Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jeff Fishel is a bike mechanic at Cyclepath in Hayward and has been an active participant in Bike to Work Day for a number of years, consistently manning Energizer Stations and taking part in other aspects of National Bike Month. Biking 1,811.4 miles in May, he garnered the highest mileage in Alameda County and the second highest mileage in the San Francisco Bay Area region. His high point score of 93 attests to how many trips he took and the time spent on his saddle that went into garnering this impressive feat.

Where do you work, or what type of work do you do?

I work at Cyclepath bicycle shop in Hayward, as a mechanic. Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge? (Please elaborate.) This was my first time participating in the Challenge, though I have been involved in BTWD throughout the last 7 or so years, helping with energizer stations, and various other aspects of Bike to Work Month.

What motivated you to start bicycling?

I started riding extensively as a teenager, really picking up cycling after a sports-related knee injury. I was hooked on the freedom it provided, and amazed at the accessibility it afforded me. Cycling vastly increased my physical horizons, opening up the world quite a bit. Suddenly I could get places I hadn't even known about previously. I still feel a sense of wonder when I consider what is possible by simply riding a bike.

What type of bike do you ride?

Mostly a carbon Jamis road bike for my longer commutes, but also a steel Jamis hardtail (it's super fun and easy to combine some trails with roads to liven up the commute) and an 80's beater bike for short errands or trips where I need to lock my bike up outside.

Did you bike every day?

Yup, at least 20 miles a day, averaging over 58 daily, and more than 120 hours of saddle time for the month.

Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?

It's always a beautiful day to ride; also "Shut up legs!!" -- Jens Voigt

What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?

There are a plethora of great, bike-friendly roads in the East Bay, and I was able to vary my route to and from work considerably to avoid urban traffic and getting bored. It's great to be able to avoid riding straight through Oakland and ride by or through some of the great regional parks we have. I have to say also it was made easier by having a comfortable, well-fitted and properly maintained bicycle. During the month I had two punctures, but no mechanical problems otherwise. It can be incredibly frustrating to complete roadside repairs.

How did you keep up your motivation this month?

I try to advocate for more bike riding, less driving (I've been car-free for about 2 years), and thought it would be interesting to see just how much I could ride, and if I could use my bike exclusively for the month (no BART, no buses). I also have a goal to complete the Climb to Kaiser at the end of June, so I included a lot of climbing in my routes; I also appreciated the side benefit of slimming down considerably during the month, while eating anything and everything I wanted.

What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?

It was just fun to be part of such a rich cycling culture, sharing the roads with so many others pedaling to make the world just a bit nicer. I also developed some really cool tan lines.

Thank you Jeff! You are an inspiration to all of us who are committed to living car free in the Bay Area.

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2012 Team Bike Challenge Winners

 

Winners of 2012's Team Bike Challenge. Congratulations to all! 

Top Overall Team 

KTCC1 399 points / 4,461.5 miles 

KLA-Tencor

Santa Clara County

 

Alameda County 

Cyclepath Hayward 369 points / 4,591.6 miles 

Cyclepath, Hayward

 

Contra Costa County

Hydrologic Cyclers 287 points / 2,139.7 miles

East Bay Municipal District

 

Marin County

Schmidt Raiders Team Two 275 points/ 3,012.4 miles

Marin based commuters

 

Napa County

Rolling Lumpia 255 points / 2,111.4 miles

 

San Francisco County

Partycar.com 375 points / 5,490.1 miles

SF2G

 

San Mateo County

Honey Badgers 395 points / 2,873.1 miles

Tesla Motors

 

Santa Clara County

KTCC1 399 points / 4,461.5 miles

KLA-Tencor

 

Solano County

Vaca 5 291 points / 1,952.3 miles

City of Vacaville

 

Sonoma County

Another Cog in the System 334 points / 2,480.4 miles 

2012 Company Bike Challenge Winners

 

Here are the winners for the 2012's Company Bike Challenge. Congratulations for this amazing bicycling achievement!

 

Overall

1st Place

Apple, with 4,803 points and 38,222.7 miles

2nd Place

KLA-Tencor with 2,745 points and 27,542.1 miles

3rd Place

Tesla Motors with 2,632 points and 21,969.9 miles

4th Place

Caltrans with 2,107 points and 13,915.9 miles

5th Place

SunPower Corporation with 2,078 points and 15,078.6 miles

 

Large Companies

1st Place

Apple, with 4,803 points and 38,222.7 miles

2nd Place 

KLA-Tencor with 2,745 points and 27,542.1 miles

3rd Place

Tesla Motors with 2,632 points and 21,969.9 miles

4th Place

Caltrans with 2,107 points and 13,915.9 miles

5th Place

SunPower Corporation with 2,078 points and 15,078.6 miles

 

Medium Companies

1st Place

Sun Light & Power with 1,061 points and 7,132.2 miles

2nd Place 

Sungevity with 950 points and 6,383.4 miles

3rd Place

Exploratorium with 872 points and 5,707.1 miles

4th Place

LitePoint with 499 points and 4,154.9 miles

5th Place

REI Berkeley with 429 points and 2,685.3 miles

 

Small Companies

1st Place

WRA, Inc., with 557 points and 3,790.5 miles

2nd Place 

Blekko with 553 points and 4,411.9 miles

3rd Place

BEW Engineering with 433 points and 3,636.3 miles

4th Place

Timbuk2 with 425 points and 2,537.4 miles

5th Place

kW Engineering with 418 points and 2,519.8 miles

Shaun Ralston biked 1,363.8 miles during TBC 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

A diabetes diagnosis was a wake-up call for Shaun Raston. He decided that insulin was not an option, got rid of his car and became a bike commuter. Along the way he also lost 90 lbs and is insulin free. Biking every day, Ralston added to his team's points by 82 and handily surpassed every bicyclist is Sonoma County by riding 1,363.8 miles during May and earning the top mileage slot for his county. Not surprisingly, his team placed 2 overall in Sonoma County.

Where do you work or what is your line of work?
 
I work at Sutter Health as the Marketing/Communications Manager for four hospitals and a medical group.
 
Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge, or something similar? (Please elaborate.)
 
This is the second year I participated, after being invited by my cycling buddy, Pauli Frey. 
 
What type of bike do you ride?
 
I commute to work on a Kona Mountain Bike, adapted for urban terrain (with street friendly tires, fenders for rain, and panniers for hauling gear/groceries). During the weekend, I ride a Trek Madone road bike for club rides and races.
 
Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?
 
Yes, "enjoy every mile!"
 
We are so fortunate to live in beautiful Northern California and each ride is like a mini get-a-way. Not only do you get the fitness benefits of cycling, but the scenic views, new route discovery and friends made along the way are incredible added benefits ~ not to mention the gas savings.
 
What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?
 
Strangely enough it was a diabetes diagnosis that pushed me into cycling. After discussing options with my doctor, he insisted that I lose weight and begin an exercise regimen (or face the prospect of chronic medication, possibly insulin). So, I got rid of my car, became an exclusive bike commuter and lost nearly 90 pounds in the process. Now, if I want to treat myself to a fresh baked sticky bun, I simply cycle to the bakery, without consequence. The continuing health and wellness benefits keep me cycling.
 
How did you keep up your motivation this month?
 
The Team Bike Challenge internet mileage tracking, online leader boards, virtual award medals and team camaraderie kept me motivated throughout May's Bike Month. Our team developed a special kinship as we posted our progress on each others' Facebook pages.
 
What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?
 
The best thing about cycling all these miles has been the influence on others. Whether meeting a stranger at the store, an office colleague at work or encountering a newbie commuter on the street, it's great to share best practices on how to bike commute, tell stories about a new discovery on the road or discuss cost/ecological savings.
 
Thank you Shaun! You're an example of people taking their health into their own hands and making a difference through cycling. As a bonus; taking a car off the road, you're contributing to the environment as well!
Jeff Knowles biked 665.7 miles during Team Bike Challenge 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jeff Knowles of Vacaville made Team Bike Challenge a family affair by biking with his son, Michael, and daughter, Amanda, as part of the Vaca 5 team. With the Knowles family more than half of the team; Vaca 5 took first place in Solano County's TBC with 291 points and 1,952.3 miles. They almost doubled the mileage of their closest competitor.

Knowles personally put in 665.7 miles during the Challenge, burning 28,626 calories, and racking up an impressive 81 individual points in Team Bike Challenge.

Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge, or something similar? (Please elaborate.)

Before last year, I had ridden to work only once. But as City Traffic Engineer I decided to participate in the Bike Team Challenge and formed Vaca 5 when I found that the City and School District had no team for me to join and contribute point to. Our team formed during the first week of the competition and we ended up Solano County’s overall point leader (not most miles, but most points), and I ended up being the County’s leading individual point scorer. I had second thoughts about competing again, but my two kids (9 year old Michael and 11 year old Amanda) and my co-worker Marc, who formed the core of our team last year were anxious to compete again with or without me, so I joined in again expecting even more competition than last year from the riders in Team Budweiser. But it seems like our strategy to have a very strong first week worked as planned and all of our competition faded away.
 
What type of bike do you ride?
 
A Bottecchia I bought on EBay last year after my bike from last year’s competition was stolen (later recovered by PD). Nothing too fancy, but a nice bike for under $600.
 
Did you bike every day?  
 
My teammate Marc York led our team in miles and points most of the month and he was working so hard, and had contributed so much more to the team than I excepted last year and this year that I told him I would let him win on points if he kept up the hard work. So I intentionally skipped riding that day we drove to Nevada for the Annular Eclipse and had one other 2 point day so I would not be able to compete against Marc for miles if we were tied for points at the end of the year. (I know how competitive I can become.)  I let him know the win was his for the taking and I skipped another day when I had all-day meetings in Sacramento.  But then Marc missed a few days and I felt that although I had set him up to win, I was not going to just give it away, and so I started riding extra miles in case we did end up in a tie for points. What was the question again… yes, I skipped two days but would not have, and neither would my kids if there had been bonus points for riding every day as there were last year. This year all of Vaca 5 rode on day 1 because we were all set to earn every bonus point available, and were disappointed to learn that all bonus points had been eliminated from the competition.
.
Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?  
 
My motto transitioned over time along these lines, “Man my butt hurts, was it this bad last year, another flat, I hate this, I can’t let my team down, (to my kids: If you can think of a way to win a bike competition sitting on the couch, please let me know, but until then, we need to do another 10-mile ride), I can put up with anything for a month, we’ve come too far to quit now, I’ll double my miles and if he lets up just a little I’ve got him beat, good-luck Marc, I won’t  know who won until midnight.
 
It should be noted that at the beginning of the 4th week my daughter and I decided we would not compete in 2013. My mottos can definitely be firmly in place, but with a predetermined expiration date.
 
What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?  
 
Not getting hit by a car? My competitive nature, my refusal to grow old (I may be fat and 53, but not OLD), and my desire to show my kids how to compete with good sportsmanship to the end. They’d ask why I still wanted to ride when we had twice the points of the 2nd place team and no one could catch us, and I’d tell them we should finish with style.
 
Plus it was our last year competing, so what the heck!!!
 
How did you keep up your motivation this month?  
 
First Day, flat tire coming home from work with no spare.  Just got walked into bike shop before closing. It was a sign to quit right then.  Walked a bit that week during rides because my seat hurt so bad. Hadn’t been on a bike in 10 months and started the competition riding more than 20 miles a day. Rode to school with kids each day and then on to work. Most days rode with kids for their 10+ miles after riding home from work. 9 flat tires on 3 bikes during month, but lots of quality family time riding to parks, movies, McDonalds and the City faire.  Kept sending out emails encouraging the rest of the team and leading weekend 20+ mile rides with the three younger cyclists.   
 
No one fully understands their subconscious. Motivation: stupid, stubborn, competitive, something to prove? Great family adventure, learning experience and good exercise? Who knows?
 
What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?  
 
It’s over!!!!! I would have preferred to see Marc score a perfect 93 for himself and the team. Now that it’s over, do I go for 93 points next year plus every bonus point available? Can I make my kid’s schools more competitive in the Company competitions? I know that was not the question, but when you win and know you could have done better, you wonder who will be the competition next year, and can you do it all again and then some…
 
Congratulations on racking up the most individual miles in Solano County, as well as winning Team Bike Challenge Jeff! We hope you'll reconsider participating in TBC before 2013 rolls around.