FIVE THINGS is a weekly feature on the Banjo Brothers Blog. It’s a short interview about life and bicycles with a notable person. This week's notable person is Mark ‘Markus’ Cramton.  Markus is an avid cyclist and has been the local 30 Days of Biking Captain in Fargo, North Dakota for the past five years. 

Here's a little bit more about Markus in his own words:

"I’ve lived in Fargo for 18 years. I grew up in a small town called Rutland, North Dakota and like most kids I rode my older brother's/sister's hand me down bikes. The first was a girl's Blue Angel bicycle, banana seat and all. After that we had department store BMX-style bikes that we'd take to a dirt pit by an old railroad depot affectionately named “The Jumps.”  It was named after what my friends and some older kids tried to build out there. We never took Jump Building 101, so I recall some pretty un-flowing lines.

I came to Fargo for college, dropped out, got a job, and got back into biking. My brother introduced me to riding gravel, The Inspiration 100 and then the Almanzo 100. My brother also introduced to this thing called “30 Days of Biking” and that’s pretty much been it since! I try to live on two wheels as much as I can.

We hope you enjoy this week's Banjo Brothers Five Things.


MC: I’m currently riding around on a 2011 Specialized Tricross and have been riding around all winter with some studded 45NRTH Gravdal Tires. Winter was a slog and never seemed to end. I never knew when it was going to be safe to take the studs off my bike. Winter riding feels good once you are out there and doing it, but it’s that initial cold shock that just makes me want to howl back at the wind.

Why do I like to ride that bike?
I ride this bike more often than not because it can do most everything I want, not exceedingly well, but well enough. I wish I could get a little wider tires on it, but not enough to pull the trigger on buying a new one that would fit wider tires. After that, I’d say I’ve put most of my miles on my mountain bike. In Fargo, no less. We don’t have huge elevation changes or crazy features, but damn, I have fun here on the trails. 

Banjo Brothers Five Things Mark Cramton


MCWhere I ride is evolving. If you asked me five years ago I would have said either an indoor session or and outdoor training ride. Today, my most frequent rides are to Fargo Brewing or to get something to eat downtown. I consider myself more of a commuter than anything else. The time required to do the training I used to do doesn't really jive with all the other things I need in my life. I kind of burned out on it. I quit riding as much, and sometimes I didn't ride at all. When I started riding more without a Garmin it was relieving. It was enjoyable to just ride without a voice whispering ‘go faster’ in my head.

You know what really grinds my gears? People getting high and mighty that their vision of cycling is the only version that counts. The bike industry does it. I’m guilty of having done it. Someone out there now is probably talking shit to someone who doesn’t deserve it. It’s not helpful and it doesn’t build the cycling community.



MC: For music I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental jazz-afrobeat music lately. It’s lively and you can feel the beat  and you’ll nod your head but there aren’t any words to tell you what to think. You can draw your own conclusions even if the tone and feel of the song is melancholic, bright or something in between. Budos Band and the Menahan Street Band are my current main rotations. As far as podcasts go, everyone that has ever talked to me about a podcast knows I’ve been a fan of 99% Invisible for a long time. The deeper knowledge explained about sometime everyday things that has some unusual quirk to it. 


MC: My wife and I are just getting out of the crockpot season, so hopefully we are going to be grilling out fairly soon. My wife does most of the cooking during the school year, so when summer comes around she really enjoys letting me try my hand at BBQ’ing. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes I’m running to pick up take out. But grilling outside in the sun and having a pint is my my idea of a fine summer night. If I’m in the mood for beer, I like trying out all the local flavors we have in town. I support my local bike shops. I should support my local breweries too.


MC: You know what really grinds my gears? People getting high and mighty that their vision of cycling is the only version that counts. The bike industry does it. I’m guilty of having done it. Someone out there now is probably talking shit to someone who doesn’t deserve it. It’s not helpful and it doesn’t build the cycling community. That's one of the reasons why I love doing 30 Days of Biking. It’s a pretty positive group of cyclists from all walks, skills and disciplines. I’ve been the 30DOB Captain in Fargo for the last 5 years. We’ll organize the kickoff party, print spoke cards, flyers and set up up group events. It’s humbling and rewarding. Sometimes only a few people show up. Others times it's better.  Even when only a few people show up  I have a great conversations about everything bike-related. This year we’ve done more events with more riders (and new faces) than any previous year. I’m super stoked about it. High fives are my gauge of a successful event and I’ve given and received a lot of high fives this last 30 Days.

I want to keep that vibe going all year long.

Biking can be intimidating to people who aren’t plugged into the scene or if they don't have friends who bike or  they didn't grow up around the bike. When I  started biking in Fargo I was overwhelmed with all the options and had sticker shock over the price of bikes and gear. I was lucky enough to have Judith, a former NDSU classmate, working at one of the shops. I was relieved to see her when I walked in the shop. She helped me immensely and encouraged me when I had doubts about going on group rides or participating in events like the Almanzo. I hope I’m giving that same encouragement to others as a part of our 30 Days of Biking efforts in Fargo-Moorhead.

Lastly, I’d say we're pretty blessed to have a couple great locally-owned bike shops town: Great Northern Bicycle Co. and Paramount Sports. They’re good advocates for cyclists. There has been some backlash in Fargo when it comes to bike lanes. I’m happy when I see knee-jerk reactions against bike lanes squashed. It's easy for people look around and see how much the Great Rides Bike Share is used,  all the people out riding  park trails and in the bike lanes, the excitement about the single-track expansion projects that FM Trailbuilders is undertaking this year and all other bike infrastructure that is in the works.

I feel pretty good about where we are heading in Fargo-Moorhead.

Keep riding!


A big Banjo Brothers thank you to Makus for participating in this week's edition of Banjo Brothers' Five Things.These short interviews about life and bicycles will appear every Friday on the Banjo Brothers Blog. If you liked this FIVE THINGS from Banjo Brothers you should check our our full series of past five things interviews.


Use the contact form on our website to send us a note. See you next Friday. Also, since you're here, we do need to mention, Banjo Brothers makes a whole line of tough, practical and affordable gear for cyclists.  Thanks for reading.


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