The latest post in our series of The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Cycling comes from across the pond. Clive Chapman, a 47-year-old engineer, lives in Birmingham, England. He’s married to the “long-suffering Liz,” and they have two children. Clive is an army veteran and rugby coach, who once played rugby at a very high level. But he let himself get out of shape. Now, he cycles to regain his fitness, and blogs about his efforts at www.massivemtber.co.uk. Here’s his story.
As my Army and rugby background indicates I was as fit as a butcher’s dog back in the day. Besides rugby, I mountain biked regularly and have been a regular cyclist since I was around 6 years old!
For reasons I cannot fathom I stopped all sport and cycling when I hit my late 30s. The phrase, “It kind of just happened” seems as good a reason as any.
Then in June 2009 I found to my horror (unbelievable but true, it was a total surprise) that I was 312 lbs (22 stones 4 lbs here in England) and had a number of health issues related to morbid obesity.
Earlier I had discovered by chance http://frank.kinlan.co.uk and his blog about a bloke roughly my age and condition whose life was transformed by cycling. It struck a chord and inspired me to do the same.
To cut a very long story short, here I am in April 2011 weighing 214 lbs (15 stones 4 lbs) and no longer have the health issues, having lost 98 lbs so far and am continuing to lose.
I’ve achieved this by commuting every day to work by bike, a 24-mile round trip, MTBing as often as I can at the weekend, (I road cycle too) and watching the old grub intake. I’ve even sold my car as it was not being used.
I’ve pedalled through two of the worst winters on record here in England and now cannot imagine doing anything different.
So onto lessons learnt about cycling. For me there is only one:
- DON’T EVER STOP!
From fit bloke and regular cyclist to fat bloke and dead man walking in a few years all because of my cessation of hostilities with the trail is something I’ll always regret. The hard work and heartache it has taken to get where I am now could have been avoided.
But I’m nearly back to where I want to be and the “Don’t ever stop!” phrase is now placed at the head of my blog as a permanent reminder to me of what can happen if I take my eye off the ball again.
Finally on the subject of blogging, I have made a load of new friends via the blogosphere, all top people who encourage, cajole and support this poor weak-willed sap when the going gets tough. Do not underestimate the power of the Internet, because I wouldn’t be where I am now without it. So thank you to my cyber pedalling mates!
Oh, OK — that’s two lessons!
If you would like to join Clive with a guest post on this blog, write one on the topic: What’s the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Cycling? Details available here. These posts will run periodically on Bike Noob.