A South Yorkshire truck driver has shed eight stone in eight months after being inspired by the Tour de France.
Ian Thompson, aged 47, from Mapplewell, Barnsley, cycles 150 miles a week after watching Yorkshire’s Grand Depart last summer.
The married grandfather has slimmed down from 22 stone 7lbs to 14 stone 3lbs.
He has also ditched his calorie-laden snacks in favour of cereals, chicken, pasta, fish, fruit and nuts.
Ian said: “I reckon it’s 60 per cent down to cycling and 40 per cent to eating healthily.
“I’ve got loads of my old clothes that no longer fit in bags in the garage. I’ve kept a couple of pairs of jeans to remind me of how fat I was.
“When I look at them I just think “How the hell did I get to that stage?’.”
Ian said his weight came to a head last summer when he was struggling to keep up with his three-year-old grandson Jacob and had to take painkillers to cope with the pain in his knees.
He said: “Last August my brother was diagnosed with diabetes and both of my parents were diabetic so it was a bit of a wake up call.
“Then we found out one of my daughters was having a baby and I wanted to see my grandchildren grow up and realised I needed to change my lifestyle.
“It all coincided with the Tour de France and I went to see the riders at Holmfirth. I had only previously cycled occasionally for pleasure.
“I realised I couldn’t get to their level, their fitness levels are out of this world but I told myself I would love to be as half as fit.
“So I started cycling off road with a mountain bike and now I ride for three or four hours at a time, averaging 150 miles a week.
“You use more of your muscles off-road rather than just your legs by climbing hills and going over bumps. The weight has just come off.
“I set out thinking if I could lose three stone I would be happy so started mountain biking again.
“After two months I lost three stone with some very hard work and then thought a seven-stone target was achievable. I kept it up and here I am at 14 stone 3lbs and feel 100 times better.
“My joints no longer hurt, I’ve got more energy than ever before and I am happier and fitter than I have ever been in my life.”
Ian will now be using his new-found fitness to help others by taking part in an On Yer Bike charity ride in aid of Barnsley Hospice on Sunday, May 31.
He said: “I’m now focused on cycling, have altered my diet and haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since last summer. I hope others can follow me.”
Riders can choose a ten, 20 or 40-mile bike ride around the Yorkshire hills to raise funds for the hospice.