Gavin starts small and wins big!
‘Couldn't have come at a better time’ says bike winner*
Three years ago, Darlington taxi driver Gavin’s life changed dramatically following a visit to the doctor, suffering with sleep apnoea. Weighing in at almost 25 stone, this was just one of the problems he was facing. Serious health concerns were just around the corner. Gavin decided to do something about it, before it was too late. Here’s his story…
Tell us about your lifestyle before you visited the doctor:
I'm a taxi driver, so I spent my days sitting in the car and then I used to sit on the settee until I fell asleep. I ate too much and had no energy to do anything. I weighed 25 stone and I knew I was on my way to diabetes and sorts of health problems. Even though I kept falling asleep on the settee, I had problems sleeping at night, so I went to the doctor with sleep apnoea.
What did the doctor say that motivated you to change the way you live?
Straight away the doctor said, if you lose weight, you’ll feel better, and he was right! I’d tried using the NHS weight loss services before, but it didn't work for me. I decided to join a slimming group and being with other people in the same situation really helped. I also discovered walking and cycling, and that’s what changed my life.
What is your lifestyle like now?
Now, after taxi driving during the day, I get on the bike and cycle about 15 miles every day. At the weekends, it’s more like 35 or 40 miles. I mainly go out on my own because it’s great head-clearing time. You need that when you've got a full time job and four kids! Sometimes I go out with my sons, but it’s usually on my own.
I eat more healthily but I don’t deny myself treat occasionally. You just need to do things in moderation.
How do you feel now?
I have more energy, my health problems have gone and I'm a lot less stressed. I don’t know what I’d do without cycling now.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about giving cycling a go?
Just get out and do it. It’s the best exercise, physically and mentally. If I can do it, anyone can. I just started small and now it’s a massive part of my life.”
*Gavin Collins won a new bike (from Bike Sport Darlington) by entering the 2015 Change Gear this Year competition.