On December 3rd I posted this to my Facebook account: “Hit a big milestone on last night’s ride: 25,000 miles. The Earth is 24,901 miles around. On my next circumnavigation of the globe, hopefully I’ll have a chance to see more of it!”
I cycled as a kid and young adult, but never kept track of my mileage.
I got back into cycling in 2004, purchasing a Sun EZ-Sport long wheelbase recumbent bicycle. The reason I went with the recumbent was that I was having RSI issues in my wrists (not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but similar) — I just didn’t think my hands could withstand having weight on them for long periods, so a recumbent solved that issue.
It was a good starter bike. I put about 3300 miles on it in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
But at some point I decided that I wanted a lighter bike. I purchased a Burley Django, which is a short wheelbase recumbent, lighter and faster than the EZ-Sport.
Again, it was a great bike for me, and I ride it during 2006, 2007, and 2008, putting about 7700 miles on it.
The downfall of the Django was off-roading. I put some fat tires on it, and road it on gravel, but sitting so low to the ground, it was simply too sketchy on loose surfaces. And it didn’t work for mountain biking at all.
By that time, my wrists were no longer hurting me, and I thought that just maybe I could withstand the stress of an upright bike, at least for short off-road rides.
So I purchased a Balance Mountain Bike, which I picked up used from a local shop. The “Balance” brand was only produced for a few years, in the early to mid 1990s, but this frame had been rebuilt with modern (if low-end) components. It was an inexpensive way to find out if I could ride an upright bike.
I could. I rode the heck out of that bike in the latter half of 2008, putting over 3500 miles on it, most of them on gravel.
Turns out that while I enjoyed mountain biking to some degree, what I really liked was gravel grinding and exploring all the remote country roads in Kansas.
I even did some road rides on the MTB, and it worked OK, though it obviously wasn’t the ideal bike for centuries and beyond.
I purchased the Surly Long Haul Trucker new in early 2008, and it soon became my one and only. I rode it on pavement, gravel, and singletrack, only busting out the MTB for the more demanding mountain bike trails.
I’ve now put over 10600 miles on, and it’s still going strong.
If you’ve added up those figures, that’s right at 25,000 miles.
Once around the world!
After I posted to Facebook, my friend Bill Poindexter wrote a great little article about me for his Carfree American blog: Kansas Cyclist rolls 25,000 miles and still going strong. Thanks for the kind words, Bill!