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Man Plans 8,500-Mile Bike Ride To ‘Fattest’ Cities

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LANSING (AP) – A central Michigan man who shed about 130 pounds over the past year by riding a bike is gearing up for an 8,500-mile ride to visit U.S. cities that are battling obesity problems.

Jerry Smith told WILX-TV that he plans to leave Sunday from Trinity Church in Lansing. He’ll be joined by another rider and followed by a driver carrying supplies. They’ll head to Detroit and Chicago first, then visit the fattest cities on the Men’s Fitness magazine “Fittest and Fattest Cities in America” list.

“I kind of felt like a failure,” Smith said. “Basically, I realized I was sitting at my computer, killing myself slowly. So I just decided to stop eating at my computer and start walking around, start eating healthy, start biking.”

Smith said he weighed 400 pounds a year ago, and he decided he wanted to do something to raise awareness about problems of youth obesity. He said his goal is to inspire others to make healthy lifestyle changes by sharing his story, and he wanted to “pay it forward” and help others.

“My biggest hope would be to number one, finish,” Smith said. “And number two, be able to look back and say along the way I was able to change a few lives.”

Smith estimates that he’ll be riding 114 days before ending in Los Angeles. To get ready he’s been riding 20 to 40 miles a day at the gym or on the road.

A Facebook page titled “2012 Catch On Tour” has been set up to track information about the ride.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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