Odds & Ends: Commuting With Half A Lung
We received 101 submissions for our Practical Cycling Photo Competition Extraordinaire. But there can only be one winner and that winner is Leo Buss, a marine biology professor at Yale who sent in this photo of himself on his commuting bike rigged up to carry three oxygen bottles.
No, it's not a rocket bike. It's Leo's way of getting some exercise after developing interstitial lung disease in 2003. Formerly an avid swimmer and scuba diver, Leo lost enough of his lung capacity to prevent him from swimming or diving. Looking for a way to stay active, he turned to cycling.
"Lung disease got me into cycling," Leo says with a laugh. "I was never a cyclist before but there aren't very many athletic activities that allow you to carry oxygen bottles. But biking does."
His commute, which he rides at least four time per week, is 38-miles round trip. He uses all three bottles of oxygen to complete the route.
"They're set to give me eight liters of oxygen per minute," he says. "That's as fast as they'll flow and I use every bit of it. As long as the oxygen is flowing, I feel normal. Sometimes I'll get a bum fill on one of the bottles and run out before I'm done. If there aren't any hills to ride I can just go slow. But if there's a hill, well, I get off and walk five steps, rest, walk another five steps. I'm pretty good about making sure the fills are good."
When he started riding he got quite a few questions from fellow cyclists. But now that most are familiar with his story, he's just another commuter carrying some gear.
"The kids are the best," Leo says of the curious spectators. "They want to know if my bike has nitrous."
So what will Leo do with the ExtraWheel trailer? Simple, haul more oxygen for longer bike tours.
"I love riding now. Once I got on the bike, I couldn't get off of it. Riding is now a great part of my life."
The Big Prize
Leo won an ExtraWheel trailer from ExtraWheel USA. The ExtraWheel trailer is an innovative single-wheel trailer made in Poland. It uses a full-sized bike wheel and hangs the load on either side, making for an incredibly balanced, lightweight, load hauler. You can find more information about these cool trailers at extrawheelusa.com.