Tom & Ted's Excellent Public Service Announcement

What is Tom & Ted’s Advocacy Adventure? Read this.

The 2012 National Bike Summit wrapped up in Washington DC on Thursday — or on Friday, if you count the Congressional Bike Ride.

Needless to say, Tom and I made it all the way to DC — nearly 100 miles on comfy commuter bikes. Which is kind of like hiking the Grand Canyon in a pair of Oxfords. Not the best bike for the task, and I think I started to feel why long-distance cyclists prefer their broken-in leather saddles to the cushy saddles that help sell bikes to less experienced cyclists.

In other words: My butt hurt. Tom, with his Brooks saddle, had no such complaints.

But that was my only complaint. I was relieved to discover that my short little daily bike commute had kept me in sufficient condition to make this unprecedented bike trip.

So before I fill in the highlights, here’s a Public Service Announcement Tom and I made at the beginning of our second day on the road:

Richmond to Fredericksburg

We rode 70 miles our first day, from Richmond to Fredericksburg, Virginia. I’m pretty sure it’s the greatest distance I’ve ever gone by bike in a single day. It was easy, surprisingly easy. It was beautiful too.

Much of the riding was through rural neighborhoods, with a few good stretches of we’re-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-are-you-sure-you-know-where-we’re-going-Tom?

But we only made a couple of wrong turns, and we discovered the errors quickly. One missed turn was discovered when I stopped to take a photo of this lawn decoration.Bicycle Lawn Decoration

While I was taking the photo, Tom got out his smartphone and realized we’d missed our turnoff by about a quarter mile. Thank you, half-buried bicycle with teapot.

Somewhere outside Fredericksburg
Tom, somewhere not quite to Fredericksburg

Dusk was upon us and casting long shadows of us and our bikes on the shoulders of the roads. Tom was coordinating with our contact in Fredericksburg, providing our ETA.

When we arrived, our welcoming committee was Terry Dorn, beer, and two-dollar burgers at Fredericksburg’s Capital Ale House.

Terry Dorn
Terry (L), Beer (R)

Terry is President of the Fredericksburg Cyclists Club, and on the board of the Virginia Bicycling Federation. He laughed at all of my dumb jokes. He’s my new best friend.

He convinced us to turn our ride into a multimodal commute, and to take the Virginia Railway Express to the other side of Quantico, because cycling around would add about 16 miles to our commute, and riding the shoulder of I-17 or US 1 would be bike unfriendly.

This train ride would shorten our bike ride by 30 miles. Tom fretted about falling short of his stated goal of riding 110 miles. I was thinking, Yesssss! Thirty fewer miles of comfy chair torture!

Monty Python: Spanish Inquisition Comfy Chair Torture
Like this, but with a bike.

To be continued…

My participation in this years’ National Bike Summit was made possible by these sponsors.

Bike Shop Hub Tern Flagstaff Biking Organization Bike Virginia

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11 thoughts on “Tom & Ted's Excellent Public Service Announcement”

  1. Tom Wertz says:

    Love the video! Well played, gentlemen! Here’s to bike commuters!

  2. BluesCat says:

    Ted – Oh, yeah, for comfort, a broken in Brooks saddle is second only to a recumbent!

  3. JonO says:

    Nice work gents. Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to ride 70 miles in one day?

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      About six hours — not counting that long pit stop at Denny’s.

  4. Nice work guys. I am pretty new to bicycling, I am currently bicycling across America from San Diego to Vermont with very little training. I am loving it…thanks for the video

  5. BluesCat says:

    Thomas Skinner – Boy, do you ever shame most of us here. I’m gonna post a copy of your picture on the wall of the bike parking room at BluesCat World Headquarters; it will help keep me from wimping out when I feel too lazy to bike commute to work.

    Thank you for your service, my friend, and I wish you all the best and will follow your trek with great interest.

    Hey! And if you haven’t made it through Flagstaff yet you should stop off and see Ted Johnson!

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      Absolutely! It looks like you may have passed by already, Thomas. But it you haven’t contact us at Commute by Bike World Headquarters in Flagstaff.

  6. JonO says:

    Good to know. I’ve been threatening to ride from O.C. down to San Diego (about 100 miles) but the whole notion of riding for that long seems like it could be overwhelming. I guess pedaling isn’t quite as hard as running and whatnot. You need to do a post when you’re done with this giving step by step instructions on doing an overnighter. Things like what to pack, stuff you didn’t know until you were well on your way, common pitfalls, etc. would be a great article for your loyal readers like me.

  7. Here are my instructions for pedaling long distances:

    1. Mount bicycle, facing forward. Place hands on handgrips.
    2. Depress uppermost pedal with corresponding foot, engaging quadriceps as much as possible.
    3. As opposite pedal rises in response to pressure applied in #2, prepare to apply similar pressure with alternate foot and quadriceps.
    4. Repeat.
    5. If at any point on your route, either pedal fails to rise, apply pressure to opposite pedal as in step 2, restarting process.

  8. BluesCat says:

    Tom – Uh, oh. Well, continuing with the theme of the 2012 Bike Summit in that Den of Thieves, Washington DC, here’s how the current U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Supreme Court would respond to your bike riding instructions:

    Rep Boehner: “Wait one moment Mr. Presi … er … Mr. Bowden. Your position gives equal weight to the LEFT pedal as it does to the RIGHT pedal. This is a SOCIALISTIC idea my colleagues and I cannot tolerate! If you will not amend your position, I will take all my constituents to the Tea Party … er … I will defer to my buddies … er … to the honorable justices of the U.S. Supreme Court!” (At which point he breaks down, blubbering uncontrollably.)

    Justice Alito: “Mr. Bowden! Today you are arguing that you ‘apply similar pressure with alternate foot,’ tomorrow, you will be back and arguing that you simply ‘apply pressure to opposite pedal as in step 2’ … does that even make sense?” (He then slams down a gavel he filched from Chief Justice Roberts.)

    You’re in trouble.

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