He took the 30 Days of Biking challenge and kept going — 5 years and counting

Tim Harlow, Star Tribune
·3 min read

Brett Feldman had committed to riding his bike every day for only a month when he took the 30 Days of Biking challenge in 2016, but like the Energizer Bunny, he kept going and going.

The 55-year-old Minneapolis resident has now pedaled at least 3 miles a day for 1,826 consecutive days — that's every day for five years — and logged more than 12,600 miles since he took that first ride.

Feldman will be on the streets Thursday for the start of this year's 30 Days of Biking challenge, in which cyclists around the globe pledge to ride any distance, to any destination or for any reason every day during April and post their adventures online.

"I never intended to keep going," Feldman said. "But I thought, I started a streak; I don't need to stop."

As a former runner who suffered from shin splints, Feldman turned to biking to get his outdoor recreation fix. He learned about 30 Days of Biking, an initiative Minneapolis resident Patrick Stephenson started over a decade ago.

Feldman planned to do the challenge with his dear friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, the Rev. Mike Tegeder. But Tegeder got sick with cancer and promised to join Feldman when he got better. Tegeder never did. He died in 2016 at age 67.

Feldman said his daily rides became a tribute to Tegeder, and that inspired him to keep riding after the 30 days ended.

Snowstorms and days with subzero temperatures didn't stop him. Annoying cases of road rash didn't derail him either. When circumstances threatened to end the riding streak, Feldman got resourceful.

He's grabbed wheels from a bike share while stuck at an airport in Amsterdam. He went for an early-morning spin before catching a train in Helsinki. He managed to procure rentals — sometimes at the last minute — while attending events such as the Fringe Festival in Scotland and the women's World Cup soccer tournament in France.

The closest call came on Day 808, when Feldman was in Russia for the men's World Cup. Unable to use his U.S. credit card, he could not check out wheels from a bike share in Moscow. That's when one of the locals came to the rescue: A man he'd just met graciously paid for Feldman to unlock a bike.

"I had known him for 12 hours," Feldman said. "The bike is magic. It connects you to places and people. You can't have that kind of experience any other way."

Feldman, who rides his Specialized Diverge to Twins and Lynx games during the summer, said biking is an adventure.

"You never know what you are going to see between the starting point and the end point," he said.

It's also an elixir.

"The endorphins feel really good," he said, recommending that people give the 30-day challenge a try. "If you ride a nice bike you will never want to get off. It's a healer."

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768