Meet Our Winter Super Commuter - Douglas Trotter

Meet Our Winter Super Commuter - Douglas Trotter

Posted on Feb 23rd 2024 | quarterly dispatch, super commuters,

Our winter super commuter is Douglas Trotter. At 60 years of age, he has a life time of cycling experience under his belt and shows no sign of slowing down. He started on a tricycle, adventured on two wheels as a teen, commuted as an adult and tours as a semi-retiree. His passion for bicycling grows every day. As he puts it, “I feel most alive when I’m out and about on my bike.” As he grows older, he looks forward to greeting the world and his surroundings by bike each and every day.

Doug, or simply Trotter to his friends, grew up in Bethlehem, PA, nestled in the Lehigh Valley. For as long as he can remember he has been riding bikes. It all started with childhood days spent pedaling up and down neighborhood streets on a giant red Schwinn tricycle. His true passion for bicycling struck in 1978 at the age of 15. On his Schwinn World Voyageur, he and a friend charted a course from Pennsylvania all the way to Washington, D.C. to visit the Smithsonian Institute. It was an eye-opening experience. “I realized,” he reflects, “that I could ride anywhere. Never have I felt so alive and free!” Trotter was hooked and now his rides could take him into the heart of possibility.

Trotter, a welder in metal fabrication, lived in the Pacific Northwest and Northwest for 30 years where his enthusiasm for bicycling never let up. In Eugene, OR, his daily commute was about 25 miles and meandered along the Ruth Bascom Riverbank trail following the curves of the Willamette River. “Commuting by bike,” Trotter says,” brings all the senses to life and starting each day with that feeling is magical.” After a move to Missoula, MT, his river views were traded in for mountain landscapes. Trotter feels fortunate that his chosen homes were bicycle friendly communities that made bicycle travel a viable means of transportation.

Trotter is recently semi-retired, but his passion for bicycling is nowhere close to retirement. With newfound time, he is starting to replace bike commuting with bike packing. Last June, he embarked on a tour from Yellowstone to the Philadelphia art museum. His only companion was his trusty 1984 Kuwahara bicycle that he affectionately named “The Duke.” The three-month, 3000-mile journey was transformative. "I overcame my fear of the unknown and being alone,” he reflects. There were some tough times, but before he reached Philadelphia his faith in humanity had been renewed because people offered a helping hand whenever he needed it along the way. The experience made him a wholehearted “believer in angels.”

One of his fondest cycling memories was a trip over Cameron Pass in Northern Colorado. Heading east, he had already pedaled over the Divide five times when he finally reached the summit at 10,276 ft. The view of the world stretched out before him was breathtaking. The downhill was equally exhilarating. He recalls that “I honestly don't think I had to peddle for 40 miles” as he glided down the Poudre Canyon River Gorge.

With a little more time on his hands, Trotter is getting more involved with the Coalition of Appropriate Transportation (CAT) which supports bicycling, pedestrians, and public transportation in the Lehigh Valley. As he dedicates more hours to bicycle advocacy, he’s excited to witness the progress being made to bring improved alternative forms of transportation to his community for generations to come. This work has further reinforced his belief that the bicycle is “one of the greatest inventions!”

Trotter’s passion for bicycling has grown and evolved over the past half century, making him an inspiration for all of us who love to ride. He embodies the words of American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” We can’t wait to hear about his future journeys and see what adventures he will embark on next. Congratulations, Trotter! You are a true Planet Bike Super Commuter!