Once upon a time Strava decided that my annual mileage target should be 12,500 miles. This has happened for many years in a row and as I take a peek at the calendar, which is fast approaching the end of 2023, once again I’m zeroing in on that 12,500 mile figure. It would appear that Strava’s algorithm knows me well.
I ride my bike a lot. Sure, my annual mileage doesn’t hold a candle to Amanda Coker’s world record – in fact, it would take me nearly seven miles at my current rate to cover what Amanda does in a year, but by most metrics 12,500 annual miles is well above average.
The average American motorist tallies 13,476 miles per year. I’m not sure Amanda Coker’s vehicular equivalent – the most miles driven in a year -- but during the late summer and early fall of 2023, our family piled into our van and at times felt like we were on track to take that record as we drove nearly 9,000 miles in just a two-month window.
We had a jam-packed schedule that took us from the bustling front range of Colorado to Montana, next to Utah and then into the much quieter southwestern Coloradan mountains, briefly back to Utah and continuing to the Pacific Northwest, next to California’s Bay Area, then clear across the country in a race home to Vermont. Each spot along the way marked an event or race, as well as a family or friend’s house where we could spread out and rearrange our things. We effectively adopt a life of minimalism to cram everything we need for riding, eating, cleaning, working, and traveling into a single vehicle as a family of four… but we still continually trip over each other, so anything we can do to optimize efficiency is seen as a blessing.
The format of our van is roughly as follows (or TL;DR, watch the video): as you’d expect, two seats up front, staggered seats in the middle of the van for either of our two kids, a kitchen/galley area exists here as well, then in the back we have a bunk set-up with Laura and me up top, then both kids down below with beds against either wall which allows two bikes in the middle. Thanks to the simplicity of the Saris Thru-Axle Traps, we can easily swap between different bikes, depending on what’s along for the ride. Additionally, we have a pair of Saris MHS DUO Trays attached to the rear door of the van which holds two more bikes.
Try as we might to be minimalists, the list of things we bring is both as short as possible as well as anything but brief. Naturally, we then look for ways that particular items can serve two purposes. An unused sink, for example, is the perfect storage size for the next meal’s dishware.
Our Saris MHS set-up, quickly becomes a workstation just by hanging a bike out back. This is ideal for basic maintenance, swapping tires or wheels, or just simple bike storage on the fly. Frankly, I’m not sure how we’d be able to bring so many bikes were it not for the simplicity Saris provides!
I’ve been lucky to live and train in amazing parts of the world, desired and well known by cycling fans worldwide. That’s a blessing that’s not lost on me. Similarly, I recognize how lucky I am to take such a lengthy period of time to travel and race with my family all around the country. Truth be told, in our experience, we’ve found there’s adventure to be found everywhere. Riding to sweet local spots straight out your front door is a reality for many. And if that’s not the case, the convenience of packing things up to seek out other routes across town, across the state, or across the country is as simple as… riding your bike.