MADISON, WI – A number of years ago, the now defunct Bike Culture Magazine partnered up with us to honor a bicycle “Super commuter” in each issue. We, at Planet Bike, always loved reading about the dedicated commuters who rode through every season, in all weather. As a result, we decided that it was high time we resurrected the award. For the Supercommuter relaunch, we’ve decided to feature Billy Knudson, a 39-year old organic farmer and 4-season veteran bicycle commuter.
Billy commutes the 23-mile roundtrip to the vegetable farm where he works 10 months out of the year. The two months that Billy isn’t commuting to the farm, he’s still consistently on his bike doing grocery store runs and transporting household items including plywood, patio furniture, bicycles, and attic insulation. You name it and Billy has probably transported it with his bicycle. Last summer, he even moved 90% of his belongings to his new house on his Surly Big Dummy. Currently, Billy commutes on a 1997 Bianchi Trofeo road bike equipped with a rear rack and panniers.
Billy is no greenhorn when it comes to riding bikes. When he was growing up in the Milwaukee area he frequented the neighborhood dirt track. “My Dad would bring home BMX bikes and frames from the police auction, and I’d ride those on the track and around town until they wore out, broke or got stolen,” Billy said. “Then I would piece together another bike with parts off other beater bikes we had in the basement.”
The thrill of fast-paced BMX riding lead him to try his first cyclocross race two years ago. “I rode one cyclocross race in 2007 and was hooked. I raced 8 more this last season. What I like about cyclocross is that it’s only as competitive as you want to it be. For me, it’s a day of fun hanging out with bikes, bike people, beer, and cowbells,” Billy said.
As far as we can predict, telecommuting will never be an option for vegetable farmers but Billy doesn’t seem to mind. Instead of sitting in traffic stressing out about whether or not he”s going to be late for work, he uses his commute as a fun way to start and end the day. “I am getting good exercise and warming up for my day on the farm. I get to the farm feeling energized and ready to start my work,” Billy states. “On the ride home, I am winding down and relaxing.”