A Right Proper Way to Quit a Job to Ride Your Bike More

Chris Reichel of Drunk Cyclist bailed on an indoor job for time in the saddle. This is how it went down.


Note: Chris Reichel, a.k.a. Dirty Biker, is one of the primary voices at Drunk Cyclist. He bailed on his office job a couple years ago, and this is what he wrote about it.—Ed.

I finally did the one thing I have been talking about for years. I quit my job to ride bikes and travel. Since I have been with DC, I have gotten a lot of emails and comments about how I don’t work and it must be nice to be a trust fund kid. Truth of the matter, I actually worked quite a bit. So much so, that it has cost me a few girlfriends over the years and I missed out on countless good times. When it comes down to it, I just don’t sleep very much. Lots of overnight drives and gallons upon gallons of coffee are what get my trips done. It probably wasn’t the most healthy way, but it was the only way I knew how.

I was fine with that lifestyle for the better part of a decade. Then bones started breaking when I used to bounce. Then a close friend, younger than me, got diagnosed with cancer and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it’s an early mid-life crisis, maybe I’ve just gone a little crazy. But for the past eight months I have gone into work and said “What the fuck am I doing?” every day. All I want to do is ride mountain bikes in as many places as possible. Taste different dirt, see the big views, meet amazing people and gather the stories that come as a result. So I said “fuck it” and I quit.

When the time came, I searched the internet for “letters of resignation” and just copied one into an email to my bosses. Bland and to the point, it was ideal for the sterile corporate environment I was leaving. I actually didn’t mind my job, being a chemist is pretty fun at times. I also recognize that this career has afforded me the lifestyle I now have and I didn’t want my exit to be like a scene from half baked. So I bit my tongue and went with a generic resignation. But there were a few things I wanted to say. Below is the unedited version of what my resignation letter should have said.

To whom it may concern,

I’m out. I quit. It’s not because I don’t like you, I think you are alright. I just don’t see this working out in the long run. It’s not you, it’s me.

I think what it comes down to is that I’m tired. I’m tired of wasting my time making other people rich. I’m tired of listening to a guy wearing $500 shoes and $400 pants stand at the front of the room, explain why we aren’t getting raises yet again this year. I’m tired of people around me being proud that they don’t have passports or bragging about having hand injuries because they played too many video games. I’m tired of hand sanitizer stations in the hallway and cubicles, oh the cubicles. More like coffins filled with the pasty un-dead, working away all of the daylight hours only to emerge in the darkness to have a few hours of living before they do it all again. I’m tired of the lines painted on the parking lot telling me how to get to my car safely, and the boyscout taddle-tales that scold me for not using them. I’ve had it with the snide, condescending comments about getting old and not having a wife and kids yet. But who is going to take care of me when I get old you say? Me, just like I have all the years leading up to now.

So it’s with this letter that I say goodbye. Don’t bother calling, I’m booked for the next six months. There is a lot of world to see and a lot of trail to ride. I’m going to do my best to see all of it.

Life is finite. Don’t waste time. See ya down the trail.

Best wishes,

-Dirty

To learn more about Reichel and Drunk Cyclist, check out AJ’s interview with him here.

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Showing 6 comments
  • todd papianou

    Good on you… I just finished a 12,000 cross continent exploration from Maine to Alberta/BC through Upper Peninsula and as far as Sedona/Sante Fe with all the goodies inbetween JacksonHole, Steamboat Fruita MOAB .. 49 days with 30 + riding days.. it was a lot of early morning dark o’clock starts to beat the heat but . dawn riding is inspirational..
    Will be paying for it for awhile… so worth every minute. ps. Copper Harbor is “Magical”
    red iron dirt in CAYUNA , Minnissota was cool, and the return to Vermont made the local neighborhood really special.
    So much out there. Go GET.. Play Young ..Work OLD ..If you get that far..

  • Andrew

    Bravo! Not many men can do that!!!

  • Smoked Bacon

    Congrats! You won’t look back once. I loved your line about $900 outfit man and your real resignation email. Personally, the perpetual meetings of coporatedom is something I’ll never get.

    …Why aren’t you done with this and that? Because I’m sitting in these meetings with you…

    Daydreaming during meetings while staring out into the beautiful grey PNW sky made me ask why am I just settling. Left that life last April and have been traveling with the wifey to chase sunsets and a moral bucket list.

    Happy trail hunting!

  • Dan Murphy

    Congrats on leaving, you won’t regret the move. Do what you want to do and have a blast.
    Gotta say, though, not the best move with that letter giving your employer the old eff you. No sense burning bridges.
    Good luck!

  • Jay C

    I think the letter was what Chris “should have said”? I quit my job five years ago to travel through the mountains and cities of Europe, and leaving my place of work on the last day was a euphoric experience… Why didn’t I do this sooner? Truth is, when the times right the times right.

    I heard a good quote the other day – “I don’t go to the mountains to escape life. I go to the mountains so life doesn’t escape me.”

    Amen to that, and go for it!

    • Dan Murphy

      Ah yes, I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.
      Hope you’re having a ball, Chris.

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