JASON Lewis admits that two-and-a-half years ago he was slipping into the unfit, sedentary middle-age in which many office workers find themselves.
He weighed more than 17 stone, was unfit and not particularly happy with himself.
And then his firm decided to offer staff loans for cycles to tempt them away from the daily car-borne commute and into a fitter lifestyle.
Jason, 42, said it was one of the best moves he had ever made.
And in the middle of the week of the wider Portsmouth area’s Big Green Commuter Challenge, he is a shining example of how giving up your car can reap huge rewards.
For since ditching his car and cycling to work Jason has lost more than three stone and is about to take part in an iron man half-triathlon event.
Now he rides his bike to and from his Gosport home to work at the Langstone Technology Park, Havant – a distance of almost 25 miles each day.
He enjoys it so much that some afternoons he will go home via a 30 or 40-mile route which takes in Portsdown Hill, Southwick, Demead, Exton, Swanwick, Titchfield and Hill Head.
He said: ‘My firm used to be at Farlington and it was taking me up to 90 minutes to get home – about eight minutes to get to the Fareham and the rest of the time getting into Gosport.
‘If you live in Gosport and have the experience of trying to get out of and into it every day, you’ll understand why I became an A32, road-angry individual.’
Jason works for Saacke Combustion Services, now based at Havant. ‘When they started the loans for bikes scheme it was the catalyst I needed to get fit again, lose weight and save money,’ he said.
‘When I first started cycling to work it took me about an hour. Now I do the 12 miles in between 36 and 38 minutes.’
On June 19 he will be competing in the Iron Man half-triathlon in Somerset comprising a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and rounded off by running a half-marathon.
He will use the event to raise money for Cancer Research after the death of his mother-in-law from the disease. To sponsor him go to justgiving.com/jaselewis.