Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of our series where Team Fur Bandit will introduce our most active members through compiled biographies. Our goal is to help you learn more about who they are and why they commit wholeheartedly to charitable giving via cycling. Additional questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are you, age, what do you do for a living (occupation), residence (town name), local affiliations (groups involved in).
Eli Peters, 33 years old, Loves Park, IL, I’m a part-time student at Rock Valley College, full-time member of Team Fur Bandit. I own and operate a technology consulting company in the Rockford area, repairing computers and helping maintain networks and data systems. I also work with local custom integrators to bring a very personal I/T experience to peoples’ homes.
What brought you to Team Fur Bandit? Why do you ride (life experience, hobby, health etc)?
I came on board with Team Fur Bandit at the original Tour de Frost in 2010. The idea of a winter bicycle ride sounded fun, and I had only recently gotten back into cycling after a good number of years spent watching the world go by. I used to travel the region for work and spent entirely too much time behind the wheel of a company car, spending too many nights in hotel rooms instead of enjoying fresh air. When I started experiencing some weight-related problems, a friend of mine suggested I get into cycling. From there I met fellow team members David, DJ, and Ryan… and saw my first furry bike. I couldn’t resist at that point. When I learned of the scope of the charitable bike rides and the across-Iowa ride RAGBRAI, I was completely hooked.
Let’s talk accomplishments. How many miles have you logged this year? Why does keeping count matter to you?
I’m just shy of 2000 miles this year between my various bicycles. If I could rely on my bicycle for 100% of my transportation needs, I would. Because of the increased number of miles, it’s important to keep an accurate maintenance schedule for the bikes. After hundreds and thousands of miles, things need to be checked, adjusted, aligned, etc. and there’s no way to do that without keeping a log when you ride as much as we do.
Go back in time. The year is 1989. What are you riding (bike color, describe it and state your age at the time.)
I was 10 years old, riding a Schwinn cruiser with ape-hanger handlebars and a banana seat. The color of the bike was stock burgundy sparkle. I spent these days cycling all over town and into Rockford along the river path. Learning alternative routes home became a necessity because I was younger and smaller than many children in the neighborhood, and I’d often have to adjust my path in order to avoid becoming a target for the local bullies. I was rather good at pedaling fast at this age.
The fur stands out. Why do you subscribe to furring up your ride?
Quite simply I like the attention, and it’s important to get people to stop and realize what we do. We’re avid cyclists. We all want safer transportation for bicycles. We like raising awareness for the charities we’ve helped. Sometimes it takes doing something ridiculous in order to stand out. And on a very practical note, when I lay my bike down to take a break amidst hundreds of other bikes on the bigger rides, it’s never a problem to find my bicycle.
Going the distance: What’s the longest bike ride you have taken?
My longest rides so far have been 100 milers with the longest being exactly 111.44 miles. We’ve done two-day camping trips where the first day is over 60 miles and the second day is 100. I also rode in the Udder Century ride in McHenry County last year. I plan on doing it again.
You take the roads less traveled or those beaten up on a daily basis locally. What do you think is needed? How can you help make it happen?
I prefer to ride in as much of the public’s eye as possible. That means taking a lane on a busy street and getting out there to be seen. Fur aside, city drivers need to remember that all bicycles belong on the streets. Sidewalks are not called ‘siderides’ for a reason, and in many cities like Chicago, it’s actually illegal for a cyclist to ride where pedestrians belong. For country roads I definitely prefer roads with shoulders, especially those highways that have a posted speed limit of 55mph.
When you’re not on your bike, where can you be found?
I work locally in many businesses you may frequent. I enjoy the delicacies of some of Rockford’s fine restaurants such as Octane and Abreo. When I go out on a weekend evening, I like to enjoy time at Kryptonite.
Pick a celebrity local or famous. Who would you like to see on a Team Fur Bandit ride?
WREX’s Eric Wilson of course! I think he’d get a kick out of our winter weather Tour de Frost!
What’s the best life advice you’ve ever been given? How can you apply it to riding?
“Remember to wash your hands.” – Mom
Carry sanitary wipes, you never know if the facilities are going to have soap or hand sanitizer!