Cyclist of the Month: Dustin Wood

Age: 28
Occupation: mechanic, King County Metro
Residence: Seattle, Washington
Commute: 10 miles from West Seattle to Tukwila
Wheels: Soma Smoothie ES, Easy Racers Tour Easy recumbent

<em“Hill is not a four-letter word” to Dustin Wood, a LAB-certified instructor and member of Cascade and Redmond Cycling Club. Here, Wood debunks the myth that recumbents are less safe, and explains what really gets you into trouble.

Bicycle safety comes naturally to Dustin Wood. Concerned about cyclists riding at night without lights and running through stop signs, Dustin committed himself to not repeating the same mistakes. Four years ago, Dustin received his credentials as a League of American Bicyclists (LAB) certified instructor.

Today, he teaches three bike classes for the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation:

  1. Commuter Class,
  2. Urban Cycling Techniques (similar to LAB’s Road 1 course) and
  3. Basic Maintenance (Fix-a-Flat)

Up to 15 bikers attend each of his classes, held weeknights between 4:00 and 7:00 pm or weekend mornings and afternoons.

Julie Salathe, education director speaks highly of Dustin’s teaching. “Dustin has been a stellar instructor for Cascade for the last four years. Not only has he taught our full range of classes, but he’s also stepped in on a last-minute basis to help us out with training new instructors and teaching a bike-driver-ed class for teens. He gets rave reviews from students.”

“I want people to become better, safer cyclists.” Dustin’s love of cycling cannot be deterred. Dustin was struck by a left-turning car this past July, but he still returned to his daily 20-mile round-trip commute.

His love of cycling transformed into an appreciation for long-distance touring. Not only has he completed RAMROD and the Group Health STP twice (including finishing the event at age 13), but Dustin has joined the elite randonneur ranks. In 2005, Dustin participated in his first Fleche, a 24-hour team event (produced by the BC Randonneurs Cycling Club) where riders complete 235 miles from Seattle to Canada in 24 hours.

Dustin also enjoys self-supported tours. He has circumnavigated the 250-mile big island of Hawaii, and he and his brother cycled 800 miles from Seattle to Glacier National Park.

And Dustin still enjoys joining his Redmond Cycling Club friends for their weekly Mudflaps ride: a 10 – 30 mile Tuesday jaunt out of Gas Works Park, followed by dinner at a local eatery. Lights, fenders, and, of course, mudflaps, are required if you want to join this group ride without getting sprayed.

Getting noticed is a different matter when you ride safely. “When I’m in my [Easy Racers] recumbent, I sit at eye level with most sedan drivers. Recumbents look odd, so often they are noticed because they stand out…’wow, look at that!’ I also ride with a large home-constructed yellow box, for gear and accessories, which is very noticeable. It makes me more visible. Riding at night without lights, and riding through stop signs, are much more dangerous activities. Plus, recumbents are fun to ride; they are fast and comfortable.”

Besides his Camelbak for long-distance touring, Dustin’s favorite cycling item is wool clothing. If you cannot afford that favorite luxury Ibex jersey, Dustin recommends converting wool sweaters from Goodwill into cycling jerseys.

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