Imagine that you are an employee at a rural Indiana bike shop. On a beautiful summer day, an eight-year-old boy and his parents stroll in looking for a bike. You help the lad pick out his dream bike — a late 1980s era Jazz Flipside by Trek. After installing a computer and tail light, you wish him luck and send him on his way. A few months later that same kid is back with his bike for a tune-up. It’s clear the bike has seen a good amount of use. Glancing at the odometer, you’re shocked to see he has ridden over 1,000 miles in 4 months!
It’s hard to imagine an 8 year old averaging 250 miles a month on a bicycle but that’s exactly how Josh Sims kicked off his love affair with bicycles. His parents allowed him the freedom to explore the rolling countryside of Indiana. For years, like a pint-sized version of Breaking Away’s Dave Stoller, Josh just pedaled and pedaled and pedaled. Josh slowly moved away from cycling during his adolescent years but reignited his velo love in college when, on a whim, he picked up a road bike and was reminded of the grace and speed of a bicycle.
After college, Josh seemed to live the lyrics of a Woody Guthrie song and rambled into California, Alabama, Florida and back to northern California. Along the way, he met many cyclists and saw many unique bikes. Recumbents were one of those bikes that really caught his eye. He picked up his first “bent” for $300 while living in Alabama and he logged countless miles on it when he moved to the Sunshine state.
The land of Dixie treated Josh and his bike well but he was longing to be back in California.With no plan and little money, Josh uprooted and high-tailed it back to the East Bay. He lived out of the back of his truck for a few months working as a furniture mover. Eventually, he stumbled upon a small sailboat for sale just below the Golden GateBridge. He negotiated an outright trade of his truck for the boat and just like that Josh was the owner of a beautiful waterfront property in the Presidio Yacht Club!
Now without a vehicle, Josh scoured the classifieds and came up with a smoking deal on a used recumbent which became the perfect tool for the 28 mile round-trip commute that bookended his work day. As often as possible, Josh timed his crossing of the Golden Gate to coincide perfectly with the rising sun.
These days, Josh’s commute is about 12 miles round-trip but that’s not nearly enough riding for him. Most weeks he also summits Mt.Tam several times and rides upwards of 100 miles on the weekends on his VeloKraft VK3. Josh estimates that his yearly mileage is in the neighborhood of 8,000 miles!
You won’t find anyone as passionate about recumbents as Josh. He is eager to share his knowledge of “bent” riding. Over the past year, he has even been teaching others how to ride them. When asked about the most difficult thing about commuting, Josh bewilderingly replied, “Driving in traffic every day with a case of road rage is hard. But riding a bike a few miles is a piece of cake.” Additionally, Josh offered up the following advice for new commuters, “The right bicycle and gear can make all the difference. If I’m not comfortable, I don’t want to ride.” Josh’s next conquest will be finding employment in the recumbent industry. His passion will serve him well.