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Have a Paratrooper at Your Side

By on November 1, 2018
Siphewe-Baleka

Bail Out of Your Truck for Some Much-Needed R&R

By: Siphiwe Baleka, Founder, Fitness Trucking

From 2008 through the end of 2011, I drove full time as a long-haul lease operator. I remember driving through very scenic states like Wyoming, Montana and Utah and seeing some breathtaking mountains and landscapes. I would drive past stretches of open land and fields with livestock. I was excited and inspired about seeing some eye-popping scenery. I wanted to get out of the truck and enjoy this slice of Americana. I wanted to go hiking and climbing.

I thought to myself, “Most people have to save money to visit these places on vacation. Here I am travelling through these states regularly. How can I take advantage of my mobility as a truck driver and get more out of life? I can’t allow myself to just sit behind the steering wheel and squander these opportunities. What if I had a bicycle? What would that be like?”

With a bike, I could park at truck stops and ride to nearby attractions. I could go to national and state parks that allow truck parking, ride around and enjoy some fresh air, see the mountains, lakes and streams, and be social. I realized that having a bicycle could add a lot of value to my truck driving experience, so, I decided to purchase a bicycle. The only problem—where am I going to put it?

I didn’t want to mount a bicycle to the back of the cab, since that would probably cause damage to both the bicycle and the truck. I also didn’t want to expose the bike to thieves. Mounting it to the deer guard didn’t seem like a good idea, either. So I did a little research into fold-up bicycles and discovered the Montague Paratrooper. This bicycle was designed for the military. It enabled soldiers to jump out of planes with a bicycle folded-up inside of a bag, land in a field, unfold the bicycle in less than a minute, and ride off. Hey, if it was sturdy enough for the military’s paratroopers, surely it would be sturdy enough for me.

Saved by a Paratrooper

In 2010, I bought a Montague Paratrooper. When I was using it regularly, I placed it in the passenger seat, and when I wasn’t using it regularly, I stashed it on the sleeper’s top bunk. I quickly found the bike opened a whole new world for me. I would ride the bicycle to explore the little towns I delivered to. I would ride to restaurants. During the summer months, I would ride to beaches and lakes. Sometimes I would ride to the YMCA or go swimming. Having a bicycle helped me enjoy all the places I traveled. Of course, it was also good for burning calories and improving fitness.

Fortunately, Montague recognizes the needs of truck drivers. “Truckers spend long hours sitting in the cab, and many are looking to lead more active lifestyles while on the road,” said Ryan Walas, Director of Marketing for Montague Bikes. “The Paratrooper is an ideal bike to fill this need as it provides a rugged, sturdy ride and a small, portable profile when folded. Wherever the road takes truckers, a Paratrooper is the perfect complement to help them explore well beyond the stopping points along their journeys.”

Enhanced Fitness, Quality of Life

Recently, the Harvard Study of Adult Development—one of the world’s longest-running studies focused on adult life—collected a ton of data on physical and mental health. Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels.

“When we gathered together everything we knew about people at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, in a popular TED Talk. “It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

If satisfaction in relationships is the important factor in being healthy after the age of 50, I would also suggest that job satisfaction is an important factor. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” I found that having a bicycle provided regular opportunities for me to get away from the truck, to visit parks, to explore, to enjoy restaurants, to meet people and lead a more active social life, while out on the road. It brought happiness to the job!

If you’re considering the addition of a bicycle for your truck, durability is important, especially if you’re packing some extra pounds. I’ve worked with a lot of drivers and some of the big issues are breaking seat stems, breaking the peddles, or damaging the wheel rims when hitting a bump. You also want to ask, is this bicycle strong enough to survive a lot of wear and tear? The worst thing is buying a bicycle that you can’t ride after three or four months, because it came with cheap parts that break prematurely or are easily damaged when loading and unloading the bicycle.

I still have my Montague Paratrooper, and it’s performing just as good as the day I bought it. I no longer drive a truck on a daily basis, but I still ride my Paratrooper, just for fun!

The Montague Paratrooper is available in three frame sizes to match men’s and women’s heights from 4′-8″ to 6′-4″ and taller. To learn more and see specifications, visit MontagueBikes.com/product/paratrooper/.

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