Guest Post: “How Mykill Got His Fat Butt On A Bike and Postponed Certain Death,” by Mykill M

05.29.2012 | 1:39 am

Like most kids that grew up in the suburbs in the Brady Bunch era, I rode a bike all over the neighborhood all weekend and all summer long. And like most teenagers in the suburbs in the post-Brady Bunch era, I bought a car as soon as I could and left that bike to rust.

I did not ride a bicycle again until the very end of 2009.

In the 25 years between rides, I was constantly fighting a tendency to gain weight if I was not being active. I tried to keep it in check by doing fun things like snowboarding, tennis, and going to punk shows.

Turns out punk shows are more dangerous than snowboarding. I tore out my ACL at a show in 2006. Long story short, I was misdiagnosed at first and I did not push hard enough for a proper diagnosis. This meant I had an untreated injured knee that would fail on me when doing pretty much any physical activity. Things like mowing the lawn, walking across a dance floor, and this one time when I just turned to answer the phone and ended up lying on the floor.

My weight increased while my overall health declined as I got more and more sedentary, since there was not much left for me to do to stay active. In 2008, I went in for a checkup and had the following test results:

BP 140/90
Resting heart rate 95
Cholesterol 260
Triglyceride 240
ALT 74
AST 29

My weight at this appointment was 260, and it continued to climb through the year to a peak of around 265-270 pounds.

Finally in 2009 I decided to have the troublesome knee looked at again, where after just a couple of wiggles the doctor said “We need an MRI to verify it, but you seem to have a torn ACL.” Fast forward a few months past the confirming MRI, through the reconstructive surgery, and on to the physical therapy.

The therapist said riding a bike was great for rebuilding strength in my legs without putting too much strain on the knee. I was hesitant to start riding, because of a combination of fear of death by car and death by embarrassment of silly clothes. But being fat really sucked, so I figured I could wear normal clothes and keep to off-road paths and put my fears aside. I bought a cheap old hardtail mtb through Craigslist and headed out.

My first ride lasted about 10 minutes. But what an awesome 10 minutes. Every day I would go out on my lunch break and ride a little further, pretty soon I was riding for the whole lunch break and cutting into my afternoon’s productivity.

At the time I lived in San Francisco’s East Bay area. Way out in the far East Bay, where there are lots of multi-use paths and easy access to fire roads and trails right in my backyard. The funny thing is, I never saw any of it until I started riding.

It was like a whole world opened up right in front of me. The miles started to add up and the pounds started to melt away. Fast forward again past some more healthful dietary changes and a move to San Francisco, where I ride my bike for any errand and I ride as long as I can get away with on the weekends.

And now I do it surrounded by cars while wearing silly clothes, something that was unthinkable to me just a couple of years ago.

Between my last checkup last fall and the weight loss challenge last month, my current numbers look like this:

BP 116/67
Resting heart rate 47
Cholesterol 173
Triglyceride 85
ALT 29
AST 23

I weigh 193 pounds now, just about a pound and a half over where I bottomed out during Fatty’s weight loss challenge this spring. I know I have a bit more to go to reach my ideal weight, but I have not been trying too hard to lose while adding miles every week preparing for my first century- this year’s 100MoN.

In just about two and a half years I have gone from that awesome 10 minute slog to easy 50 mile weekends to gearing up for my first 100 mile ride. In the process I have lost over 70 pounds and managed to get my blood pressure and other health metrics all in check.

And it all started as therapy for an ACL reconstruction following too much fun at the punk rock show.

Surprise Part II, “How I Got Someone Else To Start Riding”

I told my wife if she ever wanted to see me on the weekends again, she needed to get on a bike and keep up. Luckily, she likes me and did.


  1. Comment by Papuass | 05.29.2012 | 3:07 am

    The first paragraph made me think – what is wrong with America and its car culture? I guess I must be happy that I live in Eastern European country, where such problems are unthinkable of. Of course, these are replaced with other society problems (like alcoholism).

    But anyway, it is great to see how people can change thanks to a beautiful thing like bicycle.

  2. Comment by Tim the Austrian | 05.29.2012 | 5:32 am

    For the good lady wife, get a tandem, it’s just heaps of fun…

  3. Comment by MattC (yes, that one) | 05.29.2012 | 6:15 am

    Great story MyKill! (see you at Davis I hope?) Sure wish I could get my wife interested in riding…borrowed a tandem a while back and took her out for a few a few easy miles in the Calif Central Coast vineyards…nice easy rollers, beautiful scenery…thought that would do the trick. Not even a little bit. So I still ride alone.

    But that’s ok…gives me plenty of time to solve the worlds problems. The only catch is I have zero short-term memory. So 4 or 5 hours later I can’t remember my cure for cancer, war and everything else I stumbled upon in my riding induced bliss. I MUST start carrying yellow stickies on my handlebars.

  4. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.29.2012 | 9:09 am

    @MattC, I keep an inexpensive ($30 at Office Depot, I think) digital voice recorder in my jersey pocket for keeping track of thoughts while riding.

    MUCH better than trying to use the voice recorder on my Blackberry. First, I keep my Blackberry in a waterproof bag, and second, dropping a $30 device is much better than dropping a much more expensive one.

  5. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 05.29.2012 | 9:09 am

    @MattC just remember that old maxim: “A tandem is the LAST bike a married couple will ever get’”

    Looking forward to seeing MyKill in Davis. THough steel yourself, there will be pie.

  6. Comment by SaddleAmericana | 05.29.2012 | 9:32 am

    All right Mykill! Punk rock, cheap,Craigslist MTBs, and pedaling are great cures for the unsustainable, horribly self-centered cultural practices of Brady Bunch America! Keep pedaling! You’ve also inspired me, and I hope I can someday explore the trails and roads of California. Thanks for the post.

  7. Comment by mykill | 05.29.2012 | 9:50 am

    We finally settled on it today (the pie sealed the deal)- we will see you good people in Davis! If anyone wants to donate a buck or two to Michael Loney’s page, go nuts!

    It looks like a great weekend, 7 Seconds is playing Friday afternoon in the park in Sac, so we are going up early so my little guy can see his first show. Punk rock and pie? Bikes and brats? Charity and… chocolate? chipotle? churros? Count me in!

    And i thought tandems don’t end marriages, they just get the marriage where it was already going faster? Anyway, that is actually the next bike on the shopping list.

  8. Comment by VA Biker | 05.29.2012 | 10:43 am

    Congratulations on your transformed life. (I almost typed “wife” – what’s that about?) In regard to the latter, if I’d dropped “Part II” on my spouse, she’d see me to the door. I’m thinking tact, inflection, and timing of delivery are pretty important in making such a proposal.

  9. Comment by Liz | 05.29.2012 | 10:47 am

    Congratulations! And thanks to Fatty for posting all these inspriring stories. I love to see people turn their lives around, all the better when it involves rediscovering the bike!

  10. Comment by yannb | 05.29.2012 | 11:18 am

    Mike, Great job on losing the weight. Honored that your first 100 mile ride will be with us this saturday. If any one else in the bay area wants to join us for 100 MoN on saturday up here in Marin, contact me at yannbertaud at g mail dot com. We’ll be doing a bbq afterwards and we can arrange to have pie as well.

  11. Comment by Matt | 05.29.2012 | 1:03 pm

    Congrats on changing your life.

    Your resting heart rate is now 47? I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility, but that’s awfully low.

  12. Comment by mykill | 05.29.2012 | 1:43 pm

    Matt: Thanks for the congrats. My resting rate is pretty low, but that is my “first thing in the morning before a cup of coffee or opening a news feed or starting work” resting rate. Later in the day it hovers around the mid 50s, not alarmingly low. I figure my heart is so happy to get a break after years of improper sleep and pumping it full of caffeine all day while lugging around the equivalent of a German Shepherd in extra weight that it is enjoying a vacation.

  13. Comment by ClydeinKS | 05.29.2012 | 6:27 pm

    mykill, glad to see a post and hear from you in this segment. Love the story and inspiration you’ve shared. Regarding the tandem, try putting her in front. My wife says no chance she’ll ride that close behind me! Very nice on that resting HR! What was it during the challenge, you had mine racing a few times!
    Congrats on how far you’ve come and put a sprint in for me somewere on the course in Davis – wish I could be there!

  14. Comment by MikeL | 05.29.2012 | 7:11 pm

    I don’t think the resting heart rate of 47 is out of line. I was in almost the same situation as Mykill. With the aid of riding, exercising, and diet control I have dropped my resting pulse from 80 to 52 at just short of 60 years of age.
    Good going Mykill.

  15. Comment by Spiff | 05.29.2012 | 7:47 pm

    Great story but I really loved part two!

  16. Comment by mykill | 05.29.2012 | 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the kind words everyone :)

    Yann, I am really looking forward to it, and wouldn’t mind being on pie detail.

    ClydeinKS, too bad you can’t make it, I will definitely dedicate a sprint to you (probably downhill and with a tailwind, that’s how I sprint)

  17. Comment by AKChick55 | 05.29.2012 | 10:08 pm

    I love this post!! Heck, I’ve loved them all. I continued to be inspired by all these amazing people. Team Fatty is sure extraordinary!

    By the way, the unofficial Team Fatty Davis Facebook page is

    It’s connected to my personal FB page so it’s not a group page, but kind of like a fan page. I’m hoping to get more information on events or if someone would like to do something before hand (I arrive in Sacramento on Weds the 20th after flying all night from Alaska) let me know and I’ll post it. Once I post something folks can comment.

    I can’t wait to meet everyone!!! I’m SO excited!

  18. Comment by Darrel Stamp | 05.30.2012 | 4:39 am

    What an inspiring story, thanks for sharing it. It’s a shame hat more people aren’t inclined to cycle instead of drive. I can understand it here in England, though, as there are barely any good cycle routes in the major cities and commuting by bike can be quite dangerous, especially in London!

  19. Comment by Moosh | 05.30.2012 | 4:58 am

    A great inspiration MyKill, and I agree with Darell above, drivers here see cyclists as a nuisance, but we will beat them! I have enjoyed my time in the saddle, and I keep on challenging myself to go further and further, while the Old Boy makes me ride up higher and steeper hills! Keep on Riding!


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