Meet Mike Lee : A.K.A - Mlee
Of all my cycling mishaps, wrong turns and unplanned adventures, the most memorable
cycling adventure is hands down the 2015 L'Eroica Di Gaiole in Chianti.
The original grand panda himself, Curtis Litun and myself had the dream adventure to
enter and ride in the 209km vintage cycling race, whilst product testing the new
Spandex Panda apparel line. I remember the first few hours of cycling in the absolute
pitch black. After the first 80km of the race, Curtis and I crested the peak of a long
arduous climb and sipped on our water bottles. By this time, we were about 3 hours into
our ride, and nearly done half the race. We overheard a group of riders passing by,
saying they shouldn't stop if they wanted to complete the race before dark. I remember
Curtis and I looking at each other and thinking "What are they talking about?! Half done,
and it's only 8am! Piece of cake"
As the day went on, the sky opened and it began raining for the next 4 hours and we hit
our first BIG climb. I don't remember the stats, but I do remember it was well over an
hour of uphill grinding on this switchback trail. Both of us struggled to keep both feet on
the pedals and not fall into the muddy ravines caused by the torrential rainfall. At the
top, I checked my watch, and we had done only 2 or 3 km of riding straight up. So much
for being half done in the first 3 hours! Overall, it took us 15 hours to complete the
209km (12,150 ft of climbing). To top it all off the while I was stung in the thigh by a killer
Asian hornet at 150km! It was quite the adventure, one that I'd definitely do again, but at
the time, we both said we'd never do again.
I experienced my tricycle at 2 or 3 yrs old, and had my first training wheel free spill at 5
years old. I've been cycling ever since, predominantly road racing and triathlon.
I once owned 12 bicycles at the same time. My favourite is my beat up grungy no-name
fixed gear commuter. I ride this most often, but I put the most distance on my Cervelo
I have always dreamed of living on my bike and traveling long distances. Perhaps a ride
across Europe, Russia and China. I would do it differently than most others, by not
really planning for the adventure. I thrive being put into situations where I need to think
on my feet. I almost rode my dumpster rescued fixed gear from California to Toronto,
which would have been 5000 km. It wouldn't have survived, and I would have had to
Frankenstein it along the way! But 5000km of constant peddling, sounds fun to me!
I ride my bicycle because I can. I also run because I can. I'm still healthy and relatively
young. I don't want to wake up one day and realize that so many years have passed
and I no longer have the will or ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of mobility. Riding a
bike brings about a sense of nostalgia, the moment we first realized we were free form
the confines of our driveway, our street, our neighbourhood. Now, having traveled and
ridden my bike all over the world, the freedom is now infinite. I don't ever want to give
that up. As strange as this sounds, I feel the most at ease on my bike. Home is on my
bike, in my saddle.
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