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.