Sporting background and Achievements:
Started road cycling in March of 2013 and rode my first century in September 2013. I like to run and I am learning how to swim. I would like to enter a sprint distance triathlon in 2014. I also enjoy playing golf when I have the time.
Profession: User Interface Designer/Graphic Design
How did you get into cycling?
I was into bikes all my life. BMX in the late 80s, MTB in the 90s, Fixed gear/Track Bikes in the early 2000s. My wife and I were out to dinner with our friends Suz and Andy of SFFR cycling. Andy pulls out his phone and shows me a photo of his new road bike and I was just amazed of the technology and look of new bikes. I thought in my head, I have to get one of those! I looked at a number of different bikes but the lines of the BMC brand caught my eye. Initially I was going to purchase the SLR01 and the next day I log on to the site and BAM! I see the TMR01. I knew I had to get it. I sold a scooter and a motorcycle to make that happen!
Why is the BMC your dream bike?
Honestly, I am just in love with the design of the bike. It’s just so simple. Coming from riding fixed gear/track bikes for the last 8 years, I loved the minimalist look of the TMR01. It almost looks like a track bike with the hidden brakes. My plan is to have a stable of BMC bikes. TMR01, FS02, TR02, and an AC01 for my commute. When the wife reads this, I’m sure she will say, “Amrafel, we have to talk…”
Do you race or just ride for fun?
I ride for fitness and fun. Prior to getting my bike I wasn’t a very active person. It has definitely changed my life for the better. I do like competition, I like the idea of competing in a race, but right now I like competing against myself. I never thought I could push myself the way I do now. It’s definitely a different mindset. Especially when you are on a climb, your legs are burning, mouth open trying to get every breath, heart rate is higher than you have ever seen it, but the only thing that can really stop you is your mind. Once you get over that you realize why you love riding a bike.
Do you have a family, full-time job? How do you balance it all?
I have a full time job at a game development company and I have a family. A wife, a 4 year old girl, and another little one on the way, due in May of 2014! So that may put a wrench in my riding schedule. It is definitely a balancing act. I do a couple CompuTrainer spin classes during the week at my office that they offer at the end of the day. If I want to get outdoors, I have to get up super early in the morning, around 5:45am, before the family wakes up. It’s tough to get out of bed sometimes, but once you get the heart rate up a bit, it’s the best way to wake up.
How many hours a week do you ride?
I try to ride around 5 hours or 80 miles a week. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but I try to get out as much as I can.
Tell us about some funny experiences you have had on your bike?
Well I’m not sure if this is funny but when I first got the bike, I would wake up early in the morning, fill my bidon, put on my full kit, check my tire pressure etc. The routine would probably take me about 20 minutes. Then I would get on the road. There was this uncategorized climb right by my house that I would ride. It’s called the Legion of Honor climb on Strava. I would say it was less than one mile. I would be so out of breath by the time I would get to the top that I would descend back down and go straight home feeling defeated. The total ride time was about 15 min, total distance 1.5 miles. Less than the time it took me to get ready. I would come home and say to my wife, “How am I ever going to be able to do the Paradise Loop?” The “Paradise Loop” is a 45 mile ride around Marin County. She would only give me words of encouragement.
8 months later with a lot of hard work I am doing much longer rides like the “Paradise Loop”, Marin Headlands and have the “Ride to defeat ALS” (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Century under my belt.
Any other stories about your life on a bike?
My dad taught me how to ride a bike by walking me up a hill and giving me some tips that probably didn’t compute at the time. When we got to the top, I got on the saddle, put a tight grip on the handlebars and stood over the bike. Looking down at the hill, it looked huge! Holding the seat for a moment, my dad let me go. I WAS RIDING. That first ride ended up in a crash of course. A minor speed bump in my opinion, it didn’t deter me from going back up and trying again. That was the beginning of my love for bikes. I have run the gamut of bikes but when I got the TMR01 it was beginning of something different for sure.
I would like to thank a few people that support and help me with my obsession with bikes. Andy Slopsema at SFFR cycling for introducing me to road cycling and waiting for me at the top of every climb, Henry Chen at Wrench Science for building me the bike of my dreams and of course my wife and daughter that allow me to leave them for hours at a time while I’m in the saddle. Ride BMC!
You can view Amrafel’s original MyRide submission here.