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Challenge Profile: Hugh Strickland, Motivator Extraordinaire

Hugh Strickland is a motivator extraordinaire. This retired chaplain, when not offering words of support to other National Bike Challenge participants, is shredding miles on his bike — he’s already racked up 1,300 miles for the month of July.

For this Friday’s National Bike Challenge spotlight, I caught up with Hugh about what inspires him about the Challenge, and what drives him to help others.

How did you get involved in the Challenge? What inspired you to join?

The NBC caught my attention last year and I made some really good virtual cycling friends.  I ride every day and believe that the greatest health care plan one can start with is a bicycle.  I understand that not everyone has the time or focus on cycling to ride nearly every day.  I am fortunate to live in Florida where I can ride very close to every day.  I think I missed 20 days last year and road 12,763.  My inspiration is just how good I feel.  I have lost about 90 lbs since 2005 — my fitness level has improved so much and my energy is now so good that I just can’t seem to miss a day riding.  I have even had the good fortune to ride in Netherlands, Belgium, and France on vacation in the last three years, plus a good number of states in the United States. My friends on NBC and Endomondo stay in contact and we encourage and joke with one another.  These contacts are now growing globally.  This is the spirit of the sport that cycling is for me and it is concentrated in the NBC. 

You’ve already logged more than 16,000 miles since 2010! What’s your goal for the totality of the challenge?

Since I joined Endomondo in April of 2010, I have ridden many days and over 16,000 miles.  This year I am at around 7,100 miles for the year and will probably close out July with 1,300 miles for the month. My goals are to have 9,000 points and be in the top 100 for NBC. I am hoping to get the elusive 13,000 by years end.  The biggest goal is to keep on riding. 

You are very active in offering quality insight and motivation to other participants — what drives you to offer help where you can?

I am a retired chaplain and teacher so helping is just a part of who I am.  I do know that my sharing encourages others to share, and you never know when you will meet a person smarter than you and with helpful insights.  The other part of offering help and support is that we are all out on the ride together and we need each other and we need more people out on the roads.  People learn by good example to help, share and get out and ride.

How did you become so passionate about bicycling?

We have so many problems as a people that need to be addressed.  Many of them come down to how healthy we are and how well we learn to cooperate with one another to do things differently from our 20th century past.  Exercise for our bodies.  Reduced vehicle use for our air, water and fellow planet passengers.  Openly questioning what we eat and what we drink and where it comes from and what’s in it.  All these things can be worked on nearly daily by just getting on your bike and riding.  There are people riding their bicycles today because they saw me doing it.  And lastly, riding bicycles is fun. How people ride, where, how far and on what kind of bike is not as important as going for that ride every day that’s possible.  

What kind of bike(s) do you ride?

I ride a Trek Cronus CX Ultimate with 32c road tires and carbon trekking bars.  But if I am away from home I ride whatever is available because a day with a bicycle ride in it is another way of ensuring fun.

What do you love most about bicycling?

Fun, self health care and travel.  You never know where you will go or who you will meet when you climb up on the seat of your bicycle.


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