Hello, my name is John and I live in Leawood, Kan., which is a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.
I am getting back into cycling and I look forward to posting and chatting with everyone on this site.
Cycling is the one sport I've participated in throughout my life. I can still vividly remember riding in a child seat on the back of my dad's 3-Speed Schwinn. As I got older, I rode with my father and a guy who lived down the street. I have a great father, who is still going strong at 83, but when I was young he was an advertising executive and cycling was really the only one-on-one activity we did together. My playground was a farm field a few blocks from my house ringed by dirt trails. In high school and college I got around on a Schwinn Continental that I would give anything to have today. Maybe I'll find one on Craigslist to build.
When I was in college mountain bikes became popular, and I had a few of those during my 20s and 30s. I rode less and less through the years and one child and a few years into my marriage I had ballooned to 305 pounds. I tried a lot of things to lose weight, but riding the hybrid I had bought a few years ago was too difficult. I got rid of it and bought an Electra Townie 1-speed, the most comfortable bike I could find.
Not long after buying that bike my gall bladder threw a stone that lodged in my common bile duct, causing a nasty case of pancreatitis that put me in ICU for eight days and has made me diabetic. This happened one week after we found out my wife was pregnant with our second child. It has proved to be something of a blessing. I got sick in October (eight months ago at this writing), and have lost 45 pound to date. I ride the Townie every other day. Not far, not fast and (it's a one speed, remember) not on too many hills. I'm ready to graduate to a Specialized Sirrus, but I'm keeping the Townie and it will always be a reminder of those days in the hospital and at home in bed when the thought of riding was almost an impossible dream.
Cycling is going to be my road to good health. I can be obsessive about things, and that's where I choose to focus my energy. My doctor tells me with continued weight loss and regular exercise I might be able to get off insulin. I certainly would welcome that, but even if I must take insulin the rest of my life, being healthy and around for my kids is my No. 1 goal.
My more immediate goal is to lose more weight and get in good enough shape to do the Biking Across Kansas ride in June 2012. That's 400 plus miles in eight days in as much as 100 degree weather. Learning how to control my diabetes while riding will be a challenge. (I just read "Not Dead Yet" by Phil Southerland and find it to be an inspiration).
I hope that years from now my children will take their kids out on bike rides and fondly remember those long rides with dad, just as I do.