This is a guest post from our friend, Allan. Allan is the living, cycling proof that anyone can become a cyclist. He’s gone from out-of-shape-smoker to super-fit-event-cyclist, thanks to sheer guts and cycling. Now he’s a cycle commuter, and has entered the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Al’s Story: Why I Started Cycling …
About a year and a half ago after becoming disgusted with my inability to quit smoking for longer than one day, I finally decided to read a book that a friend had given me. This book had a cheesy title but I thought to myself “what do I have to lose at this point”? So, I dusted off Allen Car’s The Easy Way To Quit Smoking and started reading … That was the end of that nasty habit for me, and I have to tell you, it was kind of easy … and I didn’t know it yet, but that was just the first step of my transformation.
Then one morning when I was getting changed for work, I caught my son staring at my stomach (it was pretty big back then). I felt silly, thinking,
“Not only am I slowly killing myself with my terrible eating habits and lack of exercise, but I’m also setting a horrible example for my kids.”
With the knowledge and confidence that I gained quitting smoking, I decided to make another change with my personal health. But I still had one obstacle, bad knees … No … Terrible knees! So, off to a sports therapist I went. After six months of doing everything she asked of me, my knees started to feel good enough to consider some sort of physical activity. I knew my favourite sport (soccer) was out of the question; I needed something that was low impact on my knees.
So, with my first six months savings from quitting smoking, I bought a bike and started with some short rides around the neighbourhood, in the evening after my kids went to bed. It turned out to be the beginning of a very long ride.
Then one day while I was at the Cancer Clinic with my mom I saw a brochure for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. I saw this as an opportunity to join my mom’s fight against cancer and take cycling more seriously. Slowly those short evening neighbourhood rides graduated to 15 k rides, with some rolling hills, or even cycling to work, and on the weekends I would do a 40 k – 60 k ride! Of course I was losing weight and getting fitter all the time. And I was happy to know I was setting a great example for my kids.
As much as I love soccer, golf and hockey … I discovered I REALLY love cycling! Now I ride all the time, and I’ve never felt better in my life!
Al’s Update: The Ride to Conquer Cancer
Today sees the start of my two-day (240 km) cycling journey to Seattle, I’ve been training for almost a year now and I’m excited. It is very important for me to say that I couldn’t have done this without the love and support from all of my friends and family! Thank you all so much for your donations, inspiration, riding/training advice and words of encouragement.
The memory of my dad, my mom’s inspirational and brave fight, everyone who has fought or is fighting cancer and your support will drive me to the finish line!
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