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Biking helps Truro man become healthier and happier


TRURO, N.S. —

Fitness sort of sneaked up on Richard Faber. Then grabbed him.

Since he started cycling last year, at his doctor’s suggestion, he’s lost 130 pounds and feels much better, both physically and mentally.

“I didn’t get a bike thinking I would love this, and I didn’t in the beginning,” he said. “It hurts your bum and hurts your legs.

“My goal was to do 30 kilomtres; now 30 is a short ride for me. I’ve gone on rides over 100-k. A year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed I could do this.”

Last winter, Faber was walking for his mental health and his doctor suggested biking for a change.

“I hadn’t biked a lot in the past,” he recalled. “Five or six years ago I biked for a couple of months. My longest trip was around Old Barns and I had to stop halfway up hills. That was shortly after I quit smoking.”

Faber bought a bike in March 2018 and started cycling around the area. As his fitness improved, he began tackling rougher trails and needed a more rugged bike. His most recent purchase was a fat bike, enabling him to tackle snow-covered trails.

“Until I started biking with Daisy Roberts I was going on the roads and the Cobequid Trail, and I had no interest in the park. Biking in the park is a tremendous workout, much more intense than on roads. The hills are so steep they really force you to work. I can’t wait to go to the park and climb hills now.

“You have to work to get the endorphins and when you come back it’s like a high. It gives you such a boost.”

His first group ride was with the HeartLand Tour in July, and he’s taken part in several since then. 

“The social aspect is a big thing,” he said. “It’s great to be part of an active community and be encouraged by others. If I get messages from people who want to go skiing or biking, I’ll go.

“Eighty-five per cent of this was for mental health; the weight loss was secondary, but I love it. I’ve built a lot of muscle and I have more energy.”

At 48, he’s also begun  and cross-country skiing.

With weight loss, Faber had to go to smaller sizes in clothing. He went from a waist of 54 inches to a 38, and that’s even a little roomy.

“I lost weight before, just by dieting, but I found it came back,” he said. “This time I didn’t diet, but I did make lifestyle changes that include healthier snacks. I can’t have cookies at home because I’ll eat the entire package.

“Exercise is awesome because it’s fun. If you have fun, you stick with something.”

His goal for 2019 is to bike even more with an eye on logging in excess of 10,000 km. 

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