Thousands of miles behind the wheel

Dr. Art Grossman challenged himself this year: 2013 is going to be the year he bikes 13,000 miles.

Yes. That is the correct number of zeros.

And just to wow you even more, think of 13,000 miles as more than halfway around the world.

So the obvious question is: Why?

It’s a two-part answer.

Number one: Cycling for Grossman means a healthy lifestyle.

“Biking really is very relaxing. It’s good for your joints, and it’s not particularly hard to do,” Grossman said.

Number two: He bikes to have an answer for the many, many times he’s asked how many miles he’s done.

“I’m trying not to be compulsive about it, and for many years I never even kept track. Then somebody asked me once and that’s what started me on it. Otherwise, I really don’t care.”

But hold on, there’s a caveat to that statement.

“Even if I weren’t keeping track of the miles,” Grossman said. “I’d still want to ride as much as I’m riding”

To reach this 13,000 mileage marker, Grossman has to ride more than 1,000 miles a month. If he had nothing else to do, no problem. But Grossman’s an active 66-year-old.

Very active.

He still sees patients part-time at his family medicine practice for the Western Washington Medical Group. He also teaches cycling classes at the Y in Everett and at LA Fitness. And he’s been a soccer coach for more than 20 years for North County Soccer League.

Add in family obligations and you’ve got an overflowing plate.

Grossman bikes to most places he needs to go: soccer games as far north as Burlington in Skagit County to as far south as Woodway High School in Edmonds; to cycle classes he teaches in Mill Creek and north Seattle; to see two of his kids in Seattle; and to family gatherings at his beach house on Whidbey Island.

Grossman also will do 100-mile rides on the weekends and local endurance rides throughout the area.

This year he plans on doing the McClinchy Mile in Arlington, the Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day (RAMROD), the Seven Hills of Kirkland ride and the Seattle to Portland ride, nicknamed the STP.

Oddly, Grossman has never done the STP before, and if he does the 200-mile ride, he will do it in one day, as opposed to the two days most riders take.

That’s just how Grossman rolls.

What started this passion for pushing the pedals?

Grossman said he started riding a little in his 20s. About 12 years ago, he had to take a short leave from running because of an injury.

“And I realized how much fun biking was. So then ? it just sort of exploded.”

But all those hours on the bike, what does he do?

“Think,” Grossman said. “I think about everything, and I solve all my problems.”

Grossman generally rides alone — most people don’t have the kind of time it takes to join him on his long rides. He usually takes a camera along but doesn’t listen to music because he believes that is unsafe.

So yes, he thinks.

“It’s really pleasant,” Grossman said over coffee at a local Starbucks. “Most of my life there are interruptions, and it’s really nice not to have any interruptions.”

Over the years, Grossman has developed many of his own routes because getting to the places he needs to go means getting off the recognized bike paths such as the Interurban Trail or Centennial Trail.

Grossman speaks passionately about cycling and its health benefits, especially for families. He can’t hide his disappointment that the city of Everett has yet to implement major parts of its bike plan for the city.

For two terms, Grossman served on the city’s park board with the goal of updating the city’s bike plan, specifically connecting the city’s bike paths. That goal has yet to be achieved.

“Most people discover which routes are the best ones for them to do and what’s safe, but that still doesn’t make up for the fact that you can’t go through the city on designated bike routes or anything like that for the average family,” Grossman said.

Because Grossman has had to pencil out many of his own bike routes, he sometimes talks like a seasoned urban planner, rattling off roads and highways while describing where his next ride might take him.

His trips usually involve a treat: a stop for frozen yogurt.

In 2012, Grossman biked more than 12,000 miles. He was aiming for 13,000. 2013 could be his lucky year.

“Also, I bike because wherever it is that I’m going, I get there in a better mood.”

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

The McClinchy Mile

The B.I.K.E.S Club of Snohomish County is sponsoring the McClinchy Mile ride March 16 for cyclists ready to kick off spring with a group ride of either 18, 34 or 48 miles.

The ride starts at Haller Middle School, 600 E. First St., Arlington.

Registration at www.bikesclub.org/ or at the start of the ride from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Where’s Art?

When we read about a person’s triumphs it’s usually after the fact. This time, we can watch a triumph unfold.

Dr. Art Grossman of Everett plans on riding 13,000 miles on his bike in 2013.

Every month, The Herald will check in on Grossman’s mileage to see if he’s on track. Grossman’s miles so far this year are XXXXXX.

Remember, these are all road miles. Though Grossman teaches several cycle classes, he doesn’t count those indoor miles.

So come along for the ride and together we’ll cheer him on.

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