Cycling is an activity I’d stumbled into because a couple friends were talking about it regularly and it seemed like an excellent way to get outside. When I first started I was living in Royal Oak and on my own didn’t feel comfortable building/executing routes that were safe. I’d pack up my bike and drive to the nearest Metropark to unload and ride for a while. Sometimes the drive to the park would take a greater amount of time than the duration I spent biking. It wasn’t until moving to Grand Rapids and meeting some others that I realized the joy of moving around via bicycle in groups or alone.


  • Write on “The Great Nearby”
  • Write on automotive centric city designs

Resources #

Tools #

  • OpenStreetMap: often times has seasonal roads that can be factored into routes when other route planning systems won’t consider them.
  • Strava: provides a way to plan and record trips, makes the process social, and has “challenges” that roughly line up to sporting events occurring globally.
  • ridewithgps
  • Gaia

Bike(s) #

The best bike is a bike you can safely operate that gateways you into the activity

It’s likely that if you’re getting into biking as an adult you may have a significant gap in time since the last time you were riding. For my first bike since childhood I’d wanted to get something in the gravel domain to provide for maximum flexibility of exploring the hobby. Some friends lent me a conventional mountain bike for a couple long rides and from that experience some requirements were elicited:

  • Local brick and mortar support: so there is someone to talk to about maintenance
  • “Research” manufacture: an organization doing materials or mechanical research in bike manufacturing
  • 1x drivetrain: simplifying the controls by reducing the front derailleur
  • hydraulic disc brakes: didn’t want to experience cable stretch or non-equal brake pad alignment
  • in frame routing: non-exposed cable paths
  • standard handlebar: initially afraid of using drop

From this I’d selected a Trek Dual Sport 4. After 1k miles and seeing a lot of other bikes my opinions have changed quite a bit to prioritizing:

  • self maintainability: making materials and component choices to allow for maximum maintainability in the home
  • avoiding suspension: no need when {tires, frame, seatpost, headset, stem} can handle damping for the rider
  • mountpoints everywhere: attaching packs and lights, you want options
  • belts and internal drivetrain: hub systems like Alfine or speedhub, or pinion have significantly less maintainability and in some cases offer a wide shift range for a small efficiency impact.
  • dynamo lighting: generating power from the front wheel so that charing lights isn’t required.

If/when purchasing a bike again there are a couple that I’d be on the hunt for:


  • Bakfiets and other cargo platforms
  • Electronic systems
  • “maintainability” as a focus
  • Customization of things like frames

Accessories #