Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Start Weight: 285
End Weight: 230
Time Cycling: 17 years earlier in life, 9 months most recently
Reason for Cycling: I just love cycling. When I’m on a bike, it’s like therapy. If I’m in a bad mood, I can get on a bike and come back in a happy mood.
I started riding when I worked at a bike store about 25 years ago—I started working there because I wanted a discount on skateboards. I played basketball but hurt my knee, so one of my coworkers suggested I try cycling. I was really fit because of basketball, so right from the get-go, I was good at it.
I rode quite a bit, but was was afraid to race. I’m 6-foot-8, so I didn’t think someone my size could. (Now, I wish I never looked at it like that.)
When I moved away from Detroit, my cycling fell more in the background. I mostly used my bike to commute to work when I lived in Brooklyn. But in 2012, I got hit by a person driving a car on my way to work and sustained some pretty bad injuries, which turned me off to cycling. A bad diet and less active lifestyle led to weight gain. In January 2020, I weighed 285 pounds.
I’m in a band called Shit Karate, and my bandmate lost a bunch of weight through cycling. So in March this year, my wife suggested I give it another try. Luckily I found a 63-cm fixie at the time many people started to buy bikes during the pandemic, causing a bike shortage. (And at my height, it can already be tricky to find a bike that fits properly.)
I thought I was going to be worried about riding on the road and in traffic again after getting hit, but that wasn’t the case. I was more upset at myself for how out of shape I was.
I started riding with a friend who is also a local musician, and we have a group of us that go out for 20-mile rides about once a week. It’s a way for us local musicians to get together during this time. Some bands are starting to play, but we’ve decided it’s not safe or worth the risk, so this is one way we stay connected.
Because of the pandemic, people have it in their heads that they’re at their most creative, but you really can’t do anything with it. You can’t play in front of people, so some of us are in studio doing good job, while other people are depressed. I fall into the latter category. But cycling has helped improve my mood. I ride about five times a week now.
I also recently bought the same model of a 1988 Cannondale that I once owned. It was my favorite bike, and, I regret ever selling it. It is nice to be back on my old steed as it fit me better than any other bike ever fit me.
Riding a lot of miles and not eating sweets has been major for my health. I have a big sweet tooth. But now, I eat fruit as snacks and try to avoid eating fatty foods in the morning. Instead, I eat protein and focus on eating healthy lunches rather than fast food. I treat myself with donuts once a month.
While I’m happy with my weight loss, I’d still like to lose about 40 more pounds. To do so, I know I’ll have to tweak my diet a bit more, I haven’t done a whole lot in terms of changing it yet. My goal is to be at around 200 pounds this spring to be ready to ride up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona.
Riding with a group really helped me gain confidence. I think good riders need to form group rides for new riders and encourage them to ride together. I have seen new riders get discouraged when they can’t keep up. If you are a good rider, take one day a week to take it easy and get new people riding. It is important to get people together and explore the neighborhoods in a different way.
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