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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:40 UK
The ‘Amazing Shrinking’ cyclist
Gary Brennan with his bike
Gary has cycled over 2,000 miles and lost 17 stone

A man who believes cycling saved his life is urging others to saddle up for this year's Bike Week (13 - 21 June).

Gary Brennan, 28, from Hyde is living proof of the health benefits of cycling.

In 2008, he weighed a massive 39 stone, and suffered diabetes and high blood pressure when doctors told him he needed a gastric bypass operation.

But after just six months, he'd lost so much weight by cycling to work, the operation was cancelled.

Training

But Gary didn't stop there.

In the twelve months since getting himself a bike, he's cycled over 2,000 miles, losing 17 stone in the process, and he's now been given a clean bill of health.

"Without question, cycling has saved my life," said Gary.

Gary Brennan before his weight loss
My waist was 68", I was wearing 26" collar shirts, All my Clothes were XXXXXXXXL"

"If I hadn't started getting on the bike to work I wouldn't be here now. I feel amazing now - my health problems are gone and I can do so much more."

He is now in training for the annual Manchester-Blackpool bike ride event on July 12 which he's doing to raise money for Christie Hospital.

Blog

Every day, Gary cycles the 14-mile round trip to work in Gorton and even goes out on the bike at weekends.

But it wasn't always that way.

After his two children were born, Gary found himself at home every evening drinking beer and eating snacks in front of the telly.

It wasn't long before his weight piled on and even climbing the stairs left him out of breath.

His long road to fitness is documented in Gary's frank and inspirational blog, The Amazing Shrinking Gaz which recalls that, 12 months ago:

"...my waist was 68", I was wearing 26" collar shirts, all my clothes were XXXXXXXXL."

'Scared'

Determined to do something about it, he got himself a bike and started eating healthily.

"The first time, I was really scared the bike would just give way under me and I felt exhausted after just one mile," he said.

Adding: "It was painful, it was tiring, and it was pretty embarrassing as well, to be honest. A guy of my size trundling down the road at 10mph is never going to be a pretty sight."

But his determination to turn his life around has made a huge difference.

"Now, I cycle on average 70 miles a week to and from work, sometimes at the weekend, and I absolutely love it," he said.

"And my whole life has changed because of it."





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