TBC's Best. Most Miles Biked in Sonoma County - Shaun Ralston

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!