Back in the day, I used to do profiles of other bicycle blogs where I would send out questions, got back the answers and then post it up as if I actually did an interview with these people. Ok, I was borrowing from a time honored tradition of zines.
I wanted to get back to this so I sent out some questions to a local NYC blogger named Seth Werkheiser of thebikenerd.com. The name just rung a bell with me, yes I am a big BIKE NERD. Seth hasn’t been running this blog too long, but he’s planning on doing some traveling by bike this summer and I thought it was a good excuse to resurface the bike blog profiles. So here is…
The bike nerd himself.
Name, Age, where you live (ride)
Seth Werkheiser, 34, and ummm… going to be living on the road starting July 30th. I’ll be biking to different cities and town and crashing with friends for 1-4 weeks at a time. I’ve lived in NYC for almost six years though, and biked many miles during that time.
What bike(s) do you own?
I used to own like six bikes – road bikes, a mountain bike or two, a BMX bike, an old beater bike. But right now I’ve whittled things down to just one bike, my NYCBikes City Fixed with a free-wheel hub. I got her in 2007 or so and love her.
What is your next bike purchase?
Probably a cable combination lock. Mine was recently snipped. Thankfully I had a Ulock on my bike, too, so I still own my bike!
How long have you been riding in NYC?
Almost six years. That includes some attempts at the NYC Century. I never completed it, but the last two times on my single speed I was able to do 75 miles. Did the Tour de Bronx a bit ago, which I loved. I’m also an avid commuter. I’ve biked from Flushing Queens for awhile. Bed-Stuy. Park Slope. Almost six years of biking over bridges!
What do you like most about it?
The bridges! I grew up biking in Pennsylvania, so I miss the hills. Some mornings my legs are fresh and I zip right up the inclines, but other days I’m tired and get passed by 800 people.
What do you like least about it?
I try to stay posi when riding. I expect the worst from everything – cars, other bikes, pedestrians. So I try to say in a “zen” frame of mind, and not react to everything that happens on the road. Like a car door opening, or a pedestrian walking in front of me, or a car cutting me off. I expect those things, so I try not to let it boil my blood. But every now and again something happens and I catch myself yelling at someone. Or giving a sarcastic “thumbs up” to a car that just me off. I hate letting stuff like that bother me to the point of getting all pissed off.
What is the name of your blog, how long have you been doing it and what lead to it’s start? Why “bikenerd?”
A lot of my friends sort of know me as “that bike guy.” Like, I’ve helped friends buy bikes at bike shops. Or fix their bikes on the trail. And, well, I’m a bit of a nerd anyways. It sort of fit. I love talking about “bike nerd” stuff to friends of mine who don’t bike much. Like, the number of miles that guys in the Tour De France ride in a day. Or how much some kiddies spend on purple hubs. Or a group ride my friend in Philadelphia does called Beer by Bike So yeah, I easily call myself a bike nerd. It kind of worked.
What do you blog about?
I try to blog more about what I’ve done, or am doing. I’ve been doing the “blog thing” since 2001, when I started Buzzgrinder.com, music blog. In that world it’s very easy to just write about bands doing stuff. Label releasing stuff. Shows. Whatever. I’ve thought of doing a bike blog for many years, but didn’t want to just report on bike lanes and review $1,600 bikes. I wanted to do something worth writing about, and hopefully inspire other people to just get out and ride. I just want to show people and friends that riding 50 miles to the next town isn’t some impossible task.
Who reads your blog?
I have no idea. I used to be hardcore into checking my stats and everything, but I gave that up. A few people have emailed me from the Tumblr community, so that’s been real nice. I’m trying to stay in touch with them, and my friends who read the site.
What kind of feedback do you get? What has generated the most interaction, comments, reactions?
I’ve got a lot of “wow, I wish I could do that!” type of feedback. Selling and giving away all your possessions to hit the road is not something everyone gets to do. I’m glad I’m able to do it.
You talk about random travel. What’s the furthest you traveled by bike?
75 miles. Done 75 down to Philadelphia. I rode up to Nyack, NY one saturday on a whim. That was 35 miles from Brooklyn up to Nyack, and then back. Did 75 twice in the NYC Century. So right now I’m capped at 75 I think, but I’m working on that. I’ve been riding a lot more, trying to get that number up so I can start biking 100 miles between towns!
How do you prepare for long rides?
I’ll usually write down something for a turn-sheet, which I’ll stuff in my pocket. I’m working on making images, throwing them into a photo album and syncing with my iPhone now. I’ve tried some of those GPS apps for the iPhone, but they just kill my battery. I rode to New Brunswick, NJ from Brooklyn with just Google Maps on the iPhone and it was horrible. I don’t ride and use my phone at the same time, so we had to stop a lot and check out where to turn and stuff. It took forever. So with screen shots of Google Maps it can work a lot better. I’ll see how it works out!
What do you bring on long rides?
Lots of water. I’m a big nerd with hydration. Then tools to change a flat, so some spare tubes, too.
Queensboro Bridge! She’s so majestic. Long Island City waterfront. Riding along the Marina in Queens. Doing laps at Central Park. Battery Park city is a nice destination, too.
There is a lot of talk about the increase of cycling in NYC, How far do you think we’ve come and where do you think we’re headed?
In just six years time I’ve seen more bike lanes, more bike racks, more store fronts with bicycles in them, more tshirts and artwork with bikes on them. So in that short timespan I think the bike has really been fighting for the spotlight, and it deserves it! I think long term, though, I think it will only get better. I just hope to see more safety education for cyclists, though. I love seeing more bikers, but man, I cringe seeing people riding in flip flops, no helmets, no gloves and texting on their iPhones while riding up Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. It seriously makes me cringe.
Future plans for your blog?
More writing and more photos about my adventures. I hope I can profile some friends who I get to ride with during my time on the road, or just write about people I meet.
Future cycling goals?
A century, for sure. And being able to bike to the west coast within the next six months.
Anything you wished I’d asked you?
Nope, you about hit everything!