They say when you are out on the road you meet many interesting people. 38 Year old Taavi Rutishauser is one of those interesting people! He is a truck driver, mountain bike rider, on-road bicycle rider, and worked as a bike messenger prior to becoming a truck driver. He is a marathon runner, an entrepreneur, and even has an interesting co-driver in his truck, a Brompton folding bicycle!
My first interaction with Taavi was, of all places on Facebook where he posted a brief account of his weight loss in biking group shortly after the Mid-America Trucking Show. I was amazed, and knew this was a man with a life-changing story and it needed to be shared. A friend request, a few pleasant exchanges, and then he and I were on our way to a lengthy interview. Bless his patience for all my questions and curiosities.
For Taavi, bicycling has always been his passion. First it was mountain bikes in his youth for fun and recreation. Then he moved on to street bicycles for income as a bike messenger in downtown Montreal for 5 years. Even in the winter, he says. Talk about endurance! Needless to say he was quite the active and healthy young man.
At some point in our lives we all make “the career” decision. Taavi moved on to a career as a truck driver, and for the for the first seven years of driving he left behind his youthful passion of bicycling. We all know the cycle, no pun intended. Drive, sleep, drive, sleep. Seven years later Taavi stepped on a scale and had a startling awakening. His active and fit days of 180lbs were gone. Staring back at him was the cumulative effect of seven years of sedentary road life.
In the interview Taavi describes seeing that number for the first time as “brutal.”
He knew he had to do something for the sake of his health, so he naturally fell back on his first love of cycling. First, he began spinning when ever he could at his home terminal’s brand new gym. He changed his eating habits and began watching his calories. Then before too long he bought an inexpensive folding bike from a local Canadian retailer there in Quebec that he could take on the truck with him. Within six months he had already lost 80 pounds! Just goes to show you what a little determination and effort will do for you. As a reward to himself, in the spring he bought himself a custom street bike. That is a key that goes with losing weight, remember to reward yourself for achieving a goal or a milestone.
Taavi had another experience in his weight loss regime that everyone goes through in some form or another; a setback. While on his mountain bike he took a tumble and had a significant elbow injury. This caused him to have to put biking once again on the back burner. This time though, he didn’t let it take him down that road of inactivity. Determined to stay on the road to health, he found another outlet for activity, running. He says he has always hated running, but he overcame it in his quest for getting healthy and losing weight. It was something he could continue doing while truck driving. Like bicycling, he could run before or after his driving hours were finished, at rest areas, around truck stops, and other safe places. He drives a fairly regular route, so it became easy to plan his stops and find biking or running paths at or near where he could park his 2013 Freightliner Cascadia.
Talk about more interesting facts adding up on this young man; as much as he hated running he actually grew to love it and completed a 31k trail marathon in the Swiss Alps while on vacation less than one year after he started running!
Taavi, finally able to bike again, purchased a sweet little folding bike called a Brompton. It folds up and fits nicely in a carrying pack which stores safely between his dash and passenger seat. He’s got his own personal co-driver with him everywhere he goes, and they get out every day he says. Depending on the weather he rides between 15 minutes to an hour, even if it is only circles around the truck parking area.
You’ve got to have commitment and determination.
This is part 1 of a 3 part Series.