Inspirational stories from BROL

I frequently comment on BROL or ‘BentRiders Online, a cycling community of over 11,ooo members. With the permission of the members below, I am sharing their ’08 riding stories posted in the BROL thread I started 12/31 where I posted an End-of-Year Report on my ’08 cycling experiences. The stories below are in the sequence in which they were posted. These are fun reads.  Thanks to the BROL Members for their permission to share. Clicking on the picture will take you to the member’s post. Clicking on the name will take you to the member’s BROL Profile.

After reading the riding stories below, please come back to the top and vote for the story that you find most inspiring. This poll remains open for one month or until 12:00 a.m., February 01, 2009. You can only vote once and for only one person. The results are below.

sloji ~ This year was a year of change when I switched from recumbents to an upright and played in the peloton. I logged 6500+ miles on a Serotta Ottrott and tried my hand at racing which was quite the adventure.

The highlight for me of the year was a recent hill climbing camp that brought together about 60-70 riders of varying ability from pros/cat1/-2’s down to weekend warriors. It’s cool to see the efficiency of these riders as they’ve managed their bodies and minds to become machines…oh, and I wasn’t last up the hills!

I’ve trained this year with mostly 20-30 year old competitive riders and to stay with them took changing my body to a leaner meaner me. It takes some smarts at 50 to stay with the young’ins and lucky for me I had three riders that consisted of an ex-pro of 45 years old, a 59 year old cycling coach, and a 61 year old warrior who taught me about energy conservation! The young guys (and girls) have more sprinting power, better recovery, great bike skills, and better eyesight but they also have bigger ego’s which can be taken advantage of…well, once in a while.

One recent example was a training ride which started out easy with the husband/wife tandem team (ex-pros) leading the way and which I made a point to stay on their wheel and never get out of their draft the entire ride. Two young strong riders at a point decided to make an attack, I let them go and sat on the tandems wheel while they cranked it up and caught the top rider and passed him…with me in tow! They all remarked how strong I’ve gotten over this year…yah, a bit but a lot smarter too!

Happy new year and stay smart and healthy.

startle ~ Nice blog Jim. I got to visit Southern Cal for the first time and enjoyed riding along the coast. Fantastic! Visited Bent up Cycles, Fantastic! Found a great place for riding in Eastern Oregon, the Strawberry Mountains, and the cycling event at Prairie City OR. Planning on going back. Century ride with over 10,000 ft climbing is a great event. Got to ride the famous trail by Sacramento nice, but very busy even at 5:00 a.m. Our stay at Folsom was wonderful.

And I rode over 10,000 miles again this year, don’t know why but that just makes me feel good.

Happy new year all!

projo ~ This year my goal was 2,500 miles – I road 3,738 miles. My goal for 2009 is 5,000 miles – I’ll probably do about 7,500. My tentative goal for 2010 is 10,000 miles – This may be hard to make since my wife also has plans for me.

Tourezrick ~ I tried something different this year, rather than set a mileage goal, I set a ‘days riding’ goal. Last year, I rode 148 days and set a goal for 2008 of 160 days. I ended up with 195 days and was bummed because of bad weather this December (very mild for past few years). But for lots ‘o cold, snow and rain, I would’a been over 200. Mileage, incidentally, was 4229, 1113 more than 2008.

Two good trikes and good roads and trails on which to ride them, along with great friends to make great memories with! So, goal for 2009 – whatever G-d gives me! If I’m lucky, I’ll make it over 200 – what a gift – 200 days doing what I love with those I love and respect – both family and good friends like the Weekday Pre-school Coffee, Riding and Liars Club.

Watch out for more corny, crappy videos, too. Maybe they’ll improve, too! Never can tell!

trentf ~ Some amazing miles racked up on this thread! My milage pales in comparison with a lot on this thread! This year total riding for me was just under the 1500mile mark, on 2 different bikes. Started in May, with bike to work week on a Novara DF that I no longer own, and really do not miss riding. It was a 2006 BIG Buzz, alu fram, 700c wheels, flat bar..a cool bike but…oh the pain.

I attempted to commute this bike 3 days per week, 20 miles round trip, but was getting discouraged from back, neck and wrist issues, so this only averaged once per week if at all really. From mid May to end of June, I put maybe 200 miles on it. In July, I bought a Bacchetta Giro 20 and have nearly 1300 miles on it since, a combination of commuting, errands and just riding around with no apparent destination.

I’m definitely looking forward to more riding in 2009!


Pockets ~ Just posted my last ride for 2008 on Bikejournal. 8810 miles with 294 rides. came in 165 on BJ so far but the bulk posters are still to come. Happy New year to all. I am looking forward to my Catrike Exhibition. Should arrive late January.

Vern ~ 3,645 miles for 2008. I’ve only ridden 75 miles during this final month of December; so cold with snow and ice. Forced me to modify one of my SWB’s to ride on rollers in the house. I’ve ridden 55 miles on it this last week.. and those are hard miles because the rollers stop when I stop pedaling (no coasting advantage) 6,360 miles total on the home-built bents (5 bents, <$14).

Dennys to the far right

Denny Voorhees ~ [Denny is to the far right] It was, several personal bests here:

  • Longest single day ride of 176 miles on the longest day of the year. It might have been a double if not for a “Wardrobe Malfunction”
  • Most miles in a year 3681.
  • Most average miles per ride 29.2 miles each time out

That aside, it was a great year period. Outstanding rides at The RBR Rally in State College, Pa (Thanks Rob, Alysha, Travis).  The RARE Rally in Rochester, NY, Thanks Mike, Dave, Hank, and special thanks to the Madigans for the sag after the crash. The Rochester folks are the best.

The “Great Bentrider ride instead of Rally” hosted by my buddy Tom Barone, where I got to ride with old friends and make some new ones. I didn’t know Buffalo had so many good bike trails, but I do now.  Happy New Year Tommy and good luck with the new move. See you soon!

I finally got an opportunity to attend the Bacchetta Rally in Florida. This time co-hosted with Catrike. It only cost me a Cruise for my wife and I, but it was totally worth it. Some great miles and even more smiles. Plus I came away with a whole new impression of Florida. Yes it was a good one… Throw in the annual Tour De Kingston, and the STBC Fingerlakes weekend with a group of the greatest riding buddies one could ask for.

Oh, add a couple of Century rides too. Bike Tioga in Owego, NY even threw in a free Massage after the ride… Top Shelf treatment, I thought they were going to have to pour me off the table when it was finished.

Finally I snagged a spot on a RAAM team for 2009. Today I got the Results of a Stress test I took on Monday and it was great news. At 58 I don’t suffer from heart disease like my Dad and Brother did/do. A testament of years (almost 28 now) of the benefits of cycling. I’m stoked and really looking forward to the coming year.

I added an Upright to the stable for training for RAAM. BTW, I’ll be riding an upright for that event, but not to worry I won’t be giving up my bents anytime soon. They are too big a part of my life, and just too damn much fun.

Jim that’s just a sample of the years highlights, every minute on the bike is a memory. While it will be hard to top this one, my hunch is, it will be even better. See you on the Road.

Happy New Year All.

Denny in Sayre, PA

“Bent but not Broken”


TeeEss ~ OK, I am officially humbled by the mileage of this crew! I managed between 1100 and 1200 this year, but that’s a personal best. It includes my first multi-day tour, my first century, and more 50 mile+ rides than in my entire life before this year. 900+ miles are on the Expedition I started riding in August, so if I get an early start, the total in 09 should jump.

Plus I got to make some new friends in the trike world (and a few of us plan to ride tomorrow in Philly to start the year off right). I also supported a group of scouts working on their Cycling Merit Badge, trying to get the next generation in the right spirit.

Goals for the year: At least 2 centuries. At least one multi-day tour. Maybe a self-contained ride for a few days. Working toward my 13/30, 14/40, 15/50 goals. (Thirteen MPH for 30 miles, etc.)

Ride happy in the new year!

BikeBox ~ First full year on BikeJournal, so easy to retrieve data. Only off a bike one day, flying back from a tour in Ireland. Logged miles on 22 different sets of wheels, including 2245 on SWB (Giro 20 and Virginia GT), 2100 on LWB (TiRush, GRR, Tomahawk) recumbents. A total of 9500 miles. Mostly good riding weather here in coastal Virginia, although we had 47 mph gusts during my last of the year today and had to cut it short.

Bud Bent ~ I’ve posted this elsewhere, but I’ll post it here, too. 2008 was a wild ride for me. But, I did manage to reach my mileage goal. Here’s a monthly journal, with highlights (or lowlights) of the month:

  • Jan – 260.3 miles – Recovering from lung surgery; 40 staples removed from my side on the 5th.
  • Feb – 330.1 miles – Started chemotherapy on the 8th.
  • Mar – 220.1 miles – Continued chemo.
  • Apr – 261.6 miles – Finished chemo on the 4th; rode just 50 miles the first 16 days of the month.
  • May – 605.3 miles – First century of the year on the 31st.
  • Jun – 650.3 miles – First 200k of the year on the 7th; thyroid surgery on the 19th.
  • Jul – 913.5 miles – Most miles I’ve ever ridden in a month.
  • Aug – 729.4 miles – Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred on the 23rd.
  • Sep – 722.6 miles – The Texas Time Trials on the 25th and 26th.
  • Oct – 899.3 miles – 1st double century / 1st 300k on the 11th.
  • Nov – 673.0 miles – Survivor speaker at the DFW Walk/Run for LUNGevity event on the 1st.
  • Dec – 441.8 miles – One year survivor party on the 20th.

Total – 6,708.0 miles

Racer46 ~ Started riding in September. Before that I hadn’t been on a bike for more than a mile in about 30 years. Bought a bent, actually 2, in October. Didn’t start keeping track of mileage until November 29th. From then until today 143.7 miles including a 32.5 mile ride today, a personal best.

My goal for 2009 is 2009 miles. Won’t get my first ride of any distance in until January 4th. I have a metric century scheduled for January 31st. Hope I’m not pushing too fast but I always feel like I could have done a few more miles when I’m done with a ride, even today.

Trsnrtr ~ When I first saw this thread, I thought to myself, “Gee, 2008 was just another normal cycling year for my wife and me.” Then, upon reflection, I realized that it was more unique than I thought.

First, my wife and I cycled the Chesapeake Bay area in May on our Santana tandem. We ate more crab than I ever imagined. At the end of July, we rode with Jim and Cyclebreeze as Jim passed through Illinois on his way back home from his Cycling Odyssey. I wish that we could have had another day or so because it was a great time.

Then, in a surprise move in August at the Midwest Tandem Rally, my wife up and buys a trike. Considering her general disdain for recumbents in general, I was shocked. I credit the Dandy Ride with Jalexartis, Cyclebreeze, and Gjemba for causing that unexpected purchase. Then, out of the blue, a Catrike road was almost forced upon me at the end of August by fate. The circumstances surrounding the experience was definitely one of my weirdest purchases, a story too long, too convoluted, and too personal to share. Anyway, it was probably the best bike or trike purchase that I’ve ever made.

Lastly, it was another record year for personal mileage. I got 8,759 miles (only good for 10th or so on the BROL bike Journal list) That raised my 27 season average up to 6,000 miles per year. All in all, a pretty decent year. I would have liked to have gotten away for more weekend rallies or taken another cycling trip or two, but 2009 is ripe for opportunity.

Remember, my personal motto is that: “Life is not a spectator sport!” I got that from my doctor many years ago and I try to embrace it with passion.

Freddyflatfoot ~ 2008 was a year of learning and progression, as I became more firmly entrenched in the ‘bent world, after progressing from being a weekend warrior! After building my first trike, which I still ride as an electric assisted commuter and utility trike, I thought I would have a crack at building a 2 wheeled ‘bent.

I modelled that after a Bachetta Giro 20, and even though it is a bit heavy, it has been a successful build. I completed her in Mar08, and have clocked up over 2700 k’s, including some touring and a 100k brevet.

I then decided I wanted a lighter faster trike, so again I built one up! Spent some time collecting some higher grade components, like Sturmey Archer drum brakes, and Sram X-9 components. I completed her Jun08, and have done about 1600 k’s since.

I started logging my k’s when I started the bentrider Car Free Challenge at the end of May, and by the end of the year I had recorded 5284 k’s. That included all my commutes on my original trike. If I estimate a (conservative) 3000 k’s for the first 5 months of the year, then my total mileage is around the 8200 k mark.

Now, if I can stop building for a bit and ride more, then I should be able to log at least 10,000 k’s for 2009! Well, that’s my goal anyway.

I do try and go as car free as much as possible, and have certainly cycled more k’s than I have driven, and do pretty much all my errands by bike/trike, except for the long/bulky items, like more steel for building!

All in all, I would say 2008 has been a very successful year for me as far as riding, enjoying my ‘bents, building and modifying, and especially being part of the BROL community. You guys have done a lot to encourage me in my bent riding/building endeavours!

Now, about that VM project…

Tom Barone ~ After reading the many responses to your fine thread Jim I thought I would throw in my two cents worth! 2008 was buy far the best cycling season for me EVER! The miles for 2008 we not as many as previous seasons but the memories , new found friends and the opportunities to share this wonderful hobby have made 2008 every special.

There was a week long cycling tour of Rhode Island that was by far the best touring vacation i have ever been on. The sea shore cycling around Buzzard’s Bay , the Fire Water Festival in Providence, and the tour of New Port made this cycling event a life long memory . ( man — i love eatin’ native ethnic foods ) In July a group ( 7) local riders came along with me on a very special ride.

I had heard about the ” Bike Train ” and decided to check it out. Again this cycling adventure turned out to be an event that will no drought be a repeat in the 2009 cycling season. The ” Bike Train ” is a very special unique cycling opportunity here in the Niagara Region. The train leaves Niagara Falls, Ontario and goes to Toronto, Ontario. The fee for your passage that includes your bike is so reasonable! In Toronto there is so much to see and do it’s amazing. We stayed in Toronto overnight and the following morning after breakfast we rode the Waterfront Trail back to Niagara Falls, Ontario ( 98.6 miles). I can’t even imagine how one could ask for a memorable ride thru some of the prettiest parks and trails along the shore line of Lake Ontario. 2009 cycling itinerary will extend this ride to a (3) day event with an extended ride schedule in the Toronto area before riding back to Niagara Falls, Ontario–Yes it was that GOOD.

Then there was the ” Niagara Region Rally.” This annual event has exceeded it’s perceived goal every year by bringing together some wonderful recumbent riders. When originally conceived as an addition to the Bentrider Rally this event has continued to exist each August because of the interest to come to the Niagara Region . This Niagara Rally has continued for 5 years and no drought we’ll have a 6th. This event is truly a tribute to ” cycling enthusiast ” who are willing to travel to a destination for the sole purpose of enjoying fellow recumbent riders and sharing with each other the day’s experiences. We have had many many wonderful riders attend the rallies and with each one came their stories of ” their ride experiences”.

How cool is that!

I do not have any goals set for 2009 but I know that just around the bend ahead is another cycling experience —ya never know!

Great thread Jim !

Tom Barone ~ 2008 was bittersweet. My total mileage was down from my average of 5,500/year due to two reasons: ice and snow. After 6 years and 33,000 miles, I’ve packed my Tour Easy in Cosmolene and now run a RANS Stratus XP. This wonderful machine came into my life because my best riding buddy died. He rides with me every time I get on his bike. My stupid RANS stem failure made news.  ~david boise ID

squamish ed ~ My personal best this year: 15 kilometers! Total for the year about 80 km (not counting the stuff on the exercise stand in the basement).

OK, there is a story behind this. I started 2008 waking up from a 3 week coma in intensive care and listened (since I couldn’t talk) to my wife fighting with the doctors who wanted to terminate my life support. Did I mention I also was a quadriplegic from a neurological problem I’d picked up in hospital? So after 5 months and five surgeries in hospital I was discharged.In physio I’d learned to get out of bed, sit up and eventually walk a little again. Believe me when I say 5 months in bed weakens you amazingly.

Got home (finally) and had my new ICE T to play with. Of course I needed help to get on and off it and could only ride for 5 to 10 minutes before being exhausted but the BionX got me home and it worked.

Now it’s snowing pretty regularly and this rural area doesn’t benefit from a lot of plowing so the trike’s on a stand in the basement and I do some exercise riding there.

In 2009 I’m hoping to be able to ride about 20 km several times a week without having to use the electric assist. If I can get up to 500 to 1000 km for the year that would be extremely satisfactory! Recovery from all this has been and will continue to be a slow process but the trike is a real morale booster.

Hope 2009 is a great year for all.


EZ Biker~ 2008 was likewise a bittersweet year for me too. I achieved the most cycling miles ever, but had to pass on all local bicycling events, trying to put $$$ away, for that just in case, employment scenario.

The employment scenario came partly true as I’m looking at a reduction in wages, due to a downsize change of job positions. Will be moving into smaller quarters soon (Not enough room for more than 1 bike) along other cost cutting measures, like parting with one of my bikes (The Agio), BUT will be moving to an area that offers a lot of nice scenic roads to bicycle.

I doubt I’ll come close to my mileage this year, but at least I have my good health and still have a job with a part time one pending and will still be able bicycle.

Staying positive, is the rule here!

I’m hoping you find the stores interesting and inspiring. There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories.  It is difficult to not include them all here, but time as a factor, I could not include the all, nor the responses to many. Please visit the thread to read other stories and responses thereto.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s a new year, let’s be more active. If you have been inactive, check with your doctor before you begin or significantly increase your physical activity.  BTW, I invite you to join BROL or similar forum to go along with your activity of choice.

Thanks for reading…

Jim Artis

Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

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