Father and Daughter Make Biking a Family Affair

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Tom and Stella Glover display biking medals

Tom Glover was 41 years old and weighed 265 pounds when he got the scare of his life. “I had just come back from a trip overseas and had a bad cold,” he explained. “I started coughing in the middle of the night and when I sat up, I blacked out. My family thought I had a heart attack.”

The 2011 scare he thought was about to take his life could have actually saved it. “It really made me wake up,” said the father of two. “I decided I needed to get in shape.”

Because of his weight and knee injuries from playing football and lifting weights earlier in life, Glover knew running wouldn’t be an option. Since his neighborhood in Milledgeville was increasingly becoming a biking community, Glover turned to cycling.

Fast forward two years and Glover has lost nearly 80 pounds, has lowered his blood pressure and no longer needs medication to control his cholesterol.  Biking regularly and making healthy food choices has paid off not only for Glover, but his family as well.

From the moment Glover decided to get on a bike, his daughter Stella, 10, made a decision, too. “I only rode my bike back and forth on the driveway, and I wanted to ride on the road,” she said. One year later Stella became the Georgia State Mountain Bike Champion in the Girls Age 9-11 division. Last year she competed with the boys and finished second in state, as well as second in the Southeastern Region competition.

Father and daughter bike together both recreationally and in organized events, including a 104-mile charity ride in Rutledge. “It’s hard to describe how good it is to spend that much time together one on one,” Glover said. “No TV or video games, just uninterrupted time. We really got to know each other better.”

Glover is now president of the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville, which has been a partner of Live Healthy Baldwin since the program’s inception. He has seen the positive impact initiatives promoting exercise and healthy living can make. “In the short time that I’ve been involved, I’ve seen great progress,” he said. “Even in just helping kids understand how to eat healthy and where food comes from. A lot of the movement in that area has been tremendous.”

Regular outdoor activity has become a family affair for Glover, his wife, Stella, and 7-year-old Sam. “Instead of being home all the time looking for movies to watch, we mountain bike,” he said. “It’s definitely been a lifestyle change for the whole family.”

Diana St. Lifer is a professional writer with more than 25 years’ experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications, a post-B.A. certificate in child advocacy, and is a certified professional life coach who specializes in teen and adolescent issues.

Telling families about the importance of exercise and eating healthy is one thing; providing opportunities for them to engage in that behavior is another. Bridging that gap between understanding and opportunity was the motivation behind Live Healthy Baldwin. This program, which began four years ago with a youth summer health camp, has grown to include community gardens, farmers markets, walking and biking trails, and school-based programs to help fight the county’s obesity crisis.
Read “Helping Healthy Choices Become Easy Choices in Baldwin County.”

Low birthweight, childhood obesity, and a literacy gap are serious threats to the well-being of Georgia’s families and children. Recognizing the impact these pressing issues have on the state’s health, safety, and ability to prosper, Georgia Family Connection Partnership has launched three initiatives dedicated to developing and implementing strategies that address these key indicators.
Read “Eleven Family Connection Collaboratives Team Up to Tackle Key Indicators of Child and Family Well-Being.”