Now, His Love Of Pizza Keeps Him Riding Strong

Age: 52
Occupation: Marketing
Hometown: Lincoln, California
Start Weight: 275 pounds
End Weight: 195 pounds
Time Cycling: 7 years

Reason for cycling: I started cycling to help me lose weight, and in the end discovered a new hobby that has helped me keep my sanity. I can get on a bike and get lost for hours at a time.

I am a 52- year-old United States Marine who got lazy about his weight while climbing up the corporate ladder, and in 2012 I topped out at 275 pounds. I went on vacation to Hawaii and took some pictures of myself at the beach with no shirt on, and oh my god, I was huge. When I reviewed the pictures at home, I was utterly disappointed in myself and depressed. I decided not to keep the pictures—or the weight.

That same weekend, a friend called and invited me on a bike ride. I said “No, I have to come up with a plan to lose weight.” He just replied, “Cycling is great exercise.”

I went—and it was the worst experience of my life. It was 105 degrees, I didn’t have enough water, and I had a crappy Wal-Mart mountain bike that barely worked. We biked a grand total of 20 miles in Sacramento, California, and when we were done was I exhausted! I remember collapsing in the grass next to my car.

But I was instantly hooked. That same night I went out and bought a $700 Fuji hybrid bike, and I started riding every night. First two miles, then four, then eight, then more. I started weighing myself, and the more I cycled the more the weight came off.

I work from home so I have a lot of flexibility with my riding—I can ride in the morning, afternoon, and nights during the week and whenever during the weekend. During the weekends as the weight came off, I rode long rides with my friend who originally introduced me to cycling, and we explored local paved trails in the Sacramento area.

Now, I ride every day, usually 20 miles in the morning before work, and then 30 to 50 miles a day on weekends. Last year I discovered the gym—which I had never done before—and it helped me to accelerate my weight loss. And, last January we got a puppy, so I walk the dog two or three times a day.

Previously, my diet was horrible. I ate a lot of fast food, and I used to constantly drink Pepsi throughout the day. Now my diet is much better, and I tend to eat high-protein meals these days. Fast food is very rare for me, usually once a month. I love pizza to the point where I run a pizza Facebook group, but I limit myself to a slice or two a week.

Facebook has also helped me connect with other cyclists, and I’ve even started a cycling group. I started a local Facebook group for my town, which now has around 6,000 members (for a town of 50,000 people). I run a number of groups (including the pizza group), so and it was only a matter of time before I created the cycling group.

Thanks for your Story Richard Buss as told to Jordan Smith