Can you ride a bike if you’re overweight?

Megan Smith
 min read

Can you ride a bike if you’re overweight? Yes, riding a bike is a great way to work out.

can you ride a bike if you're overweightIt’s easy on the joints, and you can get in some beautiful sights.

Once you have increased your fitness levels, you’ll be itching to go on longer rides.

But if you’re overweight, you could potentially feel a little more post-ride discomfort when compared to lighter riders.

Can you ride a bike if you’re overweight? Introduction

Does weight affect cycling? If you’re asking yourself why we’re pointing this out, it’s very simple. If you’re not having a good time, stop.

Don’t push on until your hands are sore and you can barely walk.

Rest is just as important as exercise, and it’s perfectly acceptable to stop to recover and continue when you’re better.

Remember that heavier people put more stress on their wrists, back and knees.

Keeping this in mind, we’ve come up with some tips on dealing with such circumstances. We really want you to enjoy exercising!

Chafing and saddle sores

Saddle sores are cysts in the saddle location that can be unpleasant and dig deep under the skin, and these come from clogged pores, ingrown hairs and chafing.

We’re putting an emphasis on this because it’s not uncommon for riders to experience this for a long time without hearing anything about it unless they’re forced to bring up the subject themselves.

As overweight individuals might already be self-conscious, we’re happy to let you know that even experienced riders can face these same issues.

As prevention, we suggest that you invest in good quality cycling shorts and apply an anti-chafing product, such as a cream.

After every ride, wash your shorts with soap or your preferred detergent and hot water.

Scrub the part in contact with your saddle after every ride with soap and hot water, but don’t be too harsh, so the material does not start to chafe or scratch.

A hot bath works wonders after a long ride and will take away most of your aches and pains.

Some bikers advise laser hair removal, while others opt for shaving, although the latter sometimes just triggers ingrown hairs.

Overweight riders experiencing saddle sores have recommended using the same pads for corns (gel rather than foam).

Cover the parts that come in touch with your saddle, which will help you continue your ride in more comfort.

Tip: Check our list of excellent heavy-duty bikes for big and tall guys if comfort and safety are your priorities!

Getting too hot

We do recommend a white or silver helmet with plenty of air holes and a light-colored top to combat heat.

Don’t go on long rides without a top as you’d sweat off your sunblock. And besides it being painful and dangerous, sunburn is never a good look.

We understand that you may be tempted to do away with your helmet due to the heat. Please don’t. There is no compromise.

Even the simplest of falls can quickly turn into long-term cranial damage.

A simple helmet can protect your skull effectively, and don’t fret if it takes some time getting used to. It can literally save your life.

Plus-size clothing: Can you ride a bike if you’re overweight?

We urge you to choose companies that make quality sports clothing.

For some reason, companies skimp on quality when it comes to plus-sized sports clothing.

Larger sizes are usually made of 100% cotton that becomes sweat-laden and adds weight, increasing the likelihood of chafing and not allowing the body to cool down effectively.

We did get the impression that women find it more difficult to find workout clothes in their size than men.

It seems that it is more acceptable for the guys to have larger physiques.

Recumbent bikes

Can you ride a bike if you’re overweight and don’t want to experience discomfort? Yes, with recumbent bikes for example.

Recumbent bikes are bikes where you seem to be lying down, with your legs stretched out horizontally in front of you.

They take all of the pain out of biking! Think of yourself sitting in a chair-like seat without putting any stress on your wrists.

Although they have many advantages, we feel that they can be somewhat impractical for cycling in the city.

They are harder to bring to a stop and are too low for cars and trucks to see easily.

A good alternative for this type of bike are suspension bikes. Discover all the advantages of this type of heavy-duty bike in the article Are full suspension bikes good for heavy riders?

They are, however, fantastic on bike tracks and at home: You could easily purchase a recumbent exercise bike to train in the comfort of your home.

You can place it in front of your TV and catch up on your favorite program and you certainly won’t be dependent on the weather!

Riding uphill and upwind

After you’ve climbed a couple of hills, you’ll probably notice that you need to put in more effort than lighter people but you’re a speed demon on the downhills!

We understand that this can be daunting for someone seeking to shed weight and gain better fitness levels.

If you’re not very experienced, we suggest that you include gentle or irregular hills on your rides until you feel more confident.

Look at a topographical map before you set out or check out with the locals in case of unfamiliar terrain.

Biking 30 miles in West Virginia can feel like cycling 60 miles in Minnesota.

Hills push your exercise to more extreme levels, but they’re hard on your knees.

You’ll probably find that a longer trip on a flatter surface is better for you (physically and mentally) than a brief ride in the hills.

Do check the weather forecast before setting out. If you have a speedometer, check to see the difference between biking into the wind and riding on a tailwind.

You can see as much difference as 4 mph. In both cases, of course, you’ll be working out.

If you don’t want to exert yourself, you could consider getting a lift one way and riding the tailwind.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More