In 2006, I returned to cycling after a long hiatus. I started off by setting up my early 90′s Trek Multi-Track hybrid as a commuter and began commuting to work as often as possible. Soon, I joined the Cascade Bicycle Club and started participating in CTS their training series (which, at the time, was free and drop-in style) in preparation for my eventual goal of riding Cascade’s Seattle-to-Portland (STP) event. I purchased a rather expensive, semi-custom Rodriguez road bike and starting logging as many miles and rides as my spare time and lifestyle would allow. I ended up riding STP in both 2006 and 2008.
This year, I had planned on riding both STP and RSVP (Ride Seattle to Vancouver, BC and Party), but this didn’t materialize. I successfully registered for both rides as well as the training series, which is no longer free and is only available to those who have signed up to participate in a Cascade ride event. I rode with CTS the first couple training rides, but then I missed a couple rides due to vacation and upon return felt I was too far behind in mileage to hang with the pack. I was already struggling with longer rides due to my weight gain the previous year. I needed to begin cycling to help me lose weight, but my degenerating knees were screaming at me about having to drag all of this extra weight, especially on longer rides. I decided to bow out of CTS, STP and RSVP and instead dedicate myself to improving my health and reducing my weight before embarking on any future distance riding.
In July, I decided it was time to really take the bull by the horns and get serious about losing weight. I joined Weight Watchers and have dropped nearly twenty pounds thus far. I have a long ways to go, but each pound lost allows me to enjoy biking that much more. When I have a heavy pannier, I often think about how much more I was lugging around. I haven’t been doing rides much longer than 20 miles, but I have been riding pretty often. I commute to work when my schedule allows, ride to appointments and run errands. I have begun to realize that utilitarian cycling is really my favorite type of cycling. I really enjoy having a reason to ride…I mean an actual purposeful destination as opposed to just riding to log miles. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with just riding to ride, but I really like ditching my car and using my bike rather than riding for exercise and then using my car for work, errands and appointments.
My style of cycling has changed in recent years and that’s okay. In 2009, I purchased a Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) and I soon set it up with swept back Nitto Northroad bars for upright, city riding. I love this bike and much prefer riding it to my Rodriguez. Sitting upright is comfortable and I love the feeling that the Trucker can handle any load and terrain I throw at it. No, it’s not a light weight or fast bike, but that’s okay with me. I’ve decided that being the fastest is no longer my goal. I’m just gonna keep on Truckin’ and most importantly Ride Happy!