The Minneapolis-based cyclist is a grizzled bike-industry veteran; his career dates back to 1987. The father of two has been married since 2000. He's also a part-time Masters 50+ amateur cyclocross racer waiting for pro masters CX to become a thing.
We hope you enjoy this week's Banjo Brothers Five Things.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
CS: Rim brakes. I’m riding rim brakes. With the exception of the Santa Cruz Tallboy that I purchased 2 years ago and the track bike hanging unused in my garage, all my bikes have rim brakes. Two road bikes, three cross bikes, all rim brakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love new tech and getting a new bike is always fun. But right now I can exchange all my wheels between my road and CX bikes and it would cost me a fortune to upgrade all this stuff. If I need a new road frame at some point I will get another rim brake frame. I have a backup CX frame ready to build up in case something happens to one of my existing frames. Rim brakes work just fine. I don’t have a favorite bike. For me, a bike is just a tool to accomplish a task. I have favorite rides and choose the appropriate bike for that ride, or sometimes the inappropriate bike in order to make the ride more entertaining.
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?
CS: Right now I am riding in the garage. We have snow on the ground in Minnesota right now and I am afraid of ice so I don’t really ride outside unless it’s above freezing. I have been riding the rollers over the winter for 30 years and it’s pretty easy nowadays to spend five to six hours a week riding inside, #Netflix #Zwift is what the kool-kids on the social media say. I had some hip issues this fall that set me back with a couple of months off the bike doing physical therapy, but things appear to be better now and I will spend the winter getting in shape for next season.
During the riding season, I try and make the local Tuesday night ride every week when I am not traveling. It’s usually a group of a half dozen, sometimes more, and we ride west of Minneapolis for a couple of hours. It’s always a hard ride but we focus on group rotation instead of just hammering and trying to drop everyone. If you get tired, just sit in for a bit. If you are feeling good, take some extra trips through the rotation. It’s great because we usually finish as a group but everyone is totally thrashed by the end of the ride. It doesn’t seem like it should be so hard to organize a regular weeknight ride like this but I always get messages from friends who have moved out of town and can’t find a ride anything like what we do on Tuesday nights.
If I have to travel for work or family trips I figure out if I am going to be able to ride and try and have a bike with me. I have been to Belgium for work a fair number of times and riding in Flanders is always amazing. August in northern Minnesota during our family vacation, riding gravel roads with no traffic and listening to podcasts for a few hours is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
"I don’t have a favorite bike. For me, a bike is just a tool to accomplish a task. I have favorite rides and choose the appropriate bike for that ride, or sometimes the inappropriate bike in order to make the ride more entertaining."
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO, READING OR WATCHING?
CS: OMG I am just finishing my tenth consecutive book on World War 1. Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers, How Europe Went to War in 1914. I’m totally obsessed with this subject right now. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast series Blueprint for Armageddon put the hook in and seeing some of the sites around Belgium and France in the spring of 2018 really ramped up my interest WW1. I started a blog on Armistice Day to share some of the history and details of the war and the legacy of the conflict 100 years later:
If I am sitting still, I am reading. If I am walking the dog or doing something brainless I am listening to podcasts: This American Life, Serial, Heavyweight, Reply All, Slate Political Gabfest, Vox The Weeds, Five Thirty-Eight Politics, Lovett or Leave It, How Did This Get Made, WTF, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, Slow Burn. I am always up for the latest superhero movie but I don’t watch much TV unless I know the Vikings are going to get beat and then I will watch and cheer for the other team.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU COOKING, EATING/DRINKING?
CS: Oatmeal every morning! No better way to start the day. My daughter often wants to make homemade meatballs or lasagna so we will usually be cooking together a few times a month. I think we are going to make homemade pasta noodles this weekend. I’m a pretty light drinker so 2-3 glasses of pinot noir and I am ready to go to bed. You know, Broder’s Cucina Italiana deli stocks these Quadratini wafer cookies in hazelnut and if I could I would eat those non-stop for the rest of my life. I’ll be in Belgium again next month so that will be a week of Liege-style waffles (never Brussels) and frites and I will return to my home country 50 kilos overweight…3 months on the rollers should take care of that.
BANJO BROS: WHAT'S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
CS: Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. It troubles me that there seems to be a growing division in this country between those who use actual evidence in order to make decisions and those who simply don’t. Pick your topic: climate change, gun control, civil rights, etc. Cable news channels that create and continually reinforce an alternate reality, social media channels that allow people to exclusively get information from a network of like-minded people who make up and then repeat their own truth and an easy denial or dismissal of events that are happening right in front of our eyes does not bode well for the future of our country, or the globe. I don’t know what the solution is, but it appears to be getting worse. I guess all we can really hope is for the United Federation of Planets to take over sooner than later and solve all our problems. Okthxbai.
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MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERS
A big Banjo Brothers thank you to Chris Smith for participating in this week's edition of 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 full series of past five things interviews.
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