By Coach David Ertl, Ph.D.

Season 5 of the Des Moines Cycle Club’s (DMCC) Pedal Off the Pounds Program is in the record books. For the past five years, since I wrote the eBook Pedal Off The Pounds for RBR, my local bike club has been conducting a program by the same name to help get people back on their bikes, eating right, and losing weight.

Based along the same lines as the "Biggest Loser" TV show (except no one gets voted off the ranch), participants get together weekly for weigh-ins, educational and fun programs, and bike rides together.

They set riding and weight-loss goals that they strive to achieve during the time of the program. Pedal Off The Pounds culminates with a voluntary century ride, which many people complete for the first time in their lives.

Participants are divided into four teams, which have friendly competition with each other. On a weekly basis, the biggest loser winners are announced, and at the end of the summer, the person with the most weight loss overall – as a percentage of their initial body weight – wins the grand prize, which includes a bike, car rack and a number of other goodies donated by local bike shops.

This summer marks the fifth year that the DMCC has conducted Pedal Off The Pounds. Because of its phenomenal success, this program keeps on going year after year. Although not everyone loses weight, all participants become healthier and make new friends. They learn (or re-learn) the joy of cycling and that exercise can be fun. They also learn about sound dietary guidelines to follow, and the camaraderie really helps keep people motivated and accountable.

This season the group lost a total of 564 pounds. The biggest loser (winner) this year was Joe Finnegan, who lost 19% of his body weight this summer. Many of the past winners and participants come back and assist the program by being team captains the following year.


(L to R) Georgie Libbie, DMCC president and co-founder of the POTP Program, Winner Joe Finnegan, Marty Hupp, POTP Program leader, Coach David Ertl

You can read more about this program at the Des Moines Cycle Club’s website, and be sure to read some of the testimonials. It could change your life, too. 

It certainly changed the life of Season 2 POTP winner Lisa Klever, who continues to lose weight and is now racing.  Here she is with the first place medal she won at the Iowa Games this summer, and before Pedal Off The Pounds.


This Pedal Off The Pounds program, and the RBR book it is based on, provides common sense nutritional advice for cyclists and the ways that you can combine cycling and better eating to lose weight. The individual and group success with the Des Moines Cycle Club's program is proof that it can work.

When I wrote this book for RBR, I didn’t know if it would really help anyone or not. I couldn’t have been proven more wrong. Just seeing one person who has changed their life as a result of this book makes it all worthwhile. But every summer, we get another chance to change not just one, but many lives.

In Pedal Off the Pounds, USA Cycling Level 1 Coach David Ertl eschews diet book gimmickry for the hard truth, detailed nutritional and dietary knowledge, and a proven approach to weight loss for cyclists – whether weight loss alone is your goal, or whether losing weight and simultaneously training to improve cycling performance is your goal. It's 34 pages of rock solid advice. Just $11.75 for non-Members; $9.99 for our Premium Members.

Coach David Ertl is a USA Level 1 cycling coach with the Peaks Coaching Group. He also is a national coach for the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Charity Ride program and writes the training blogs for RAGBRAI, the weeklong ride across Iowa every summer. He has written more than 10 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach David Ertl, including the best-selling Pedal Off the Pounds. Click to read David's full bio.

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