By Lou Melini
For a number of years the Bonneville Cycling Club (BCC) has challenged its members to commute by bike. The miles are then logged onto the BCC website. At the end of the year the “Pounds of carbon saved” are then calculated. For the past several years Daniel Bedoya has been at the top of the list in part due to his 50 mile commute. In 2013, Daniel had 220 commuter trips for a total of 5435 miles to work and back according the the Bonneville Cycling website. This saved 5908 pounds of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Cycling Utah: Let’s first talk about you and how you ended up riding to work.
Daniel Bedoya: I was born and raised in Lima, Peru. I came to the states more than 20 years ago. As a child, I biked for fun. I bought my first bike in the states to go to college, riding it from the apartments to classes. At college I met my beautiful wife with whom we have 3 awesome boys. Thanks to fast food, buffets, and delicious sweets I gained a lot of weight, and my blood pressure was high. I needed to change something so I started to run but my feet, ankles, knees and hips were hurting which led me to start biking to work a few times a month. A co-worker introduced me to mountain biking. I did some single speed riding as well as road racing, and joined some biking clubs.
I work at Intermountain Health Care as a Software Engineer. Many of my co-workers bike (road/mountain), some commute as well. Our group in the summer participates in rides (centuries, Rockwell Relay, LOTOJA, etc.) as well as our own planned mountain bike rides. A couple times a year we go to Moab or St George; once we ended up in Whistler, Canada.
Now I commute to relieve stress, to find answers to problems on a clear mind, to put my two cents on cleaning the air, to stay fit, to control weight, to see wildlife (mouse, cat, fox, snake, deer), to have the opportunity to help a fellow biker to fix a flat tire, to travel to space (snowy night riding with lights), to be a little bit close to nature, and for fun.
C.U.: Tell us about your commute.
D.B.: Early in the morning, usually in the dark, I drive my bike to the Farmington Station where I get into the Legacy Parkway Trail or to the Rio Grande Trail, depending on trail conditions. I take the trail for almost 15 miles, then to Redwood Road, and to Lake Park (work). Depending on responsibilities, meetings, weather and fitness I commute from 1 to 5 times a week. I sometimes ride on rainy or snowy days. I try to avoid them if I can. The coldest I have ridden was -0.8F.
C.U.: You ride, I believe, 50 miles round trip to and from work. That’s quite a long commute! What is your routine to prepare for the commute?
D.B: Riding preparations start the night before, looking at the weather for temperature, precipitation, and wind. I need to make sure I have clean clothes and not flat tires. The morning of, same checks, calendar for meetings, as well as visual check for clouds, etc. My bike commute can take from 55 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Depending on how hard I ride, such as trying to make it home fast, or just fighting a strong headwind, will sometimes determine if I ride the next day. Taking a break sure helps to get me excited to ride again, as I won’t be as tired to ride. Plus I read somewhere that I get stronger on the rest day.
C.U.: There must be days when there are unexpected problems such as storms especially with such a long ride? Do you have a “Plan B”?
D.B.: Plan A is ride. I try to keep plan A as much as I can. In case of chance of precipitation I take a rain jacket, plastic (like latex) gloves, a food bar, a gel, a cell phone and a wallet.
Plan B is ask a co-worker who lives in the direction of Farmington Station for a ride. Plan C is ask a family member or wife. Plan D is stay at mom’s home who lives close to work.
D.B.: This year my commuter bikes are: for possible snowy/icy roads I ride a Giant XTC 29er hardtail, otherwise I ride a Specialized Tarmac. I remove the road racer fenders on the road bike in the summer. For tires I use Continental 4000s. For Lights I use the USB rechargeable Knog blinders for front and back, a MagicShine 1200 lumens, and a Light and Motion HID. Reflectors on my Timbuk2 bag as well as strap reflectors on my wrists and ankles. I have a single speed/fixies (Sputnik) that I can use for a backup.
C.U.: What are the most frequent maintenance issues? How often do you change your chain, brake pads, cables and housing? Do you change these items on a schedule or when they don’t work?
D.B.: Most often maintenance is to keep the bike clean, focusing on the chain. A clean chain can last a week to a month depending of rain, water, mud, or dust. To clean the chain I get a gallon of degreaser the supermarket (purple power), put some of that on a Park Tool chain cleaner system (Park #CG-3.2) and with the help of the brush, the chain comes fairly clean after rinsing with some water. I oil the chain after it is dry by applying a drop of Finish Line Ceramic Wet chain lube to every link. I then spin the pedals very fast a few times and wipe any excess oil with a dry rag. Fixing flats, chain replacement (I check the stretch with a Park CC 3.2 chain wear tool) and changing tires according to tire wear or cuts are part of the routine. Once a year I change the break pads to keep a soft rubber for better brake feel. Also hard pads can wear the rim faster due in part due to the usual collection of debris imbedded in them. I also annually change the cables and housing. Every other year I clean and re-grease the bottom bracket. Once or twice a year I change the bar tape. On my mountain bike I bleed the brakes when needed. On Youtube, I can sometimes find the “How-to” in order to do my own work. I try to do most of the work on the bikes. For things I can’t do, and problems I take it to Biker’s Edge in Kaysville. They know a lot and are super friendly and helpful.
C.U.: How much do you think you save by commuting by bike?
D.B.: It is hard to tell how much I save by commuting. Biking can be expensive… but my mood and health are better.
C.U.: You’ve had the most commuting miles in the Bonneville Cycling Club commuter challenge for the past 2 years. Does the commuter challenge encourage you to commute more? What do you think of a recreational club recognizing bike commuters?
D.B.: The Commuter Challenge helps me keep track of my commuter miles, so in a way it is an incentive to keep commuting. The Bonneville Cycling Club is treat for anyone who wants to ride a bike as it has every type of ride from 15 miles to 150 miles. There are slow and fast rides as well as flat and hilly rides. I have many friends in the BCC as it is a great club and very friendly. They have recognized bicycle commuters by giving out gifts such as rain jackets, bike lights, water bottles, chain lubes, etc. The recognition is great, as it gives everyone an incentive to keep bike commuting.
C.U.: What do you dislike about commuting? Have you had any close calls? Any final words to the readers?
D.B.: I dislike distracted drivers on their cell phones, texting and talking who put at risk the life of others. I got some close calls from people trying to beat me to the entrance of gas stations, to street intersections, and the yellers “get out of the road.” A couple of years ago I was hit by an F-150 truck. After a rotator cuff surgery, physical therapy, new bike parts (wheels, fork, pedals, shifters, etc.) I got back on the bike. Accidents will happen, and nothing should stop you from doing what you love/like/enjoy. Enjoy life as much as you can, and keep on riding!
If you have a suggestion for a commuter profile, have a commuter question, or other comments, please send it to [email protected]