The best year of my life

A year ago today I started cycling. I hadn't ridden a bike for about 15 years. I was super morbidly obese and knew I had to do something about it. I've dieted before but each time boredom sets in. The monotony of dieting becomes too much and I would just give up. When I started this time, I didn't know if I could do it either.

It all started because I wanted a cheap bike through my employer's cycle to work scheme. Because I publicly went on record as saying I wanted a bike, other members of staff made it clear they expected me to cycle to work. Having completely underestimated the task ahead I said I would give it a go.

When I ordered the bike on 1st March 2010 I realized how serious the challenge was I had taken on. Knowing how to diet made weight loss the easy bit! I started with a ride around my local park and again the following day. My first commute would be just a total of 3 miles for the day. Hard enough for a seriously overweight non-cyclist. With colleagues taking the piss out of me for the little distance I rode, I knew I would have to step up my game to show them I was serious. I had to prove myself to the few that said I couldn't or wouldn't do it.

There's far too much for me to recap but the results I saw in my fitness, strength and weight loss helped push me further than I ever imagined. The support I got from one particular colleague and other bloggers helped give me focus. The memory of my father's ill health and premature death from heart disease kept me from giving up.

I will continue cycling to work and for pleasure. I will continue riding for charity, trying to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. I will continue to blog, informing you of my progress and answering peoples questions.
I will never turn back!

Below are a summary of stats for my first year of weight loss and cycling.

Starting weight: 131.8kg (20st 10lb)
Current weight: 86.6kg (13st 9lb)
Total weight loss: 45.2kg (7st 1lb)
Fat burned: 348,771 calories
Inches lost from chest: 8
Inches lost from waist: 11
Inches lost from thighs: 4
Inches lost from neck: 3
Total distance: 4,191.26 miles
Commuting miles: 3,005.67
Car miles reduced: 3,238.50
CO2 saved: 1.23 tonnes
Total riding time: 346h 24m 18s
Avg speed: 12.1mph
Punctures: 7
Bikes owned: 2
Unique blog visitors: 2,423 from 64 countries
Total visits: 7,226
Total pageviews: 15,092

As a thank you to all my readers, some of whom have followed me from the start, I have a couple of prizes to give away. Courtesy of the nice people at Zipvit Sport and Madison, there are some energy bars up for grabs as well as a Blackburn pannier bag (RRP £49.99).

To be in for a chance of winning these two prizes you have to do two simple things. Firstly make a comment on this post. Secondly, you have to become a follower (see right if you don't already follow my site).

The winner will be drawn on Sunday 27th March 2011.



  1. I cant believe the before and after photo at the end. Well Done!!! you should be very proud!Keep up the great cycling effort!

  2. Amazing stats, amazing effot you have put in, hope you are pleased with the results!

  3. Remarkable Toby! Great job.

  4. Dude, I like the same clothes thing!

  5. Superbly well done!

    One thing with the stats though. 7 punctures? Next time you change get some puncture protected tyres. I just changed my second set of Specialized Armadillos. Each set gave me over 4000 miles of wear and I have collected 2 punctures in over 7000 miles

  6. Great effort, well done

  7. Superb, mate. Well done!

  8. Great stuff, inspiring. Often can't be bothered riding to work as it's only a few miles, it all adds up! Well done you.

  9. Truly amazing, shows grit & determination.

  10. Incredible! I lost a bit of weight through cycling, but luckily I didn't have much to lose, and I've always thought how hard it must be to dedicate yourself to such a, well, mammoth task! Great work, keep it up!

  11. Wow I'm jealous. Fantastic! Im training for a big ride this year and am
    Putting weight on! Which I can ill afford :-/ good effort

  12. Loving the pics mate - keep it up!!

  13. Different bloke, isn't it?
    Great work. You must be really pleased.

  14. Very Well Done,
    'Pedal to the Metal' :)

  15. Good work fella! Impressed with the before and after piccies. Nearly as impressed that you got a mention on Twitter from Mark Beaumont! The guys a legend! Will you be cycling round the world next?

  16. Thanks so much for all your kind comments.

    Clive - I purposely wore similar clothes as I wanted to recreate the picture as close to the original.

    Gareth Evans - All punctures have been on my road bike and none on my mtb. 2 of the 7 were impact punctures and completely my fault due to lack of tire pressure. 3 were in my old tyres and two were in my current Continental Gatorskins. The two in the gatorskins were from large glass shards. I always carry two spare inner tubes with me and can swap them over in no time as I'm well practiced now!

    Gareth Rowbotham - I too was impressed that Mark Beaumont mention me and replied to me directly. He is my cycling hero and gets a number of mentions on the blog over the last 12 months. I can't see me ever taking on the around the world cycle, but you never know ;-)

  17. You are such an inspiration! And no, i am not typing this for the comment, i really do mean it. I am really looking forward to meeting you in August!

  18. Congratulations on the weight loss Toby, your weight loss over the past 12 months is an inspiration to others. The picture really show the differences, hope those guys at work who were taking the piss now acknowledge your hard work in losing that weight.

  19. inspirational !

  20. Fantastic effort mate! Nothing else I can say, except I prefer the new tyres :)

  21. ... and one lad at work said you must smell really bad, wearing the same clothes a year on ;)

  22. Great Result... cycling is a lot of fun and keeps that weight off (

  23. Karen - Looking forward to meeting you in August too.

    Old wind man - Thanks. I learned a little while back that you can't make everyone like you. It's not worth wasting your energy on proving yourself to everyone. Those that take the piss now are only jealous.

    Phill - I purposely chose similar clothes for best effect. If I had worn the same clothes as the original they would have been hanging off me!

  24. I admire your work, keep it up.
    I hope many people read your story and it inspires them to get on their bikes. It's a great world out there and it's all waiting to be ridden!

  25. Well done Toby, its always good to see a fellow cyclist with major goals. I admire how you have changed your whole being, you have to be chuffed with the new you! We all cycle for different reasons, mine was recovery from 2 major brain ops for a tumour, so really do appreciate your life changing challenge. Keep up the excellent work and ride safe.

  26. A bit late but thats astounding mate. You ARE an inspiration & I bet it wasnt as easy as the few words you write about it.

  27. Thanks to all that commented and entered the competition.

    The winner drawn at random is Phill Connell. Look out for more competitions coming up in the future.


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