Plus size and bike? Oh yeah!
Any body can ride a bike, and that includes so-called plus-size people. Is this your case? Here are four tips to learn before you hit the bike path.
1. Choose appropriate clothing
Being well dressed is important. Not just for looks, but to make sports more enjoyable.
Cushioned buttocks shorts (also called chamois) are ideal. Ideally, the protection attached to these shorts designed for cycling should be between ¾ and 1 inch thick. Let's just say you'll never want to ride in leggings again after trying it on.
From Catherine Claude of Sportive Plus – a company that sells sportswear for women size 14 and up – it is important that the chamois fits well.
“We want the chamois to adhere well and protect us from chafing. It has to cover our buttocks well, ”explains the owner.
The owner of Sportive Plus, Catherine Claude – Photo:Courtesy
Same for the top jersey. According to Ms. Claude, this is what will “cut the wind, humidity and sweat on the body” when you ride.
Rest assured: your body will get used to it!
2. Seat better positioned, but not wider
It may come as a surprise, but buying a wider saddle to be comfortable will do you more harm than good, explains Michel Bourbonnais, owner of the Le Suroît cycle and ski shop located in Vaudreuil-Dorion.
“With a big saddle, the front end is bigger and more massive. Already that the thighs are more glued, it is not comfortable and it causes more friction, he underlines. The knees will open more and it will be difficult to pedal. You won't go in a straight line.”
Bike dealers can help you adjust your seat and find the perfect position if you're not comfortable doing it yourself.
“For one person large, we will lower the saddle to keep comfort and compensate for the muscles or the buttocks, he says. We can then ask the client to pedal on a fixed platform and see if we have too much weight on our hands, if it slides forward, etc.”
After these adjustments, your buttocks will look much better!
3. Pay attention to the wheels
According to Mr. Bourbonnais, you have to choose fairly thick and solid wheels according to your weight or your appearance.
This will help you will avoid many control problems during your ride, but also many maintenance problems.
“The wheels are critical because they are the weak point of the bike. If you apply the brakes while turning [on wheels that are too thin], it will be more sensitive. It takes really strong wheels.”
The owner of the Suroît cycle et ski in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Michel Bourbonnais (right), and his mechanic employee, Gaetan.
According to Mr. Bourbonnais, discussing your own needs with your dealer can help find the right match when it comes to tires.
“Beyond 300 pounds, we can also make specialized wheels for the customer. This can also be the case if we are tall or if our shoulders are broad, he specifies. I have already made custom wheels for a football player, for example.”
Once again, it is better to avoid the big box stores which do not always offer this kind of personalized and more human service.
Which often makes all the difference if we already do not feel comfortable discussing our weight openly.
4. All bikes are suitable
No, there are no special bikes for each silhouette. Rather, it all depends on the intended use.
“The position [on the seat] is similar from bike to bike. The bike must be chosen in relation to the desired use, explains Mr. Bourbonnais. I won't put a client on a mountain bike if they want to go cycle touring.”
Besides, the weight of the bike does not necessarily guarantee better quality or better support.
“The weight of the bike is not the factor to look at. A heavier bike will even be built with lower quality steel tubing, Bourbonnais concludes. It will also have worse wheels. You have to put a minimum of quality in the choice of the bike.
Whether you want a big bike to unleash your crazy in the mountains or just a small bike to ride along the Old Port, you are spoiled for choice in terms of models… no matter your size.
All that's left to do is pedal, now!