I am 4'10" and about 300lbs. I would love to start bicycling around the countryside for pleasure and low level exercise. But my tummy gets in the way and it hurts to bend my knees at the top of the pedal rotation.

Is there a bicycle for me?

  • 2
    It should be possible. It sounds like you have the saddle too low at the moment.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:43
  • You want to find the largest bike that allows you to stand over the frame with both feet flat on the ground. By "stand over" I mean that -- you are not sitting on the seat but standing with the top tube (if the tube is horizontal) not quite kissing your nether regions. When you sit on the seat you should barely be able to touch the ground with one toe at a time. Probably a large "youth" model will be best. Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:08

5 Answers 5


A cruiser-style, semi-recumbent trike might be the best for you.

You can lean back so your stomach isn't in the way. Your back is supported so all your weight isn't on your rear end. Two wheels in the back spread the weight and result in fewer rear tire punctures. The trike ensures that when you're stopped or riding really slowly (e.g., uphill), you won't lose balance. It's impossible to do an end-over going downhill.

Because it's not fully recumbent, it's still easy to get in and out of, and you're higher off the ground so it doesn't feel as invisible to cars. Steering is done with the usual handlebars so it's easy to get used to. It's easy to move the seat forward for shorter or longer legs and the steering column can also tilt back.

Add an electric assist to the front wheel and you'd be in heaven.

Utah Trike

  • Correction, this kind of trike is seen as a full recumbent if not fully laying back. And for comfy riding with a big belly you need to be much further back than the seat is in the picture. (Personal experience, even though I never was as heavy.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 21:24
  • Yeah, the nice thing about this style of recumbents is a lot more adjustments are possible in regards to seat and handlebar position.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 1:05

A mountain bike or beach cruiser both for upright position and tire size.

A touring bike with flat bars that comes in XS. Touring is built for extra weight. Something like a Surly Troll.

Shorter cranks will reduce knee bend. Higher seat will also reduce knee bend.

You are on the low end of bike sizing for adults. Most children (and adult) bikes are not built for that weight. Consider a steel frame.

Consider upgrading the wheels and seat post based on weight. Start with a bike that fits you before putting more money into it.


I'm picking you're doing this for health and fitness reasons - Great choice! Cycling is non-impact and doesn't jar the joints.

The bike you start with may not be the bike you want/need in a year or two. So I'd suggest starting with a used MTB, commuter or cruiser style bike. Look for something with strong wheels, more spokes is generally better.

You will want straight or slightly bent handlebars as opposed to drop bars.

I'd also suggest you track your progress with Strava or some other kind of exercise tracker. This will clearly show you when you improve, because generally cycling gets faster without being noticeably easier. The numbers back up that you're improving.


I would go for a 'sit up and beg' kind of bike made by a company that makes kids as well as adult frames of the same design. Sitting up allows for more belly room.
Those often have bikes all the way from the child sizes into the adult sizes.

In the Netherlands a lot of older kids and young teens ride those range of sizes. The bikes are mostly very sturdy, allowing for heavier riders.

As other people indicate, recumbent bikes are also a good option, but select a bike or trike that allows you to lean back, sitting upright on a 'bent bike still gives belly/legs conflicts. (Own experience.)


Most vendors don't make bikes for people outside the most common height range. Even professional racers such as Emma Pooley (5ft) and Conor Dunne (6ft8) have struggled to get bikes that fit. Fortunately there are vendors that make bikes to fit all sizes.

It sounds like you want a bike that also lets you sit rather more upright than the typical road or mountain bike does.

Some vendors that have bikes like this are:



There will be more options out there. Maybe ask at a local bike shop or look up a local cycling club's website and ask on their forums.

  • 1
    It would probably be best to avoid folding bikes: the asker's situation doesn't seem to need one and making a bike foldable introduces all kinds of compromises into the design. (In particular, it's easier to build a strong non-folding frame.) Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 21:57

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