It began with a two-mile ride at lunch. Scott McElhiney then worked up to bicycling seven miles when he could steal a few minutes. Soon he was up to a 20-mile round-trip commute to work almost every day.
And cycling became a new lifestyle for the 44-year-old Midland mechanic.
McElhiney hadn’t ridden a bicycle in about 10 years when inspiration hit. He spent much of his day after returning from work in front of his computer or staring at the television.
"I felt like I might be dead in a few years if I kept at it," he said.
He later joined the Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club on longer trips and began cycling to work in University Place, 10 miles from his home.
"It was a good workout that left me energized at the start of work," he said. "And it turned out that my commute time by bike was within about 10 minutes of my car time."
His waistline began shrinking shortly after he began biking. His blood pressure and pulse rate are down. His endurance is up. He’s 50 pounds lighter than when he started; last summer, he was dropping about five points a week.
He goes on longer rides on the weekends. Destinations include Olympia, Belfair, Renton and South Prairie. He’s logged all his trips and has ridden more than 3,800 miles since last summer. He passed the 1,600-mile mark for this year earlier this week.
"I’ve gotten to see more of the region since last July than I’ve seen since moving here around 1990," he said.