By Karen Kefauver – Sentinel correspondent
November 27, 2009
Link to Sentinel article
Say the word “dojo” and most people think of martial arts, but Rob Mylls would like you to think of bicycles.
“The Japanese term is used for a place of training for martial arts,” said Mylls, “but I added the word ‘bicycle.’” In July, he launched a new business, the Bike Dojo, from his Santa Cruz home.
“Essentially, it’s an outside cycling gym,” he explained. “I specialize ingetting people to ride who have not ridden. We get them cycling, teach them safety techniques, and, eventually, train for longer distances.
We also offer more advanced options for riders who train for centuries, triathlons and charity rides.”
Mylls was a BMX junior champion in Virginia and later raced bicycles in the velodrome and on the road. He moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 and began commuting to Silicon Valley, where he worked for 15 years in high tech as a project manager. With a job over the hill, Mylls logged less time bicycling and noticed his fitness slipping. Inspired by his best friend and his upcoming 40th birthday, he resolved to train for the AIDS ride — a fundraising bicycle trip of more than 500 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
He lost 30 pounds during the training and has completed the tour twice, in 2007 and 2009.
When his high tech job was terminated, he was at a crossroads professionally and personally.
“My wife said to me: ‘You hate going over the hill, so why don’t you do what you love?'” Mylls said.
The couple sold their home in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mylls created the Bike Dojo.
“I was always looking for people to ride with,” Mylls said. “I had posted on Craigslist looking for organized rides and
training rides that weren’t ridiculously fast. I saw the need to have more organized rides.”
With a motto of “No one ever gets left behind,” the Bike Dojo currently caters to those who are newer to bikes, focusing for now on road riding.
“There is a learning curve for bike riding, and I bridge that gap from having the bike to getting going as a cyclist,”
Mylls offered just the kind of guidance Jennifer Nemo, 32, of Santa Cruz, said she was looking for when she became a member of the Bike Dojo.
“I would never ride alone because I am not familiar with biking routes,” Nemo said.
“Also, I do not know how to change the tires on my bike if I get a flat. So, it’s nice to ride with someone who has all
that experience under their belt.”
Nemo said her biggest challenge is climbing hills like the ones at the UC Santa Cruz campus.
To become a member, there is a flat monthly fee, plus an additional cost to use one of the 25 bicycles maintained by Mylls and his apprentice, Delfina Gimeno. The Bike Dojo also works with local bicycle shops to equip people for cycling.
“I got to find out if I like cycling before I made the investment of purchasing the gear myself,” said Cassandra Christine, 42, a member of the Bike Dojo. The Soquel resident describes herself as a beginning cyclist. “The Bike Dojo gives me a fun group to ride with.”
Mylls is developing a schedule of winter rides and working to develop his membership. In the future, he envisions offering Pilates, yoga and spin classes. Down the road, he dreams of having a Bike Dojo team that trains and rides together to raise money for charity events.
“Cycling is for anybody,” Mylls said, noting his 75-year-old father is training for the world championships in velodrome
racing in Portugal.
“There is a learning curve, but it’s easy to get over it. The best part is being part of the community,” he said. “I don’t like riding by myself.”
Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, is a sports and travel freelance journalist. She blogs weekly about bicycling for the Sentinel at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside.
THE BIKE DOJO: www.thebikedojo.com.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY CYCLING CLUB: www.santacruzcycling.org
MOUNTAIN BIKERS OF SANTA CRUZ: www.mbosc.org
MERE MORTALS: www.mere-mortals.org.