The Recreational Rider Commutes
I’ve lived in Dallas / Ft. Worth since I was 3 years old. Living in DFW, a place that covers nearly 700 square miles, is a very tough place to live without a car. Especially tough when you have family at all corners of the metroplex. When I was in elementary school I used to ride my bike to school almost every day. It was about a mile from my house, and back then there weren’t as many concerns about letting your 10-12-year-old child ride their bike to school every day. Fast forward about 6 years when I finally got my drivers license, it was a whole other form of freedom to get the keys to my first car. Ever since that time, 4 wheels have been my primary form of transportation. 20 years later, that trend is starting to change. This week was the beginning of the Local Hub Bicycle Company’s 30-day mileage challenge. The winner of the challenge gets a complimentary tune up by our master mechanic John Kendall. There is some stiff competition out there and to be completely honest with myself I probably have no chance of winning our own prize. That’s not the point of this challenge though. The point is to prove to others, or maybe even prove to myself, that commuting this time of year can be done. Many people prove, day after day, that there really are very little excuses to keep you from getting on your bike to get to work, school, or anywhere around town.
I obviously have a passion for cycling owning a bike shop, but most of my riding has been for recreation and exercise. After not riding a bike for 15-20 years, a friend of mine talked me into getting my first road bike. I’ve never really felt like racing much but I’ve always enjoyed the touring type of rides. MS150, Goat Neck, ‘The Eurekan’, etc. I’ve done a few races here and there but that’s not what I enjoy the most about cycling. To me, it’s the freedom of going where you want to go, take the path you want to take, and see the city up close and personal. Just like I did when I was a kid. Road bikes are great but not practical for commuting around town and who wants to risk locking their expensive bike outside. A few years ago I went out and bought a simple Origin8 Cutler 7 to get around the neighborhood. It’s been a good little commuter bike for that purpose, maybe not an everyday rider though. I’ve done my fair share of city riding but commuting for a purpose is another level. I’m not saying anything new here, millions of people do it every day. However, to many people in Dallas, myself included, this has only been a passing thought, not a reality.
So over the next few weeks as I participate in the 30-day challenge (minus a couple weeks I have to travel for work) I’d like to convey my experience as an avid cyclist but novice commuter. I’ve already learned a few things before I even hit the road and I’m sure there is lots more to come. I’ll provide some guidance on clothing, gear, bikes, safety, etc. to possibly get just one more person from general cyclist to commuter. At the risk of sounding cliche: if I can do it, anyone can do it.