Citizen Airmen bikes 31K miles

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing

Pedaling a bicycle in the infamous Kansas South wind each day to work may seem like an odyssey, but one 931st Air Refuel Wing Airman has been performing this feat since June of 2006.

Lt. Col. Clint Burpo, 931 ARW Chief of Logistics Plans and Integration, started this daily routine  mainly for fitness.

 “I tried it just to see if I could do it," Burpo said. 


Burpo lives in Andover,  and the trip to McConnell is 12 miles both ways.


"After I did it a time or two, I found I really enjoyed it, and felt like I could do it whenever I went to the base,” he said. “Before I knew it, I had logged 500 miles.”


Depending on the weather conditions, Burpo has continued to cycle to work each day, and has logged 31,000 miles to date. Burpo tracks his progress on an excel sheet.  He uses the same process to track the money he has saved in gas and car maintenance while comparing it to the cost of bicycle maintenance and repairs.  In total, he has saved about $17,000 in the past ten years, and his bicycle maintenance has only totaled at $2,000 in repairs.

For those who are interested in becoming a rider, or just to challenge themselves, Burpo cautions people to first make sure they get a helmet.  He admitted that he rarely wore one in his youth and he was lucky he never wiped out without one. 

“I can honestly say it’s saved my life a couple of times,” he said.  "Traffic is always a concern…as a cyclist, you become more keyed into what’s going around you."

Burpo also recommends doing adequate research on the bike itself.

"There is a bit of an investment if you want to get a decent bike, but it’s well worth it and it’s much healthier on joints than running." 


Burpo admits another part of the reason he started cycling frequently is because he doesn’t enjoy running and the stress it put on his knees.  Despite not being an avid runner, cycling has helped him maintain a healthy endurance on his physical fitness tests, and he says he feels healthier now than he did in his late 20s.

Jackie Myles, the lead fitness instructor at the Robert J. Dole Community Center who regularly leads the Spin Class here, agrees.


“Cycling is great cross training,” she says.  “Even if you’re not running, [regularly cycling] will help you become stronger at running and it’s a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy have trouble with their knees.”


Though he won’t be running in any marathons soon, or cycling in them, Burpo says he plans to continue tracking his progress, pedaling well past 31,000 and recounting his experience and savings to anyone who is interested in becoming a rider.