Showing posts with label Commuting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commuting. Show all posts

Friday, December 14, 2018


Hanging out at the bike shop is always fun.  A shared love a cycling gives any bike shop a unique sense of community....bringing all types of people, from all ages and backgrounds, together.  It's a place where you feel welcome and accepted.  I've always felt that sense of "community" and "belonging" at Gung Ho Bikes...which is one of the reasons why I was so excited to be welcomed as a part of the staff there this year.  Working at the shop feels as if I'm giving back the the community...whether it's in the form of building a new bike a child's birthday present, tuning up someone's bike for a summer of riding, or teaching a customer how to fix a flat tire.  I basically just feel good about sharing my love for cycling and the outdoors with people.  But, last week, this sense of giving back to the local communty was taken to a whole new level for me.  

The staff of Gung Ho Bikes:  Ryan, Penny, Jay, Jim, Clark, Ben, Dave, and Joel. -- December 5, 2018

Last Tuesday, when I showed up for my evening shift, I helped Jay and Clark pull over two hundred used bicycles out of storage and carry them down to the shop level.  These bikes (which had been donated to the shop over the course of the past twelve months) were about to get, some TLC from the staff at Gung Ho Bikes.  The plan, conceived by Penny and Jay Zech, the owners of Gung Ho Bikes, was to convert as many of these bikes as possible back to riding condition so that they could then be...for lack of a better word...recycled back into the community for people who were in need of them.  

A sea of donated bikes, waiting to be fixed up, occupied the sales floor at Gung Ho Bikes last Tuesday and Wednesday. -- Decmeber 5, 2018

Ben and Clark fixing a couple of the donated bikes. -- December 5, 2018

Jim Seevers putting the finishing touches on this BMX bike. -- December 5, 2018

Ryan and Jay working out on the floor. -- December 5, 2018

The donated bikes ready to be picked by local charities in the community.  Photo by Penny Zech. -- December 7, 2018

Everyone on the staff showed up on Wednesday evening and donated their time to fix up the sea of bicycles that covered the floor of the bike shop.  It was the first time, since I've been there, that all eight employees were there and working together...laughing, joking, and fueled by a lot pizza (thank you Penny & Jay.) I think what amazed me the most was how quickly and efficiently we were able to transform over 150 unwanted bicycles into what could end up being a child's first bike...or possibly transportation for an adult who needs a reliable way to work.  For some people...just having a reliable bicycle is a game changer.  I wasn't able to be there last Friday when all of the bikes that we worked on were lined up outside of the shop for local charities to pick up...but I didn't need to be to know that what the staff  of Gung Ho Bikes did last week truly made a difference in the lives of a lot of people...and this holiday season, I'm so proud that I was able to be part of it.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 14, 2018

Jay, Ben, and  Clark taking a pizza break. -- December 5, 2018

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Sunday, September 9, 2018


Back in 2008, when gas first shot up to over $4 a gallon, I made the the decision to start riding my bike to school.  At the time, some people thought I was crazy...after all, I'd be commuting approximately 11 miles each the predawn hours...with morning traffic.  Regardless of what some people thought...I decided to park my truck and commit to riding my bike to school as much as  could.  As far as I was concerned it would be one less vehicle on the road and, hopefully, a lot more gas money left in my pocket.

My Roubaix near Northeastern Middle School in Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania. -- June 2, 2016

The first thing I needed to commute to school was a bike.  Sure, I had a mountain bike...but I had no real desire to ride a mountain bike 22 miles a day on the road.  Afraid of committing to a traditional road bike, I took a page from my friend, Glenn's, playbook and purchased a 2008 Specialized Tricross.  I figured I'd be more comfortable with the "knobbier" tires and that it would be significantly faster than my mountain bike.  I practiced a few times...experimenting with routes and figuring out exactly how long the average commute would take me.  I would, obviously, need to shower and change when I arrangements were made to use the coaches room early in the morning.  Strict ground rules regarding the weather...the temperature had to be above 35 degrees and the local weather men had to guarantee me a dry ride.

My 2008 Specialized Tricross.  I wasn't sure if I really wanted a "road bike."   Ultimately, because I only used it on the road, my Tricross ended up on Ebay after owning it for just under a year. -- 2008

After selling my Tricross, I purchased my first real road bike...a 2009 Specialized Allez.  On days that I road my Allez to school, I would proudly display my NMS parking permit on it in my classroom!  -- 2011

My Roubaix replaced my Allez in 2012.  It's been my transportation to school many times.  -- September 6, 2018

The shortened commute to school allows me, if I so desire, to ride my Stumpjumper to school every once in a while. -- October 4, 2017

For three years, I made this journey as many times a week as I could.  I figured that riding all five days a week was the equivalent of not putting half a tank of gas in my Silverado.  It was well worth it and it became part of my daily routine...until I abruptly stopped riding to school in the Fall of 2012.  That summer I moved to Manchester...a mere two and a half miles from my classroom.  I began to use that, and other things, as an excuse for not riding.  I would tell myself that it "wasn't worth it" to spend all that time getting things ready for such a quick ride....or that "it wasn't a good enough work out."  These weren't reasons...they were just, as I said, excuses.

I've recently repurposed my 2009 Allez and brought it out of retirement for commuting.  It's nice to ride the old bike again...even if it is just a short distance. -- August 28, 2018

With the beginning of a new school year, I decided to recommit to riding to school again.  My commute may be short...but it's fun.  I found that it takes me just as long to ride my bike to school as it does to drive the short distance.  My ride home can be detoured through the local developments and neighborhoods...on a few occasions, turning my 2 mile ride into a 12 mile ride!  When  students in my class ask about my bikes, I'm given the opportunity to be an advocate for cycling and the importance of fresh air and exercises...which is super cool.  Ultimately, (and most importantly) I begin, and end, my day happier than I would have if I drove the same distance...which makes the little bit of extra effort all the more worthwhile. 

One of the biggest perks of cycling to school is seeing the sunrise over Mount Wolf.  It can be quite beautiful. -- 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond --  September 9, 2018
I'd like to give a shout out to two of my friends, Mark Lentz and Clark Evanitus, who have been commuting to work and...well...just about everywhere they can...for years.  Thank you, gentlemen, for your example.

With my short commute, I can ride on days that I work at GUNG HO BIKES after school and still make it to the bike shop in plenty of time.  No excuses.  Also no reason why I can't run across the street and pick up some Italian Ice, too! -- September 8, 2018

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Here's the GARMIN map and data from quick commute to school and a few of my extended rides home...Happy commuting!

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