Meet Chris Smith, aka Mr. GeckoATX. The ATX stands for Austin, Texas where Chris lives and works in a school library. We’re not sure about the Gecko part, but we sure do love this guy!
We met Chris about one year and 135 pounds ago. He entered our elMundo Contest and won second place. The prize was $500 toward his new Mundo Classic Cargo Bike, which would be an important tool on his journey to a healthier lifestyle.
He has been documenting his entire journey from 485 lbs. to now on his blog A Big Guys Use of a Bike to be Not So Big. We’ve been following along. Its funny and inspirational and all the stuff in between. Read it.
Chris has been having such a good time biking around Austin, losing pound after pound and getting involved in the bicycling community there, so he decided to host and lead an 11-mile group ride with our local dealer, Cycleast.
Join in the fun with Chris and Cycleast this April 28th at 9:00 am (whoa!) for the inaugural ride, hopefully the first of many! Details can be found on the Beginners Social Ride Facebook Event page.
Now for a Q & A with Mr. Gecko himself, on Cargo Bikes, weight loss and Texas.
Walk us through the first steps. How did you get started on your journey?
To start the weight loss all I needed to do was remove potatoes, rice, grains, beans, most fruits, and sugar from my diet. I am not going to lie, the first three weeks were less than enjoyable. I would finish a 12 oz. steak with a side salad and feel as hungry as I did before the first bite.
Now I eat when I am hungry, which is far less often than when I ate because it was time to eat.
I understand that diet is only one part of the equation. Thinking about what I did when I was fit, I decided I need to start riding a bike again. However nothing is ever as easy as you think at first. Most bikes are not designed for someone my size. Enter one Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike…
Tell us about a Major Milestone you achieved and how that felt.
From the blog: “I am not going to make you wait, I just dropped below 400 lbs., 398 to be exact. Where is my cake to celebrate? (Just kidding, everyone knows I like pie better. Teeheehee) but seriously I think I will have a chocolate protein shake as a reward and then back to riding my bike and losing weight.”
How has cycling helped in achieving your goals to live a healthy lifestyle?
The Mudo has helped in achieving my goals of living a healthier life style by allowing me to get back out there and ride. I figured if I could start riding again, along with a better diet, it would help me lose weight. It has, I am down 135 lbs. and still dropping.
The wind in my hair, the sun on my face as I pedal along is also doing wonders for my grumpiness.
What kind of riding have you been doing on your Mundo? Where do you like to ride in your home town?
I should say that most of my riding has been for exercise, but the reality is that I just enjoy riding my Mundo. I am a big guy, both in width and height, and not many bikes fit someone my size. I mainly ride around where I live in Austin Texas. I am lucky there are plenty of bike lanes, paths, and parks here. The Mundo is a cargo bike, so I am looking forward to, when I have lost some more weight (allowing for more cargo), to taking it Bike Camping.
Other than the exercise, what else do you love about being on a bicycle?
Other than exercise I love that I am able to get around without having to use my car. While it is technically exercise, I really enjoying riding out to a Starbucks, for coffee, which is about seven miles from my house (14 miles round trip). Yes I could drive and it would take less time but where is the Joy in that?
I am slowly pulling together all the accessories I want to add which will make the rides even more enjoyable. Right now I have my eye on the bread basket so I can carry a Bluetooth speaker with me.
What advice do you have for someone looking to give biking a chance to loose weight and be healthy?
My biggest advice for someone looking to lose weight and be healthier by riding a bike is to be CAREFUL. Understand your limits. I am no longer the guy who could ride his mountain bike off 10 foot drops and shrug it off any more. Wear bright colors and a helmet. Get lights for the front and back of your bike, and always obey traffic laws in your area.
Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, my real advice is to just have fun riding. The days I find it hardest to ride are when I feel like I HAVE to ride. The days I have my most productive and longest rides are on days I am just out to have some fun.
Remember if you are like me, you may have chosen a bike for exercise, but it was based on how fun and liberating biking can be.