Community Champions

Community Champion - Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores, the first cyclist to wear ruffles to victory, was a household name before he crossed the finish line in purple and white. With continued success, Flores (and his fully customized Scott Addict bicycle ) became synonymous with showing up daily as your fullest self. Harnessing the ability to channel what he desires in life, Adrian lives each day submerged in the outlets he enjoys the most - creative expressions, adventure, and the inner peace of fulfillment. 

LifeCycle Biking had an opportunity to connect with Adrian and learn more about his biking lifecycle.

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Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Adrian! Let's get right to it- What brought you to the sport of cycling?

My cycling life has had a few different chapters. I rode a BMX bike around when I was young around the neighborhood. I re-discovered the bike during the summers in college when I was a collegiate swimmer and that’s where it really took hold of me and brought me to where I am today. Cycling provided me a sense of adventure and exploration I simply couldn’t do staring at lanes in the pool. 

You’re from Austin, TX and moved to Barcelona for some time. How have your home and travels influenced the way you ride? 

Austin is where I found my legs and spent my formative years on the bicycle. I grew up in the competition and hill-country rides of that area of Texas, where brutal heat and open rolling hills slowly eat away at you over long rides. Whenever I come across a place like that in another part of the world it reminds me of home, it kind of makes me feel alive. I’m stronger in that sort of terrain and climate. Barcelona is not too dissimilar, but it was the first place I lived with climbs that lasted longer than 10-15 minutes. Moving to BCN was intended to be a growing experience and it definitely helped me learn to appreciate cycling on a deeper level than competition. I learned to ride just because I loved riding.

Speaking of the love of riding, what has been your favorite moment on the bike so far? 

I’ve had so many life-changing moments on the bicycle but at the moment the one that sticks out to me is a 7-day long ride from Portland to San Francisco with 3 friends of mine. The fourth day of the journey I had suffered some sort of knee injury and my only option was to tough it out 129 miles of insane hills or rent a car the rest of the trip. I toughed it out and it was one of the most beautiful rides I could have hoped to do. 

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We admire your willingness to push your limitations. Tell us about your brand, Prince Cycling.

Where did the inspiration come from? How has His Purple Highness contributed to your cycling life? 

I got a few nicknames over the years and I think Prince stuck after I dyed a cycling skin suit purple and sewed ruffles into it. For me, it represents a sort of confidence in yourself, your abilities that I like to pull from the Prince Persona. I still can’t really fathom the reach this character of mine has had. I still have people walk up to me to either tell me that I look like prince or ask if I am prince cycling.  

Creativity is very present in various areas in your life.  How did you discover your love of creative writing and cooking? Are these interests/passions intertwined with cycling at all? 

Writing was my first outlet as a young kid to express myself and it never faded. Somewhere through college I decided I should pursue that deeper and I graduated with a degree in English, creative writing. As for cooking, I’ve always been around it but it wasn’t until I was much older that the nature of my cooking has gotten more precise. As an athlete, it’s important to put good fuel (food) in your engine. As I’ve eased from such a strict training regimen food has become less a utility and more a passion. I feel that in all my pursuits I find a tranquil space of creativity and peace. They’re all connected in that way. 

As a cyclist of color in a field dominated by the majority, how would you describe your ability to ascend into pro racing and establish a presence for yourself (and subsequently other riders of color)? 

I’ve had a very fortunate child-hood. My father is Honduran and my mom is Irish and I learned from both of them all I needed as a child to make me a natural athlete. Driven role-models and plenty of athletic outlets shepherded me through the cycling ranks quickly. The key here is that they enlisted me in every type of sport that helped me build all sorts of coordination. So now when I jump into something new it’s typically just mastery that’s required. I usually catch onto basic skills and aspects of a sport really easily. 

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Is there anything you would change in the landscape of today’s cycling scene? 

I personally find more joy in a lack of social pressure and a more inclusive environment. Cycling, much like society, tends to segment itself off to those who participate in the sport in different capacities. I enjoy bike races that take time to include recreational cyclists.

Are there any notable cyclists that inspire you? Or any other people that are doing inspiring things in the cycling world that you think we should highlight? 

I can be inspired by all sorts of cyclists. No feat is too small. The type of people that I engage with the most are those that use cycling to find a balance in their life. I have plenty of friends the world over that do so many other cool and interesting things. From professional photographers, small-business owners to rocket scientists. People with a story to tell. Here are a few people that I enjoy:

Patrick Newell and Benedict - have not so quietly influenced personality and style onto cycling in a way thats had a big impression on not only my own life, but hundreds of thousands of cyclists the world over. Together and separate they are a force to be reckoned with. 

Tyler Hamilton - is known for an epic saga which is his pro-tour life but his after pro-tour life is much more fascinating and inspiring. He’s a kind and gentle human with a passion for retribution of the self and others. He continues to hold a warm spot in my heart. 

Anna Schwinn - is one of those unabashedly opinionated and objective cyclists that I look upon for the real. She’s got a ton of life experience and a ton of personality. Any time I get to see her at a cycling event or tradeshow is a blessing and I hope she continues to be 100% authentically herself forever. 

Kym Perfetto - She really is nonstop. And she’s great. Fun to watch, fun to be around and an inspiration if I ever feel like I’m overwhelmed. I just remember, Kym is doing more. 

Last but not least Adrian, please finish this statement- 

In my life cycle, cycling has been . . . 

A space for friends, an escape, a sanctuary, a place to reset, to thrive, to explore. 

Cycling has been my rock. 

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Check out Adrian and his custom purple chariots at Prince Cycling 

Community Champions- Blake Strasser

For the past twenty years, Blake Strasser has focused her efforts on one main goal- relentless advocacy for ending the transmission of HIV/AIDS. As a tri-athlete, ride coach, and event producer, she fights for social justice awareness with a quick tongue & strong will; never taking "no" as an answer. 

LifeCycle Biking had an opportunity to connect with Blake and learn more about her biking lifecycle. 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Blake! Let's get right to it- What brought you to the sport of cycling?

I learned how to ride a bike as a child but only did it casually. I moved from San Francisco to NYC in the late 80’s after losing a lot of friends to the {HIV/AIDS} epidemic. I was very scared and angry and felt really helpless.  I was on a really bad date and excused myself from the table and back by the restrooms I saw a postcard for the original Boston to New York AIDS Ride. I called and signed up to ride right then. That was twenty years ago. What started as a physical challenge turned into so much more than I ever expected.  It was how I grieved my friends, made a difference in the fight against AIDS and became an athlete and eventually a coach. Now producing charitable sporting events (including BRAKING AIDS® Ride) is my full time job.

Your dedication to the cause is so inspiring and admirable. In your current life cycle, what’s been your best moment on the bike so far?

There are too many to count! I am a firm believer that there are only good and great days on the bike. One day that stands out though was on day three of the SF to LA AIDS ride. There is a hill they call QuadBuster. It’s really not that bad – about a mile long, steep, but doable. They make such a huge deal out of it though that people get all nervous before hand. I was getting close to the hill and I could feel someone behind me. There was a guy on my wheel looking super nervous. I asked if it was his first year and he said “yes”. I asked if he was freaking out about the hill and he said “yes”. I asked him if he had a good song in his head and he got even more nervous and said “no”. I told him to get some angry Whitney Houston in his head and he’d be fine. We climbed the hill together singing “It’s not right, but it’s ok.” At the top of the climb he thanked me, we stopped and hugged and didn’t see each other again. A couple years later I was approaching the hill and called out to pass a couple riders and as I did I heard this man saying “Get some angry Whitney Houston in your head” and it was him helping another new rider! We all climbed it together with even more hugs at the top.

It seems like you were made to be a ride coach! You're also a triathlete; how did you get into the field? Are there any tips you can give to anyone interested in exploring the tri-arena?

Do it! Work your weakness, and unless you are coming from a serious swimming background get some swim coaching. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I am confident and efficient which saves my energy for the bike and run. Also, unless you have money to burn, don’t buy into they hype. I’ve done Ironman three times on my road bike, have had the same $100 wetsuit for 10 years and a basic $25 bike computer. Upgrade yourself through training and experience, not your equipment.

We could not agree more. Not only are training and experience important, so is nutrition. Any tips on wellness while cycling?

EAT!!! Seriously – you have to feed your body. If you are going out for more than an hour eat before you ride, while you ride and after you ride. Trial and error will lead you to what works for you but you need food to get going, keep going and to recover.  And eat food (actual food – not processed junk) – just like with equipment you can blow a lot of money on bars, gels, etc. I use gels when I’m racing and electrolyte replacement on long rides/runs, but otherwise just food will do everything you need.

What cycling accomplishment are you most proud of?

This is my 20th year riding to fight AIDS and I am committed to raising $20,000 for Housing Works! When I hit that it will be my biggest accomplishment! HELP

That's awesome! Tell us about your team No Fucking Filter. Where did the inspiration for the team come from?

Heeheehee- it is an unofficial team. I was riding in CA and out of nowhere there were 45 mile an hour headwinds. Seriously up on the pedals, cranking to go 6mph. I dropped my chain and when I was fixing it the constricted nerve in my neck started spasming. After a few miles of tears, snot and screaming non-stop profanities the wind died down enough that I could relax my grip and stretch my neck. It was only then that I remembered that I had been taped into my red dress, (red dress day is an old AIDS ride tradition) so I somehow managed to calmly pull over and lay my bike down but then I ripped my dress off Incredible Hulk style. It was just then that my buddy Ramon came around the corner and called out “Are you ok? What’s going on?” I replied “I’m starting Team Mother Fucking Tourette’s!” and that was that. When it came time to make the jerseys (ask me! They are awesome looking and funds raised are going to Housing Works!) I started looking into Tourette’s and realized it is a lot more common and serious than it is portrayed to be, so I switched it to Team No Fucking Filter. Anyone who cycles, particularly in NYC, has had that day.  I am a strong advocate of cursing. It lowers your blood pressure ;-)

Fuck yea! How do you think you influence your immediate circle of cyclists and the cycling community?

I always try to get people to do more. Ride more, raise more, and get more friends involved. I’m sure I drive people crazy, but we actually have the tools to end the AIDS epidemic, we just need the funding and political will.

Is there anything you would change in the landscape of today’s cycling scene?

I love the way the sport is growing, but I fear our respect of each other and other people on the road is not growing at the same rate.  It’s frustrating when the bridge you used to have to yourself is full of people on CitiBikes going for brunch, but nobody has ever died from slowing down and making way for people. I am working on being more respectful…but I am the captain of Team No Fucking Filter, so you know it is a work in progress.

Absolutely. What advice do you give to women who are new to riding a bike?

Same advice I would give a man – buy a bike that fits you from a store you feel comfortable in. If you are on the wrong bike and intimidated to go to your shop you won’t ride. That, and don’t be afraid to ride alone. There are great groups to join, but there is nothing like taking off on your own for an adventure!

Are there any notable cyclists that inspire you? Or any other people that are doing inspiring things in the cycling world that you think we should highlight?

I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who inspire me every day. We have a woman how did her first AIDS Ride shortly after a double knee replacement, people who have been living with HIV/AIDS for 30 years and are riding, people who have never been on a bike, but learn to ride so they can take part in the Ride and support Housing Works. Professional athletes have nothing on these people!

Last but not least Blake, can you finish this statement? In my life cycle, biking has been . . .

My therapy, my weapon and my pleasure.

Support Blake's mission, explore her work, or just reach out and say hey