Once Around The World

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!

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.


  1. January 12, 2011

    Thanks for the excellent blog. It’s good to see blogs about bicycling.
    Have you spent much time on rail-trails on your many journeys?
    If so, I’d enjoy hearing which ones were your favorites.
    I’m also curious why you went to recumbent & then back to a regular bike. I’ve only ridden recumbent a few times, but loved it.
    If you don’t mind, I’ll add your blog to the trails network blog page.
    I would be deeply grateful if you could add a link to the trailsnet blog in the “related sites” section of your blog.
    Thanks and happy riding.

  2. January 12, 2011

    Yes, my path from recumbent to upright is a little unusual, I’ll admit. As I mentioned in the post, I started with a ‘bent due to hand pain, and eventually switched over to uprights because I wanted to ride off-road.

    Recumbents make beautiful touring machines for the open road (or rail-trails), but are less suitable for hilly or rough terrain, both of which I wanted to explore.

    As for rail-trails, yes, I’ve ridden the full length of the Katy Trail in Missouri (on a recumbent) and most of the length of the Prairie Spirit Trail here in Kansas (on both a ‘bent and upright). I have hopes to explore more trails in the region, such as the Steamboat Trace and Cowboy Trail in Nebraska, and the Wabash Trace in Iowa.

    As for the link to your site: done. You’ve done a beautiful job with Trailsnet.com!

  3. January 13, 2011

    Thanks for the trailsnet compliment.

    I hope to ride the Katy Trail sometime this spring or summer. How long did it take you? Did you camp or stay in hotels, or just do it all in one shot?

    While I’m asking all the trail questions, how long does it take to ride the Prairie Spirit? I’m trying to decide whether to do both the Katy & Prairie Spirit in one long road trip or do them on two separate ones.

  4. January 13, 2011

    I rode it as part of an annual tour organized by the State Parks Department. It was a very beginner-friendly tour, so mileage was light and accommodations were all arranged ahead of time for us. It was a 5-day tour.

    Here’s my ride report: http://www.recumbum.com/category/ride-reports/katy-trail-ride-2007/

    The Prairie Spirit Trail is 51 miles in length, so it’d be two days or one long day (assuming out and back).

    Another Kansas trail that I failed to mention is the Flint Hills Nature Trail. This will be 117 miles when finished, but it’s currently only complete in segments. I know the segment from Osawatomie to Ottawa very well, and it’s excellent. I’d recommend riding that piece of the FHNT when you do the Prairie Spirit, since they connect at Ottawa.


  5. January 13, 2011

    Thanks for the info and links.

    I checked out “the recumbum” and it looks like a great blog. Are you still posting on that one or have you switched over to the dirtbum entirely?

  6. January 13, 2011

    RecumBum is basically legacy, except on the odd day I get the urge to break out the recumbent again.

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