Obese, unfit and 50k challenge in may 2020!

icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Equally, it's possible to enjoy cycling and get fitter even if weight doesn't immediately (or ever) seem to want to reduce.

Important scientific detail - fitness does not equal weight loss. In fact it can do the reverse as you gain muscle which is heavier than fat. But - it's much better for your whole body to be fit than light.

The most important thing though is not to cycle as a chore, but as something that's fun. The more you do the easier it gets.

For example I got my children (10 and 12) to cycle 7 miles last weekend by putting a picnic in the middle of the ride, and a stop at the pub to feed the swans / buy an ice cream from the ice cream van / have a soft drink, towards the end of the ride. It helps that the ride was along the Thames path and it was a nice day.

Previously the furthest I have got them to go is a mile and a half (school run)!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Über Member
Location
London
Regards a bike don't buy used as you may have problems which could be expensive to fix if you take it to a bike shop. Better to buy new.
Have to disagree completely with that statement, as new bikes depreciate like a stone and lose at least a third of their value the minute a wheel touches tarmac. There is also the VAT element, which is dead money and doesn't even go to buying you a better bike!
I really don't get this thing that somehow, old secondhand bikes are a risky buy and expensive to sort out. All of my bikes except one have been acquired secondhand, and the only item I ever really spend money on after purchase is replacing ratty tyres with puncture-resistant Schwalbes. Usually, the new tyres actually cost more than I paid for the whole bike. I've bought a couple of new chains costing £6 each, and also had to replace one brake lever on a 1995 Raleigh Pioneer, which cost me another £7 on top of the bike itself, which I paid £10 for.
Tyres, chains and brake parts are arguably consumable items anyway, and even a new bike will still require these after a few thousand miles.
 

raleighnut

Guru
Location
On 3 Wheels
Have to disagree completely with that statement, as new bikes depreciate like a stone and lose at least a third of their value the minute a wheel touches tarmac. There is also the VAT element, which is dead money and doesn't even go to buying you a better bike!
I really don't get this thing that somehow, old secondhand bikes are a risky buy and expensive to sort out. All of my bikes except one have been acquired secondhand, and the only item I ever really spend money on after purchase is replacing ratty tyres with puncture-resistant Schwalbes. Usually, the new tyres actually cost more than I paid for the whole bike. I've bought a couple of new chains costing £6 each, and also had to replace one brake lever on a 1995 Raleigh Pioneer, which cost me another £7 on top of the bike itself, which I paid £10 for.
Tyres, chains and brake parts are arguably consumable items anyway, and even a new bike will still require these after a few thousand miles.
Ah but you're coming at it as a competent 'fettler' like me whereas the OP may not have the skills so a 2nd hand bike that needs work may end up in the hands of a bike shop where the mechanic 'sucks his teeth' and comes up with a massive bill or tries to sell her a new bike on the grounds that 'that's knackered' but in reality all it needs are a few bits.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Über Member
Location
London
The way to avoid the situation you describe is to become bike-savvy, and the way you become bike-savvy is to tinker around with low-value bikes and build up experience.
When I was a kid we were always pulling bikes apart and regreasing and adjusting things - and sometimes trying to repair mishap damage such as buckled wheels caused by unwise stunts gone wrong and crashes. If you don't have a go yourself, you don't learn anything in the way of useful skills and cheap secondhand bikes are the best ones to learn on.
 
The way to avoid the situation you describe is to become bike-savvy, and the way you become bike-savvy is to tinker around with low-value bikes and build up experience.
When I was a kid we were always pulling bikes apart and regreasing and adjusting things - and sometimes trying to repair mishap damage such as buckled wheels caused by unwise stunts gone wrong and crashes. If you don't have a go yourself, you don't learn anything in the way of useful skills and cheap secondhand bikes are the best ones to learn on.
@SkipdiverJohn

I like your attitude to thrift and re-use but I personally don't think a newbie to cycling wants to buy a second-hand in need of fettling and learning on the go. it would seem to me that the best way for the op to get on would be to buy a bike that needs no work and just to be able to cycle. there is nothing wrong with the bikes linked to unthread, and most would come with a free first service (ie tighten the cables and pump the tyres up). there is also the chance to chat to the shop and try to gain knowledge that way as well as minor repairs.

if you look at this site, most on here will have a best bike and once the bug bites, the second-hand re-furbish comes at a rate where you can learn/put skills into practise but if you buy second hand without knowledge, it could end up sitting in a shed with a few minor problems that when put together, may seem insurmountable for a new comer. you could always offer your services (location dependant ^_^).

best of luck to the op I say
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
A lot of people don't want to become bike savvy. A lot of people don't have time or inclination and would rather just ride their bikes.

I speak as a bike tinkerer myself. But I do impose limits on my tinkering. For example anything to do with building wheels goes to the shop. Of course I could teach myself to true and build wheels, and I'm sure it would be enlightening. Maybe one day I will, but right now I just don't have time or inclination. I'd rather just ride my bike.

Also, the second hand market is full of nicked bikes and heaps of junk. A great deal of caution and research is required.
 
I'd recommend anyone begin their journey toward improved fitness with cycling; it's simple and there are benefits across the board. OK, you might need to acquire a bike but that's it - there's no gym subscription, you're instantly self-sufficient for transport and it's great for the 'soul'.
This, in spades! :smile:

This is what I love about cycling. I'm not tied to a gym subscription / fitness class / a time that doesn't suit. I can pop out for a bimble when I've got a bit of time to spare. If it's half an hour that's fine, if it's for several hours, then that's equally fine.

And yes, my bikes are there for exercise, but also for transport purposes. There are times where it's quicker / easier / more convenient to take a bike rather than the car. In my case, it tends to be when I go to Cambridge, where neither traffic, the eye-watering parking charges nor being tied to the limitations of the park & ride bus come into play. Although it helps that Cambridge is so cycling friendly...
 

boydj

Guru
Location
Paisley
Tbh in your position I wouldn't even buy a bike yet. I would focus on changing your nutrition to a much more healthy diet and just being generally more active, not driving everywhere, start walking, swimming, cross training, calisthenics, etc. even gardening if you have a garden. Once you have lost a lot of weight and got a lot fitter then buy your bike as you won't need to change it as you will likely when you get one now and you will enjoy cycling a lot more. I think maybe you are at such a low fitness level at the moment if you buy a new bike now you are placing so much pressure on yourself "this must work I must succeed" mentality you will probably give up fail as cycling can be very hard work! However do buy a bicycle, but give yourself several months to lose some of your fat and reach a base level of fitness then get a new bike. You will then enjoy your first cycling miles so much more. Just my 2ps worth. Don't flame me.
Ehhh???!!! Which bit of what I wrote don't you really agree with? Was it eating a better diet, being more physically active, physical exercise, loss of physical weight, increase in base fitness or suggesting the OP avoid buying a bike immediately to avoid having to buy another when they have actually lost a lot of excess weight and the bike they had no longer serves their need as they have lost a lot of weight and achieved a base fitness which they could have done even if they had NOT bought a bike straight away. You don't think my advice is a step to establishing a healthier and more active life.

Here's your comment, ............................

The OP states they only rode 1.28km on a fairly flat surface and found this a struggle. They have not cycled since they were in their mid teens some 20 years ago. The OP became very disheartened and upset when they arrived home and it was pointed out by their husband that they didn't die.

I think my advice is good advice and was intended for the OP not for you to rubbish. I wouldn't be so rude as tell you I don't agree with your above advice implying it was wrong. In contrast you do not give any specific advice except stating starting a cycling habit is a simple step. Maybe it is or was for you but then maybe your circumstances were quite different and your idea of simple is quite different to that of the OP as she alludes to. You do not seem to take into account important considerations that the OP mentions. Did you not properly read the OP's initial post? Bog off, rubbish some one else's comment. By far the easiest way to lose weight is eating a healthier diet and being generally more active what ever you do. You don't actually need to take up cycling to lose substantial weight and increase fitness. Not saying it won't make you fitter and slimmer, it will, but it is relatively energy intensive and expensive compared to other options. Some of the activities I mentioned especially swimming is a very good alternative sport for obese people as the activity is totally non load bearing and buoyancy assists them. It is ideal if base fitness is very low. Also it would be considerably cheaper than cycling if the OP decides on reflection cycling is not for them. Cycling is actually hard work and it is my belief why many chose not to do it or give up soon after starting. If the OP wants to take up cycling just to lose weight why doesn't she consider joining a spin class at a gym? Spinning is a very good way to burn fat and being on an exercise bike she wouldn't have the relatively large initial capital expenditure of a bike and all the accessories before she's even started, creating a lot of pressure for herself to succeed. The OP has a year until her cycle challenge next year so taking a couple of months in preparation now to reach a base fitness is easily achievable.
There are a few of problems with your suggestion :
  1. Cycling is not something that need's to be dreadfully hard to begin with. It's a form of exercise which can easily be performed by somebody who is unfit, by sticking to a relatively flat, short route. It's much easier on the body than running, it's also not load-bearing. (that's why the pro cyclists have to guard against a mild form of osteoporosis) If it feels hard, slow down or stop for a minute or two. Take it very easy to begin with.
  2. It only takes a couple of weeks for the body to start to adapt to cycling and for the initial discomfort to subside to allow the OP to start gradually building up time on the bike.
  3. Cycling can easily be built in to everyday life by using the bike for short journeys that might be walked or driven.
  4. Cycling is cheap once the initial purchase is made. Especially compared to gym membership.
  5. Swimming is a great form of exercise - if you can swim. Running is good too, but much harder to start from zero and very hard on the legs, heart and lungs.
  6. The OP has a target of doing a cycle event next year and the sooner specific training starts for that event, the better.
  7. What you are suggesting for the OP to build up fitness in preparation for cycling would likely take several months and be more difficult to achieve.
All the stuff you suggest is good advice, but it does not preclude making a start on building some cycling fitness.
 
OP
J

Joeycreature

Member
Location
chatham, kent
Wow I'm blown away by the amount of supportive messages, it's always a worry when talking about being over weight that it'll go the other way. I've been sat here ages going through the comments and lots of advice a tips that I'll definitely be taking on board. Thank you all so much.
 

newts

Active Member
Location
Exeter
You'll conquer 50 km no problem with regular rides between now & next May, most importantly enjoy it. I was doing 8-10 flat miles & coming home & sweating for a further hour in the early days. Marginal gains is a phrase used by someone, but very apt at all levels. 5, 10, 15, 20 miles are all major achievments along the way. Here's the good bits that come with cycling, stress & anxiety relief (top of the list for me), fitness & weight loss, improved overall sense of well being as each small milestone is surpassed. I had a year to prepare for my first major ride, 50 miles (nobody told me it was actually 58!), little & often worked for my training. Got up to a 40 mile ride a week before the event & was very nervous on the remianing days. Help & encouragement from other riders on the day was phenomenal. I was buzzing for weeks after completing & it still makes me happy everytime i recollect that first challenge. On sunday 30th of June i'll be doing the same ride for the 4th year (the Nello). I'm still not skinny, but have lost 2 stone & quality of life is much better when you cycle.:bicycle:^_^
 

Swanage53

Well-Known Member
Location
North Hampshire
Wow I'm blown away by the amount of supportive messages, it's always a worry when talking about being over weight that it'll go the other way. I've been sat here ages going through the comments and lots of advice a tips that I'll definitely be taking on board. Thank you all so much.
I was daunted at first but have found the cycling community very welcoming and supportive. I for one am interested in your progress, and remember to say hi as you pass other cyclists. Please keep us updated. Thank you
 

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Good morning. I'm 37, 5ft and 15 st, bmi puts me upper end of obese (scary). Friend of my asked if I would do the women v cancer ride the night 50k next year, I agreed thinking it would force me to get moving again. currently i'm using my teenage daughters bike (bmx, no gears), went out for the first time last night and managed a grand total of 1.28K before walking the bike back as we live on a very slight slope (the sort that when in a car you don't even know is a hill!) and I couldn't ride it back! When I got in my husband said yay you didn't die (just being silly and his way of supporting me lol), I just bust in to tears, I felt so deflated. this morning i'm determined to do this! We looked at bikes on line with gears thinking that may help (new to this and not ridden in over 20 years so no clue lol). Anyone have any advice / tips either on bike choice or training?
Hi and a big welcome from me
Well done to you on your first ride.
Reading posts like yours believe it or not, are inspiring to many a new comer who want to take up cycling.
With a bmx bike your really throwing yourself into the deep end if your planing on cycling any distance. With no gears and the lack of comfort, it would be hard going to enjoy the full benefits of bike thats designed for short blasts around the block. A Mtb with slick tyres namely a hybrid would suit you much better. Start off with short rides without any hills to tackle, and when that route gets easier with each ride,
extend your ride a little longer. Within a few weeks your bike fitness will improve in leaps and bounds. Just don't push it to hard to begin with otherwise your cycling can easily turn into a chore instead of enjoyment. After all, cycling is something to be enjoyed and if you come home feeling stressed or over doing it you may end up giving it up.
If you stick with it for a few months you will really notice the difference in your ability and will be able to reflect on how much better you are compared to your first outings on you bike. Diet is always important, but if you get the cycling bug you will be amazed by how much the weight will naturally drop off. Most important point though is to enjoy it. You will come home feeling tired/ legs burning but with a big smile knowing your heading in the right direction by cycling that little further one night or finding that familiar route just that little easier.
With basic bike tips, keep your tyres inflated to a good pressure as soft tyre's will sap the energy out of you.

All the very best and hope you keep as all updated with your progress.
 
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