40-year-old Eric Hites is a truly legendary person. He worked as a D.J., roadie, telemarketer, pizza delivery man and bartender. After that he found himself unemployed, collection agencies were on his tail, and his wife left him for another man in July, 2014. Meanwhile his weight reached 567 pounds. No, we haven’t misspelled the numbers – he really got that fat.


Photo credit: Michael Nagle for The New York Times

You think this is the disaster of life? Eric told himself he had a choice. He left Danville, Ind., where he had been living with his parents, and did something drastic to save his life and marriage. The great idea came to him.

This guy decided to pedal more than 3,000 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He wanted to see the country, lose some pounds, get a book deal out of it and show the woman he loved that he could change.

In March he bought a used Mongoose mountain bike for $17. When he took it for a test drive, he was out of breath after 100 yards due to his weight and heavy smoking. Eric started exercising.

Also he created a blog called Fat Guy Across America, and set up a GoFundMeaccount to raise money for his epic plan (the balance now stands at $11,447 with donations from 383 people).

In June his father wept when he dropped his son off at the side of a road. Mr. Hites had $200. The journey started!


Photo credit: Michael Nagle for The New York Times