Joan Denizot of Vermont created SuperSizedCycles.com "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 said.
"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."
SuperSizedCycles.com sells bespoke, built-tough cruiser style bikes from Worksman as well as a Worksman trike recumbent called the Personal Activity Vehicle which can carry riders of up to 550 pounds, which is way above 'one-person-at-a-time-Speak-Your-Weight-machine' territory.
There's no equivalent website in the UK but Mark Tallack, manager of Light Blue Cycles, a Cambridge bike shop said he's seeing an increase in the number of serious overweight people who want to get out riding.
"I sold two Schauff Sumo's this week alone," he said.
"The Sumo will take a rider of 200kg."
On the trade-only bulletin board of BikeBiz.com, one retailer asked for advice on a folding bicycle for a 19-stone customer.
'Penguin' replied "all bikes fold if you're 19 stone..."
Fattist jokes aside, perhaps big bikes ought to be offered for sale on the websites of America's 'bariatric' product specialists?
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 seat-belt extenders and size 32 bridal gowns.
US hospitals are having to fit wider beds, wider doorways, longer needles and over-size CT scan machines.
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 has introduced new over-sized coffins, four inches wider than standard coffins, "a little extra room for life's final journey."
That final journey might have been delayed had the obese person started cycling to lose the weight...
HEALTH AND CYCLING STUFF: http://www.bikeforall.net/linkcat.php?cid=109