I've lived in many cities and countries and always cycled a little but was never a daily cyclist. Then in 08 I just stopped ridding no real excuse, no honest reason, just pure laziness. I was always a little overweight so at first I gradually put on weight which depressed me, which caused me to eat more, which caused me to gain more (you see the cycle). I became slovenly and fat and unhappy because of not only my weight but the lifestyle I'd chosen. Then last February I moved from Cleveland to Chicago, recently divorced, depressed, overweight and staring down an approaching 40th birthday I found myself at the lowest point in my life ever. One day as I sat out by the lakeshore trail actually wondering how many rocks a guy my size would have to put in his pockets to sink a group of cyclist went by. Not racers, not messengers, just a group of friends on road bikes lead by an amazingly well built guy about 55 years old. I went home stripped down and looked at my 5'8" frame carrying 245 lbs, I looked at the size 44 waist pants that were feeling a little snug and the huge amount of black attire in my wardrobe because of it's slimming affect and I cried and I shouted and I cussed and I fell to the floor weeping at what I'd allowed myself to become but then I got up. I went out the next day and bought myself a Magna mtb because it was cheap and if I failed or died trying I wouldn't be out much. I started to ride on day one I wanted to know just how bad of shape I was in so I rode from my house in Rodgers Park to the LST and then down the trail by the time I made Soldier Field I knew that was far enough if I expected to ride back. It took me all day but now I had a daily goal, Make it to Soldier Field. Some days I was able to get there and back, somedays I had to bus back, but I made it there everyday rain or shine. By my 40th birthday on August 31st I was down to a size 30 waist, weighing in at 172lbs riding a 1974 Capri single geared 52/18 and happier than I'd ever been. Today I'm averaging 40 to 60 miles a day still wearing a size 30 riding my beloved Bianchi Giro road bike and still happy. But I owe all of you a Thank You so today I'm fulfilling that obligation. To all of the fit/daily cyclist out there who were my rabbits when I was an out of shape Greyhound THANK YOU you pulled me and pushed me in ways that can't be described, you got me out of bed on the days my legs hurt so bad I cried as I tied my shoes, you kept me pedaling through the wind and the rain because damn it if they can do it I can do it, Y'all kept me pushing when the only thing that could make me raise one more pedal was watching you disappear down the trail Thank You one and All. And to those of you who are a little or alot overweight and are out there now everyday Thank You for helping me always remember and DO NOT GIVE UP there is a light at the end and it does get easier but when it does push harder the rewards far out weigh the pain, you are not alone it is not a path less traveled many of us have stumbled and wheezed down that path and I support you one and all. Once more for all of you THANK YOU!!!
Keep pedaling and be Safe,
what a great thread. thanks so much for sharing david. chicago cyclists and the chainlink are life savers for sure (speaking from first hand experience). I'm sure if the chainlink would have a top ten stories yours and others' like it would be in the list.