This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the April 2012 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Nominate a Cyclist of the Month! Cyclist of the Month: KEITH BOARD Age: 49 Occupation: Chief Editor, NW Cable News Wheels: Bianchi Coast to Coast bicycle; Nimbus commuter unicycle Keith Board has ridden a unicycle since 1974 . But as it turns out, his story begins in 2006, on two wheels, not one. The first time Keith pedaled the two miles between King Street Station and King 5’s offices on Dexter St., where he worked, he wasn’t sure he would make it. “Sweat was pouring off of me,” he said. “I wanted to vomit. I thought, ‘I’m only 43 years old. I’ve got to fix this.’” He had been given an Orca pass by his workplace to commute by train and bus from his home in Buckley, Wash., but it was slow and inconvenient. Then, on Feb. 22, 2006, the man sitting next to him on the bus wet himself. It was the final straw. “I told my wife, ‘I’m done with the bus.’” From there, it was a numbers game. Driving to work would cost the family $18 per day. He weighed 255 pounds. “I bought a bike for $45, and my life changed dramatically,” he said. Within months, he had lost 15 pounds. Seeing Keith’s transformation, his wife decided to join him. “I told her, ‘You’re going to have to catch up.’” The first bike ride they went on together was only five miles long, and her experience was similar to what his had been: she lay on the couch recovering for hours afterward. Slowly but surely, they increased their mileage – and a year after they started riding together, in 2007, they pedaled all 206 miles of the Group Health STP. “Riding together helped us solve family problems,” he told me. “I also lost 75 pounds.” He added, jovially, “I’ve learned not to say how much my wife has lost. So let’s just say that she lost weight, too.” Cascade rides have been at the center of their journey together. Keith also rode Chilly Hilly and High Pass Challenge in 2007. “That first HPC was miserable,” he said. But he finished in seven hours and 57 minutes – just in time to receive a gold medal. “They might as well have handed me treasure from King Tut,” he said. In 2008, he rode HPC with his youngest son, Kasey, who was just 13 years old at the time. In 2009, he and his older son, Jake, rode the STP in one day, on Jake’s 17 th birthday. As a family, they’ve embraced bicycling for transportation as well as recreation. “We’re like born-again Christians,” he said. “We’ve had this life-changing experience, and we’re thinking, ‘How could we have missed out on this for so long?’”
This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the March 2012 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Nominate a Cyclist of the Month! Cyclist of the Month: JOHN WELLER Age: 65 Wheels: Cannondale Synapse Occupation: Retired (“Every day is Saturday.”) John Weller began his bicycling career during the summer of ’97, on three-speed Raleigh from ’73. It was pure happenstance. “The gym was closed for a week,” he said. “I couldn’t run anymore because it hurt. I told my son, ‘Let’s go ride on the Burke.’” A habit was born. From his start on the Burke-Gilman Trail, he became a regular bike commuter. And instead of parking his bicycle when he arrived at work, he pedaled it on the range roads of his “60,000-acre office.” John was a range officer for the military, and he bicycled to visit his “customers” – military units training for maneuvers and artillery firing. “There I was, working in an environmentally destructive field, and my carbon footprint was a size 11,” he told me, delivering the joke with such austerity that I didn’t catch on for several seconds. I wondered whether showing up on a bicycle might undercut his authority among gun-wielding military types. Instead, his bicycle – combined with his quick wit, hardened demeanor and a whole host of ribbons and buttons – had the opposite effect. “The army is a physical fitness culture,” he told me. “My going to see the officers and sergeants by bike got better reviews than driving.”
This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the February 2012 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Nominate a Cyclist of the Month! Cyclist of the Month: WILL SEEGERT Age: 7 Wheels: Fuji Ace 20 Occupation: Student [caption id="attachment_10570" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Rider #813, all suited up and ready to ride."] [/caption] Paul claims that his son, Will, is “just a normal kid.” And it’s true, he does look pretty normal. This mild-mannered seven-year-old weighs in at 50 pounds and is about three-and-a-half feet tall. He has brown hair. He likes hot chocolate. But there’s something extraordinary about this “normal” kid. Last year, when he was just six years old, Will rode Chilly Hilly . Anyone who stood in the ferry line on that Sunday morning in February 2011 knows that the weather was more than just chilly. It was freezing cold. There was hail. Lots of seasoned bicyclists stayed home in their pajamas. But not Will, and not his dad. What was the hardest part? “Walking up the hills with all the other bikers,” Will told me. And yes, they did walk. But Will rode or pushed his bike for all 33 of those hilly miles, without any help at all from Dad. “I thought that it was the hardest thing that he could do, but that he could do it,” Paul told me. When Will was out of earshot, he added, “I could have carried his bike up the hills for him. But I didn’t need to help him.”
This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the December 2011 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Nominate a Cyclist of the Month! Cyclist of the Month: MILLIE MAGNER Age: 64 Wheels: Cannondale RW 800 Occupation: Freelance writer, retired “I grew up in a bike shop,” Millie Magner told me with a grin. And it’s true. Her dad owned a franchise with Schwinn and Harley Davidson in the 1950s, combining his two hobbies by surrounding himself with both bicycles and motorcycles. It’s clear that this apple didn’t fall too far from that tree. Millie showed up for our interview rosy-cheeked from the cold, wearing a bike jacket in high-visibility orange with lots of reflective tape, helmet still on her head. Before I even asked, Millie was out of the gate, telling me about her earliest memory on a bike. “I vividly remember being taught to ride by two older neighbor boys. They put me on a balloon-tired 26-inch bike, and I couldn’t reach the pedals or sit on the seat. I had to bob down on either side of the bike to pedal. I remember them running alongside me shouting, ‘Pedal, Millie, pedal!’” Since her first ride on that ill-fitting bike, she’s moved on to a succession of others. She took a three-speed Schwinn Traveler on a two-week tour in the hot humidity of central Missouri. This was in the 1960s, when there were few women bicyclists. A decade later, she toured Nova Scotia in cut-off jeans for a month. There have been gaps in her bicycling history, but, she told me, “I’ve always had a bike.” She added with a smile, “I just haven’t always ridden.”
This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the December 2011 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Cyclist of the Month: MADI CARLSON Age: 39 Occupation: Stay at home mom Wheels: Bianchi Milano Madi Carlson isn’t afraid of the cold or the rain. And neither is her cargo. All winter long, Madi rides with her kids – Brandt, who’s four-and-a-half years old, and Rijder, who’s just two – strapped into seats mounted to the front and rear of her Celeste Green Bianchi Milano city bike. The bike was a “push present,” given to her by her husband just before Rijder was born. Brandt’s been riding with her since he was a one-year-old, “strong enough to hold his head up.” With Rijder, she started even earlier, towing him in a Burley trailer when he was just eight weeks. Impressed? So was I. I wanted to know: Who is this woman, and how does she do it? What motivates her? The notion that she’s saving our planet from excess CO2 emissions? Or that she’s instilling the value of active transportation in her children? But Madi’s motivations are far from grandiose. “I’m lazy. And I’m incredibly cheap,” she said. “Coming here in a car, I would’ve had to park four blocks away to avoid paying for parking.”
This article first appeared as the Cyclist of the Month column in the November 2011 issue of the Cascade Courier , our membership newsletter. Cyclist of the Month: RON SIMS Age: 63 Occupation: Retired Wheels: Mountain bike Get Ron Sims to talk about community, and he gets excited. The volume of his speech rises, the pace of his words quickens. His eyes shine. And every time he makes a significant statement – about the importance of focusing funding for bike infrastructure improvements within King County’s low-income neighborhoods, say – he drives it home by pounding on the table between us with his right hand, for emphasis. When I met Ron for coffee near his Mt. Baker home on a rainy morning in October, he greeted me with a hug and insisted on paying for my Americano. This former King County Executive, who recently returned home from a stint in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, is nothing if not humble. When I asked him how he’d like me to list his occupation, he told me with a smile, “I’m retired. I’m going swimming at 11.” Retired or not, he has much to say about the need for dense urban communities connected by multi-use trails, bike lanes and transit lines. But he’s quick to point out that when he started advocating for these so-called “smart communities,” back in the ‘90s, no one had named them yet: “We didn’t call it ‘smart communities,’ ‘sustainable development’ or anything else. We just didn’t want sprawl. We weren’t going to allow that kind of growth.” And how does bicycling fit in to those communities? “Bicycling will be our future,” he tells me. “We will have far more bicycling. The issue is whether we make infrastructure a priority.”
Age: 37 Occupation: Pediatrician, University of Washington Medical Center Hometown: North Carolina Residence: Ballard Wheels: MADSEN cargo bike, Dutch Azor Transport, Specialized Globe Live 02 Ditch your trailer. That is Julian's advice to parents who want to ride with young children. You may wonder what type of Kool-Aid Julian is drinking, but you have to listen to a guy who can transport four kids on a bicycle. Julian loves biking with his three-year old daughter, Drew, upfront -- instead of in a tow-behind trailer. "We have some of our best conversations up there, and she gets to see more than my backside. It is much more enjoyable than listening to her cry or complain in a trailer." Solutions besides trailers do work. Like the Bike-Tutor from the U.K. that mounts on the top tube. Or the Bobike Mini, which mounts on the stem, for children aged 9 months to 3 years. Julian recommends both products as superior child carriers, but is also partial to cargo bikes like xtracycles, Dutch bakfietsen ("box bikes"), and MADSEN "precious cargo bikes." Julian has also installed bench and bucket car seats, complete with five-point buckle system, onto his MADSEN cargo bike. I ask how heavy the bike is. "Heavy? Are you calling my bike fat? I prefer strong-boned. She's as heavy as she needs to be."