Through all the writing I do on this blog, Twitter posts among the #bikeDC crowd, Bike Arlington Bike Forum Happy Hours I still consider myself a newb to the bike commute world I now take part in. I just completed my goal of achieving 3000 miles before September – a goal sparked by completing my Velo Orange Campeur build in late February 2013. My goal of gaining so many miles came in such a short time but there is a little back story of course..
It started in 2011 when I drug a blue spray painted Schwinn from a trash pile and started to ride it after fixing it up with the limited tools I had. I had a re-occuring tick to ride a road bike for several years. With this opportunity, I quickly re-discovered the bike love I had as a youth. Thankfully, the limited work on bikes I did as a kid helped me with the clean-up and fix-up. I was on the bike within a day. This amazing bike, although literally trash, was a bike I still miss heavily – it was stolen at the Braddock Rd metro on one of my first bus/bike commutes to work. Miles? I did a lot of laps around the block. Pure fun.
In 2012, I traveled close to 1200 miles on my ’83 Fuji Road bike I bought off Craigslist in NE DC. This was a time where I commute to the local metro station. I loved the bike and took care of it constantly. There are a lot of details but towards the end of 2012 I saw myself sticking with this passion of mine and decided to invest in a better one, eventually deciding on the Campeur. Through this time, I had not thought at all about commuting by bike a regular thing. I was intimated by that many miles – 15 each way at the time. The longest stretch I had done was a 70 mile ride out to Purcellville and back. Even then, in the fall of 2012 I was strained to do a 30 mile ride without being able to move when arriving back home. Although I rode, it was not enough to get used to any sort of miles.
Before continuing into 2013, I’d like to point out that I am a pretty cheap individual but more, I cannot stand to depend on other means and people to get me where I would like to go. You can probably guess I am talking about the DC Metro system – a system that has kept me from my family longer than I’d like to figure and one that benefited from my thousands of dollars in fares over the past few years.
Flash forward to Feb ’13 and the completion of my Campeur. Man was I ecstatic! I was able to go long distances and actually bring stuff with me. For the reasons of the aforementioned paragraph, I set a goal of doing the 12 mile commute (to a new office) twice a week – Mondays and Fridays. 2 days became 3 a week then once the weather was better it went to 4 then eventually 5. As I started to see my miles add in March, I set a goal of 2,000 miles before September. I quickly met that goal in June. I then set another goal of 3,000 which I met yesterday with my family and myself pulling the little one behind me with our new Burley. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was great to complete a fitness goal such as that. BTW – my wife just started commuting via bike with our little one in the Burley twice a week to her nanny job. Awesome eh? She is starting to persuade her friends too. As for myself, my miles will continue to add on for the rest of the year.
So, that shows a little back story about my goal this year. At this point, I cannot imagine not riding my bike to work. Family friends and colleagues ask me what would prevent me from not riding? I say lightning, because I’ve bike through injuries, storms, sub-freezing temps and border-line ice. I think they thought I would not commute in the winter – balderdash. I am intentionally leaving my goal alone and resetting for next year when I will up my goal to perhaps 5,000. My Campeur has been a phenomenal bike through all of this. It is my only bike due to budget constraints. I did not go ALL IN with the Campeur as far as a price tag but, what’s it matter? For the record, being my only bike, the Campeur has seen everything. I love that bike almost as much as my one year old, kidding, but almost. The VO staff has been wonderful to deal with too. Quick replies on emails – you’d think you were their boss or something. Go team VO.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know everyone in the bike community in DC as well. Each day, I see at least a few souls on the trail that I wave to, Wednesday breakfast opps and Friday Coffee Clubs, etc. They are coming close friends, I like that. Honestly, I owe a lot of my progress in this fun lifestyle to them, there are a lot of them. Off the top of my head – Wayne at Velo Classique for building my Campeur, Dickie and DCV from Bike Arlington, Brook in DC and even ED & Mary (not knowingly) encouraging me to travel longer miles than I thought I could do through their writings, the list goes on. This year has been a whirlwind in growth in all areas of my life and a bike is a great way to navigate through it.
*Note – I plan to write a little bit more of the Campeur’s progress through the year so far, my winter lighting progress and a couple of other things soon.