If only getting healthy on a bike was as easy as quitting smoking

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Dutch cyclist on the Gorge d'Ardeche

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Turn your back for a minute and weight just appears from nowhere.

“About three years ago, I stopped smoking and immediately gained 15 kilograms. It has been harder and harder to get it off.”

Photographer’s notes: Well, we have all been there, or will eventually. I laughed when listening to an interview with a professional cyclist. He was asked what he would do when he retired. “Gain 20kg.” There was a rush of laughter from his teammates. Once you stop cycling, weight comes fast. Stop smoking and weight comes fast. Get older, and weight comes fast. .. There is a constant here.

I yo-yo weight. Not really heavy, but I live in Belgium and have a penchant for good beer – and there is loads of that here.  I can shed 10kg and then find it again as I slip back into a more sedentary lifestyle. I lose more weight when I run regularly, but I have become prone to an irritating injury. Enough to keep me out of my running shoes.

I lost massive weight when I did nothing but ride. I came through Africa a few years ago and was a wafer by the time I got to the final destination.  Regardless, riding the bike is about far more than losing weight. We all know that.

And, for my size, two metres tall, there is more to me that most people. Just a few kilograms on my frame and hills become another level of pain. I rarely get over 110kgs – and have rarely seen less than 100kgs in recent years. That said, when I was racing, I was 84kgs. .. So I guess I can understand what the pro cyclists said about his post-career intentions.



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