How One Small Perimeter Bicycling Advertisement Changed a Life
Monday, July 3rd, 2017
by Lorry Levine
Like many of us, Dan Rappoport started riding a bike in grade school. And also like many of us, he migrated away from the bike until cycling clubs and recreational cycling emerged in the late 1970’s. But his passion for life on two wheels changed forever in 2003 when he read an advertisement in Adventure Cycling Magazine.
“I remember seeing this ad for a perimeter bicycling organization in Tucson, Arizona,” Rappoport said. “It promoted the idea of going around mountains and municipalities rather than cutting across them.”
Several days later, he joined Perimeter Bicycling and now finds himself elevated into the higher ranks of perimeter accomplishments.
“I used to exclusively cycle in club rides but I never found they went far enough for my liking,” he said. “For a guy like me who isn’t the fastest although I can go long distances, perimeter cycling was a great fit.”
His first perimeter ride was around Sourland Mountain in southern New Jersey.
Initially the biggest challenge for Rappoport was defining the “true” perimeter for any challenge.
“At first I followed the letter of the law in my mind but ultimately realized the spirit of the law was better,” he said.
So he diligently rode the distances, stopped three times per day taking note of location, date and time and submitted his endeavors to Perimeter Bicycling Association. If he met someone who gave him a lift even for a mile, he’d backtrack to “keep it honest.”
“My goal once I started perimeter rides on the east coast was to complete 1,000 perimeter miles and work my way up in the rankings,” Rappoport conveys. “I understood that to qualify I had to bike the perimeter of any defined geographical boundary of 50 miles or more.”
Perimeter Bicycling world records and accomplishments include perimeters of countries, states, counties, cities, islands, lakes, mountains, bays, townships, reserves and parks. Once a member reaches the 1,000-perimeter-mile mark, accomplishments are rated based on number of perimeter miles completed.
“Right now I’m just shy of 3,000 perimeter miles and my ranking is 42,” Rappoport said. His goal is 5,000 perimeter miles.
Despite cycling more than 110,000 miles in his lifetime, he remains most passionate about cycling the perimeter of the next county over, another bay or one more mountain. Multi-day perimeter rides necessitate overnights at a motel and carrying a change of cycling clothes.
“Elapsed time is how the ride is considered, so I get a reasonable night’s rest but leave early. Although I’m not fond of starting a ride in the rain, once I’m out there, I’ll finish,” he said. “And I mostly ride alone, no sag support but occasionally have a friend join me for part of each ride.”
He meets the kindness of strangers along the way and finds “headwinds, sinkholes, washed out bridges or even recent root canal work” not deterrents when completing each perimeter ride.
He’s 67 years old and hoping to improve on his 42nd ranking in Perimeter. His accomplishments include 15 counties, two mountains, two states, three rivers, one township and one bay.
“My goal is to break the record of number of counties ridden,” he said.
Asked if he believes he’ll reach that goal, he gave strong affirmative because “counties are smaller and more numerous in and around New Jersey. Out west they’re larger and more spread out. So I’m hopeful.”
“I just wish more people were involved in cycling perimeters,” he said. “If people wouldn’t see perimeter rides as an obstacle and would just break it down to 10-mile segments, they’d see how much fun it is. Unlike most rides, I’m never concerned with time as I only compete with myself,” he said.
“I’m so glad I saw that advertisement for Perimeter Bicycling nearly 15 years ago. I stay fit, get plenty of exercise and find the goal of the next perimeter ride to be awfully exciting.”
Became a Perimeter Member in 2008
2,882 total miles
In the 1,000 Perimeter Miles or More – Top Perimeter Cyclists, #42
Has ridden perimeters of 15 counties, 2 mountains, 2 states, 3 rivers, 1 township and 1 bay for a total of 24 different perimeters.