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.