A Self-Proclaimed Geek Takes on Cycling


Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Aaron Madrid of Lafayette, In.  Aaron was a teammate of ours on the #LovingtheBike #30daysofbiking Challenge, and ended up generating the most points and was the individual winner on the team. Congratulations to Aaron, and I hope you enjoy his post.

Cross-Culture Cycling

by Aaron Madrid

Geeks are not known for being fit individuals. Thanks largely to a hobby that encourages hours a day of…well… sitting. This has been my life; I have beaten more video games than I can remember, and gotten too frustrated to finish countless others. I have spent over 100 hours just on World of Warcraft. A little under a year ago, however, all that changed when my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child. I realized quickly that I owed it to my wife, my child, and myself to get myself in shape.

As a 6’2”, 300lb man, I have never been one for gyms. In truth, I have always been ashamed of my size, but lacked motivation to do anything about it. While I’m sure running is great fun for many, to me, it is the equivalent of receiving paper cuts on my eyeballs. I was running out of options for an enjoyable activity that would provide me the exercise I need to lose weight! While I debated, I managed to quit smoking, a habit of which I had been a slave to for over 10 years, and start a diet. Now I just needed a bike to start riding! Like many that I have tried to convince to join me in my two wheeled quest, I was discourage upon discovering the cost of a nice bike. By this time, we were about to have a baby, and I knew there was no way that my wife would let me spend 400-500 dollars on a nice bike.

Being the size that I am, and knowing that I planned for more commuting and paved trail riding, I narrowed down my choices to at least a cyclocross or hybrid bike, as I felt they might have more luck supporting me for long distances. Now I just had to find one that I could afford. While I searched for the perfect bike, I began to use the odometer in my car to measure distances everywhere I went. I live in a medium sized college town in the Mid-West and fortunately we have a good amount of trails in the area. Being a single car family or, “Car-Lite”, as it was recently coined; I was excited at the prospect of freeing up the car for my wife by biking to work. I just…needed a bike! I searched Craigslist for months but was ultimately left wanting. I frequented my two fantastic local bike shops hoping for a used ride my size to turn up, but I couldn’t find anything. With the sun lingering a little longer in the evening sky and the days growing a little warmer, I was itching to figure something out.

Out of desperation, and a little bit of frustration, I finally began perusing the big box stores for a lower end bike. I realized that I needed to quit focusing on the bike itself, and just start riding. A week later, I settled on a Schwinn hybrid bike that was just my size. I took the bike to my local shop for a tune up and to pick up a helmet and immediately headed out to ride (and to redeem myself a little). I have ridden every day since, increasing my distance each day, and loving every minute of it. Fulfilling my inner geek, I even managed to find some fantastic apps for my phone that track my distance, speed, and all variety of other things. Each day I ride, I push myself farther trying to break my “highscore”. After only a couple of days I quit worrying about fitness and realized that I just loved the bike.

As I began to spread the word of my new found love of the bike, I discovered countless other individuals in my situation. Once overweight gamers, with little interest in anything not set in a land that’s name contains two “Z’s”; the amount of people that I have discovered have also decided to get off the couch and get in shape  is inspiring. There is an army of geeks out there that have realized the importance of healthy living and also the fun that comes with riding a bike. The paths might be getting a little more crowded soon, the geeks are coming!

Aaron Madrid is a recent father and convert to the Way of the Bike. A lifetime geek he now spends his time with his family or out riding his bike…occasionaly finding time to read comic books and play video games. You can find him ranting on Twitter (@Aaronthestrong) or at www.GuerrillaGeek.com.

Enjoy Your Ride
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19 Responses to “ A Self-Proclaimed Geek Takes on Cycling ”

  1. Heather Nielson on June 5, 2011 at 12:37 am

    *claps hands*  great story Aaron!! Thank you for sharing my friend

  2. Myrna CG Mibus on June 1, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Bravo! An inspiring story. It’s also very fun to learn about a Loving the Bike teammate 🙂 

  3. Kelly on May 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    My favorite sentence in here: “I needed to quit focusing on the bike itself, and just start riding.”

    How often does the act of overthinking keep men and women stationary? I know it’s happened to me countless times. The unfamilar can be scary, especially when it is in regard to fitness (which is life-altering). Well written story, Aaron. You changed your world as you knew it. Pretty cool, I think.

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Kelly! I couldn’t go every day without support from all of these wonderful people I have met through this site (and #Bikeschool)! Change is always hard…but I decided to borrow a slogan from an old sports company and JUST DO IT, haha.

  4. Clive Chapman on May 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Well done mate! As a getting thinner fat biker myself (but not a geek!) I know exactly where you’re at! Don’t ever stop!

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 31, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Clive! Same to you brother! I loved watching your video for the #30Daysofbiking vid! Made me a wee jealous, haha.

  5. Dean Roberts on May 27, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Way to go!  I’m an Apple systems admin at a Medium-sized university in the Mid-West that was getting very little exercise myself. I bought a hybrid, a Trek 7100, and now use it as my exercise and commuter bike. My goal is to be able to ride a century or two next summer (2012). On the days I can’t ride outside I at least do 10 miles on a trainer at the Y. The weight is coming off and I feel much better about myself. I’m also teaching my 8 yr old son to appreciate cycling.

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Too cool Dean! Everyone says to enjoy the time my baby is little… but I can’t wait until she is old enough to do stuff like that! Go Big Ten!

  6. PedalmanTO on May 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Each day that goes by, I get prouder to call you my friend. I’m beside you every crank of the chain. I’m declaring you winner of the ‘Keeping the Rubber Side Down’ Achievement Award this year.
    Way to go brother!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I agree that he’s a deserving recipient of the “Keeping the Rubber Side Down” Achievement Award.

    • Aaron Madrid on June 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Ian, you are awesome! I couldn’t keep the rubber side down without all the support you and the rest of the lovingthebike and #bikeschool family have given me! It’s fantastic that we have such awesome places like lovingthebike.com to bring so many of us from so many different places together.

  7. Dave Boyd on May 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    What a great story! My hat’s off to your willingness to shift your focus toward healthy living. You will give your child a gift worth much more than anything else, to value her health. Way to go!! I can’t wait to meet up for a ride.

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks Dave! Your advice was much appreciated the other night! I look forward to a ride as well!

  8. Anonymous on May 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Great story and congrats on getting out there. Which bike did you end up with? When I started this cycling journey back in 2008 I also picked up a Schwinn from a big box store. It was the Trailway and worked good until I was ready to get back on the road bike. I’ve still got it in the garage.

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks! The Trailway is actually the one I went with as well! It was great for the first few months, but gave me some mechanical grief as time went by. Probably as much my fault for not knowing proper maintenence as it was the bike. I’m getting there!

  9. Velonista on May 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Terrific story—and welcome to the bike side. The next bike step is to do your own build. Scour craigslist and local bike shops for bits and pieces and frames. This is the best and most fun way to get a bike on a budget. My most recent build came to under $250, and that was with spending close to $150 on wheels. But good work and good luck. Keep on rolling!

    • Aaron of Battlemouth on May 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks much! I fortunately have managed to pick up a new road bike just recently! I still keep my eyes out for parts though, I would love to put together my own fixie for more casual rides around town. Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. Jim (@bikerly) on May 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Love this story. Keep cranking, geek 🙂


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