By Roz Rogoff
Super Sized CyclesUploaded: Nov 27, 2011
Two years ago I found the Super Sized Cycles website , which is a company that builds or reinforces bicycles for people weighing over 220 lbs. At that time I weighed almost 280, and they had bikes for riders up to 550 lbs.
I emailed the owner, Joan Denizot, but there was one big problem. Super Sized Cycles is in Vermont, which made it difficult for me to test ride one of her bikes. It was even too far for me to go there on one of my visits to Maine.
Because Joan's bikes are custom made to carry extra weight while still being fun to ride, they are very expensive. I received an email announcing a Small Business Saturday Sale with 25% off orders placed on November 19th. The website had one demo bike on sale for under $500, plus another 25% discount. So I ordered it.
I started having buyer's remorse on Sunday and called Joan to ask her about the bike. She said it is a fun bike and they will tune it up for me before they ship it. So I'm going ahead with it.
Twenty years ago, when I was supervising a training section at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, I weighed close to 300 lbs. One of the women in my section had a cartoon over her desk of a very large women standing on two scales to be able to weigh herself. OK, she wants to play rough; I took a photo of myself on a stationary bike and posted it above my desk. I'll show her she can't hurt me by joking about my size.
But 300 lbs. is no joke. I had bad knees and a bad back and needed to lose at least 100 lbs. to be comfortable. So I went to Nutri-System for nine months and dropped 110 lbs. I continued to lose another 10 lbs. after leaving Nutri-System and decided I wanted to buy a bike. I bought a Peugeot ladies crossover bike. I used to ride it along the bike path in West Los Angeles from Culver City to Marina Del Ray on Sunday afternoons for the Jazz concerts.
I bought a basket and a bell and rode it to my local supermarket three or four blocks away. I even rode in the 1989 Orange County Classic bike tour, which was supposed to be 25 miles but was closer to 30. I didn't appreciate the five free extra miles, but I completed the whole thing on my own without using the "sag wagon."
Sadly my Peugeot bike was stolen from my back yard, so I bought a Nishiki Mountain bike. I joined the WOMBATS , Women's Mountain Biking and Tea Society. I tried going on a couple of easy mountain bike rides but I wasn't very good at it. So I stayed on the local roads and bike paths.
I subscribed to biking magazines and got on mailing lists for bike paraphernalia and organizations. I received a brochure from an organization called Rails to Trails which was dedicated to converting abandoned railroad right-of-ways to bike paths. I joined up for whatever the annual fee was back then. One of their first projects was to convert the old Southern Pacific Railroad tracks in Walnut Creek to a bike path. It was called the Iron Horse Trail.
When I moved to San Ramon I found myself living right next to the Iron Horse Trail. I regularly look out my window at the bikes rolling by. I weighed 222 when I moved here in 1997 and over 235 when I bought my house in 1998. I was over 250 in 2005 and sold my old Nishiki bike at a garage sale. The tires were flat, but it was in good shape because I hadn't ridden it in years.
Last year I lost 50 lbs. for my 50th High School reunion, but I gained back 20 this year. So when I saw the Currie iZip Coastline on sale for what amounted to 60% off, I ordered it. Currie bikes come with an on-demand electric motor, so it provides a motorized assist for hills or long stretches.
This morning I did some searching online and found a store in Walnut Creek that carries the Currie line. They have a new Trailz for $100 more than the demo bike I ordered. Currie rates their bikes up to 240 lbs. and I just recently weighed in at 246, so I might be able to get a new one.
I phoned Joan today and asked her about the Coastline. She said the older model would hold up to 300 lbs. Currie changed the design of the newer ones and they are not as heavy-duty. She said it is a fun bike and she would have it tuned up for me before shipping it. So I'm going ahead with it.
If this bike has been used as a demo for heavy people, it should be thoroughly tested. If it hasn't fallen apart yet, it will probably be OK for me. So when it comes I shall take it for a ride on the Iron Horse Trail. If you see a very fat lady on an electric bike, figure she needs the exercise and hold the wise cracks.