! :D
  • Velonutter
    Velonutter Posts: 2,437
    Pantani99 - I was 21 1/2 stone (136Kgs) 18 months ago and like you I had put 8 stone on due to illness, in my youth I was a sub 22 10mile TT and a low 50 25, so was exceptionally fit.

    Now aged 51 I am down to around 87kgs or less as I can't be arsed to weigh myself as I prefer to feel my fitness rather than get paranoid about weight.

    I ride anything from 100 - 300 miles a week (The bigger distances when it's warmer), I went from a 48" + waist to a 34", I'm no longer a severe diabetic on 6 injections a day and a 1000 units of insulin, just get on your bike and ride it.

    Start riding every other day if only for 5-10 miles, then slowly increase it by 10% every other week, get a turbo or rollers and make sure that you use them, start a log and record everything about your performance as that will give you motivation.

    For sure you will be out of breath, ache and be slow to start with, set yourself a target, I did the London 2 Paris last June and it gave me something to focus upon, just don't stop and give up.

    If you set yourself a project like I did, then start getting sponsorship for your chosen charity, I found this helped as when I struggled I only had to think about the terminally ill children and that was more motivation.

    Don't go buying a hybrid, just alter the position on your old bike to make it a little more comfy, reverse the stem if it isn't already done, change the bar tape to a little more padding, fit some wider tyres for now and make sure it is serviced, in no time the weight will shift and you'll be glad that you didn't buy a hybrid, as from what you have said about your past you are well capable of riding quickly.

  • Thanks to everyone for your comments and encouragement.

    I visited a local bike shop today fully intending to order a Specialized Sirrus and the guy in the shop showed me a Whyte Cambridge. So much for planning, I loved it so it's on order.

    It's equipped with SRAM 10 speed chainset which is completely new to me as I've always used Shimano, but I guess it must be up to the job.

    Can't wait to get back on the road. Hopefully the pounds will be dropping off soon.

    Thanks again,