In the first week of the Clean Commuter Challenge, we noticed that Alain was leading the way as an active commuter, burning calories on his ride to work. What we didn’t know was that Alain is a relatively new bicycle commuter, motivated by his role as a father of two young sons to be more active and lose weight.
Read how Alain improved his health, lost weight and gained bike-commuting confidence below.
Q. Where do you work? And what’s your role?
“I work at 1795 Willingdon in Burnaby as a payroll clerk.”
Q. Are you biking to work?
“I only started biking recently. I never cycle-commuted until I was challenged to give it a try: ‘Even for a day,’ someone said. A day turned into a week, and a week turned into a bit of a habit. Of course, the idea of winning a bike during Bike to Work Week certainly helped with motivation. I took the challenge and absolutely loved the experience. That week-long challenge sparked my confidence and launched a habit to ride to work one or two times a week when the weather permits.”
Q. What is the distance?
“My commute is 27 kilometres each way, and it takes me an hour and forty minutes. I leave home at 5:45 a.m. to give myself ample time, as I never know if I’ll get a flat tire or something else to navigate. The ride home is a little harder due to bigger and longer hills.”
Q. How are you finding it?
“I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. It does take time and preparation. I make sure I have several changes of clothes ready at work, so I don’t have to bring a huge bag when I ride, as well as a good lunch to make sure I have enough energy to ride home.”
Q. What motivates you?
“My motivation comes from being a father of two young sons. When they were seven years old and ten months old, I decided I needed to do something about my health. I want to be a dad that can keep up with them in all of their activities. At the time, I was 220 lbs and, at five feet and three inches tall, I knew that I needed to change my unhealthy lifestyle and get active. Now, I’m proud to say that I am 143 lbs, which is more like my ideal height-to-weight ratio. I eat really healthy and I am active, and now I can keep up with the boys.”
Q. Have you been biking for a while or are you trying this for the first time?
“I cycled a lot when I was a younger, as it’s the most accessible form of transportation with hardly any cost. Ever since getting my driver’s license and a car, I definitely lost sight of the opportunity to bike. Taking the challenge and getting back on a bike has been a big eye opener and lifestyle change for me.”
Q. Do you have any advice for someone trying this for the first time?
“There is a lot more to it than just two wheels, a seat and a pair of handlebars. It’s faster than you think; you’ll discover roads and bike paths in our city that you didn’t know existed. And it is safer than most would assume. It also made me a better driver and it’s very enlightening to see it from all angles. From driving, commuting and now cycling!
“As well, I have learned a lot from biking to work; how cyclist deal with day-to-day conditions is just amazing. I’ve met some people who cycle to work all year round, even in the freezing rain and sometimes in the snow! I think the real credit goes to those guys. They are a true inspiration.”
Q. How are you fuelling yourself?
“I eat a lot of fruits and lean meat, greens and veggies, which all feel great! Once a week, I also use pasta to fuel my rides.”
Q. Are you already fit, or is this making you fitter?
“Yes, it is getting me closer and closer to my goals. And I am stronger and fitter and consistently working to be a better me.”
Way to go Alain!