Two years ago, Gerry McCulloch, aged 52 from Wishaw, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He was only given five years to live by doctors, weighing 24 stone as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
After being admitted to hospital overnight with severe chest pain, Gerry knew something had to change: “I couldn’t carry on the way I was going” he said. “I have family and grandchildren who I wanted to watch grow up. That inspired me to make a change more than anything.
“I had tried other forms of exercise before but couldn’t find anything I really connected with. Jogging was too hard, and I found walking too boring, the gym was never appealing either. My friend and colleague Hazel introduced me to cycling and I’ve never looked back. I wish I’d discovered it years ago, I’m well and truly hooked!
“My health really motivated me get into shape properly, and I’ve built up to cycling 40 miles in one session from two miles last year.”
“My eating habits were all over the place”, Gerry added. “I would miss breakfast then skip lunch and end up bingeing on junk food in the evenings. I didn’t have any sense of routine, and things quickly spiralled out of control. It was a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and I avoided doing certain things because I felt too self-conscious.
“I’m over half way towards my weight loss goal of eight stone since I started cycling, I’ve completely changed my diet and cut out junk food, eating a lot more fresh food and fruit and veg to give me the right calories and energy for cycling. I can really relate to the endorphins people get after exercising and feel really accomplished after each ride!”
After losing 4.5 stone, Gerry took on his first Pedal for Scotland in 2018, upon completing the 45 mile Classic Challenge from Glasgow to Edinburgh, he said:
“I’m feeling a bit sore but that’s only to be expected. I pedalled a total of 63 miles on Sunday, the furthest I have ever cycled. We set off from Wishaw to Glasgow Green to get into the spirit of things, then completed the 45 mile Classic Challenge from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
“The start line had great atmosphere with hundreds of people there and music playing, really got me motivated. Chatting to people along the way was a great way to pass the time, you really get to know people cycling a mile or two with them.
“There were some climbs along the route, which was especially tough as I’m still not a strong cyclist. But for every uphill, there was a downhill stint which gave me something to look forward to on the other side! You just have to accept the typical Scottish weather as part of the experience.
“If you’d told me I would have been cycling 63 miles this time last year I would have thought it was impossible. The journey hasn’t been easy but crossing the finish line was worth it and made me forget about the exhaustion it’s taken to get to this stage.
“Now I know I can do it, Pedal for Scotland will be an annual event in my calendar and I can’t wait to get involved in next year’s 20th anniversary celebration. I’ve set my sights on the 100 mile Big Belter challenge for 2019, it’s a long time in the saddle but with plenty of training I know I’ll get there.
“I’ve had 51 years of being unhealthy, but that’s changed. Pedal for Scotland was a fantastic experience, and if I can inspire one person into getting fit and healthy, I will have done my job.”
If you’ve been inspired by Gerry’s story, have a look into the Pedal For Scotland annual Classic Challenge.
Case study by Cycling Scotland