Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bandster on a Bike

Talented cook and successful bandster Tom Bilcze (who has lost 80 pounds thanks to his band), was featured in a local newspaper article this summer about the bicycling group he started to provide great outdoor exercise with other weight loss surgery patients. Tom plans to devote more time to his WLS blog the next few months, with lots of yummy recipes as well as thoughts about weight loss, diet and exercise, so stay tuned.
August 10, 2010
A new group started by bariatric surgery patients at Summa Health System is giving weight a loss a whole new spin. The Akron-Canton Spin Off cyclists meet weekly for a weeknight and a weekend bike ride on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and other Akron-area trails. Although two-thirds of the estimated 40 members have undergone weight loss surgery, the group is open to anyone who wants to lose weight and get fit, said Tom Bilcze, one of the co-founders.
The group combines cycling and support, with members sharing the ups and downs of their weight loss journey. Bilcze, 56, of Mogadore, has lost 80 pounds since undergoing surgery in 2008 through Summa's Bariatric Care Center. Before committing to losing weight, he said, "I was just very sedentary." "I did nothing," he said. "After work, I wasn't much of an active person. The couch was more of an appealing thing."
About a month after his surgery, he made a pledge to get active and began using a treadmill daily. Last summer, he started bike riding ont he Towpath Trail and mentioned his newfound hobby at a support group for other bariatric surgery patients at Summa. He then connected with other weight loss patients, who joined him for rides and began talking about starting a cycling club. With the help of Susan Motts and Christine Domer, Bilcze organized the Spin Off's first official ride in April with about a dozen participants.
A few participants hadn't ridden a bike for a couple decades, he said, but they were still able to go on the 16-mile journey. From the start, the group has had a "no-cyclist-left-behind" policy, Bilcze said. "If you ride with us, you're going to go the speed of whatever the slowest cyclist in the group is," he said. A typical weekday ride is about 8 to 10 miles, while weekend journeys are 20 to 25 miles with a break for a meal. "People surprise themselves," he said. "Bicycling is good aerobic exercise, and it's easy."
More information about the group and a schedule of upcoming rides is available at

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