Profile Series: Carly Loscombe - Beating Bullies and Pushing Pedals
Carly is a 37-year-old mum to an energetic toddler and a typical teenager. With a fantastic partner, Geoff, who she describes as her absolute rock.
Carly's parents have always been keen cyclists, and as young kids Carly and her sister spent many an hour riding along behind them on an old Hannington trailer during camping holidays. They were bought mountain bikes as Christmas and birthday presents as they got a bit older "I still have the scar on my knee from when I went head first into the back of a parked car while racing my sister. It was my own fault, I was more worried about her gaining on me than I was about looking ahead!"
One day, in her early teenage years she had a bad experience when cycling and a group of younger kids threw abuse at her about the size of her bum! Understandably, it really knocked her confidence, and after that day she decided to leave the bike behind. Consequently, without the bike and insecurities about her body, she piled on the weight - "I was a size 20 by the time I left school."
The 20 years that followed were filled with yo-yo dieting, hating exercise and, honestly, hating herself at times. On a couple of occasions she attempted to get back on a bike, "but I felt too big to ride, and wasn’t able to find the right clothes to fit me, so I felt like I looked ridiculous and gave up. This was probably the biggest challenge I have faced throughout my cycling journey - feeling like I looked silly and didn’t “belong”.
In October 2019 she was a size 24/26 and weighed 21 and a half stone. Her GP referred her to start the process of bariatric surgery and "something just clicked inside - I decided that I didn’t want to give up!". So she began calorie counting and started some light exercise, just walking at first, then joined the gym and started swimming almost daily. After she dropped the first couple of stone, she decided to dig out the bike that Geoff had bought her for her last birthday and off they went together to Hamsterley Forest. The rest as they say, is history. Since then Carly has lost almost 7 stone! She will certainly not be needing any surgery, and she is now completely addicted to the bike!
Not long after their first Hamsterley visit, Carly bought some amazing FLAB gear which she says "gives me so much confidence when out and about. It’s fantastic to finally find something that caters for ALL shapes and sizes and I feel like I am part of something amazing and really look like I belong on that bike. That’s something I haven’t felt since I was a child." Riding the bikes together with Geoff has done great things for their relationship - "it is lovely to have a shared hobby and be able to encourage each other". They now have tentative plans to complete the Coast to Coast next year - 6 months ago Carly expressed how she would have laughed if that was even suggested, showing just how much growth she's had in such little time.
Being so close to relying on surgery to change her life, her determination to drive her to lose the weight herself is inspirational. We can do anything we want in any amount of time, as corny as it sounds, you just have to believe.
What's your favourite piece of advice you've ever received/your personal mantra?
The favourite piece of advice I’ve been given is to live in the “now” - and not to worry about the past or the future. This is something I struggle with because I am quite a stress head, but it’s something I’m trying to follow as much as I can (when I’m not stressed enough to remember!)
Big thanks to Carly for sharing her story and reminding us that we have everything we need to get where we want to be inside ourselves.