By Coach David Ertl, Ph.D.

For the third year since my eBook Pedal Off The Pounds was published by RBR, the Des Moines Cycle Club once again conducted our own Pedal Off The Pounds (POTP) program this summer, with (again) astonishing results.

Last year’s results were reported in a previous issue of RBR Newsletter under the title How to Lose 583 Pounds. We wondered how we could ever top that total; but we blew it away this year!

The 3-month-long POTP program – a reflection of the book – was set up to inspire people to take up or expand on their cycling as a form of exercise and as a means to lose weight.

This program is based on the book and is somewhat a play on the television show “The Biggest Loser” – except no one gets voted off the ranch (or out of our bike club!).

This year the program was capped at 100 people, who paid a modest fee to take part in the program. From that group of 100, we formed four teams and met weekly during the 3-month run of the POTP program.

Each week there is a weigh-in, followed by a brief talk by a motivational speaker or a “challenge” of some sort (e.g. a bike scavenger hunt). Finally, each week’s program is capped off by a group ride. Ride leaders were assigned to the four groups to help motivate their team and lead additional rides.

Of course, the central element of each week’s gathering is the weigh-in. Both individuals and teams who lost the most weight that week are identified for special recognition.

At the end of the program, the “Biggest Losers” who lost the most weight from each team were recognized. Awards were given to the team that lost the most combined weight, for the individual with the greatest weight loss within each team, and the individual with the greatest overall loss.

Our club’s overall winner this year, Pat Janes (pictured), lost 17.1% of her body weight during the 3-month program.  Her margin of victory was less than a tenth of a percent difference from the second place finisher!


Pat won the grand prize, which included a new bike and a number of other items of cycling gear donated by local bike shops. 

The Des Moines Cycle Club’s total weight loss for the 2015 POTP program was 919 pounds! That was a nearly 60% increase in pounds lost over last year.

And the end of the summer each year, there is a Pedal Off The Pounds century ride for those who wish to attempt one. This year, Pat was leading the pack throughout the day and successfully completed her first century.

If Pat is like the previous participants in the Pedal Off The Pounds programs, she will stick with her new lifestyle and continue to ride and use cycling as a way to lose weight.

This program really is about creating a new, healthy lifestyle that involves healthy, sensible eating and exercise. Losing weight is just one of the benefits. An overall improvement in the healthfulness and lifestyle of each individual is the main goal and benefit.

Other bike clubs are encouraged to follow the lead of the Des Moines Cycle Club and set up their own program. 

For three straight years, we have demonstrated that there is a demand for this type of program – and that it works! 

I believe the strength of the program is the support network that is established by forming teams and assigning “accountability buddies.” Another feature that works for us is a private, active Facebook page where participants share their joys, frustrations and tips with each other. 

If you decide to set up your own program, all we ask is that you have each participant purchase the Pedal Off The Pounds eBook from the RBR Bookstore.

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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