I sometimes forget how far I’ve come in this “bike thing.” My brother asked and asked and then pleaded for me to try to ride a bike, even gave me the first blue bike. It sat in my shed for a few weeks collecting dust until one evening right at dusk I pulled it out, adjusted the seat (which was huge but to my eyes way to small), put on a pair of basketball shorts and a XXXL t-shirt and took off up the street. I could only go around the block before I was winded. I thought everyone was looking out the window at the big fat guy puffing away up the street and laughing. Of course they weren’t, who cares, but I’m as vain as the next person, in my mind people were starring and pointing at me, laughing. I don’t know how long it took me to get as big as I was but I knew I wasn’t healthy and in serious danger of a heart attack. The thing is I knew it and still I refused to do anything about it, just stuck my head a little further in the sand. That first ride around the block never leaves me, it’s always there like a bruise nobody can see. The second ride was just has hard but I forced myself to go further, two blocks and then one mile, then two. In those first days I didn’t have a bike computer, I would come home and then hop in the car and drive my route to see how far I’d gone. The weight started to melt off, I cut out sugar as much as possible, I cut out all white bread and starches and the pounds flew off. I increased my rides to every other day and even rode at night after work. My brother kept encouraging me and kept upgrading my bike to a better lighter model.After one year riding solo I was looking for something different. I started looking online and found the Team Evesham website. My first ride was a Friday morning ride and I was nervous and uncomfortable. The ride leader that morning was Dave Bennis. Sandy Student also rode that morning. They introduced themselves and made me feel welcome. That first ride was strange. I hung way in back and was wondering what I got myself into. Sandy rode with me and explained as we rode why the other riders were yelling out strange stuff. On the way back we were riding and I didn’t realize the group was slowing and rode up next to another rider, on the right side, and passed her. I was wondering why this woman was yelling at me, “No passing on the right!” After we got back to the parking lot, Elmine, apologized repeatedly and explained what I did wrong. I’m not sure how many people rode that morning but I think almost every one of them made a point to say goodbye and asked if I had fun. It wasn’t the ride that got me back the next week. It was the people. I have met so many nice people since that first Friday ride. That woman who yelled at me is now a good friend and we laugh about that first day. I have now lost over 100 lbs due mainly to riding a bicycle, which is obviously fantastic! One of my best rides to date, wasn’t the length of the ride or the speed or any of the usual things. It was uncomfortable, my skinned knees (from a cycling fall) were painful. What made it a great ride was my friends, my teammates. Everyone had kind words of concern and were happy to see me this morning, even people I don’t ride with, who ride in different groups asked if I was okay. I started riding with Team Evesham to get in shape and ride more miles. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and talk to more people, to take a chance. Being a member of Team Evesham has filled a hole in my life I didn’t realize I had. I look forward to riding on Fridays and Sundays not just for the exercise, but for the enjoyment of being with friends that want to ride with me. Whether I’m leading a ride or just riding along for the enjoyment I’m out there having fun.