TBC's Best. Most Miles Biked in Marin County - Monica Stafford

Monica Stafford biked 1,002.1 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.

Monica Stafford bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge from her home in Marin County to her office in Fort Mason at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, a non-profit that supports our local national parks.  In her position with the Park Stewardship Program, she helps run programs that restore ecologically important sites, and involve volunteers from all walks of life in this hands-on work. While she does this important work for the rest of us in the Bay Area, she feels her most important role is that of a mom to two young kids.

Stafford easily biked the most miles of anyone in Marin County during the month of May by riding 1,002.1 miles, burning 43,090 calories, and racking up an impressive 72 points in Team Bike Challenge.

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

Yes! I’ve never participated in anything resembling an athletic challengeor competition. I was not particularly athletic as a kid. Though my bike was my primary means of transport in my 20’s, I stopped biking after I had kids and full-time work. I started biking again just over a year ago, and gradually began to incorporate it into my commute to work. At first I biked a few miles to the bus stop. After a few months -- with the opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel -- I started biking to the Larkspur ferry. I then challenged myself to bike from San Rafael to the Fort Mason, taking the bus or ferry back in the afternoon. It was only this month, because of this challenge, that I began to bike-commute both ways. I became a bit obsessed… I didn’t realize I had it in me to become so competitive.

What type of bike do you ride?

For commuting I ride a Cannondale Super Six roadbike, a 40th birthday present from just a few months ago. It was a significant upgrade, one of the nicest things I’ve owned. I also have an older Gary Fisher Sugar mountain bike.

Did you bike every day?

I bike into work M-F, and if I’m lucky, I go for a recreational ride on the weekend, usually in China Camp or west of Fairfax. I was pretty tired on the evening of May 31, so I’ve given myself a week off to recover, but I’ll be back in the saddle come second week of June, when I will continue bike-commuting for the rest of the year.

Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?

No motto just yet.

What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?

A supportive husband who held down the fort when I got home late; my boss who let me make up for the occasional shorter workday; and all my friends at work who got just as swept up in the challenge, making the month a lot of fun. It got many in our office bike-commuting more, several for the first time. One co-worker was new to biking – he bought his bike just in mid-April – yet managed to rack up well over 500 miles, becoming the top point-winner for the Conservancy.

How did you keep up your motivation this month?

There’s something satisfying about logging in the miles and watching them add up. Halfway through the month, I realized that if I just stepped it up a notch, I could make it to 1,000 miles, so that became my new motivation: I really wanted to see if I could break 1,000.

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

I’ve never come in first place before, so I’m pretty excited. I’m happy to be a cyclist in Marin. The beauty and bike-commutability of this area is what inspired me to get on the bike in the first place. To anyone that has been part of improving Marin bike paths over the years: THANK YOU. The opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel was what originally motivated me to bike to work. It’s allowed our family to survive without a second car, and it changed my life!

Thank you Monica and congratulations for surpassing all your fellow Marin County denizens in mileage. Your story will doubtless inspire others to bike more.