FIVE THINGS is a weekly feature on the Banjo Brothers Blog. It’s a short interview about life and bicycles with a notable person or persons. This week’s FIVE THINGS is with the car-free, professional artist, urban-sketching duo Ken and Roberta Avidor.
The Avidors met and lived for many years in New York City before relocating to Minnesota in the 80s where they raised their two daughters. In 2012 they ditched the family homestead in South Minneapolis and relocated to St. Paul's Union Depot, where they re-connected to car-free life with a pair of Brompton Bicycles and a sense of adventure. Their travel blog captures the essence of their illustrated adventures by bike.
Ken is a veteran of the alt-comic scene. His Roadkill Bill a was comic strip about transportation, urban design and the environment from the perspective of a frequently squashed, talking squirrel. Roadkill Bill appeared every week in the now-defunct Pulse of the Twin Cities through the 90s and into the early 2000s. Avidor's bicycle-activist collaboration with cartoonists and cyclists Andy Singer and Roger Lootine added a unique flavor to the Twin Cities cycling and art scene.
His wife Roberta is also a painter/illustrator with who created hand-illustrated maps for the Saint Paul Almanac, Bicycle Alliance of MN and St. Paul Smart Trips. Both have also illustrated maps for the St. Paul Classic Bike Tour.
The two artists have distinct but different styles. Ken works in colored pencil. Roberta's primary mediums are watercolor and oils. By happenstance, we learned via social media the Avidors relocated to Indianapolis.
The couple is staying characteristically busy and Ken is on the cusp of releasing his futuristic graphic novel "Bicyclopolis." You can see more of the Avidor's art on their Instagram feeds: Roberta's Feed and Ken's Feed
We hope you enjoy this week's Five Things.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
Roberta: A sage green Linus (8 speed) I bought from Perennial Bikes in Minneapolis.
Ken: My current ride is a Scott Sub Speed 10 with a belt drive (no more chain grease on my leg). I bought it from Lowertown Bikes in Saint Paul. When we travel, we bring our Brompton folding bikes that we bought from Perrenial Bikes in Minneapolis (also where we bought some of our Banjo Bros bags).
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?
Roberta: Mostly I ride on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail to carry out errands (Yes, you can do your grocery shopping on a bike!). I also enjoy riding the Monon Trail up to Broad Ripple, about 10 miles from our place in downtown Indy. It's a lovely village with good, interesting restaurants and a creek that runs through it.
Ken: The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, it's a 8-mile long linear park though downtown Indy. It goes everywhere I need to go and it makes me happy every time I ride it..
Roberta: People who don't realize that bikers spend money and actually have easier access to their businesses than car people as far as parking is concerned.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Roberta: I listen to various classical music stations when I'm in my studio painting. I like not knowing what they're going to play next. Right now I'm reading Street Fight by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow. It's the story of the struggles getting bike lanes and pedestrian-only spaces in New York City. Janette Sadik-Khan was the transportation commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Ken: I listen to history podcasts while doing my drawings. Currently I listen to Mike Duncan's "Revolutions". I am reading a book titled "Bicycles in War".
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU COOKING/EATING/DRINKING?
Roberta: I make my own kale chips using seasoning packets sent from Kalemazoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan (where I grew up). Indianapolis has so many good coffee shops and breweries, I can't say I really have a favorite.
Ken: My favorite food is the pulled pork sandwich at Gomez BBQ at the Indy City Market. My favorite coffee is served up at Coat Check Coffee at the Athenaeum and my favorite current beer is anything on tap at Flat 12 Bierwerks on the Near Eastside of Indy. My favorite snack is the awesome, homemade kale chips Roberta prepares with a special seasoning she gets from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
BANJO BROS: WHAT'S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
Roberta: People who don't realize that bikers spend money and actually have easier access to their businesses than car people as far as parking is concerned. This isn't as big of an issue here in Indianapolis as it was in St. Paul, MN (where we lived until recently).
Ken: Cars; they keep getting in my way.
MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERS
A big Banjo Bros. thank you Roberta and Ken 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.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR FIVE THINGS?
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.