Seatless

The Inspiration Behind Cycling for a Cause

This past week I had the opportunity to go back and review an interview I did during my Pittsburgh to DC Standing Cyclist Mesothelioma Challenge Event in September of 2010. One section in particular stood out to me. At one point I stated that "we don't need to be afflicted with something to get involved and make a difference". I've since played that section over in my mind many times, to better understand exactly what I meant (I had just completed a 320 mi "seatless" bicycle tour on a single-speed, fixed-gear bike, for the cause and was a bit fried to say the least). I've revisited this subject with several supporters since and have decided to blog about this topic to add clarity and depth to my point. When it comes to supporting non-profit organizations, we tend to get involved because we ourselves or someone close to us has suffered from a related challenge. I believe this to be an important reason behind our actions and it should be encouraged whenever possible. But there are other, more subtle, reasons to get involved. I would like to encourage everyone, cyclists and non-cyclists alike, to consider the strangers you encounter on your life's journey and their challenges. Open your mind and hearts and consider how they inspire you. Imagine how you can get involved and make a difference in their lives, in your own unique way. Like the young person with a prosthetic leg you pass on the street. Perhaps you can get involved with CAF (the Challenged Athletes Foundation), a wonderful organization that helps physically challenged athletes pursue their passions. Consider the article you read about the visually impaired mountain bikers who stay on-track by reading the sounds reflecting off passing objects. You may be inspired to Google - blind mountain bikers - where you will discover the World Access for the Blind, an organization that hosts a special event called Mountain Biking with the Blind, that you can contribute to. You don't need to personally know a challenged individual or physically connect with a cause to "feel" something or to "do" something. Often, these random connections and amazing people I meet in passing are my greatest inspiration and fuel my adventures. Let's strive to open our eyes and see past our own lives. Then...get on your bike and ride! Make a positive difference in the world around you.

Related Articles

Seatless Cycling – Revolution or Oddity

2010 brought us several new developments in cycling. Advances in electric bike tech and suspension systems have led to more options for two-wheel enthusiasts. A lesser known movement is the seatless or standing design. As a seasoned “seatless” bicycle tourist (www.teamstandingcyclist.com) and product developer, the are two designs in particular that interest me. The Elliptigo features an elliptical style propulsion system, much like the exercise equipment used at your local gym, which is appealing to many runners as well as cyclists. The other style is called the Dreamslide. This cycle looks and functions more like a traditional bicycle, but offers an innovative drivetrain with independent cranks and a coupling system with variable lever arms. From an engineering viewpoint, both styles appear progressive but have been met with mixed reviews. The pros include zippy handling, less fatigue and reduced back and knee stress during extended use. The cons circle mostly around the missing seat, a “silly” riding profile, limited off-road capabilities, reduced reliability and high relative cost. I would recommend forming an opinion based upon your particular riding style. If you are a long haul bicycle tourist, hopelessly attached to your perfectly worn twenty-year old Brooks leather saddle, these machines may not be for you. However, if you appreciate technological advancements in cycling mated up with new and exciting ways to work your legs on two wheels, you may have found your future rig. As for me, the Standing Cyclist, I see value in both tradition and progress. Is seatless a revolution or simply an oddity? I think you know where I STAND on the subject.

Related Articles