What is your name and location?
Mac Grambauer, Chicago, IL
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Commuter and recreational riding.
What is your first cycling memory?
It’s not my first, but it’s one of my most vivid–I was 5 or 6, riding down my walkway, and there was a big bee on the ground. I served to avoid running it over, and I swerved so hard and fast I threw myself off my bike and scraped my knee. Being a little kid I started screaming and yelling until my mom came out and got me to take care of my knee. The whole time she was bactining me I was worried about my bike, lying undefended in front of the house next to a giant bee. And when she was finally done cleaning me up and had put a giant bandaid over my knee I remember thinking “whoa. this is the biggest band-aid ever. I can’t wait to tell everyone about my bike battle wound!” It was my first point of pride injury. (and both my bike and the bee were fine and lived happy, long lives). I spent the rest of the afternoon proudly riding my bike up and down the street and showing off my big bandaid.
Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?
I have no one person as an inspiration–I’ve been riding since I was five, so it’s just a way of life. However, being a Chicagoan, I am alwasy inspired by my fellow year-round bikers. Riding in Chicago in January is a character-building experience, and I have made some friends along my snowy, cold, daily commute to work.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
Aside from the first really nice day of the spring, which of course made for one of the most pleasant rides, as a commuter biker I have to deal with a lot of car traffic and drivers, particularly around where my office is. One day, I was in the bike lane heading straight and there was a minivan slightly ahead of me; as we came to a cross street the drive suddenly turned into my bike lane to make a turn down the street (sans signal) and I had been suspicious that might happen, so I was able to stop short without any incident. There was a construction worker on the corner who saw the whole thing and he just said “Nice stop.” Which was a nice little moment of affirmation.
Tell us what you ride
I have one right now. It’s a Trek 3900 mountain bike, matte black. Her name is Bernedine, and I’ve been riding her for…eight years now. She was the first bike I ever bought entirely with my own money. She rides smooth, but she’s tough and can take the obstacle-course like Chicago streets. A lot of people don’t understand why I don’t want a road bike so I can move faster, but I love Bernie. I can move pretty fast despite her being a ‘tank’ as of my friends likes to say, and she can take me hauling all my groceries and stuff around. Plus she’s matte black, which makes me think of Batman, which makes her even more cool. We have been through a lot together–a week after I got her I got hit my a car (very minor) I had a banged up leg and she had to have her rear alignment fixed it was one of those battle experiences that bonds you together. We also made a cross-country trip together, and explored a magical city in the desert for a week. Now, too, since I adopted a little dog, Bernie takes care of both of us Wicket (the dog) rides around with me on a milk crate in the back, which people seem to find really adorable–I have a lot more friendly chats with people at red lights. She’s a good bike–she always takes care of me, she’s up for a ride to a new place or a place we’ve been a billion times, and she doesn’t care how often I hum the Batman theme as we ride down Humboldt Blvd on summer (or any other season) nights.
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