I absolutely love this video from the #ThisGirlCan campaign:
The short answer is no, probably not, but the longer answer is based on a few factors:
1) Doctors Note
You can be overweight but still be healthy enough to exert yourself. Only your doctor can tell you that for sure. Maybe you haven’t wanted to go because you don’t want to hear any negativity from your doc. Well, honestly, you can’t have your head in the sand. I know what this is like – and it was even after I had lost 60lbs and a new doctor told me how overweight I was – I was mad! Like, really mad! Who was this person? They didn’t even know what I had been through, how far I had come. That was true, but it was also a harsh truth that I needed to be reminded of.
2) Sturdy Frame
Few things can take a bite from your ego quite like the fear of breaking a wheel because you think you might be too large, but with a little information, we can minimize that fear. Most bikes are rated for 220-300lbs. For many, the range goes up to 250-300. Still more bikes are available that can carry up to 500lbs! The most vulnerable component is your wheel set, with your rear wheel specifically taking the brunt of your weight. Honestly, I’ve broken two spokes on my back wheel over the past 6 years. My pride stings a bit when having to go to the shop to have those repairs made, but the guys at the two shops I’ve taken them to (Bike King in PA and Block Bikes in Ore) never made me feel any way about it at all – and I think that deserves a shout-out.
If you’re doubtful, here are some great tips to quell your fears and find a ride that fits.
The more you weigh, the more resistance you have to pull up hills. Gravity is a tricky thing like that. It’s why riders with different body types win mountain stages versus sprint stages of the Tour de France – and muscle-heavy sprinters need extra help from their team to finish those mountain stages in good time. But don’t worry about this too much – depending on your area, you may not have that much “climbing” to do and your quadriceps (the muscle on front of your thigh) is probably much stronger than you think. Be sides, there’s a bright side to hills: what goes up must come down, and descending can be a blast!
Back to the short answer again – No, if your doctor approves your exertion, you absolutely need to get on the bike, a bike, ANY bike. Not because you’re heavy, not because you need to lose weight, but because riding a bike is a whole lotta fun. Sure, you have a very good chance of losing some weight as a result of riding, but it’s not a requirement or pre-requisite. Your focus should be on enjoying the ride – and that’s something that is accessible to almost everyone.
What do you think? Are you afraid to ride ’cause you think you’re too wide? What scares you about it? Let’s talk about it.