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The Million Mile Man (continued)

journals. They list every road that he rides every single day and with whom. If it is the first time on a road, or with a new person, they get a special pen color in the journal. The second time, it is another color, and the third and thereafter, it is the final color. He has over 30 years worth of these journals outlining every single ride that he has ever done in that time.

Danny acts as if cycling is a locked door, to which he has the key. He takes pride in showing it off, pride in new people learning what he has known for years. The moment he sees joy or excitement on a cyclist’s face as a reaction to a beautiful remote road or the feeling of accomplishment after a long ride, he reminds them that they could do it daily as he does. Danny loves taking people on their first century, or first double century, or first ride over the local mountain ridge. Since his days of competition have dwindled, much of his satisfaction now comes from sharing his knowledge and watching as others learn to enjoy it. He also has his road trips.

Danny’s trips consist of packing what most people would take on a regular ride, and leaving for weeks on end. He plans out his stops to stay with old friends, or friends of friends, or total strangers he has somehow found. He spaces the stops 200 - 250 miles apart, and cycles between them daily. Eventually he will reach his destination and base himself at a friend’s house for a week or so. During that week he will ride as much as possible, which for Danny is 700 - 1200 miles per week. After he has exhausted his welcome, he turns around and heads home. Somehow he manages a 3-week vacation on less than 100 dollars, and probably has more fun than most people spending thousands.

Not having a full-time job and just riding a bicycle would seem like an easy life to most, but it doesn’t seem so easy being Danny Chew. The goal of his life, to ride 1,000,000 miles, constantly looms overhead. Daily, weekly, yearly mileage all adds up to the single, distant goal. Sometime in his 80’s Danny should hit the 1,000,000 mark. That is, if he isn’t forced to take time off due to injury, poverty or death. Danny has watched friends die while riding. During the 2004 “Calvin’s 12 hour Challenge” a friend of Danny’s was struck from behind as he was making a left hand turn. Danny was upset for his friend, for the race promoter, for everybody who was hoping to finish the 12 hour race, and for himself, as he had planned to win the event.

Danny has put off all traditional things in life in pursuit of this single goal. He jokes that he is married to his bicycle. Despite his advanced degrees in mathematics, he has no aspirations of pursuing a career. Cycling is life for Danny. His bicycle has brought him so much, and taken him so far, but could also be the cause of the biggest letdown of his entire life—not hitting the 1,000,000 mile mark. Even if he does make it, he will not get there first. There was a man from Britain in the 1950’s, and a guy in New Jersey who is already at 1.3 million or so. Danny is not doing it to be the first, or the most, or the best. Danny is pursuing it as so many others pursue cycling, because it lets an individual pursue an individual goal. The million miles is Danny’s goal. Others will be content riding for years to complete a century. For some, simply riding a few times a week and enjoying each ride will bring the same feeling of accomplishment. Even if he doesn’t get to the goal, the time was not wasted, as he has influenced and taught so many people how to enjoy cycling in a new way, on a “NEW ROAD!”