Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Little About the Blog Owner

Instead of writing pages about me, I'll be posting the text from my "commuter profile." I think it prettymuch sums everything up. -- Daniel

Our next Bike Commuter is from Virginia, Daniel Lunsford works in the military and rides a disguised Wally world machine. Here’s his Bike Commuter Profile:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

9 Months

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

Last September, I was faced with doing some car maintenance. Being a frugal (read: cheap) driver, I instead donated my car to the Veteran’s Administration and aired up the bike tires. Without a car, I essentially got rid of every excuse I could come up with. Soon it was December-February and the temperatures dropped drastically. I already had some nice warm riding gloves, but I still found myself too cold for comfort. Purchasing a pair of Pearl Izumi leggings/tights with the chamois may have been the best cycling purchase I’ve ever made. I was able to use them well into April to keep my entire body warm (I think that the knees are the most sensitive to the cold weather). My commute was 6 miles each way at one point, but I’ve recently transferred jobs to one that is only 4 miles away. I’m also fortunate in that I have a gym across the road from my building where I can shower for free (although admittedly I don’t usually do this since I rarely sweat due to the short commute).

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

Well, there are the obvious health benefits involved with getting your heart up and racing twice a day. I have noticed a significant increase in energy throughout the day (my boss is pleasantly surprised to notice that I sleep much less during meetings lately!). I’ve also gotten to know many other commuters/riders in my area.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I’m in the military, and commute in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

My commuter is a Wal-Mart Schwinn that I’ve put over 6,000 miles on. I eventually got self-conscious about the cheap looking decals on it, so stripped its identity off and repainted it with a LiveSTRONG theme.

I also ride a Trek 2100 ZR on the weekends (including a 106-mile ride this weekend!). I occasionally commute with my road bike, although now that I’ve switched jobs there is no secure place to lock it up, so it typically gets left at home.

Lastly, I’m in the market for a folding bike (so I can secure the bike inside). I’ve been thinking about getting a Dahon Mariner (or similar). Do any readers have any advice on this?

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

Picture this: Mid-February, in the middle of a blizzard, I roll up to the guard shack at my base. The bike is covered in snow and I’m dressed to the hilt in my insulating clothes. The guard opens the window a few inches, sticks a gloved hand out to inspect my ID, then withdraws it back into the heated shack. I hear a voice come through the thin crack “You’re free to pass, but I’ve gotta tell you, I think you’re nuts!”

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

95% of the time I hear: “I’ve thought about doing that for a long time, but I live too far away, the roads are too busy, the cars go too fast, etc. (insert excuse).” I respond by pulling up Google Maps and dropping a destination pin on our office building. Then I get them to tell me where they live. The mapping feature allows you to drag the route to find the one that spends the most time on quiet roads, and they typically admit that their fears are unfounded given their new route options. If the excuse is “My bike is too old/tires are flat/needs to get tuned up”, I offer to repair it for free. If this is their true excuse, a $3 tube is a small price to pay to get someone out of their car and on their two-wheeler! (Just get them to pay you back after they start saving $60/month in gas!)

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

No advocacy in terms of an organized activism, but I do encourage everyone I meet to try and do it at least 3 times. The first time will obviously be stressful. You might get your routes mixed up. You might get to work late or sweaty. The second time you’ll probably try a new approach to make the trip easier. By the third trip, you’ll be somewhat comfortable and actually be able to enjoy the ride. People will always complain about safety and hassle, but the more people you get on the bandwagon, the easier to convince others. When I started 9 months ago, I was the only commuter I knew. Now, I have three other regular riders who help get beginners onto the road. Once people realize that it’s not just one nut on a bike, they’ll be more likely to consider it as a viable method of transport to work.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Always try to break down the barriers of “impossibility” with regards to commuting. The benefits are incalculable, yet people miss out because of something as simple as not having anyone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Especially as gas prices increase, bike commuters have the perfect opportunity to breach the subject of dusting off the ol’ ten-speed!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lance Very Competitive through TdU

The Tour Down Under finished up Sunday, and while the winner was Allen Davis (Queenland, Australia) of Liquigas, the story of the Tour was Lance Armstrong's return to professional cycling. After 3.5 years of retirement, the legend came back and let his legs do the talking, finishing 29th (of approximately 200) in front of a crowd of 144,000. While there's no trophy for 29th, Lance's training, power, and endurance has exploded since he announced his return 4 months ago!

The Telegraph reports that Lance's comeback definitely includes the Giro D'Italia and the TdF, great news for both the countless worldwide fans as well as the Lance Armstrong Foundation , which will benefit from the publicity of its key leader. Get on board--Join the LiveSTRONG Army!

Images courtesy of the Telegraph and Getty Images/Ezra Shaw.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Newbies riding the Tour Down Under?

Very inspiring story from The Advertiser about the Mutual Community Challenge Tour over 7,000 cyclists who have oiled up their bikes in order to "Ride Like Lance." They were actually able to ride the entirety of Stage 4 (Tour Down Under), the Angaston route (155 km), for a various number of causes. Of particular note is Cancer Voices SA, a south Australian cancer advocacy group who has 123 riders taking part in the event and Ride Like Crazy, who are raising funds for the Mick Koerner Foundation.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My RoadID Has Arrived!

To be honest, I can't believe I waited this long to buy one, but I used Christmas as a good excuse to buy myself a RoadID. If you don't know what this is, you've obviously never read a copy of Bicycling magazine! Month after month I got tempted to buy one, but my procrastination always won the day. Now I can officially wear this reflective ankle band as a fashion statement. The problem with items like these are that they are "insurance products"; in order to effectively use it, I'll need to get hit by a vehicle while running or biking, sort of like a spare tire (but much more painful).

One of the main reasons I ordered it was when I was commuting home from work one night and saw something bright moving up and down about 200 yards away. After the car ahead of me passed the light, it turned off. It wasn't until I got closer and another car approached that I realized this was actually the 3M reflective strip on another rider's RoadID. Simply being that visible from that far away was enough to sell me on this product. My wife also likes the added security of knowing that I have emergency contact info on me. I was really excited to test it out, so I went riding. I'd like to say that cars stayed an extra 3' away from me, but in reality it was a ride just like any other. I wasn't hit by a car though, so it must be doing it's job! The neoprene band is actually more comfortable than I though it would be, and I could (and have) wear it all day, even when I'm not working out.

The RoadID website also offers a wrist and shoe version, but I stuck with the AnkleID so that I could have that added value of the moving reflective strip for my evening rides. I decided not to go with the interactive version, but if I had any major medical problems I would probably get this added benefit, as you can create an Emergency Response Profile that health-care professionals can access in the absence of medical records.

Now that I have it, I can't believe I waited this long to buy it. I suggest if you want to purchase one of these, buy it now! You never know when you'll need it. I'll be wearing mine every time I go out.

Yes, the photo is of me. No, I don't want you to comment on my ankle hair.

Team Ouch Giveaway at

The folks at (one of my favorite cycling feeds) are giving away free lodging and a $300 travel voucher for airfare so that the winner can attend Sponsor Day at Team Ouch's spring training camp in Fallbrook, CA. As you may or may not know, Team Ouch (formerly Team Healthnet) is now the team that Floyd Landis is cycling for. The winner will be able to see the team in practice, attend some meet-n-greets, and other fun activities (full itinerary at link below).

This amazing giveaway is being sponsored by and Team Ouch, so head on over to now and get your entry in before January 15th, 2009!