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The Redbeard Blog / interview

  • Revolution, Evolution: Krista Christophe

    Biking has been a big part of Krista Christophe’s life for nearly a decade, but in the last year even she is a bit surprised at how much she’s learned about bikes.

    In 2006, when she was in college in Chicago, Krista got her first bike since junior high from a family whose children she babysat. It was a barely-used Schwinn, and it served her well for three years in the flat, highly bikeable midwestern metropolis. Then someone lifted the Schwinn from her apartment building’s backyard. “When it was stolen, I cried like a baby,” she says.

    Soon thereafter, she moved back home to Lubbock, Texas to live with her family. Despite her hometown’s car-centric culture, Krista made a point of biking to work everyday - no small feat across Texas distances on a used Peugeot. “People thought I was a freak for biking to work because everyone drives everywhere,” she recalls. But the climate was hospitable - with barely any snow or heavy rain, she can count on her hands the number of days she didn’t commute by bike over four years living in Lubbock. It soon caught on with coworkers. “I started a bike revolution. By bike revolution, I mean three other people out of two hundred employees also started biking.”

    In early summer of 2014, Krista moved to New York. “At the time, I would have said I was really into bikes,” based on years of bike commuting. In mid-August she started working for Redbeard Bikes, building up the shop's website. After hanging out with the owners and mechanics, she realized that when it came to the bikes themselves, she “was an utter and total initiate. A novice."

    After soaking up some of the shop knowledge, Krista got her first brand-new bike. It was a Giant Momentum Street. She was struck immediately by the difference. “It fit me way better than the Peugeot - that one I had to jump on to get on. I was amazed at how different it was to ride a bike that’s the right size."

    Four months ago, Krista got her second bike because, as she says, “I was ready to step up my ride game. I wanted to take longer rides.” She got a Liv Avail 3 in a striking blue and orange alternating between that on longer rides and the Momentum for commuting. Altogether she bikes between 50 and 100 miles per week, depending on whether she does shop rides.

    The Avail has become such a part of Krista’s life that she decided to name it: Avery. She’s most fond of her sixty to ninety minute training rides in Prospect Park. “It’s nimble,” she says. But aside from being a joy to ride, the Avail has other traits to recommend it. “It’s very attractive. People compliment it. It’s ready to go with me.”

     

    Alex Yablon is an NYC based journalist. He writes the for the independent, nonprofit news organization The Trace

    Sam Polcer is an NYC based photographer. He is the author and photographer of the Preferred Mode blog.  

  • Racing Mountain at 16: Abigail Carter

    We're excited to kick off a new series on our blog, in which we introduce you to some of our favorite riders. We start with the stories of three women. First up is Abigail Carter! This summer, she joined some of our River Road rides on borrowed bikes. She just got her first road bike, a Liv Avail. We know she'll crush it on the road just like she does in the mountains on her Jamis Trail X3.

    Words by Rebecca Bratburd
    Photos by Sam Polcer

    Abigail Carter, sixteen, races mountain bikes. She also runs cross-country, bangs on drums, and loves studying history, but get her on the topic of bikes, and her eyes light up with excitement.

    “I really like to share mountain biking with people,” she said. “It’s such a fun sport, how could you not share it?”

    Abby earned a spot on the podium at the Windham Mountain Bike World Cup Festival in August. So did her father, a former high school cross-country and swim coach who’s also taken up mountain biking recently.

    “We’ve been getting better together,” she said.

     

     

    Besides winning, Abby loves watching her progression into the sport.

    “Getting a better time on the same course is the best feeling,” she said.

    She shaved 22 minutes off her time, compared to her effort on the same course last year, which, for an hour to an hour-and-a-half race, is significant.

    Abby is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association–NICA–and her school had five girls and about twenty boys on its team this season.

    “Sometimes I’d be the only girl to show up to practice. I would think, ‘Oh no, the boys are going to beat the crap out of me,’” she said. “If I don’t want to lose sight of them, I have to ride over things I wouldn’t normally want to ride over if they weren’t in front of or behind me.”

    As so many new racers quickly discover, racing has a major psychological component. Abby learns tricks from her father along the way.

    “Follow the leader, and psyche them out. If you don’t do it, somebody else is going to do it to you,” she said. “Follow somebody to scare them a little bit, and eventually they’ll get tired and you’ll be able to pass them. I’ve seen people win races that way. It’s so cool!”

     

     

    Another tip: Apparently, if you pass somebody two times, they’ll back off. “It’ll psyche them out. I haven’t tried it yet, but people have done it to me,” Abby said.

    Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, “Sometimes it really, really hurts and you just have to keep going,” she said with a smile.

    For beginners, or anything looking to improve their game, Abby offered straightforward advice.

    “The thing I wish I did more: just do it. If you see a log, don’t be afraid. Go faster and go over it, because you can probably do it. Try to let go of that little bit of fear inside,” she said. “You’ll feel great once you can do that.

    “What’s the worst that’ll happen? You fall over. It’s not the end of the world.” 

     

     

     

     

    Rebecca Bratburd is an NYC based journalist. She writes the cycling blog Demystifying Women's Cycling

    Sam Polcer is an NYC based photographer. He is the author and photographer of the Preferred Mode blog.  

  • Bike New Yorkers

    In which we talk to Bike New York's Sam Polcer about why we opened a bikeshop, why we want people to ride bikes, and why titanium sings.

    Grab Life by the Handlebars

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