(Editor's note: I'd like to introduce Nash Callahan, our newest staff member at Mathieu's Cycle & Fitness in Farmingdale. He's very engaged with our customers, asks a lot of questions, is eager to learn, and is a lot of fun to have around the bike shop.)
Name: Nash Callahan
Residence: Augusta, Maine
Tell us about your first bike that you remember having.
The first bike I remember having was a single-speed, metallic red mountain bike. It had a very unique looking frame that weighed a ton. I would ride it every day after I got out of elementary school. I would challenge myself riding up the largest hill near where we lived as many times as I could before having to go inside.
Cycling is your major mode of transportation. Is it by choice or necessity?
It started as more of a necessity and has transitioned into a choice. For many years, I didn't have a driver's license and I find driving to be very boring. By the time I got my license, I'd gotten so used to biking around I'm not sure if I'll ever stop. It's almost become a life philosophy.
Following up on the previous question, describe the feelings you get when riding a bike.
The feeling I get while riding is a sense of calm and happiness. I love pushing myself to go as fast as possible. When I'm going all out it may look fast to others, but for me it's like the world has slowed down. It's just me, the bike, and whatever surface I'm riding on.
You've been at Mathieu's now for a few weeks. What's the most important thing you're learned so far?
The most important thing I have learned so far is that no matter how much you know, there is always something else to learn.
When it comes to taking care of a bike, what's the number one tip you would give a customer?
My number one tip is to be proactive with bike maintenance. If something doesn't feel right, get it checked out. It could save you from a bigger fix in the long run and it makes sure your ride is safe.
How would you rate the riding conditions in Maine (things like traffic, road surfaces, motorists' awareness, etc.)?
Riding in Maine can be tough. Road surfaces are one of the things I notice the most. A lot of roads around the area lack a paved shoulder. And when there is one, they are frequently not as maintained as the road alongside it. For the most part, my experience with motorists hasn't been bad. The things I notice often are drivers ignoring my turn signals and when drivers towing something are unaware of how close their trailer may be when passing. My advice to all motorists is to just be patient around others using the road.
One last question. Your ponytail is pretty long. When's the last time you visited a barber?
Good question. It's probably been close to two years. I've almost always had long hair, but I usually get it cut shorter when the warmer months hit. But with last year, the pandemic has delayed my annual trim.
'Thought for the day'
"The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets." — Christopher Morley
From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)