"A mind that is stretched by a new experience
can never go back to its old dimensions." Oliver Wendall Holmes
Frank Angelo Cavaluzzi
Team Standing Cyclist
For me, cycling long distances while standing started off as an odd
experiment. I'd been cycling on and off road for 25+ years. Back in the late '90's I began having trouble breathing.
Soon after, I was diagnosed with allergic asthma. It became so severe I could barely function. I lost motivation,
gained 20 pounds and was lucky if I could make it down the driveway to put out the trash.
Being the tinkering type, I began to try different
cycling positons hoping to get up off the couch and become active once again. Soon I discovered I could ride
short distances while standing up, without feeling like I would collapse. Standing seemed natural to me and helped with
my shortness of breath and the tightening in my chest. My ultimate goal was to once again ride a tour and do it medication
free. Eventually standing (along with diet modification, improved conditioning, mind/body training, and of
course the careful avoidance of allergy triggers) was allowing me to get back out there on the bike and live again, without
relying upon a daily asthma med. My rescue inhaler continues to provide the safety net I need when out on the road
or in the woods.
As you could imagine, riding standing up the entire time was difficult, both mentally and physically, but soon
I realized that I could pace myself using my heart rate monitor and train my mind and body to avoid lactic acid burn and fight
off fatigue. Now I consider it a "fun" challenge. Currently, I train and tour standing 95% of the time. When
I do ride seated with friends I find myself standing much of the time anyway. It just feels right. I never forget I have
asthma though. There are constant reminders. I must always manage my situation carefully to complete even the simplest ride
successfully and safely.
My body and mind were not the only areas in need of a change. My bicycles had to be modified as well. Geometry
and components had to be tweaked to keep my knees and back (relatively) pain free. This was and is an ongoing challenge.
After completing several rounds of mods and day-trip test riding, I set out on multiday bike-packing trips both
on and off road.
I had experience mountain and road touring but always with a saddle. My first big standing trip was in Ireland back in 2006. More recently, I tackled Iceland riding from Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, up to the windy, cold and wet Northwest Fjords. My next adventure was
a ride around Lake Champlain (covering NY/VT/Quebec). In total, 402 "seat-less"
miles in 8 days, fully loaded with camping gear, tools, and clothes, to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit
organization Stand Up To Cancer. Thanks to the local TV stations and newspapers, it was an amazing experience and a great
In August 31st, 2010, I completed a 320+ mile ride, off-road from the outskirts of Pittsburgh to Washington
DC, to raise awareness for mesothelioma cancer and the ban on asbestos, the substance responsible for this deadly disease.
This seatless Meso Challenge included one additional twist - a single speed, fixed-gear bicycle that did not allow me to coast. When the bike was in motion,
my legs were in motion. I enjoyed this seat-less, fixed-gear bike configuration right from the start and today it
is my ride of choice for most all of my standing cycling.
In reflecting back on Team Standing Cyclist in 2011,
one very special ride stands out. I set out to cycle as many standing miles as I could, at one time, as a tribute to
a special young lady named Rose. Rose, now 10 years old, has been challenged by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) for most
of her life. She had written an inspiring song (lyrics) which drew me to her strength and encouraged me to push past my own
personal limits. I rode from dawn to dark that day and successfully completed an 89 mile route in upstate New York, cycling the
entire time without the ability to sit down. The iStand for Rose 2011 trip page continues to raise both awareness and funds for SMA and the Families of SMA organization.
training and every trip yields a wealth of personal tests, lessons learned, and special connections with like minded people
from around the world. Meaningful experiences that extend well beyond the athletic nature of the event, have become commonplace. There's
a lot of engagement off the bike - from the stories and advice of Irish pub old timers to providing hope to
the parents of an asthmatic child in Iceland. I'm very thankful to be cycling. I'm very thankful...period. Still standing...now standing for others. Come join Team StandingCyclist.com and try cycling, running or walking for a cause or as a tribute to someone special. Participate, volunteer
your support, or simply learn more about a special initiative and help spread the word. STAND UP. DO GREAT