How did you get into cycling?
When I was 15 years old I worked at an auto body shop in Busti, NY. The owner of the company was an avid MTB racer and road on his lunch break most days of the week. Being 15 years old and desperately wanting to be accepted I took him up on the offer the very first time he asked if I would like to join him. This single ride opened my eyes to an entirely different type of active lifestyle that I never knew would be available to me. I bought a bike on layaway at my local bike shop and continued to ride and learn from him every chance I got. Eventually I gave racing a try, took my first job as a mechanic in the bicycle industry and 26 years later I’m still riding and racing my bike any chance I get.
What is your favorite bike ride?
There's so many great rides in our area that it's hard to choose. I have my go to loops in North buffalo I ride regularly (sometimes out of convenience). I love riding along the waterfront at the outer harbor then looping back through South Buffalo. Grand Island is one of the best places for consistent riding to give yourself a brake from the stop and go intersections of the city. I hit the unpaved trails in our surrounding areas any chance I get including but not limited to Hunters creek, Sprague Brook, Bay Park West, Tryon and of course the Ellicottville trail system. Some of my favorite days are spent riding my cyclocross bike around Delaware Park just riding in loops. I guess I'm hard pressed to choose one favorite ride to beat the rest but there are some of my tops.
Winter riding: inside, outside or both?
I'm one of those weirdos that loves riding a trainer. Not because it (in my opinion) remotely resembles the experience you get riding a bike. Because it has become an amazing tool for it's intended job. I look at it as a piece of fitness equipment. It's not something I take for a casual cruise, or ride for the sheer enjoyment of the activity like riding outdoors. I set goals, I work hard, hopefully I meet those goals and feel great about it and then I feel the payoff on that first hard outdoor ride of every season. I guess i just get a pleasing sense of accomplishment from my indoor training.
If you haven't experienced the challenge and excitement of riding outdoors in the winter I highly recommend it. It's inconsistent at best but that's one of my favorite parts. It will always be a different experience. It can range from your best ride ever to pure survival mode. I don't know if I've ever felt the type of peaceful you feel while being in the middle of the woods fat biking after a heavy snowstorm. the beauty, the silence, it's truly magical.
What is something you'd like our community to know about you?
Many people know me as the bike shop guy, the racer, the group ride leader, that guy that goes to the coffee shop 6 times a day but most haven't known me long enough to know the guy that came before all that. I spent most of my life collecting hobbies and learning different trades. I grew up with a crafty mother that taught me how to sew my own clothes. I can put a custom paint job on your hot rod, motorcycle or yea, your bicycle. I can make you a stained glass window or just a small Christmas ornament. I've dabbled in jewelry making, welding, metal work and carpentry. I've recently learned to be a hack of an electrician as well. It's always been a dream of mine to learn the skills to build my own house from the ground up. I don't ever want to actually do it. I just want to know I can...