Super Sized Cycles has launched the iZize line of pedal-assist bikes for obese people looking to lose weight.
Joan Denizot, president of Super Sized Cycles says: "Most bikes are not built strong enough for obese people. There is a very real risk of injury to the rider if the bike or tyre crumbles because of the weight. Super Sized Cycles is all about providing the tools so that people of all sizes can have the fun and benefits of bike riding."
Denizot of Vermont created SuperSizedCycles.com in 2006 "so that plus sized people could purchase a bicycle that will easily support their weight, be comfortable and safe for them, and inspire them to exercise."
She said bicycling can be a boon to those who are obese: "No matter what size you are, it's important that you exercise to stay healthy. When you're obese, and your knees and back hurt, it's hard to do some of the simplest exercises. Non weight-bearing exercises like cycling are often the best answer for large people, as weight is an impediment to easily moving. Cycling develops muscle strength and is an aerobic exercise."
Her website retails bikes that can withstand greater-than-usual body weights. "As anyone who has looked for bikes for extra large people knows, they're not easy to find," she says. "Our bikes are designed especially to carry heavy riders. Some parts of the bike are reinforced, some parts are padded, some parts are spaced differently, and they all come together to form a machine that is fun, easy, and safe to ride."
Denziot's electric bike range aims to get obese people fit.
"For people of size, electric bikes are a godsend. Because of the difficulties in carrying their body weight, as well as the fact that many very heavy people are also out of shape, riding a bike on anything other than a flat or downhill surface can be challenging. An electric bike is the perfect solution. The bike comes with a battery-powered motor that makes a dramatic difference for the obese rider. These are bikes that are powered by the rider's pedaling as well as the motor. We are not talking about scooters; we're talking about bicycles that are moved by the riders' pedaling and by a battery-generated motor.
"The irony with electric bikes, as with regular bikes," says Denizot "is that they're rarely built to hold more than 200 pounds. A heavy-duty one goes up to 225. With two-thirdsof the population of the US overweight or obese, that's just not strong enough. Depending on the selection, a bike or electric bike from Super Sized Cycles can hold 550 pounds.
Zize Bikes use bikes adapted from Currie Technologies' iZip bike line.
"We've taken the strongest iZip bicycles,and beefed them up," says Denziot. "We have upgraded the saddle seat post, and collar, the handlebar stem, the tyres, and the pedals. There is also a new, stronger crank which upgrades the bike from 7 to 14 speeds. These parts, which are built for tough, endurance riding, provide significantly improved strength to the bikes."
The US has many websites which cater to the 'bariatric' market? For instance, Amplestuff.com doesn't offer products to help obese people slim, it sells lotions to prevent irritations caused by skin folds and sponges-on-sticks so seriously obese people can reach the places their hands can't. LargeDirectory.com sells airline seat-belt extenders and size 32 bridal gowns.
Obesity is a big killer, bigger than heart disease and cancer and only just behind smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death. But even the end days are covered by America's bariatric specialists. The Batesville Casket Company of Indiana sells over-sized coffins, four inches wider than standard coffins, "a little extra room for life's final journey."