The ACREC bike vs car challenge and how my mouth got me into a situation

In the past 6 months, Gainesville’s Mayor competed in a bike challenge versus a police officer. Click to read the Gainesville Sun article.

After the challenge, the Gainesville Sun ran an editorial. and I quote.

On the last day of National Bicycle Month, Lowe waged Gainesville’s latest “bike vs. car commuter challenge,” this time against a UPD officer in an automobile. The pedal-propelled mayor won, finishing the course 25 minutes ahead of the cop in the car.

This series of events started an intense debate between myself and the chairman of the Alachua County Republicans, Stafford Jones.

First, a little history, I have been a recreational cyclist since my days at UF. In a past, pre-kids life, I participated in triathlons. I ride my bike for exercise purposes, and in my current mid-life crisis have committed to training for another triathlon after a lengthy absence from training. I currently ride between 20-50 miles a week depending on my training schedule and honey-do list.

So in that context, Stafford Jones and I have had an ongoing debate over “Can cycling be a viable alternative for transportation in and around Gainesville?”

Now, here is where it gets interesting.

If you know me, you know I can be slightly competitive and cocky. After being pushed and taunted by Stafford over several months about how impractical cycling is, I made a rush decision and I may have issued a check that my quads, hamstrings, and calves are now going to have to cash.

I simply challenged Stafford Jones to a friendly car versus bicycle challenge. In fact, I told him that he could pick the course and make the rules, because I didn’t want him to have the ability to squirm out of the deal and scream “unfair” when I beat him.

If he wins, I have to gas up his truck. When I win, he has to buy me an equivalent value of triathlon gear. With his big ol’ truck and the cost of gasoline, I am thinking a new heart rate monitor is in my future.

Admittedly, I under estimated his “creative” thinking about this challenge. My initial thought was to re-do the same course the mayor and the police officer completed, but I guess Mr. Jones has other ideas.

He has yet to issue the course or the rules, but he has described it as a “Real World Challenge.” The only thing I know is he has scheduled the start at noon….in Florida….in July. He has also told me that I must spare Gainesville the sight of me in my biking clothes and that I have to wear what I would normally wear to work.

I am starting to realize that Stafford Jones is going to stack the deck in his favor, but this wouldn’t be the first time my smart-alec mouth has gotten me in a predicament.

I will end by saying, I don’t care what course Mr. Jones comes up with and I think he may be underestimating my hatred of losing. He better bring his A game, and please join me in hoping he gets a flat tire on his truck.

On to victory……worst case scenario – I get my workout in for the day.

I would love any tips from cyclists out there.

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