Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cycling for the morbidly obese

I've started commuting again which has made me very happy, although my commute in Hobart includes a lot of traffic and indifferent roads. Still, it is mainly downhill on the way in, so I always arrive at work with a smile and enjoy the workout on the way home. Zooming through Taroona yesterday with the Derwent shimmering in the winter sun was just delightful.

I need the exercise because according to the body mass index I am morbidly obese. 103kg and 175cm means I'm a 35, well into the red zone. There's two reasons for this: firstly the body mass index is a crock of shit (a lesson for another day) and secondly, I am truthfully a little bit overweight. Or underheight. If I was just 25cm taller I wouldn't have to lose 20kg. Time for some stretches. Or high heels.

Interestingly, being such a porker might just mean I can't use Campagnolo products. Poor fat me. But then it's hard to know for sure. I stumbled across this on the web. If this is a question they get a lot, then possibly some of the people who use Campagnolo gear aren't too bright:

Q: Last year I weighed 80 kg and now I weigh 83 kg. Can I still use Campagnolo products, or am I too heavy?

Really dude? You're asking permission?

A: "There is no clear dividing line defining when someone is "too heavy" for Campagnolo products."

Well thank Christ for that. I've got 20-year-old Campag gear on my road bike and I don't want the cops pulling me over. Maybe they should think of bringing in a defining line - say 85kg. You don't want fatties spoiling the brand image.

But there's bad news too:

If you weigh 80kg or more, you must be especially vigilant and have your bicycle inspected regularly for any evidence of cracks, deformation, or other signs of fatigue or stress.

Now I've weighed 80kg or more for 20 years and ridden bikes all that time. I really thrash them too - jumping off gutters and bunny-hopping on narrow road tyres, riding on terrible roads. Never a crack or deformation has been seen. Who does this work anyway? Should I be off to the heavy vehicle inspection office? I mean really - these guys are component makers. What's going to fail? The derailleurs? Are the brakes not strong enough to fight the forces caused by speed times bulk? Are the levers going to fall apart in my pudgy hands? At least I've avoided making the mistake of buying Campagnolo products recently. Clearly they're not making them like they used to.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to buy a reinforced seatpost.

Photo top left is of my bike in the workstand in my shed as the sun sets over the distant Snowy Ranges. Yeah, life here is tough.

3,591km so far this year.

5 comments:

riddenwords said...

Good find on the Campy warnings there. How did you stumble upon that one?

ZappoMan said...

Great post!

I've also wondered about all the advice you get from supposed experts when it comes to things like wheels... Oh this one's for climbing, this ones for more traditional racing, this ones for commuting.

Ok, so I'm only 64kgs, but people are always trying to tell me I should buy some "better wheels" for training and commuting. Why? I ask... "because those wheels are more race wheels"... ok, so I want to ride to work fast! what's wrong with that... "but you might take a curb"... you bet I do, all the time, every chance I get... "well, they're not designed for that" But I've got 14,000 miles on these things... they seem fine... do you see any problems with them... "well, you're not supposed to do that". WHAT?

Anyway, great post!

Surly Dave said...

Hehehe. Glad you liked it riddenwords. I was looking for instructions on how to fit Campagnolo brake levers. God I love Google.

zappoman, I'm with you. The wheels I ride with are racing wheels - Mavic Axsiums to be precise. They're probably totally inappropriate for a fat man commuting. But I love them and I've a grown-up I'm not going to let anyone tell me I can't. Bike wheels are a lot tougher than most people give them credit for.

Thomas said...

The last time I checked, I weighed 108.3 kg. I have my current bike for 10 months, and already had to have 2 rear wheels replaced due to broken spokes, one both brake cables, and one pedal replaced because they broke. In late August 2007, the seat tube broke off at the top. I managed to replace the seat, but my bike is now a partial lowrider. Only had about 3000 km on the bike, including one ride to San Francisco, one to San Bruno, several to San Jose, and two to Los Gatos. This is my thirteenth bike. I also had one from 1994-1996, which I rode to San Francisco, Gilroy, Half Moon Bay, Hayward, and Sausalito. It was stolen twice.

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