Decided to join the forum after Google searches kept directing me here when I'd research things!
My name is Karl. I kind of hated cycling when I had to do it to go to school as a kid and teenager and it was on a crappy ten speed. Then I discovered mountain bikes back in '99 with the help of a friend and realized what I hated was the the hunched over position a road bike puts you into.
For the next 6 years my bicycle was my only form of transportation getting all around our very hilly town and commuting 10 miles to work and another 10 miles back five nights a week. I even moved from one apartment to another via bike with only a friend taking one light truck load of the heavier furniture!
I then got a job couriering for Kozmo which was fun and a good introduction to couriering. When I caught on that it was just a pyramid scheme for the inventor to attract investors and that not only was it going to collapse inevitably but they started to try and foist uniforms on us in an effort to "look more professional" for investors I bailed on that job and got on with a legal messenger company.
During my time as a courier I attended the Westside Invite in Portland, which is kind of like a biker rally for couriers with events and contests and lots of drinking. I was addicted to bike polo at that time and paired with highly skilled rider took the trophy in the bike polo tournament we held. I also attended a bike rodeo in Taos and won four rounds of tallbike jousting taking that trophy as well. I look forward to returning to the polo field once I've built up a polo bike and have time for such things again when I am done with my return to school. On the other hand, although I jousted a number of times quite successfully, I am too afraid of injuries now to think I'll be doing that again!
After doing that for a time I went back to my regular career in health-care and unfortunately was pretty poor and most of the drive-train of my bike was worn out. That and a non-cycling related injury combined with a free bus pass and a short bus ride from just outside my apartment to work all took me away from cycling for a time.
Now several years later I've finally finished rebuilding my bike and am VERY happily back in saddle wondering why I took so long to do so. I was afraid I'd have to start off slow, but I haven't taken the bus since! 15 miles my first day, and about that much most days since. Six weeks into commuting I am riding 15 miles a day every day of the seven days in a row I work and nearly the same distance to the gym to swim on many of my seven days off and have already lost 20 pounds.
Just before I took my long hiatus I began to explore bicycle touring and loaded up my bike* with all my panniers and a change of clothes, a tent and sleeping pad and rode from Bremerton to the far side of Mount Saint Helens. This was the free-est I've ever felt in my life. I was completely self contained except for needing to pick up water every other day or so and purchase more camp food about as often. I could stop whenever and wherever I wanted, check out whatever looked interesting and camp wherever looked good. I did that ride shortly after having ridden from Bellingham to Seattle, so I've all but traversed the entire state from North to South, including 32 miles of it on I-5!
This summer I have a number of rides planned, touring/bicycle camping and day rides:
- Bremerton to Olympia
- Kelso to Warrenton, Oregon
- Across Whidbey Island from Clinton to the ferry terminal to Port Townsend and then on to Fort Warden and then back. Haven't decided if this ride will also go from the nearest train station or if I'll use public transit or a friend to get me from Seattle to Mukilteo.
- I have a friend in Kelso I am planning on visiting too, I am currently debating whether to take the train or ride there as well.
- There's a good chance I'll be riding up to Everett as well, although I knew at least one rider whose commute to work was longer than the 19 miles that'll be. Come to think of it, my 45 mile round trip rides to visit a friend who lives just the other side of the airport are longer than that too!
* My bike is an old GT. She was real rough when I got her from a guy down on his luck for only $5 so I've rebuilt her (twice now) and repainted her. I started the paintjob so long ago I don't recall whether she was a Timberline or a Backwoods, but by the brake mounted under the chainstays a friend guessed she was about a '91. In addition to the custom paint I've got heavy duty Jandd racks front and rear, always ride Continental Town and Country's, and usually big spiky platform pedals (I prefer Redline) with toeclips. I'd like to try out clipless, but am trepidatious about them! I like a lot of resistance in the pedals and like to go fast so my big chain ring is a 53 tooth on this mountain bike. With a 53-40-32 spread I've still got a good range for hill climbing which I used to be really good at.