Cycling and my weight loss journey

New member Johnathan Pape tells his amazing and well illustrated weight loss story, together with his new found love of cycling


My story starts as a child. I was very skinny up until my pre-teen years, and then my weight piled on. By the time I left education at 18, I was already pushing 17 stone. Fast forward to around 2008, and I made my first attempt to lose weight. It worked, I dropped to 15 and a half stone. Within 12 months though, I was piling it back on again – too harsh a “diet,” and it got boring very quickly.

Me, as you know me now

Roll on to 24th November 2018 to a friend’s wedding reception. I ended up talking to my mate’s colleague; a guy called Wayne. The first thing that struck me about him, was how tall he was! Apparently, he had suffered a stroke back in April 2018. He was in his mid-30’s, active and was bed-bound for a few months. To see him that night though, you’d have been none the wiser. At this point, I didn’t think anything of the conversation that night as anything special. I’d been meaning to lose weight for months, but never did anything about it.

I drove home on the Sunday, and had booked the day off work Monday. That’s when I got the text message from a friend, to say one of our colleagues had been admitted to hospital having suffered a stroke. It seemed very surreal, and this was the wake-up call that got things started.

I don’t know how heavy I was at that point, but I had my first weigh-in on Thursday 6th December. 21 stone 8lb! The suit I wore to the wedding reception was a size 20″ collar shirt, 48″ waist trousers, and a 56″ chest jacket.

Over the coming months I kept a log of my weight loss journey. It started with a change in my eating habits. No diets, just healthier changes. I also made a point of not cutting everything out (something that I did before). I still have chocolates, sweets, etc. Just in moderation.

Weight loss photos January to November 2019

No diving straight into any extreme exercise either. I went from doing nothing, to walking a couple of times a week around the village. 1 mile up and down the slopes of Mollington. As I got a bit fitter, the distance increased as did the number of walks.

By April 2019 I’d invested in a weight bench, and then by July 2019 I’d got a rowing machine. Exercising at home several times a week and walking a bit further. At this point I was 6 stone lighter.

After some gentle bullying from friends, I made the jump from walking to running. I hadn’t run since I was at school and even then, it was pretty lacklustre. One of said friends is an active park runner, so I signed up and did my first Banbury Parkrun in September 2019. My competitive side started to come out now, and gradually over the next 4 or 5 months it was my mission to just get faster and fitter. My 5k time went from 35min 37s, to 25min 52s by mid-March.

Then, Lockdown hit! All park runs cancelled, and running events I’d signed up to were being cancelled all over the place! I kept up my running, and even went as far as doing my own half marathon via Cropredy to Banbury and back. Slowly though with seemingly nothing to train for, it was getting a bit of a chore to keep running the same places over and over.

Having worked with one of the Kisley clan for a number of years, it was suggested I try a bike. Me? On a bike?! I wasn’t sure I could even ride one anymore. I’d not had a bike since I was a kid.

Thankfully, a neighbour down the road is a long-term cycling lover (nut?), and he gave me a road bike to borrow. A Dawes.

What started with a couple of short rides, turned into a longer ride. Then riding to my place of work and back on a Sunday to see how long it took, and thus turning into commuting a 20-mile round trip twice a week to work and back.

I’d fallen in love with it and was cycling down roads I’ve never been down before. With the commuting and healthier lifestyle, I reached 10 stone lost in June of this year. A goal I’d never dreamt of reaching!

I’m now a maintaining my weight; albeit having put on a few pounds since then (muscle, right?!?), but sitting at a comfortable 12 stone. In the last photo above (Nov. 2019) I was 13 stone.

The old me and the new me

Cycling has opened many new doors for me. I’ve even had a go at time trialling, when I entered the club’s 5-mile Come & Try TT in September. It’s continued to push me to do new things, try to improve myself and; most importantly, allowed me to eat cake just so long as I cycle it off!

Hopefully 2021 is a return to normality for the club, and I can take part in more events and club rides.