James was 31 years old and weighed 321 pounds. He had been overweight most of his life and was ready to make a change. He had assumed that the problem was genetic, not caused by food choices or a lack of exercise. But after a business trip to Mississippi where he overindulged in southern cuisine, he decided it was time to make a change. A friend of his turned him on to an app called “Myfitnesspal” where he could enter everything he ate. It quickly became apparent that he was eating about 1,200 – 2,000 calories more per day than was healthy.

So with that app’s information in hand, he began monitoring his daily calorie intake. He diligently followed the recommended calorie intake per day and, sure enough, in just a few weeks he had lost 20 of the 120 pounds he was hoping to lose and was ready to begin exercising.

James Image 1James says: “I started thinking about how nice it would be to ride a bike again. My kids have bikes and it would be great to get out with them, plus I had the crazy idea that commuting to work on a bike would not only be fun, it would help me lose the weight even faster! I bought a bike from a local classified listing, and immediately fell in love with riding again; so much so, that I ended up selling my vehicle and committing myself to riding to work every day.”

James began to have some minor issues with his bike that he was hoping to fix on his own but a friend referred him to the Provo Bicycle Collective, a branch of the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective.

“I attended a volunteer night at the Collective, and through hands-on instruction, I learned many of the fundamental bicycle maintenance and repair essentials. After volunteering for a few weeks, I had accrued enough credit that I was able to get a bike for my wife! Now, we are able to go on rides together with our kids and enjoy the trails as a family.”

It wasn’t long before James was down to 185 pounds, 15 pounds less than his initial goal. “I am 33 and in the best shape of my life, and full of new knowledge that I use to keep my family’s and friends’ bikes in great working order,” says James.

At the heart of our community are people like James and organizations like Bicycle Collective. At their Community Bike Shop, parts, bikes, tools and expertise are all under one roof, allowing people to fix their own bicycles and purchase refurbished bikes. In 2015 their shops served 7,830 patrons and produced a total of 2,895 refurbished bikes for the community last year.

Click here to follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout June we will be sharing more stories about the programs at Bicycle Collective and some of the people’s lives who have been impacted by their services.

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