Mountain Bike Philippines' new editor-in-chief, Agu Paiso, messaged me a few days ago, asking for tips for overweight bikers.
It just dawned on me - a realization that shit, I am overweight! I am no longer the mountain biker with big bones, as I'd like to call it. This is not baby fat anymore. I believe I may be obese, even!
It's a wake up call that's both sad and good. It's sad because I realized how I abused myself and let my cravings and appetite get the best of me, but at the same time it's good because the first step to change is being aware and acknowledging this.
As I type this entry in a restaurant, waiting for my appointment with the cardiologist, I've decided to try to document my little steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I know that I may fail sometimes, and that's why I'm asking for your support too. It's hard when you're going to do this alone.
In the meantime, as promised, here are my tips for us "more huggable" bikers:
1. Drink lots of liquids. Based from my experience, I overheat faster than my thinner counterparts and so I drink a lot more. I usually bring a full 100 oz. of water in my hydration pack and sometimes an extra bottle of water to be sure. You can never can tell, right? Hahahaha!
2. Be patient. Don't try to ride at the same pace with the others if you can't do it yet. Ride at your own pace rather than risk blowing up and ending your adventure in the process. As I always say "Maghihintay naman 'yang mga 'yan eh." And they will if you have a couple of packs of Double Stuff Oreos with you.
3. It's perfectly OK to rest. During our Mindoro trip, we stopped every 10 kilometers or so and ate as often as we wanted. Learn to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.
4. Don't be afraid of your doctor. Go ahead and have yourself checked before you embark on any adventure. Be makulit and ask the hard questions.
5. Ride gracefully. Even though we're heavyweights, if we can fly like a butterfly on the trails, we won't put any unnecessary wear on our equipment. I know a regular mountain biker who trashes almost one rear derailleur every year. This never happened to me.
6. Don't be sensitive. When you're biking, especially in the rural areas, you will hear kids (and even adults) shouting "Ay! Taba! Taba! Taba!" Don't let that put you down. Instead, just smile at them and pedal on. Ask youself this - ano bang masama kung mataba?
7. Try to lose weight. Admittedly it's very hard, but it's (usually) cheaper than buying lightweight components. You'll be amazed how fabulous you'll ride if you lose just a few pounds. If you need a support group, get in touch with me. I need one, too! :)
8. Wear a heart rate monitor and use it when you ride. Know your maximum heart rate (ask your doctor) and don't go beyond that.
9. Because you're usually the one at the back of the group, make sure you have everything you need in case of emergencies. I also have a whistle attached to my hydration pack to call the attention of the people in front in case I need their help.
10. A lot of lightweight components have weight limits. Know them first before buying.
11. It's hard to get bike clothes for fat people, especially in the Philippines. What I did was I designed my own bike jersey and had it custom printed. The minimum order is 12 (this may differ between suppliers), so I ordered four for myself and asked friends if they're interested, too. For the baggy shorts, Columbia sells american sizes for their cargo shorts. Just pair that with an Anatomic cycling shorts and you're good to go.
I promised Agu that I'll publish this entry only after his new issue is out, so if you're reading this, go out and purchase the latest issue of Mountain Bike Philippines.