Biking Shorts - February 20, 2013
Going Fat to Get Fit
By Clare Horning, GGRBC Intern
Ray Brown is a website designer and bike enthusiast who has really built cycling into his lifestyle.
A few years ago Ray landed his first desk job and began leading a more sedentary lifestyle. One winter day after he drove home from work he realized he was quickly putting on weight. He was tipping the scale at 300 pounds and decided enough was enough; he was going to get a road bike and get moving! In the spring of 2010 he bought his first road bike--not a great bike, but it did the trick. He’s been commuting daily ever since and is now down to 210 pounds. He still isn’t satisfied, so this winter he purchased a fat bike so he could commute year-round and not worry about weather.
Almost all of Ray’s transportation is provided by his bike. He commutes by bike, bikes to the grocery store, and completes all errands on his bike. He does own a car, but hasn’t driven it in months and is thinking about selling it. He does start it once a month though! Ray stated he finds it more convenient to ride because he doesn't have to worry about parking or traffic. He’s also realized that everything which makes him angry about the winter is related to cars, and he loves not having to wipe his car off every morning. The biggest perk is that his car takes about 20 minutes to warm up, which is longer than his work commute; when he rides his bike he can get himself warmed up in less than five minutes.
Ray doesn’t solely bike for transportation though--he also bikes for recreation. Every weekend Ray tries to ride 100 miles. His two favorite local places to ride are around Reeds Lake and the White Pine Trail to Rockford. He was recently in San Francisco and really enjoyed riding in Golden Gate Park. Last October he rode 200 miles in two days and this coming fall he’s hoping to complete 500 miles in five days.
In addition to all of this, Ray is a supporter of the Bicycle Coalition. He believes we’re currently in a cultural shift and understands that while many people do support the bicycle movement, there are many that do not. He is, however, optimistic about the future of biking in America, especially after recently spending a month in Portland and time in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Chicago. He sees the bike culture unfolding in those places and is excited about the changes those cities may spark in other up-and-coming bicycle cities. Although Ray was impressed by Portland, he believes there’s always room for improvement and that bicycling advocacy and education will always be relevant.
Ray would like to see more bike parking, improved racks, and more bike lanes throughout the city of Grand Rapids.