Tom Helbig was nominated for June’s Cyclist of the Month….
Why? Because he rode a bike 4,000 miles across the country to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics, that’s why!!!
A quote from Tom in February during his trip to the Adventure Cycling Association, “Absolutely loving the Southern Tier Route! Thanks for creating this for us traveling cyclists to enjoy. Feeling the groove after a month on my Southern Tier Special Bike Trip across America to raise awareness for Special Olympics from San Diego, CA to Key West, FL. Started on the beach 27 days ago then over mountains, through desert, canyons, farmlands and pine forests for the love of bicycle travel and adventure. Countless stories of generosity from amazing people I have encountered. My Special Olympics volunteer service days in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson were so rewarding!…”
We followed up with Tom after his return back home to the Miami Valley and asked him a few questions:
Where are you from? Penfield, Ohio
What do you do? Owner Tomfoolery Outdoors, adventurer
How old are you? 42
Why do you ride a bike? Riding a bike makes me happy, it makes me smile and I like to ride all types of bikes, road, mountain, cruiser, single-speed, anything with two wheels that I can propel myself I enjoy. I like the simplicity of riding a bicycle.
When did you start riding a bike? Gosh…Um… I can’t think of a time that I have not ridden a bike in my life. I guess since my childhood. We lived out in the country, so a bicycle was our freedom to get around. We would ride to go see neighbors, or build jumps in the backyard or jump off the dock into the pond.
Where is your favorite destination to go to via bike? I use my bike a lot for daily transportation in the Miami Valley. I love that it is easy to do with the trail system. At this point in my life, my favorite destination is my next trip that I have not been. Because I love to explore. If I had to pick a place though, riding in the Florida Keys, then riding anywhere in the mountains, the challenge of riding uphill then the exhilaration of riding downhill.
What advice do you have for new riders? Get a bike that is comfortable. It doesn’t matter how fancy, or expensive, you will hate it if it is not comfortable.
What kind of bike do you ride? Soma Saga Touring Bike, Framed Fat Bike, Rocky Mountain Hardtail Mountain Bike and a Giant Bowery Single Speed… OH! And an Adult Big Wheels!
How does riding a bike enhance your quality of life? At such a deep level it does. It makes me creative, it gets me in shape, so my fitness level is better now than it ever has been because of riding a bike and the other activities I do. It also has enhanced my quality of life because when you travel by bicycle you are not intimidating to anyone. So it opens you up to encounters you otherwise would not have been available to have. Riding a bike makes me happy, and it makes other people happy, so you have the opportunity to make connections with other people that ride bikes and you create a stronger and more genuine connection. Then the whole idea that riding a bike slows you down and gives you a different perspective as you ride through a town or park. It gives you a totally different perspective than when you are in a car or walking.
What is something you always take with you when you ride? Bike tools, water, and helmet.
If you know someone who deserves to be Cyclist of the Month, send detailed information our way by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org & tell us what we need to know to interview them.