Custom Ibis Ripley Mountain Bike

Practical Bike

In 2012 I was 46 years old, middle aged, tired and at 6 foot 270 pounds substantially overweight. I was convinced this was the best that I could be physically and was following in my fathers genetic footsteps. I learned I was wrong on all accounts.

Labor day weekend 2012 a subtle pain in my abdomen turned out to be a life altering diagnosis of Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It got me back on a road bike, a Cannondale Synapse 105 and eventually a Trek Rumblefish Elite mountain bike. In the year that followed I began to mentally and physically transform. I lost a bunch of weight. The more I rode a bike the better I felt. The better I felt the more I rode. Eventually all the riding combined with proper diet and nutrition caused a mental and physical transformation. My weight got down to 190 pounds, fat was replaced with lean muscle. I was in the best shape of my adult life.

This new lifestyle also made the symptoms of the diverticulitis a distant memory. I would have said I was cured but that turned out to not be the case.

Practical Bike 2012

Parallel to the renewed interest in mountain biking and cycling I also made the decision to publish my exploits on this new website called Practical Bike. The plan was to do what I do best. Make a website for regular folks and not hardcore purists. Discussions were to include my road to recovery, bike product and gear reviews, a bit of down to earth technical talk and general mountain biking and cycling blogging. The reality however turned out to be different. As luck would have it my other websites became successful and quite honestly I enjoyed riding way more than writing about it. Because of that fact this site was rarely updated.

October 2015

October 2015 I was dealt an unexpected life event. Upon returning from my Mount Washington New Hampshire vacation I was met with the news that my apartment building was sold and I needed a new place to live. For a guy with a full woodshop and 5 cats this news was pretty upsetting. This also meant there was a reasonable chance that wherever I relocated to West Rock Ridge State Park and Wintergreen Lake would no longer be in my back yard.

Moving also meant another massive change. I needed my girl to help buy a home. I would no longer live the bachelor life. December 2015 we bought a home in Naugatuck, CT 18 miles from my New Haven apartment. December 20th we became home owners.

My New Life 2016

December 20th with our 5 cats we moved in to our home. Everything was looking up and I was somewhat encouraged by our location. We are located a few minutes from the Larkin Bridal Trail, Hop Brook State Park and slightly further away is High Rock State Park. None of those locations has anywhere near the quality of mountain bike riding as West Rock Ridge State Park but the flip side is the road cycling should be somewhat safer.

Shortly after moving in I placed the order for a new bike, an Ibis Ripley. Everything was looking up, or so I thought. Despite having the mildest winter in Connecticut history I didn’t mountain bike or cycle until picking up the Ibis Ripley some time in May. That equates to 7 month riding pause and an increasing waistline. Upon receiving the Ibis I managed to ride pretty regularly for several weeks. Then the hottest summer on record set in. I managed a few rides in the extreme heat but not many. Then July 13 2016 there was yet another life altering event.

July 13 2016 Donald “Sully” Sullivan

July 13 2016 was my 50th birthday and the day we picked up our brand new German Shepherd puppy “Sully”. The entrance of Sully in my life meant all my free time now belonged to Sully. I don’t think I rode either bike more than a handful of times between getting Sully and today April 17 2017.  For all intents and purposes I lost 18 months of mountain biking and cycling.

My Decline 2017

Not only has there been no bike riding in the past 18 months I also find myself sharing a home, sharing meals with a person who is polar opposite of myself. She eats anything and fills the house with junk food.  Most of our meals are stick to the ribs dishes or fast dishes. Neither are anything remotely healthy.

I have once again found myself in a bad place. I’m well over two hundred pounds. This has affected me mentally and physically. December 2016 I began to feel some discomfort in my lower abdomen. I spoke to the doctor and we treated the pain, I mean discomfort with antibiotics as a new bout of diverticulitis. This treatment was unsuccessful. Since that initial treatment the discomfort has become more of a pain with some side effects I didn’t feel in 2012. No joy here.

Recently I decided something needs to change actually several things need to change. I need to reset back to 2012 and see if what worked for me then will once again work me. I will make mountain biking and cycling a top priority. I will make proper diet and nutrition  the number one priority. Without my health and well being I have nothing.

Practical Bike 2017

Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes life gives us what we need and it can come in many forms and from many different locations. I believe this to my core.

I’m always at my best or should I say in my element when in the company of twenty somethings. People my own age often act old. I have little time for that. In an interesting timing I have a new coworker, early 20’s who I have found refreshing to be around. We share many similar likes and interesting differences. He also happens to be an avid mountain biker and a willing participant to contribute to this website.

If all goes as planned or even close to planned spring 2017 will see this site grow with useful, original and fun content. It is also my expectation that this relationship and website revival will be exactly what I need get my health back in order.

Thanks for reading this and wish us luck!

Andrew