2018 Year In Review

2018 Year In Review

2018 Year In Review

Another year, another year in review and boy what a difference a year makes! I think I say that every year, but 2018 ended up to be a challenging one personally. It was challenging because I really had to dig deep and be honest with myself. I had a lofty goal of earning $24,000 (I know this may not sound like a lot to some), but I fell short by $10,000. In all consideration, I did earn $14,000, which is one of the highest earnings since I went out on my own.

As you know, it’s not all about money. I had planned to do more writing in the year and perhaps have a book ready for all of you to use for local overnight bike trips in the Los Angeles area. To say I had writers’ block would be untrue as you need to start writing in order to be blocked from it.  For some reason, I really despised sitting down to write. I was on full-on FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) mode where I felt like I needed to be out with my friends or doing things that drove my bottom line in earning money. So in a way, my focus on finances really got the best of me last year. I’m not going to dwell on that right now since I’ll come back to this later on in this post, so let’s move forward and dive into a deeper analysis.

Group shot before bike tour
Bike Touring in May (Union Station, Los Angeles)

Website Relaunch

When it came to Milestone Rides, one of the biggest accomplishments was the revamping of the site last year. It is a lot more visually appealing and user friendly thanks to my design and friend, Eva of The Axis of Eva, who did an incredible job in helping me step forward with my redesign.

This had been on my list of things to do for almost 2 years, and I was finally able to finish this up. I ended up posting about 10 articles in 2018, which is a big improvement from the 2 that I did in 2017. I’m glad that I’m moving forward with progress, but I could definitely do better this year and be somewhat consistent about it. That is why I’m committing myself to posting content at least twice a week.

Highway 101 Group Photo
Hanging out out on Highway 101

Of course, there will be times when this may not play out as planned since I will be traveling. Instead of beating myself up and just letting it all go down in flames, I am going to try my hardest to provide value to you all. The important difference this time around is that I am doing this for me. Whereas in the past, it was just to get content out there for views and traffic. I’m doing this because I enjoy it, which is something that I kind of lost sight of this last year. I know I’m not going to be perfect, so I’m going to allow myself to be imperfect and see every failure as a stepping stone to my eventual success.

Teaching Safety

Ever since I became a League Certified Instructor to teach bike safety in 2014, I have been active with several groups in Los Angeles and Orange County to help spread the word about bicycle safety to the community. In 2018, I enjoyed the busiest year yet of teaching bicycle safety with multiple organizations.

This was the primary reason why I was able to grow my income to $14,000 without much effort. I taught with Walk N’ Rollers at the Lennox School District on multiple occasions teaching grades Kindergarten to 6th grade in the Spring.

Los Angeles Metro made available to the public a free bike safety class to LA residents. I was able to teach newer riders how to safely navigate the streets of our city. It was great to share my knowledge and teach people how to ride their bikes appropriately around motorized vehicles. The goal was to provide education for people who are open to choose biking as a viable means of transportation.

I taught a Traffic Skills 101 course in Santa Ana. We spent the afternoon going over bike safety and doing obstacle courses to prepare them in becoming League Certified Instructors, like myself.

I was then informed by YES Sports that there was another grant with the LA Unified School District which allowed schools to take out a fleet of bicycles to a middle school, train Physical Education teachers, and team teach with them in the classroom. I helped with 2 pilot programs before I left for my Route 66 trip. I started team teaching with a school in Panorama City and am continuing my efforts now that the strike has ended.

The Rides

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy writing about all my rides that I had the opportunity to go on this year. Specifically, the new rides that I have never done before.

Baldy Bruiser

Even though my Chicago to New York trip was cancelled in the Spring due to being short on just 1 rider, I still ended up going on one of the most epic bikepacking adventure in my life. This trip is dubbed the Baldy Bruiser which was a loop across Mount Baldy by way of the mountain areas just north of LA and San Bernardino County in Southern California.

We took the Metrolink train from Union Station in Los Angeles all the way to the last stop in San Bernardino. We then proceeded to ride up to Big Bear, not knowing how steep and challenging the terrain would be. We ended up wild camping the first night and made it into Big Bear after a marathon of a day riding up.

One of our riders had a bad case of altitude sickness, so we were relegated in staying another day before making our way to Lake Arrowhead. That was probably the hardest part of the trip where we scaled boulders and was constantly challenged by rutted out fire roads. My experience or lack of experience in the dirt made things very uncomfortable. I hated that day so much at the time and even had a moment of angry disbelief – so much as to declare that I was not having fun. To be honest, I wasn’t having fun as I felt like I was being pushed out of my comfort zone with so much intensity. Looking back, I may have overreacted and would love to try it again with a different setup on my bike or maybe another bike even.

We didn’t end up finishing the entire route and called it quits at the Cajon Pass near Fontana. The ride was concluded with a quick train ride back home from Fontana and a vow to complete this trip in 2019. I’m happy to say, the planning has begun and I’m hoping to wrap up this challenging ride once again.

Tour de Laemmle

The Laemmle Theatres, a popular Los Angeles movie theatre chain, puts on an annual ride starting at their Santa Monica theatre early in the morning and continuing throughout Los Angeles County for the day. The ride would go as far as Claremont to the east and come back to stops in Pasadena, Glendale, and various places in Los Angeles. The total mileage is 139 miles. If you were in the right condition, you would finish this ride at around dinner time in Santa Monica and receive the coveted socks only for the finishers.  

I’ve heard so much about this ride when I became active in the Los Angeles bike community since 2008 and was interested in completing it. So with the Chicago to New York trip being cancelled, I had my opportunity this year in June.

Laemmle Claremont
The Laemmle Claremont stop during the Tour de Laemmle

It started it out great as I was pacing with pretty fast riders, but then I hit the wall at mile 40 in Hacienda Heights. My leg muscles started to cramp. It was unbearable as I started to lose all my riding progress and was relegated to frequent stops to stretch out cramps and muscle pulls. I ended up riding about 96 miles into Pasadena at 5PM. I was among the last to make it there. I decided to call it quits knowing that it was going to be a brutal 40 miles back to Santa Monica with a climb up Sepulveda Pass and having to travel back from Santa Monica would have made this a very late night and I had plans the following morning.

I basically slow rolled back home managing my cramping legs. Even though this wasn’t a bike travel trip, it showcased routes I’ve never ever ridden before and did so in such a fun and challenging way. I intend to finish this someday, but not this year.

Route 66

My first and only tour for Adventure Cycling Association came after Labor Day weekend in September. I got the opportunity to ride Route 66 because my pal, Jared, had a rare golden ticket. He was given the opportunity to pick any route and any leader since he had such bad experiences with tour leaders the previous 2 years.

Luckily, he enjoyed our time together on the Trans Am from 2016, so he asked if I would be open to joining him for the 2-month long tour from Chicago to Santa Monica. Without hesitation, I agreed to do it with him. This route has been on my list of tours to ride since it was introduced back in 2015.

Because of how well Jared and I work together, we managed to finish the ride without any major issues and traveled across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas (not me since Kansas had only 14 miles of Route 66 and I wasn’t riding that day), Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Currently, I’m working on the videos documenting our trip starting with this one. There should be more coming up soon, so stay tuned.


Besides bicycle touring trips, I finally had the chance to go to Atlanta, Georgia for the first time ever. My cousin was getting married so we went in the middle of August. Now I know why they call it “Hotlanta”. It was hot, but wasn’t as bad as I thought it could be. Of course, we were indoors or in an air conditioned car for much of those days.

Ruby Falls Selfie
My sister and I at Ruby Falls in Georgia

We got to sightsee Atlanta and visited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s childhood home and his church where his mom still attends service till this day. We drove up to Chattanooga, Tennessee and the border of Georgia and visited “Lookout Mountain” to see Ruby Falls.

All was great, but I ended up losing my very expensive point-and-shoot camera, the Canon G7X Mark II. I left it in our rental car, filed a report with the car company, but still haven’t heard from them yet. Chances are, I’m not going to hear from them. I’m sad about it since there were pictures and videos on it that would have been great to get back. It’s just another reminder to keep those memories stored away safely and do your sweeps wherever you are. Cars, campgrounds, etc.

Extra Activities

Johnny BJJ
Getting my Gracie Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Some of you might know (through my Instagram updates) that I’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) for the past 2 years or so and have been going consistently every week. This was probably the most consistent thing I’ve ever done and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I was finally awarded my Blue Belt in December.

This was easily one of the best moments for 2018 as I was finally recognized for my efforts in accomplishing something, even to this day, it seems impossible. Even though I may be a blue belt, I feel like I’m still a white belt in so many ways.

I continue to practice BJJ but have limited my time to 1-2 times a week in favor of training for my first marathon.


Speaking of my marathon training…I actually decided fairly recently that I am not going to participate in my first marathon in Los Angeles. This had been part of my bucket list and when I got back from the Route 66 trip, I came up with this crazy idea of doing it in 2019.

I even registered for the race but because I was a month behind my running group’s training, I mistakenly upped my mileage and training effort thus causing chronic ankle issues (achilles heel). At the same time, I was booted out of my healthcare provider, and I had to reapply. Luckily, I was reinstated this month, but at a cost.

Achilles Heel
Wished I was rolling

My left ankle is definitely not 100%, so I would like to pay my doctor a visit before deciding to do any kind of endurance sport like running. Thankfully, biking and BJJ doesn’t seem to aggravate it as much.

Once I get an assessment of my foot problems and figure out the next steps, I’m going to slowly train throughout the year and hopefully be in marathon running condition for the 2020 LA Marathon. Keeping my fingers crossed for healing.

Annual Mileage Count

In case you were wondering about my mileage count for the year, it wasn’t pretty. After setting up a personal high in 2017 with over 5,000 miles traveled, I was only able to squeeze in 3,343 miles last year. And to dilute the numbers even more, 500 of that was on the electric bike so that means I only rode under 3,000 miles without a motor. Have I told you how much I’ve enjoyed riding the e-Bike? Don’t get me wrong, there’s still work to do when you’re on the e-Bike. It’s not like you hit the throttle and it goes. Mine is pedal assist ,so you still need to do some work. Of course, the question is how much work? FYI, I’m normally in Eco mode when I’m not hauling heavy items or riding up a hill.

What Did I Do Right?

My focus and drive to finish redesigning Milestone Rides was something I am glad that I had stayed on track to finish. It was done in the 1st Quarter of 2018, so I was glad it didn’t drag on too long.

It has been a long time for me to wrap up any personal projects like this which wasn’t tied to any financial gains. Knowing that I still had that drive to begin and finish something is somewhat redeeming given how unmotivated I have been.

St. Lous Gateway Arch
The famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

I learned to stop the self-deprecating dialogue I would have with myself. When it comes to the internal conversations I have, I am very negative. This may come as a surprise as I try to be as positive as possible through my action and communication. When I’m left to my own devices, I default to a self-loathing and almost hateful tone towards myself. I then read the book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant (affiliate link), as well as reread The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz (affiliate link), I realized I had a lot to do to practice self-love.

I pulled out my notebook and journaled. I sat there and asked myself all the hard questions and made myself answer them genuinely without any judgement. I asked my inner voice to treat me like I would treat a loved one. And you know what? It worked. I am now using a much more positive way of addressing myself. A way that enriches my life and makes it more productive. I don’t use negativity to drive my motivations. I am accountable to myself so I want to do things because it would help me in the future.

Route 66 Sign
Two tour leaders being silly

I even thought of myself as being 3 different kinds of people. There is the present me, the one that I have complete control over at the moment. There is the past me, the one that I am either trying to be or judge myself against. And then there is future me, who is the best version of me that I aspire to be. So in order to make future me be the best that I can be, the present me needs to learn from the past me and make choices that will put us in the right direction.

That is how I’ve been operating for the past month or two, and it has been a game changer. I am more productive. I am more happy. I feel more complete in what I’m doing. I have purpose in what I’m doing and I hold myself accountable for my actions. I’ve allowed myself to fail and move forward. I leave negative talk out and coach myself to be better a person. I think it’s working, but I’ll guess I have to give it some time to see how I’ve progressed.

I don’t think this is going to be the last time I am going to write about this self-development stuff. I hope to continue to share it, so that you can all learn from it and apply it in your own lives.

Things I Can Improve


For 2019, I’ve decided to up my financial goals from $24,000 to $36,000. You’re probably wondering why am I shooting for something higher than last year, especially since I didn’t hit the mark last year? I believe my mindset has drastically changed. I am clear about my “why” and the steps I need to take to get there. I am constantly testing, failing, and adjusting to help me progress through my work. The constant is that I have to be willing to do the work. It will not work if I don’t work.

Minimize Distractions

Gone is FOMO. I’m not going to say, “Yes” to every social opportunities. This will be reserved for the ones that are truly going to be important to me. FOMO is the root of most of my distractions. It is the unproductive brainstorming I tend to do when I am distracted and procrastinating. I understand that some days will be easy and other days very difficult, but the the bottom line is that I just don’t give up. I am going to identify it, do something about it, and adjust so that I don’t make the mistakes that I am prone to making.

Bike Overnight in the Mountains
Bike Overnight in the Angeles Crest Mountains

Be of Value

I’m going to continue to produce valuable content on this blog and on my YouTube channel. I am going to have things ready and produced for you all to enjoy. I know I’ve mentioned that I would do this in the past and have actually done more, but I think the fact that I have a “why” will help me succeed.

I’ve stepped away from this idea of providing value to my readers and viewers. I’ve been dealing with what they call, “imposter syndrome” where I am not confident of who I am becoming or why I am able to do these things when other people can do the same. These are limited views, and it should be dealt with massive action. This was the primary reason why I did not move forward in publishing my first book last year.

Huge Windmill
Can you find my bike?

Balanced Quality

Do things with a high degree of quality is something I can improve on. Even though I may be doing things to a high standard, I feel that I can do better and make things even with more quality. Always ask, “What else can I do to make things even better?” I’ve very passive about delivering the best that I can. I’ve been lazy and only do things half-assed.

Being inspired by my own father’s attention to detail, I can use his work ethics as a source of inspiration for my own progress in life. Again, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Renewing my commitment to this is going to be key to my success.

Lessons I’ve Learned

Above All Else, Love Thy Self

Learning Electric Unicycle
1 wheel > 2 wheels? Maybe.

There are many lessons that I’ve learned from 2018. The most important one, which I’ve touched upon earlier is allowing myself to love myself and to turn down all the negativity. I’ve already spoken about this comprehensively, so I’m not going to go into details again.

Have An Outcome In Mind

I’ve learned that I haven’t been challenging my “why.” I’ve just been blindly going towards an arbitrary goal. I needed to renew my overall goals again. Asking my “why” doesn’t mean I know exactly how to do this, but it will keep me focused on the prize.

That’s something much more difficult to maintain when you lose sight of your “why” and you end up just doing things just for the sake of doing things.

Plan Ahead

One of the habits (a bad one at that) is that I don’t give much time to plan ahead for many events. This would equate to not being able to think clearly to resolve any problems that may arise. I tend to jump into a situation where little to no planning has been done ahead of time.

That is why it is important for me to take a break and see if I can prepare myself for whatever I am doing. Having the foresight to do this will allow me to minimize future issues or at least not be caught off guard.

Embrace The Wanderlust

Art Center Mural
At the Art Center in Pasadena

After my 2017 year of constant traveling, I thought I was done with traveling for awhile. But at the conclusion of Route 66, being away for 2 months, I was still yearning to be on the road even after the tour had ended. I felt guilty for not wanting to go back to my family and friends at home, but I realized that this isn’t a bad thing.

I have come to terms that I have a serious case of wanderlust and I am okay with that. 2017 was a busy travel year and being away for half of the year did burn me out a bit, but in 2018, I was fully recovered and still wanted to be out there. I’m going to allow myself to have the adventures I’ve ever wanted and not feel guilty about it. There’s just still so much to see in this world.

Looking Forward To 2019

2019 has been a busy one. I’ve been busy trying to stay on task and create content for this site. I’ve been exploring several side hustles in addition to my Amazon business. Plus, we can’t go without having these amazing Adventure Cycling bike tours to lead, so let’s get into the details.

Side Hustles

I told you I seem to come back to the finances one way or another. To be honest with you, my savings is dwindling significantly. I can’t sustain my spending with the lack of earnings anymore. I am giving myself 1 year to see if I can make $36,000 without working for someone else and trading my time for money.

Group shot at Refugio State Beach
Group shot at Refugio State Beach

That is why I’ve started to sell on eBay by seeking things from yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. So far, I’m earning about $200 a month since December. Most importantly, I’m enjoying this hustle because I get to go out and treasure hunt for things that may sell. I found a brand new golf bag at a garage sale for $20 and flipped it for $90 after all the fees and expenses. It’s fun and exciting to see something like this play out. I’m slowly building up my inventory and refining my shipping process.

I’m also exploring the possibilities of doing more product expansion into Amazon by sourcing from retail stores to improve my cash flow. One area is sourcing used books. The margins there are incredibly good and the demand is always there, so I’m exploring that option. I’m also expanding my product line for Private Labeled product after I do a bit of research into why my sales have taken a nosedive since 3rd quarter last year. Again, so much to do, but I’m enjoying the process.

Adventure Cycling Associations

After just having 1 Adventure Cycling trip to lead in 2018, I am given the opportunity to be a part of 4 different trips in 2019. The first one will be for Big Bend in April. This will be a 10 day ride from Fort Davis, TX to the National Park and back out. It should be beautiful at that time of year and the park should be amazing with blooming wildflowers and fewer visitors. It’s probably one of the best kept secrets of the National Park locations.

The next assignment is to be an advisor for the Leadership Training Course in Oregon in May. This is where I will teach people who are interested in becoming tour leaders for Adventure Cycling Association. All tour leaders, including myself, goes through this training in order to be considered for any future tours. It’ll be great for me to take a peek behind the curtains and see what is entailed into picking out tour leaders for the organization.

Adventure Cycling Van
Adventure Cycling Van

Then comes the big trip across the country! The epic Northern Tier, starts over at Bar Harbor, Maine and ends over at Anacortes, Washington. This 3 month tour of being on the road will be my longest tour that I’ve ever led. It is absolutely going to be epic! We’ll get to ride across the New England states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York before we cross into Canada and watch the Niagara Falls. We’ll then continue across towards Michigan and end up riding through the plains into Washington. I’ve heard so much good stuff from other tour leaders and participants who have ridden this route who stated that this was the best cross country route. I’ll get to see this first hand.

Finally, to end the bicycle touring season, I’ll be traveling to Puerto Rico and riding around the island for about a week going from resort to resort, enjoying the local sights and cuisines. This is one that I am also looking forward to and simply can’t wait.

As you can see, I made it on the “nice” list for Adventure Cycling and they’ve pretty much offered me the tours that are high on my list of places to go. It’s going to be hard to beat this next year, but I’m not going to think so far out. Let’s get through each of these with the highest quality possible without any issues.

How Was Your 2018?

Enough about me, how did your 2018 go? I hope you had the chance to get out there and soak up some sun and spend time exploring either locally or somewhere exotic.

Feel free to share with me how your 2018 went in the comments below. I would also love to hear about your plans for 2019. Is there something you’re looking forward to doing?

Whatever you’re doing, let’s make sure you’re open to a little adventure in your life. Stepping out of your comfort zone is so crucial to happiness. Thank you for reading! Looking forward to hearing from you.

View behind bars
View behind bars
  • Maria Vangilder
    Posted at 22:48h, 30 January

    I really enjoyed hearing about what tou’ve been up to. Keep being you. There are many out here that live these adventures through you

    • Johnny Lam
      Posted at 23:30h, 31 January

      Thanks for the reminder, Maria! I certainly needed that. 🙂

  • Kenneth Kugel
    Posted at 21:00h, 03 February

    Keep up the good work Johnny !

    • Johnny Lam
      Posted at 11:32h, 04 February

      Thank you, Ken!