Meet Gabe Lloyd, aka Mr. Bike
I’m not the only one in the family who loves riding bicycles. My niece, Kacey Lloyd, was a world-class cyclist who won six national championships and raced in World Cup events for the U.S. National Team, as well as six-day madisons in Europe. And she captured the first-ever Red Hook Crit in New York City when men and women competed together. Then there’s her husband, Gabe Lloyd, who also could be referred to as Mr. Bike … because he is so involved with the sport of cycling. Recently, he applied his brakes and slowed down just long enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy!
P2P. You have many spokes in the wheel, so to speak, in the cycling world. Briefly, please tell us what you are involved with when it comes to two-wheeled machines.
GL. My wife, Kacey, and I own Long Tail Creative, an events production and marketing company. We primarily produce professional cycling events and we have a grassroots cyclocross and cross-country running series, as well.
Our events include the Reading (Pa.) Radsport Festival and the Electric City Classic in Scranton, Pa. Those two events feature criteriums, hill climbs, and other events for the community. Fifth Street Cross in Emmaus, Pa., is the grassroots cyclocross series, which runs every Thursday night from September through December. We also have a stand-alone cyclocross race called Solstice Cross.
There are some other things we do, as well, such as graphic design and social media management. Most of that work is for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, Pa.
I also do race commentating. I'm the Friday night announcer for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, along with doing Radsport and Electric City Classic. Furthermore, I commentate Elite, Master's, Para, and Collegiate Track Nationals for USA Cycling. I also commentate at other events around the country, like Mission Crit and the Red Bull Bay Climb in California, and some other things.
I'm on the Road Committee advisory board for USA Cycling, a member of the National Association of Professional Race Directors (NAPRD), and I manage social media accounts in cycling, as well.
P2P. With the coronavirus pandemic, it must seem weird not having any live events. Your comments, please.
GL. It's been a good year to reset. I'm not getting paid, but I'm busier than ever.
I successfully ran a fundraiser through Radsport to raise $10,500 for the Reading Recreation Commission's food service program. I used Strava segments on Mt. Penn (Reading, Pa.) from our traditional event and added in mountain bike and trail running segments. A local cycling team reached out to me after it started and amplified the event with their own initiative, which really helped with the fundraising. In the end, we had another local rider donate a painting for a silent auction, as well. That entire experience was way more work than I expected it to be, but I was happy to do it and get people excited.
As far as missing live events? I don't know. Cycling has been broken for a while. It's been very interesting to see how promoters, myself included, are being creative. Some promoters are so stuck in a traditional model that I think their events won't come back. Others are being very quick on their feet and making new events like virtual challenges, fundraisers, etc.
I like seeing that because I think it's opening up cycling to more people in an inclusive way. Competitive cycling has always been an elite sport, which isn't for everyone. But getting more people on bikes gives high-performance cycling a chance at being appreciated more, and I like that direction.
P2P. What are you doing to stay connected with cyclists?
GL. The fundraiser for Radsport that I mentioned was a good way to maintain connections with people. And because I manage social media accounts, I've been in regular contact with athletes from around the world to see how they've been staying in shape.
I'm also partaking in the weekly National Association of Professional Race Directors meetings, which has been helpful through COVID to hear how everyone is handling their event cancellations.
And Strava has been a fun way to see who's fit and going after segments. I haven't been this active on Strava before, so it's been fun to see how much everyone is riding.
P2P. Are you getting in much riding yourself down in Pennsylvania?
GL. Yeah, I'm ahead of my goals for the year already, which is cool. It's totally motivated by my race series. And now that I'm fit enough to go fast, I'm curious to see how much faster I can get for the year. While I don't think any national championships will take place, I'm motivated to get fit for some late season local events like mountain bike races and some road stuff.
I might also create some new events and participate in them before the fall season hits. But yeah, I'm riding five-to-six times per week, usually around 10 hours. Distance is super variable with my mountain bike rides being a fraction of the distance of my road rides.
I've also been racing my quarantine housemate, David Trimble. Dave and I call the series, "If You're Not First You're Last," which is a tongue-in-cheek critique of the elite cycling culture. We've raced a few mountain bike and road segments, which has been a lot of fun and very motivating to train for.
I'm the most fit I've been in years! Right now, Dave has won all three of the mountain bike segments and I won the road segment. We're keeping track of GC (general classification) and I'm in the lead by 5:30 minutes going into stage 5, which will be another mountain bike event. Thankfully, Kacey got me a new mountain bike, so I might have a shot at this next stage.