Hometown: Lincoln, California
Start Weight: 275 pounds
End Weight: 195 pounds
Time Cycling: 7 years
Reason for cycling: I started cycling to help me lose weight, and in the end discovered a new hobby that has helped me keep my sanity. I can get on a bike and get lost for hours at a time.
I am a 52- year-old United States Marine who got lazy about his weight while climbing up the corporate ladder, and in 2012 I topped out at 275 pounds. I went on vacation to Hawaii and took some pictures of myself at the beach with no shirt on, and oh my god, I was huge. When I reviewed the pictures at home, I was utterly disappointed in myself and depressed. I decided not to keep the pictures—or the weight.
That same weekend, a friend called and invited me on a bike ride. I said “No, I have to come up with a plan to lose weight.” He just replied, “Cycling is great exercise.”
I went—and it was the worst experience of my life. It was 105 degrees, I didn’t have enough water, and I had a crappy Wal-Mart mountain bike that barely worked. We biked a grand total of 20 miles in Sacramento, California, and when we were done was I exhausted. I remember collapsing in the grass next to my car.
But I was instantly hooked. That same night I went out and bought a $700 Fuji hybrid bike, and I started riding every night. First two miles, then four, then eight, then more. I started weighing myself, and the more I cycled the more the weight came off.
I work from home so I have a lot of flexibility with my riding—I can ride in the morning, afternoon, and nights during the week and whenever during the weekend. During the weekends as the weight came off, I rode long rides with my friend who originally introduced me to cycling, and we explored local paved trails in the Sacramento area.
After my Fuji bike I bought a Giant, then a Specialized. I saw an ad on Craigslist for a Cannondale I liked, did some research and the price was too good to be true. I honestly thought it was stolen, but it was a college kid at UC Davis that was on the cycling team and needed the money. I got involved in a Cannondale Facebook group, and I’ve been a Cannondale fan ever since then.
I currently have two bikes, a Cannondale Evo Super Six and a 2002 Cannondale CAAD 5 Stars & Stripes. The story goes that shortly after 9/11 a group of NYC fire fighters planned a charity bike ride from NYC to LA using the same route as one of the planes, and Cannondale made them some special bikes for the event. These became popular and public wanted them so Cannondale made some for the public.
I bought mine on eBay used and abused, fixed it up as best I could, and rode it as is. At one point I drove down to SoCal and rode this bike up to the Hollywood sign. Eventually, I went to my local bike shop and enlisted their help and we completely refurbished the entire bike—the only thing original is the frame, seat post, and handlebars.
Now, I ride every day, usually 20 miles in the morning before work, and then 30 to 50 miles a day on weekends. I work from home so my schedule is flexible and allows me to ride. Last year I discovered the gym—which I had never done before—and it helped me to accelerate my weight loss. And, last January we got a puppy, so I walk the dog two or three times a day.
Previously, my diet was horrible. I ate a lot of fast food, and I used to constantly drink Pepsi throughout the day. Now my diet is much better, and I tend to eat high-protein meals these days. Fast food is very rare for me, usually once a month. I love pizza to the point where I run a pizza Facebook group, but I limit myself to a slice or two a week.
Facebook has also helped me connect with other cyclists, and I’ve even started a cycling group. I am an old-school kind of computer guy and love Facebook. During the recession I was unemployed and I took a lot of selfies and put them on Facebook. Because I wear prescription glasses, most of my selfies were of me in my prescription wayfarer sunglasses which gave me a small amount of notoriety locally. I started a local Facebook group for my town, which now has around 6,000 members (for a town of 50,000 people). I run a number of groups (including the pizza group), so and it was only a matter of time before I created the cycling group. It’s quiet but growing.
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