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.
“Showing up” is not as easy as it sounds. Dedication like yours (Don’t Ever Stop) is often overlooked. Thanks for reminding us!
Mel Hughes says
What a story, Clive. Thank you!
Clive Chapman says
Cheers folks! Appreciate the comments.
It was an honour to contribute to Ray’s fine blog! Thank you!
Steven Bond says
I know where your coming from ! For some reason ” to much to go into ” I balooned to 31.5 Stones 70″ Chest 64 ” waist. After many health problems and a warning from the DOC ( he mentioned surgery.. I said NO !) at 36 years of age my mission began Jan 2010 . Walking at first as I was to big for a MTB . And cutting out all the crap food. It started to fall off. When I hit 27 stone 5 months later I dug out my old MTB and started riding… Hard a t first but more enjoyable. The weight still kept coming off. Now 22 months later just under 20 stones now 50 ” chest 44″ waist …I completed the 36 mile BHF Ride at Robin Hood the other week in 2 hrs 44 mins beating all my so called fit friends. I now have 3 bikes a old road bike / on*one inbred which I do all the miles on and a Carbon 456 which I do all the trail riding with around sherwood pines and wherever we go with the chaps. I hit the gym 6 times a week aswell and I am now not to bothered about the weight but I am bulking up with muscle. Muscle weighs more but aslong as the Waist keeps shrinking im not to bothered about the weight. Ill take 19 stones of muscle man and fitness anyday over the 31.5 stone slob I was. Then ill treat myself to a Full Susser….. Like you said Clive … You just cant Stop !!! I cant im addicted..
Steven Bond says