Who is “SAFA”?
The guy you thought your dad was when you were six years old.
Messenger-velo-crit-alley rider. You represent the perfect contemporary cyclist for us.
Recognize you in this definition?
Yes, I love bikes, I spent all my time as a kid riding, building bike handling skills. I’m confident that I can handle myself in any situation so long as I am on a bike. If an opportunity to do something with bikes comes up I always try to take it.
Which ones do you prefer?
I like long hills, racing up and flying down. Unfortunately there are not too many opportunities to race up hills so I’m trying to turn my body towards the track bike criteriums. It’s a really fast growing sport and I want to be part of it.
Being untouchable in traffic is something really special to me, not many people understand it. It takes years of doing it everyday ( busy messenger work that isn’t around much these days), to get to that level. I have a strange reverence for it, you can’t explain it to people, only know that a few others have it also. A secret brother and sisterhood.
Living in Mexico City has influenced the way you see “the bike”?
It hasn’t changed the way I see it, it’s amplified my belief in it.
Traffic can be ridiculous here, there are so many people in this city. Everyday I see people so frustrated, losing it in their cars, while a perfectly good solution cruises past their window. I like cars for specific purposes but a lot of people using them in the city have no reason to be in them. It’s as if once you get into one you immediately lose sight of other options and become really selfish to others around you, it makes for a horrible environment. Bikes are a much happier option.
Bikes also gave me the opportunity to travel, making money on them and having messenger events and friends around the world to go see. At the moment in Mexico it’s hard to make enough money to keep traveling. Racing the big crits, with the help of my sponsors, has allowed me to keep seeing the world.
For those two reasons, a societal and a very personal one, I love bikes.
How did you approach the world and culture of fixed gear?
I never really paid it much attention. My bike world has always been the messenger world. Track bikes were a part of that world and eventually I got my own and have been using it ever since. I don’t care what other people ride, I make sure I’m happy with what I’m on and then everything is ok. I suppose fixed gear culture has got a lot of people on bikes and that is a good thing.
You are a member of a great team as Leader Bikes.
How did your collaboration and how it feels to be part of it?
I got on to Leader Bikes USA team after I won the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit. I’d been waiting a long time to race at one of the crits and finally had the chance to attend one, I made it count.
Right from the start it was more than just a sponsor, friendships were formed. I don’t see Leader as a company that sponsors me, I see it for the people who are behind the name, the friends that have helped me through tough times and shared the good times with me.
We have a really solid and happy team. The old guys are racing and training stronger than ever and the three new recruits, Deg, Tobias and Raul are all serious contenders at crits and bring good vibes with them.
Alonso is the captain and he does a lot of work behind the scenes, we have new team sponsors and some cool projects coming up.
It’s a good place to be right now, I’m really happy with the team.
What are the goals you want to achieve?
In which competitions you will be involved?
I’m going to all the Wolfpack and Red Hook races this year. Unfortunately with the bad luck in Brooklyn the Red Hook series is over for me, I really wanted to place well in the series. I’ll be gaining experience in the rest of those races and knowledge of the course for next year.
I’d like to defend my title at the Wolfpack Civic Center Crit this year. Also try to do more road racing, but it’s hard to do here in Mexico City.
Last year you have take part of R.H.C. in Barcelona, Europe.
New places, people, food and social relationship.
What are the differences with the United States? Your feelings about them.
I’ve always moved around a lot so I’m comfortable wherever I am. You can find nasty places and people in every city on the planet but I always find good times. I’m always with my bike and meeting with people who ride bikes so I get fast-tracked into their city and community.
I’ve been to Europe a few times before, for me it’s one of the best places to be in the summer. Barcelona is such an outdoors city, I love cities like that, where you feel you should be outdoors enjoying the world.
I think drivers in Europe are more used to seeing and being around bikes, they’re much more patient. We’re not in the way, we’re part of the journey.
You can’t get five kilograms of breakfast food for ten dollars though, but maybe that is not a good thing unless you’re a bike racer.
We hope to see you soon in Europe. When in Italy?
I’ll be in Italy for the first time when I travel to Madrid for the Red Hook Crit in October. See you then, save me the couch.
Photo courtesy of Robert Sanchez