I've been lurking the board for about a month now so it seemed like time to introduce myself. My name is Ben Brown and I ride because 6 years ago, cycling saved my life. At 300 pounds with a pack-a-day cigarette habit I was coronary looking for somewhere to happen. My doctors had been telling me to loose weight for years but it was moving into a 4th floor dorm-room that turned the tide. I couldn't get up the stairs without stopping for a breather.
I broke out my old mountain bike and started riding a couple of miles a day. I started eating better and discovered that cycling and smoking were mutually exclusive activities so I quit. Over the course of the year I dropped close to 100 pounds and spent $1,000 on my first road bike, a 1999 Trek 1000.
Since then my weight gas been around 215, putting me comfortably into the clydesdale catagory. I don't race and spend most of my time riding in organized centuries and fiding new local routes. This summer I'm hoping to ride 2 centuries a month between now and when the season ends in September. I'm also planning to ride the Bay-in-a-day double century in July.
I've been in California for 10 months and in Ukiah for 5. So far my biggest problem, aside from a wet winter, has been finding riding partners. Most other places I've been had organized clubs but if there is one in Ukiah I am unable to find it. I may end up joining one in Santa Rosa and accepting the commute.
Welcome, Ben. I was in the same boat a few years ago. I smoked for 15 years, then finally quit and started running. Ran a bunch of 5 k's, a couple 10k's, and a 5 miler or 2. I just bought a mountain bike over the weekend and am looking forward to spending a lot of time on it.