A Hailsham pensioner, who had never ridden a bike before, is in the midst of a gruelling 1,000 mile cycle challenge to raise money for charity.
Bernie Lux, 71, suffered with high blood pressure, breathlessness and was three stone overweight.
Now the sprightly pensioner, who has tackled his health problems, is in peak condition and has hopped on his bike to take part in the cycle challenge.
He said: “When I retired at 65, I also gave up smoking.
“I replaced cigarettes with food and the weight piled on.
“In January 2013 I became a member of Freedom Hailsham and lost 3st in six months.
“I felt like a different person, so much healthier and I didn’t get out of breath at all.
“I used to use the bike in the gym and one of the instructors encouraged me to try a spinning class.
“After one session I was hooked.
“I now join in up to six spin classes a week as well as visiting the gym, and going out on my road bike.
“I got talking with staff and friends at the centre and we came up with the idea of doing a ride for charity.”
Bernie said he wanted to do something that would challenge him as well as raise money for good causes.
He continued: “I wanted to do something that would really push me, while raising money for a good cause, so I settled on 1,000 miles; the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats!”
Bernie is undertaking his challenge at Freedom Leisure Hailsham, the centre where he was referred by his GP in 2012 to help get his health back on track.
He aims to complete his 1,000 mile challenge in just 20 days.
Bernie is cycling for approximately four hours a day by doing a mixture of spinning classes and cycling on an exercise bike in the newly refurbished reception area.
He added: “I don’t just plan to sit there and peddle.
“I’ll be turning up the resistance on my spin bike just like everyone else in the class as I need to simulate all the hills on the journey!”
Bernie will be raising money for two charities - St Wilfred’s Hospice and Parkinson’s UK.
There will be charity buckets and sponsorship forms in the leisure centre reception area and Bernie hopes everyone who visits the centre will support him with encouragement or a small donation.
He would also welcome as many people as possible to support him in the final hour of his challenge on Thursday November 28 at 12pm.