Occupation: Sand and refinish hardwood floors/drummer
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Highest Weight: 665
Lowest Weight: 205
Time cycling: 1.5 years
Reason for cycling: To feel healthier, happier, and younger than I ever have.
When I got on a bike a year and a half ago, I hadn’t ridden since I was a small kid. I’ve always been so overweight it was pretty much impossible to find a bike to ride.
I was visiting a friend in Colorado and had a day to kill on the trip, so I rented a bike from a rental station in downtown Denver. It was awesome—riding around the area by myself was the most free I’ve felt in a long time.
When I got back to Greenville, I found some of those bicycle rental stations and started periodically riding that way. Eventually, I found a deal on a cheap cruiser bike, and it was off to the races after that—I became fully addicted.
When I started riding, I weighed about 350 pounds—and I had already lost about 300 pounds through diet and exercise. My weight loss had plateaued, so getting into cycling helped me lose another 130 pounds. I went from being a big guy who had lost weight to a big guy who had become an athlete.
My lifestyle and diet contributed to my weight gain. I was in a touring band playing drums, which contributed to my unhealthy lifestyle. I was drinking a lot of alcohol and not paying attention to what I was eating. Basically, I was doing everything I could do to put on weight. I also have a thyroid condition that was severely under-medicated, and I was just living really hard.
Finally, I had to go see my doctor because I was feeling really terrible and not sleeping. He sent me to a specialist, and when I stepped on the scale there, it read 665 pounds. Most home scales only go up to about 350 pounds, so in my mind I was just “over” that. But when I saw that reading, it made me think “Okay, if I’m going to be alive, I need to get healthy.”
My doctor told me I couldn’t lose weight without surgery, but to me that was a challenge. “Just watch,” I told him—and myself.
I started getting more active and paying attention to my diet, as well as getting my thyroid condition in check. Initially, I started counting calories, and followed a low-carb diet. I also cut out artificial sweeteners and as much sugar as possible—there is a lot that we put in our bodies that we don’t need. I started to focus on fueling my body with what it does need. And that’s how I lost the first 300 or so pounds.
Then, when I started cycling and got my own bike, I committed to riding daily on the a rails to trails system in Greenville. Now I ride 25 to 30 miles every day, averaging about 200 to 250 miles a week—rain or shine. I’m fully addicted now. I got a great deal on an early 90s Raleigh racing bike, and I’ve been putting major miles on that thing. I even signed up for a century competition in March.
As a drummer, having all that extra weight really slowed everything down. Losing 460 pounds of weight—all without surgery—has really improved my playing and made it easier to perform. (My bandmate recently started cycling, too.) I can play faster now compared to what I was doing before.
And, I play basketball with my cousin sometimes, and he’s always been the small, skinny, athletic guy. The first time we played basketball since I started cycling, I kept running past him, and I asked him if he was letting me beat him. But he said no, you’re doggin’ me right now. During the pandemic, he started lifting, so he’s and put on some muscle and For the first time in our lives I weigh less than him—now I’m the skinny, fast one.
Cycling has helped me get to a healthy weight, and I want to stay at this weight. Eventually, I will likely have surgery to remove excess skin that I have after so much weight loss, but at this point I’m just focused on staying healthy.
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