I’m On My Weigh Vol. III: Gearing Up for Adventure

I have written previously about my struggles with obesity. I have also written the numerous times I have fallen off the proverbial horse, re-mounted the proverbial horse, and wanted desperately to sell the proverbial horse to the nearest proverbial taxidermist. For this writing, as I promised, I would like to share an investment that I made in my weight loss.
I should start with a brief back-story. Some years back, I had made an online friend named John. John lived in Illinois. John and I corresponded very closely for several years via phone and Internet. John and I never met face to face. In spite of this, we shared many laughs together. We also endured many trials together. John comforted me when my parents were involved in a severe automobile accident. I did my best to help John face his impending divorce. John was also a man who had issues with his weight. John’s weight struggles took their toll on his health. The toll ultimately became too great. On April 1, 2000; John collapsed and died in his living room in the presence of one of his teenage daughters. It has been 12 years since John died. I will never forget the laughs we had. I will also never forget the stories he shared regarding the physical and emotional consequences of his obesity. They have especially struck a chord with me as my weight climbed over the past year to the 300 lb. mark.
About 7 years ago, I acquired another friend named John. There were some differences from my deceased friend of the same name. This friend named John lives locally, within walking distance. John is a few years younger and in better health. We have somewhat different personalities. Those differences allow us to complement one another very well. John has expressed tremendous concerns about my weight and overall health in the past year. Actually, at times he has railed me rather harshly. John has, at times, talked to me in the same way Mickey Goldmill lashed out at Rocky Balboa. Still, I know that John, like Mickey, is always in my corner.
In the past couple of months, I had spoken to my wife about making a significant financial investment in my fitness goals. I wanted to buy a bicycle. I didn’t just want some off-the-rack department store bicycle. I wanted a bicycle that could endure my extra weight, provide a comfortable ride, and be easily modified (when needed) as my fitness progressed. My lovely queen agreed that this was a sound idea and was very encouraging. I, once again, reached out to my friend John. This was a no-brainer to me. John not only has a very nice bike of his own. He also teaches a spin class. Divine providence is really a wonderful thing when you realize it for what it is.
John took me to a local bike shop where he got his own set of wheels. They sized me up on a bike. I fell in love with that thing the minute I got on it. I felt like I was a kid again that could ride his bike everywhere. I looked like a hippo who probably needed training wheels. Still, nothing was going to steal my bliss in that moment. I got a quote on the bike. John also guided me on some accessories I would need such as lights, a lock, a helmet and appropriate riding apparel. I spent the next few weeks obsessing about getting this bike. My older son asked if I was getting a bike so I could ride to the mailbox and back. To the untrained ear, that would sound like an insulting crack. I took it as a phrase of encouragement from someone who is definitely his father’s son.
The day finally came and I went in and got my new bike. Allow me this one unsolicited testimonial. The Bike Zone (http://bikezonebikes.com/) did GREAT by me. They gave me 25% off on the bike and 15% off on the accessories. They even mounted the accessories as they were setting up my bike. They had me out the door with my bike in less than 15 minutes. If you are in the Rochester, NY area and want a good solid deal on a bike, head out to The Bike Zone on Route 104 near Greece Ridge Center.
John and I woke up early the next morning and went riding together. I was decked out in my riding gear which included a strong helmet, a bright t-shirt, and a bright fluorescent vest (think DOT orange). The last thing John or I want any other person on the road to say with a straight face is “I never saw him coming.” By the way, I named my bike the X-1 in deference to one P. W. Herman. My buddy John took me on a conservative ride. He guided me about shifting gears and hand signals. John was doing this because he knew I had not ridden a bicycle in this manner in roughly 30 years. It should be noted that one item missing from my new bike was a rack for a water bottle. Fortunately, John has a rather nice pannier on the back of his bike he he stored my water bottle so we could hydrate at brief points during the ride. We rode 6.8 miles that day. A few days later we rode again. My only goal was to go farther than the previous ride. We rode 8.8 miles that day. Just yesterday, I acquired my own water bottle rack and installed it on my bike. John and I were having troubles the entire week connecting for a ride together. I decided that since I had a way to store my water, I would ride solo. I promised John I would wear the proper gear and stick to our route. Once again, I rode just a bit farther than I had previously. I rode 10.4 miles in exactly 90 minutes.
In closing, I don’t think it is any big secret at this point that I am very grateful for John’s mentorship. I am looking forward to many more rides (both solo and with John). Lastly, if you are curious if the investment had made a difference in my fitness goals, I have lost 7 lbs. in less than one month.

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