In the spring of 2021, a much needed change was required in order to regain my physical health and consequently improve even more my mental health. Weighing in at 300 pounds, a pack a day smoker for 25 years, such poor flexibility that hiring a woman to clip my toenails was now essential, and blood sugars high enough to be considered pre-diabetic, i was on a similar trajectory as both my parents.
I met Bill at the beach one spring evening through a mutual friend. Bill turns 80, August of 2023 and has been cycling hard core since he was 55. Bill took me under his wing and coached me as we cycled together throughout our valley. Bill riding a Cannondale hybrid bike and I riding my 25 year old mountain Trek bike. Trust me, there are lots of hills and valleys where i live. I remember distinctly pushing up all the hills as a newly-quit-smoker coughing and hacking phlegm as i pedaled. Our rides got longer with every outing. Soon we were up to riding on average 50 kilometres four days a week. In the following 14 weeks of cycling with Bill logging at least 2,300 km. and dramatically changing my diet, i lost an astounding 70 pounds or 5 pounds lost every single week for those 14 weeks. I asked my Doctor for a blood analysis after i had hit my target. He informed me at our next appointment that i had reversed the effects of neglecting my body, that i was no longer pre-diabetic. My flexibility came back, i can now clip my own toenails with a giggle.
So impressed with my accomplishments that a Facebook group member decided to give me her new bicycle and helmet, not for me to use but quoting “JD, i want you to have this bike, i know with all your connections that you will find it a good home.” She told me that this was the wrong bike for her, she was needing a different bike for her needs.
I saw this as a huge opportunity to create something magical for the recipient. I decided to hold a contest on my Facebook group. The contest rules were simple. Contestants were to write an email to my personal email address indicating why they deserved this gift of health. There were so many entries, it was such an honor to read all the stories that came in. One winner was chosen. With all my connections, I reached out and worked my magic. I had a friend install an electric motor and battery, secured a large gift certificate for accessories from a local Bike shop, secured free lessons from the local cycling association and offered to take the lucky winner on four 3 hour riding sessions with myself allowing me to show the best and safest rides our valley has to offer.