Sunday, November 18, 2012


Bike Racing Gypsy saving the World seeks bicycle cargo-trailer sponsorship:

Rad update IV: (12/19/2012) From the 18 donors thus far, the goal fund of $2500 is already reached over half-way and is now at $1500. Absolutely incredible! Thank you so much! Only $1000 left until the matching bike arrives!

Rad update III: Huge thanks to Rick Chew for taking on Erik Scheller's challenge. Rick donated $225, and is the highest donor thus far for my car-less cause. 

Rad update II: With all your amazing support, I quickly received enough donations to purchase the Surly cargo trailer! At this rate, soon I will have enough funds to purchase the Surly bike to go along with the trailer, thus completing the equipement needs of my car-less cause!

Rad update: My highest donor of $200 is from E.S.. Formally known as, Erik Scheller, who is a Keller Rohrback L.L.P. master's racer, contacted me directly and said, if anyone donated more than his $200 he'd donate a second time and match that person's donation.

Here I am borrowing a Surly cargo-trailer for a week. When I'm not in my bike racer super-hero outfit, you'll find me cruisin' Seattle looking exactly like this (and hopefully soon with a new trailer!)

Car-Less Cycling Adventures in Seattle:

(Here's a shot of Tre's work bench--a place I visit often. Tre is a mastermind mechanic and the only bonafide grease monkey I'll let touch my bikes. Pure genius he is.)

The summer of 2003--when I was a scrubby 19-year-old mountain biking free-rider who entertained himself by hucking off small cliffs at asinine speeds--I applied for a mechanic position at Recycled Cycles. 

Ever since they opened up as a tiny whole-in-the-wall joint in 1994, Recycled Cycles has been a knowledgeable Seattle shop dedicated to quality service. Over the years they've grown considerably and have thus become a backbone of the Seattle cycling community. Sticking to their old-school cycling roots and maintaining a sense of family has led to their massive success.

By landing the job I was unwittingly and serendipitously inducted into a tribe of bike geeks, grease monkeys, bike racers, and weird cyclists of all types who formed the pillars of many cycling sub-cultures. In many ways, this was well before cycling was considered to be cool and hip as it is today. I feel honored to have longitudinally witnessed such large steps forward in the cycling awareness movement. 

As many of you know, on the 1st of last year I resolutely made the decision to go completely car-less. Since I made the decision (on New Year's Eve as I fell asleep at 8pm, dedicated to training I am!) to sell my dear friend, an ol' 1970 Datsun pickup truck, my life has greatly increased in quality. 

Living in the center of a dense, progressive city makes cycling the most logical and efficient mode of transportation. Owning a car in this environment is nothing but an inefficient time-suck. Burning dollar bills and polluting the environment. A total burden. 

All it takes to achieve a car-less lifestyle is a mind shift. Dealing with wet-weather (in Seattle) and a little advanced preparation is by far better than sitting in a damn car stuck in horrendous traffic. The free feeling of movement and activity enriches the soul and heals the body and with a little fitness is significantly faster than a car. (Hell, on one sunny summer day I ran across Seattle faster than my friends who were stuck creeping along in their car at a stop-and-go snail's pace).

I quickly solved the majority of 'set-backs' this new lifestyle presented:
  • Transport to the airport. Solution: pack-light, bungee down Pika bike-case into shoulder bag, coast downhill for 2min to Union Station located 7-blocks from my condo, take light rail to airport, and dissemble bike into bag at the airport.
  • Wet weather. Solution: obtain proper apparel, establish a routine of keeping bikes clean, and, since I love extreme weather: no attitude adjustment required. For those that are scared of rain: sack the 'eff up. The rain makes the world gorgeous and alive.
  • Outdoor Adventures. Solution: walk or bike to King Station and take Amtrak buses or trains anywhere I please. Upon arrival, hitch-hike to trailhead. Hexa cheaper than paying for gas. And makes for a helluva better story.
  • Getting to local bike races. Solution: I invented a secret mechanism to tow my race bike behind my touring bike. Transporting me and my race bike to local road races and Friday night track racing via this method equates to a solid warm-up and additional training  For regional races where I don't fly, I'll snag a ride with a fellow racer, chip in for gas, and most often bike to his/her house to make logistic easier for him/her.
  • Note: I don't consider running errands or getting to appointments (or any of the above) on a bike to be a setback. If you need to look fresh and clean, then bring an extra pair of street clothes and change into them in a bathroom. Injury/illness/impairment excluded, there is no excuse for having to use a car in the city. None. End of Story. No argument. I even know multiple families with young children who are car-less.

The last obstacle I've yet to overcome is how to transport large/heavy objects via la bicyclette. Every two weeks I shop at a store that sells bulk fruits and veggies (the main stable of my diet), and this load of groceries is voluminous and weighty. Sometimes I'd borrow my mom's van and every time I did I felt like I was cheating. So, most often I'd load up my touring bike's panniers to max capacity. In addition, I'd also need to fill up a huge back-pack. Even then, I still had to bring bungee cords to strap on bags of salad on top of my panniers. 

Simply put: I needed a better way to haul stuff. And equally important: I wanted to get all the heavy weight off my precious and fragile spine. Bike racing is hard enough on one's posture.

Though I haven't worked at Recycled Cycles in years, my long-standing friendship with them allowed me to borrow their Surly cargo-trailer for a week. They owned the 'extended bed' version, which was a little large than my needs required. 

Regardless, borrowing their trailer for a week allowed me test it out and decide if it is a worthy investment. Out of all the other trailers on the market, the Surly was the last one I needed to test out. From my research, it is by far the stoutest and best engineered, especially with its articulating hinge attachement. 

So, without further ado, here are my stories from a week spent borrowing Recycled Cycles's Surly cargo-trailer and putting it to the Dan Harm bike racing gypsy test:

-To test the limits of the trailer, the first step was determining if I could summit the entirety of Madison Ave whilst hauling heavy power-tools. To document the test-run, my best-buddy, Jackson Quall, had the camera rolling. The result: in the pouring rain we flew up the steep grades and whizzed by all the people trapped in their cars from grid-lock traffic... Success!

-The ultimate test was determining the weight limit of my bike/trailer combo and the limit of my body's capability to haul 300lbs worth of food and supplies up to my home perched on lofty Capital Hill. Mashing my 34x27 at roughly 30rpm equated to pure pain and grit. When I managed to inch my way over the steepest section and onto the plateau of upper Broadway a pure sense of enlightenment filled me with the epiphany that there is nothing the bicycle cannot achieve.

-My main grocery spot to load up on healthy nutrition resides in Ballard. I go here to purchase the necessary amount of food required to sustain my existence as a gluttonous athlete hell-bent on consuming only quality nutritious food. Thus, bags and boxes of all sorts of fruits and veggies are piled onto my trailer and then, eventually, into my mouth. Since I've been going to this store that mainly caters to restaurants, all the people who work there know me by name and have taken a liking to me and the massive quantities of food I purchase for personal use. This world is all about personal connections in your community, which means I can park my bike inside!!!

-Here's me navigating the heavy-load out of the store and into the street. Pushing this crazy contraption is by far more tedious than riding it. Surprisingly, even with all the weight, the bike/trailer combo handled very well while riding; so much so I barely even noticed it. I have to say the weakest link is my bike, which is a  10-year-old flimsy first-generation carbon race bike I converted into a touring bike Frankenstein-style. I'm afraid this bike will not last long with the weight of cargo and the strength of my bike racer legs. 

-Having to wear spandex all the time is something I greatly cherish. I also enjoy a costume change into my go-to commuter clothes: SWRVE  jeans and my army surplus tank-top. Always stylin'.

-Along with my bike racing adventures, I also enjoy doing odd carpentry gigs and helping my crazy old hippie friend named, Cassandra, in her elaborate garden. My first voyage with this trailer contained a load of power-tools. Yes, a fitting first ride. 

-Three years ago, Cassandra's backyard was useless grass. Every summer, anytime I was in town from racing, I would bike or walk over to her house and spend a few days each week working my ass off creating the splendid functional food giving beauty that is now (as she calls it) her Bolivian garden.

-With much success I proudly launched HARM Coaching last summer. Since then, running my own business and working with motivated and positive athletes has offered many fulfilling rewards. The benefit of self-actualized autonomy is that you get to design the infrastructure of your life. HARM Coaching aligns with my personal car-less lifestyle. Here you can see the cargo trailer loaded up with all the necessary tools needed to execute a high-performance bike-fit optimizing a Time Trial bike for a Category-One racer I coach.

Endorsement Proposition:

This is the ultimate Bike-Racer-Gypsy-Saving-The-World cargo bike combo, all made in the USA by the hip, quality and utility driven company: Surly Bikes.

After seven years of sacrifice and hard work, I've reached a point where bike racing is now a sustainable occupation. For the first time in my life I'm actually putting a respectable amount of money into savings. This is so crazy to think about when I nostalgically remember less than four years ago I was living in a pick-up truck, supporting myself with credit cards, essentially betting on my ferocious dream of becoming a bike racer. Damn, is all I can say.

Part of the reason I've reached this point of self-actualized autonomy is my religious adherence to financial goals and fiscal responsibility. I follow a strict budget. When you make little, you must spend little to create a lot. Sweat Equity always pays off. Always!

Thus, the Surly Bike trailer (and definitely the Surly bike) is unfortunately not affordable in the near future with my budget. Yes, I am saving up for it. And, I also hatched the idea that maybe, just maybe, there are people who want to support my passion of living a car-less lifestyle as a bike racing gypsy. The benefits of the bicycle expand far beyond personal health and well-being. The positive environmental, social, economical, and political impacts the bicycle has are numerous.

Bicycles can save the world. And my mission in life is to spread Cycling salvation.

The Surly Short-bed Cargo Trailer is $600 (this is my bicycle-industry deal plus tax and shipping. Surly rarely sponsors individuals, otherwise I would've asked 'em...) and the Surly Disc Long-Haul Trucker frame-set with a Shimano 105 build kit, stout touring wheels, and disc brakes is $2000, industry cost.

Now, I will say the cargo trailer is my main priority and what I'd most like a donor to assist with. The reason I'm also interested in an endorsement for the Surly bike is because my current commuter/touring bike (as I described in one of the photos above) has been on its last legs (wheels?) for a while. I've pushed my Frankenstein commuter/touring bike well beyond the limits of even its sentimental value. I'm sad to say, this bike has little life left. When I have to bring it behind the barn to shoot it, the fancy new Surly cargo trailer will be useless without a new faithful steed.

  • To make my car-less cause legit and inspiring to potential donors I offer you this proposition: once I obtain the funds for the bike/trailer, in trade for your donations I will send each and every donor stories/photos/videos of every crazy bike adventure yet to be had with my soon-to-be new cargo-bike set-up. You will get to be a part of the stories and can witness my plight to push the boundaries of what is possible on a bike.

My paypal username:

In order for you to plan how much you want to donate, and so you can see how much has been donated to the cause, in the comment section below this post I will update the amount of each donation along with your initials and the new total. Example: if my mom, whose initials are M.B. donates $10, and some random cyber-stranger or friend named George Whittaker, donates $800, I will post below: 

-Thanks to M.B. for donating $10. New total: $10.
-Thanks to G.W for donating $800. New Total: $810, and so forth.

I figured this was a clever way for people to see the progress and be publicly thanked whilst maintaining privacy in similar fashion to kick-starter yet via my own personal blog. Heck. Figured it's worth a shot.

-dan harm
P.S. Wouldn't this photo look so much better with a Surly Trailer?


  1. Thanks to R.C. for donating $150. New Total: $150.

  2. Thanks to D.S. and J.M. for donating $100. New total: $250.

  3. Thanks to M.H. for donating $10. New total: $260.

  4. Thanks to R.D. for donating $20. New Total: $280.

  5. Thanks to J.H. for donating $10. New Total: $290.

  6. Thanks to S.M. for donating $25. New Total: $315.

  7. Thanks to R.T. for donating $100. New Total: $415.

  8. Thanks to W.L. for donating $20. New Total: $435.

  9. Thanks to N.C. for donating $25. New Total: $460.

  10. Thanks to S.M. for donating $10. New Total: $470.

  11. Thanks to E.S. for donating $10. New Total: $670.

    1. BIG CORRECTION! Erik Scheller, KELLER ROHRBACK donated $200.

  12. Thanks to C.M. for donating $25. New Total: $695.

  13. Thanks to A.C. for donating $20. New Total: $715.

  14. Thanks to G.M. for donating $10. New Total: $725.

  15. Thanks to P.P. for donating $100. New Total: $825.

  16. Thanks to G.D. for donating $25. New Total: $850.

  17. Thanks to R.C. for donating an ADDITIONAL $225. New Total: $1075.

  18. Thanks to S.H. for donating $200. New Total: $1275.

  19. Thanks to E.S. for donating an ADDITIONAL $175. New Total: $1450.

  20. Thanks to J.M. for donating $50. New Total: $1500.

  21. Thanks to R.M. for donating $30. New Total: $1530.

  22. Thanks to P.T for donating $30. New Total: $1730.

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