How I started cycling

For a few years, I have been the proud owner of a 2001 Honda Civic, and a 2006 Kawasaki 250 Ninja. This is the story of how I ended up shunning both of them in favor of a much more gas-efficient 2012 Specialized Tricross.

My bike
There came a point about 7 months ago in June, 2012, when I got tired of driving everywhere. On the surface, the costs add up with gas, insurance, repairs, and oil changes. On a deeper level, I realized that I simply enjoyed being outdoors as much as possible. Part of the reason I love being on my motorcycle is that it allows me to be outdoors while traveling. There is something particularly irking about traveling inside that little metal box. After getting new running shoes, I went through a two week period where I ran everywhere. I ran to the gym, I ran to church, and I ran anytime errands needed to be done. It was a great time of seeing it was completely possible to live without a car. Over the next two months I filled up the tank in my car once, opting to ride my motorcycle almost exclusively.

After I filled up the tank in my car again two months later, I realized it wasn’t enough. I needed more adventure. I love the idea of running everywhere, but it wasn’t sustainable. While my body isn’t made for lots of long distance running I still loved the idea of using exercise to get places. Cycling seemed like the best bet and something I knew I would enjoy. I had cycled often as a kid, but had my bike stolen a year earlier.

After thinking about it for a week, I decided that I was going to search for a nice bike I could call my own. I went to a local bike shop that had exactly the bike I was looking for. I thought about it for a day, deciding that to make it work I would need to forego my car for the most part and sell it if possible. I ordered the bike the next day and waited for it to arrive. I got the bike in September and immediately began logging miles. My goal was to keep a 10 mile a day pace, but once I started riding to school (30 miles round trip), that pace became a walk in the park. Before I knew it, 61 days had passed and I’d ridden 1,000 miles.

On my way to 1,000 miles I thought long and hard about what my new goal should be. Spending many hours in the saddle caught me dreaming of doing a cycling trip across the world, the first leg of which would be from where I live to New York. I figured I might as well combine those two goals and make my next mileage goal the distance of that first leg. My new mileage goal would come out to be 2,900 miles.

So far, my car hasn’t sold off of Craigslist, but it will sooner or later and I’m still 100% for getting rid of it. There’s many reasons why I like the idea of having no car which I’ll go into later and cycling is just one of them. I still have my motorcycle, with no plans of selling it, which I use when I need to get somewhere quick (which isn’t that often).

I’ve encountered a lot of opposition along the way. I’m not quite sure why people are so opposed to the idea of only transporting yourself by bike, but it only fuels my drive. People have said I’m “fung shwaying” my life, selling my car isn’t a good long term strategy, and even that I’m going to get pneumonia riding through the winter. I think people just fear a little bit of uncertainty, but a little bit of fear and uncertainty isn’t bad, it’s invigorating and exactly what I’m searching for.


11 thoughts on “Cycling

  1. Good story! I feel like a lot of people just cannot fathom the thought of alternative transportation. For example, the Smart Car. Most people turn their nose up at Smart Car drivers despite the fact that those drivers get better gas mileage and have significantly less issues getting around in close quarters (i.e. a city). It’s the same thing for the bike. Even though it’s super practical people just can’t understand what would bring someone to use it. So good on you for staying strong!

    • Yeah I totally agree! It’s super practical but most people don’t understand or agree with all the benefits. Especially when I’m cycling in a town that’s not normally thought of as bike-friendly. Thanks for the encouragement!

      • Sure thing! It’s always tough initially to be riding through a town that doesn’t understand cycling. But then as more people ride and commute around town, the better chance of drivers and others recognizing cycling as a viable alternative

  2. When Linda and I got married, we only had one car. My bike was our “other car” for at least 10 years. I rode it every day to classes while in seminary in Philadelphia – even in the winter when it was in the “teens” outside and there was snow piled up everywhere. When we moved to Modesto, I rode my bike to work every day, unless it was raining, in which case, my wife took me. But, 95% of all the commuting I needed to do, I did on a bicycle. It’s a great way to travel. You do have to be cautious and aware of people with cars who are inconsiderate, but it is exhilarating to ride.

  3. It was wonderful living car-free, bike-only in Amsterdam. Where I live in Calif I usually get around by bike and public transportation, but have a car for other times. Your cause is noble and wishing you good health and happy rides.

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  7. Hey there, I’m looking into getting a new bike because I plan to start biking a lot more both for transportation and for exercise, and I’ve been looking a lot at the Specialized brand. The Tricross is actually one of the bikes on my radar along with the Allez and Sirrus. I’m trying to determine which might be the best all around bike. What do you think of your Tricross?

    • I love my tricross! The Allez and sirrus are good bikes too but they have a bit of a different purpose. I don’t know much about the sirrus but I know the Allez is a pure road bike. Meaning it comes with thinner tires and its just not quite as heavy duty to keep weight down.

      I got the tricross, because later down the road I can put off road tires on it and take it into some dirt but also use road tires and use it as a commuter.

      I’ve put 2600 miles on mine in the last 6 months and its still running like a champ. The only thing I’ve had to replace are the tires because they got worn out.

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