Commuting

#10000milesin2018: Month 9 update

Total Miles to Date: Target: 7,497 miles…My mileage: 7,096

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 398

Some of our members have already reached -or are close to reaching- their goal of riding 10,000 Miles in 2018:

-Cam Candelaria from South Jordan, UT – “I’m at 10,900!!”

-Aaron "Rambo" Harrison of Hillsboro, Oregon – “8755 miles as of this morning! Shouldn’t have any trouble hitting 10,000!”

-DJ Juano Rivera in Highland City, Florida – “9,350 on last Sunday. Will complete it with just Centuries rides :). Keep on Pedaling :)”

Julian Thomas from Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom – “Just gone thru 10k today.”

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This month, we are featuring Dave Watkins, 82, from Polk City, Florida. As of Sept. 25, he had ridden 10,000 miles and is still going strong.  Dave, a former USA Cycling CAT II cyclist, ran the Boston Marathon four years.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I began serious cycling in the early 70s when a faculty member at a small college in PA. It began with a Schwinn Paramount and a collegian race on the bike at Penn State University. Crashed in that race but recovered to continue racing and became a Cat.II cyclist and qualified for three years to ride in the Masters National Championships. Each year, for personal reasons, I was unable to compete in the championships. Very disappointing to this day because I had competed well against each of the winners in numerous races.

Why did you decide to join the challenge?

I ride every day and decided to take on a challenge beyond simply riding to be able to be ride with cyclists 40/50 years younger than me.

How have you incorporated commuting by bike/getting in the miles for the challenge into your daily life?

I am retired and no longer have to head to an office or workplace. My schedule every day includes a 25/30 mile ride beginning at midnight. After daylight, there is a leisurely ride with my wife who now rides an e-bike and can ride at 20 mph. Late afternoon, I’ll hop on the bike for a 7/10 mile ride before a glass of wine and an IPA beer.

You have reached 10,000 miles. Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment. What’s behind the drive to keep on going?

Meeting a personal goal is important. Staying healthy is so important at my age. Being a competitor is a driving force. I played baseball during college at Penn State where we played in the finals of the College World Series.  

How did you feel when you reached the goal of riding 10,000 miles? Were you excited/relieved/surprised?

This is not the first year I have met the goal of 10,000 miles. I love looking at my Strava data each day to see how many miles I have for the day, week and year. Love to see how well my Strava friends are doing with their rides. The kudos I receive help motivate me.

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What kind of feedback have you gotten from friends or other cyclists?

The feedback from fellow Strava cyclists has been incredible. Also, I rarely post on Facebook but whenever I reach the 10,000 mile goal I make a post on Facebook thanking all who have contributed to meeting the challenge possible - my wife, Strava friends and cyclists with whom I ride in group rides.

A Close Call -The Importance of Bike Cameras

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“Education and awareness are always the way to go and the results can be most rewarding for all. I hope this helps everyone become better bike ambassadors on the roads, paths and trails.”

Guest Post by Gerry Stephenson – Cyclist, Commuter, and Bike Ambassador

*Gerry uses the Cycliq front and back bike cameras.

Hi, my name is Gerry and I have been cycling since 2001. Presently, I commute to and from work about eight to nine months a year and have been doing so the last four to five years. My route varies from 10-12 miles and includes both road and bike paths. When I ride, I always try to be a safe rider and educate others when it makes sense.

While commuting home on June 29th, 2018, I was riding north on a neighborhood street approaching a T-intersection. It was late afternoon; traffic was very light. I noticed a car and a fire truck preparing to come on the road behind me. The car passed with plenty of room before the intersection and my impending right turn. However, to my surprise, the fire truck driver decided that they had enough room to pass me only to turn right in front of me with clearly not enough space. I had to brake hard to avoid being hit. It should be noted that the fire truck had no flashing lights or sirens on at the time.  

  Footage captured from Gerry’s Cycliq bike camera.

Footage captured from Gerry’s Cycliq bike camera.

I did not attempt to confront the driver or squeeze in to the right of the truck. I did swear and was very upset at this close call. Knowing that I had this entire incident recorded with my Cycliq bike cameras (front and rear mounted cameras), I chose to wait until I got home and review the video and decide what to do. Cooler heads always prevail, and my focus is always on educating others, be it drivers or cyclists, in times like these. After reviewing the video, it was very clear that the fireman was at fault for not allowing me the three-foot rule, and I felt that they did not realize the actual size of the vehicle they were driving.

I emailed the fire department and very politely explained what had happened and included the video of the close call. I never once mentioned that I wanted the driver of the fire truck reprimanded or charged. What I asked for was an apology, and that this video be used to show and teach the department to be mindful of cyclists. Later that evening or possibly the next day, I received an email from the fire department apologizing and promising to add this video footage to their department training. This incident was reported by the liaison to the fire department commander as well.

First response from the fire department’s liaison:

“Hi Gerry,

First let me send you my apologies for the incident with our department, I have notified the Lieutenant and Battalion Chief on duty the day of your incident and the Chief of Staff is aware and corrective actions will be taken.

I will make sure the Chief gets your video and we will be sure to use it as a training piece in our driver/operator program so this never happens again.”

 Second email from the liaison:

“I believe a lesson learned/corrective action is being written, then it will go to the whole Department, then I believe the Fire Chief will send it to you.”

My Email:

“Hi, I truly appreciate your timely response and apology. I try my best to be very viable and obey all the rules of the road while cycling and all I ask in return is that all drivers do the same. So that you know I have a great contact for training in the matters of cycling and traffic laws. Her name is Megan Hottman; she is a lawyer that helps educate everyone on the laws of Colorado. She has done many classes all over the state for law enforcement and the cycling community. If you are interested I can put you in contact with her. Thank you again.”

 A couple of weeks later, I received another email confirming that the fire department had in fact updated their training for the entire department and would be sharing this training with other towns.

“Here is the ‘Lessons Learned’ that was made from your incident. It has been made required training for all crews on our department and was reviewed by all the command staff.”

The following is an excerpt from ‘Lessons Learned’:

Background: In June, a fire truck was responding non-emergent to a commercial fire alarm in a neighboring district. While proceeding northbound on Main, fire truck passed a bicyclist as both were approaching a T intersection. Fire truck Engineer determined that, at the current speed, he could safely pass the bicyclist, and proceeded to do so. The pass and lane change were made into the right turn lane. Upon review of the video provided from the cyclist perspective, it appears that clearance was closer than intended.

Generic Corrective Actions:

1. A general review of the Colorado state laws regarding passing of a cyclist.

§ 42-4-1003. Overtaking a vehicle on the left

1. The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions, and special rules stated in this section and sections 42-4-1004 to 42-4- 1008:

a. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the vehicle at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle

b. The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.

c. Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the driver's vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

2. Be diligent in making sure that the perspective and safety of the cyclist is given a greater regard.

·      Always be aware of the size of, and space needed for the engine to maneuver.

·      Be sure to maintain constant Situational Awareness (SA) while driving apparatus and avoid becoming complacent about driving responsibilities due to mental focus on the incident the apparatus has been dispatched to.

·      If there is any question as to the safety of a pass, yield to the cyclist, and do not pass.

Note: The name and city of the fire department in this incident have been omitted at their request as well as any public sharing of the video.

#10000milesin2018: Month 8 update

#10000milesin2018: Month Eight Update!

Total Miles to Date: Target: 6664 miles…My mileage: 6498

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 382

Here’s an update from team member MeisterBruno in St. Augustine, FL who looks to be right on track to ride 10,000 miles in 2018:

Halfway done. Less than 4K to go.

I finished 6K+ miles early on August 3rd and now going towards what could be a 10K year. We’ll see about that. As of today August 27th, 2018 I am at 6,892. The last four months I managed to get an average of 1K miles per month. My strategy is to ride 12 hours a week. It can be an hour or so a day with some long rides on the weekends or about 30 miles a day. I also do a twofer every Tuesday that helps boost miles towards the goal. 

Races I participated in:

Gravel Worlds (150 miles of Gravel on the SingleSpeed in Lincoln, NE), FoCo Fondo, And Golden Gran Fondo. 

Challenges:  The same 200 miles I've been behind on my goal almost all summer still need to be made up and getting those in is proving hard to    do! 

Highlights: I had a great time at Gravel Worlds and also enjoyed a "Tour de     Lincoln" bike ride on the bike paths there the day before my race. 

I also figured out how to sync the Cycleops Phantom 3 spin bike that sits next to my desk at the office, to Zwift, so that I can be pedaling and accumulating miles while I am on the phone and on video calls, etc...  BONUS!

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: With summer coming to an end and the weather changing, how are you planning on hitting your goal of 10,000 miles if you aren’t able to ride outdoors?

The Fall is my FAVORITE time to ride in Colorado - I love weekend rides this time of year ... changing leaves, most tourist traffic has left the state, and there is a great correlation between weekend football games on TV and an absence of traffic during those times!     No question though, as temps drop, I will be returning to the indoors and ZWIFT very soon.... but for now, I remain focused on using my bike for every possible commute and errand, while working hard to minimize car time- not just for this goal, but also because my back and body overall feel wrecked when I spend too much time in the car.

Riding is hands-down best for me - both mentally AND physically! 

#10000milesin2018: Month 7 Update

Total Number of Strava Group Members: Our group has grown from 251 members in January to now 388 members in July.

Here’s how some of our group members are doing as of the end of June:

John O’Neill in Allentown, Pennsylvania - 7,743 miles

Bart De Lepeleer in Guía de Isora, Canarias, Spain - 5,884 miles / 675,335 ft

Daniel Sattel in Golden, Colorado – 5,050 miles / 605,702 ft

Meister Bruno in St. Augustine, Florida – 5,300 miles

Challenges: None, really. This is the best time of the year for riding! 

Highlights:  I only drove my car 5 days this month.  This was a new record for me and it was amazing to live life by bike during July! This month also included a really big week over the 4th of July holiday, with monster rides from my front door to places all over the front range (Like Lyons, Ward, Georgetown, to name a few!).  

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: What advice do you have for someone considering riding 10,000 miles next year? What kind of preparation is needed? What kind of training can be done in advance?

I don't know that training is necessary so much as scheduling preparation (and prioritization).  Trips, errands, meetings, board meetings, extra-curricular events, shopping, socializing, and so on- all must be planned with riding there and back in mind.  The more a person can work the bike into their day-to-day schedule and life, the less pressure there is to fit in really big weekend rides.  I personally prefer to sprinkle the miles out during the week than to have to cram them in on the weekends.  This challenge has expanded my already-commute-focused lifestyle even more! 

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Total Miles to Date: Target:

5831 miles…

My mileage: 5630

#10000milesin2018: Month four

#10000milesin2018: Month Four Update!

Total Miles to Date: Target: 3288 miles. Current mileage: 3122. 

How is your mileage goal coming along so far?

Here’s how some of our 10,000 Miles in 2018 members are doing:

-Phil I. (Sutton Coldfield, England): Currently slightly behind, just over 2,500 miles ridden; however, mileage will start to increase now, as weather (hopefully) improves & ‘Chase the Sun’ training kicks up several levels...

-Carl A. (Wilmington, North Carolina): Ahead of schedule by 872 miles

-Marcus C. (Aurora, Colorado): 5 miles ahead of schedule

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 290


Challenges: I am happy to say that April was a pretty smooth month overall.  The weather is improving and I am getting better at fitting in the 27 mile/day average with my training schedule as I start to ramp up towards some races.  

One ride was particularly frustrating - about a week ago I set out for a nice long Sunday solo ride-  the sun was out, I had an open day and the wind for once was not howling like crazy.  About the time I was as far away from my house as I could possibly be, I clipped out of my pedal at a stop light and felt my cleat break.  I continued on attempting to rest my shoe on my pedal, and tried to take a "short cut" through Chatfield to the closest bike shop that would likely sell the cleats.  Sadly, Chatfield is all torn up and I found myself facing a giant field of dirt where the road once was.  I had to reverse those miles back to a logical place (Waterton Canyon) where I realized I had no choice but to call an Uber to get home.  After 20 miles of resting the shoe on my Speedplay pedal I knew I wouldn't be able to do that another 30 miles home to Golden.  Calling an uber to get bailed out on a ride was a first! 

Another interesting "challenge" was finding a yelp review someone left about my law firm online.  It appeared to be from insurance defense counsel (i.e. opposing counsel in our cases).  The post made a point to criticize my #10000milesin2018 goal -actually suggesting readers find my group on Strava and shaming me for attempting such a goal ...  I found the commentary really interesting- apparently it is acceptable to spend 2 hours a day car commuting, but not 2 hours a day bike riding and commuting?  All that post did was fire me up even more to hit this goal! 

Highlights: April was also #30daysofbiking ! 

Last weekend I enjoyed 2 back-to-back sunny days of miles with a friend and we didn't have a single motorist issue, a single flat, or mechanical- nothing but those enjoyable, blissful miles in the sun.  Those make me so happy -they charge my battery for days and days.  

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:  Is this goal easier or harder than expected?

I found it getting pretty tough in February and March but now I'm finding a groove and heading into summer and some events ahead, I am hoping I can enter the fall and winter with some banked miles to get me through the cold months ;) 

#10000milesin2018: Month Three Update

Total Miles to Date: 2353 (Yes, doggone it, I'm still behind -but close to catching up!)

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 277 members – It’s not too late to join the group. We have had more people join in on the fun since our last update.

At the beginning of March, some of our members shared their mileage to date. Several had already reached 1,666 miles or were close to being on target:

*John O’Neill from Allenstown, Pennsylvania – 2,219 miles

*Bart De Lepeleer from Guía de Isora, Canarias, Spain – 1,932

Challenges: I tackled too many work/personal life projects all at once in March and found myself putting rides on the back burner (sounds like February?) as these projects would ramp up ...  There were a few days my back was really bothering me and I had to skip rides then as well.  

Highlights: I rode my bike to amazing performances, including: Yamato Drummers, Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band, and a spring training game (Giants vs Cubs).  In addition I perfected my bike commute to get more dog food, to load up on groceries at Sprouts, and even to pick up a freshly-steamed suit jacket!  

March also featured several really big mileage group rides, where we enjoyed amazing views, roads, and experiences-  zero flats, zero issues with motorists, only 100% fun and great conversation too! 

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:  How do you motivate yourself each month to meet your end goal of 10,000 miles?

When I set a goal I set it with the intention of seeing it through.  As frustrated as I have been at times to fall behind- so rapidly after just a few days off the bike - It fires me up even more to go out and tackle some big rides to catch back up!  This is not the kind of goal where you can leave it to the end of the year to try and play catch up -the months of November and December won't be the time to make up miles! So I am fired up now, this spring, to get on top of the miles and stay on track as summer approaches! 

Need an extra push for the month of April?  It's #30daysofbiking month -where the movement encourages participants to ride their bike every day -regardless of distance!  Give it a shot!  

How to Plan Your Commute Route: A Guest Post

A guest post by our Bike Ambassadors member, Marieke! 

Route planning tips for bike commuting

Planning your bike commuting route can be challenging. When commuting, you want to get to work or home as fast as possible and you don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time on a longer detour. Of course, you would like to be safe too. Fortunately, there are different tools and websites available to help you out.

Just like a car route, Google Maps is a great way to start: identify your home and your destination and GO! Make sure to look at the bicycle overlay, which will show green (or brown) lines as bike friendly streets and trails, and use the bike search option, versus the standard car search. Google bike routes are considered in beta version, but the data behind the maps are usually directly fed by municipalities and do give a great first approach of the route to tackle… After a first result, I often check the satellite images for bike lane signs or use streetview to get a lay of the land. It is always good to know if you are on the street, if there is a bike lane, or if you are directed to a poorly-maintained sidewalk that only in name has just been upgraded to bike route. Would you be better off in the street in that case, or should you reroute? Another great way to get an idea where others ride is via Strava heatmaps, which is free and can be accessed without an account. It is fun to see what other riders prefer, and maybe you can optimize your route.

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Be aware and prepared, a bike lane or trail can unexpectedly end.

There is a personal touch to each bike route. Not everyone likes or is comfortable riding in the same streets. Some people wish to avoid bike lanes at all cost and are willing to take longer routes to be completely off street on a bike path. Some quirks, like unfriendly intersections, you will only find out by trying your route, which is done best when you are not in a hurry for a 9 am meeting. I usually keep optimizing my routes to be faster and safer for a long time after my first attempt. Bike infrastructure in Colorado keeps improving rapidly, and new bike lanes or trails show up all the time. I also like to ride with colleagues and friends, just to learn new ways. I even have different routes depending on the time of year. In winter, I will partly use a bike trail that is nicely plowed after each storm, has no cars, and is safer and off-street in the dark. In summer, I won't dwindle and go the shortest route, which is unfortunately along a busy highway. A bonus gravel trail along the way makes up for it and is a shortcut and quiet.

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If you have the luxury, trails are a wonderful and safe way to commute off street.

Denver, as most other Front Range municipalities, has a network of designated bike trails across town. In Denver these are labelled as D-routes and they are a great way to start plotting your commute. It will be worth to check out what your own city or county has listed as bike trails and routes. Bicycle Colorado has a nice list to get you started for most communities (link below).

A GPS, your smartphone or just a plain old map can be handy to take a peak when you are lost, have an unexpected flat and need the nearest bus stop, etc. And.. rule number one when riding your route for the first few times is to give yourself enough room before your first morning meeting.

Happy pedaling!

Useful websites:

  My summer morning commute is unfortunately on the shoulder of a busy highway. It is very scenic and by far the quickest way to work, but I try not to ride here in the dark.

My summer morning commute is unfortunately on the shoulder of a busy highway. It is very scenic and by far the quickest way to work, but I try not to ride here in the dark.

#10000milesin2018: Month Two Update

Total Miles to Date: 1298.4

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 264 members – 13 more people joined since our last update at the end of January.

Challenges: 

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After a strong January, February was rough.  Between snow and strong winds, the weather made many days unfavorable for riding outside, my motivation was plain-and-simple lacking to bundle up, and so indoor rides were usually the go-to for me- often in the evenings.  One weekend that was unseasonably warm was really windy, and another one was spent caring for an injured dog.  One week I was at a 3-day conference and I opted for treadmill runs vs the hotel exercise bike (to get a bit more calorie-bang-for-the-buck).  That week -for the entire WEEK- I only logged 27 miles- which is supposed to be my daily target. Ooftah.  But hey - that's life! I fell behind on my miles, no question about it.  (I should be around 1,666 miles so I'm about 368 behind!).

Highlights:

I figured out how to build custom workouts on Zwift, which means the program walks you through your target efforts both in time and in power goals, taking all of the math and self-guidance out of the equation.  It's awesome -and really helps a rider nail their workout! 

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:  What strengths are you drawing on to meet your goal?

Self-discipline was a big one ...  getting ON the trainer at 9 or 930pm a few times took every ounce of self-discipline I possess.  Getting on the trainer workout after workout (thankful for my Feedback Sports Omnium every single time!) without the chance to ride outside took some self-discipline.  Also -perspective.  Knowing that there were just days I wasn't up to riding and giving myself the "ok" to skip those days.  Looking at the year as a whole and not panicking about falling too far behind on miles kept me sane ;) 


Strava Group Member Feature: 

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If you’re in Portland, Oregon, join Daniel Payne, one of our #10000milesin2018 members, for a ride. He is planning on riding around 11,000 miles in 2018. In 2017, he rode 13,000 miles. Way to go, Daniel! 

My Bike Trip Around the World: A Guest Blog

My name is Sarah Welle - I live in Longmont, CO and I'm an entrepreneur (I run a gifting company called Colorado Crafted that specializes in Colorado-made products). I'm writing to tell you about the time I spent a year cycling around the world for my honeymoon!

It all started when, in my mid 20s, I got the book Miles from Nowhere as a gift. It's about a couple in the 70s who drops everything and rides their bikes around the world. I had never HEARD of such a thing, but I was completely captivated. Less than a year later, I got married to my longtime boyfriend and somehow convinced him that we should quit our cushy Microsoft jobs, sell everything we owned, and cycle around the world for a year as our unconventional honeymoon. I still can't believe I convinced him it was a good idea, but I did! In 2007 we sold literally everything, packed up our bikes and camping gear, flew to New Zealand, and started cycling. I still remember the feeling of standing in a parking lot right before we left and just dropping my purse into a garbage can because I didn't need it anymore. 

How did you decide where to ride?

We wanted to see SO much of the world. We started off with really ambitious plans, not really having any idea how fast we'd make any progress on our route. We decided to start with New Zealand because we wanted an "easy" country to start in - English speaking, cycle touring is popular there, lots of places to get spare parts in the case of a breakdown, etc. So that's where we started! From there we wanted to check out Southeast Asia, so we booked tickets to Singapore and cycled north through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. After that we didn't really have any concrete plans, but what ended up happening was a big crash in the jungles of Laos, forced skipping of China, and a change of plans that brought us to Eastern Europe where we cycled through Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, etc, etc -- finally ending our trip in Istanbul, Turkey! We'd considered flying to Argentina and riding south but after a year on the road we missed family and friends and were ready to end the big trip.


What was the best part of traveling by bike?

There were SO many things to love. We loved the quiet peacefulness of cycling through the countryside: we could hear birds singing, cows chewing grass, locals chatting and going about their business. It also gave us so many opportunities to meet people and really experience the local culture. When you're resting in the shade and eating a snack you'd be surprised how many kind invitations you get to join people for tea, etc. We were overwhelmed by the general goodness of humanity, which was wonderful. We also loved seeing the landscape slowly change as we cycled across whole countries, and it was a treat to actually see the sunrise and sunset every single day for a whole year.

What was the hardest part?

The reality of being stuck outside in terrible weather, the worst was freezing rain or days & days of windy weather, was much harder in practice than I'd expected. We were also surprised by the difference in our physical abilities; I would feel tired and worn out after far fewer miles than James which caused a few pesky conflicts! ;)

How did you experience the cycling-motorist relationship in different countries? 
This was fascinating to experience - there was a huge range in this relationship. In more third-world countries, where cars are less common, cars and trucks on the road were perfectly accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists (and walkers and mopeds and cows)! We felt very safe cycling in countries like Thailand and Laos. In some Eastern European countries - Serbia stands out in my mind - car owners were unbelievably aggressive and frightening at times. We learned to take back roads as much as possible, as well as avoid riding through major cities, and that did a lot to make day to day cycling more fun.


We kept a blog along the way which is super outdated looking at this point, but the stories are still there! It's at erck.org.  

Two of my favorite blog posts are:

  • This roundup, about 6 months into the trip, of our favorite & least favorite things, scariest moments, and our most common arguments: http://blog.erck.org/?p=471
  • Looking back on our trip, our top pieces of advice if you're thinking of a similar trip: http://blog.erck.org/?p=782

 

Dressing for Winter Riding & Commuting in the Dark

Our lovely Bike Ambassadors have been busy writing instructive blogs to help everyone tackle those cold, and sometimes dark, commutes this time of year.  Please click on the links below to read Sue and Laura's tips and tricks! 

DRESSING FOR WINTER RIDING -By Sue 

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