Tag: Surly

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Vincent Calabro

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Vincent Calabro

Who is Vincent? Is he that guy that lives with Brandon? I thought Corbin lived with Brandon? What do you mean there are three people on the team who work with John Castro? Should we test JPC?

Vincent is the Spidermonkey formerly known as Brandon’s roommate.


JPC, BHall and Vincent at the MS Ride

Ok I’m more than just Brandon’s former roommate and John’s co-worker, so here is my tale told through six bikes:

The Bright Red Raleigh:
I grew up on the fringes of Cleveland with two brothers. The first bike I remember having was a bright red Raleigh. My brothers and I spent countless hours riding bikes in circles on our driveway. When this got boring we played a form of dodgeball on bikes but instead of inflated balls we’d chuck buckeyes at the person whose turn it was to ride the gauntlet. Near the end of the summer, when the weeds next to our house were tall enough, we’d venture out with golf clubs to carve out what amounted to a kid’s version of a cyclocross course. We’d create winding paths with obstacles along the way. The most treacherous was a 1’x1’ pit with broken glass that we placed a board over. Oh the joys of unsupervised childhood.

The Mongoose:
When I was in my early teens I got a Mongoose BMX bike. The Mongoose is notable for only two reasons:

1 – I won it from a raffle at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods.
2 – I thought I was hot shit on that bike.

Therefore in an attempt to impress the girls who lived in my cul de sac I rode the bike as fast as I could down my hilly driveway and leaned to turn onto the street. Sadly the Mongoose had other plans. The tires gave out and I slid across the street. Road rash clearly got all the ladies knocking at my door.

Helmet Test

Helmet Test



The Bianchi:
When I was 20 years old I worked as an intern in New York City. I was young, poor and wanted to soak up every bit of the city. I determined to take the little money I saved and to buy a bike rather than a monthly Metrocard. This is when I discovered the LBS. I visited them all and I wanted all the bikes (I still do). In a hipster bike shop in the Meatpacking District I met my first love, the Bianchi Pista. It sang soulful opera to my Italian roots. I only realized after walking out to the streets of Manhattan that I had no idea what a track bike was or why my new bike didn’t have any breaks. But as John Castro always tells me, you ride what you have. I rode that bike everyday to work, rain or shine. Nights and weekends were spent sprinting through Time Square and through Central Park. I even rode it on some longer rides like the 5 Boro Ride and Montauk Century. That bike carried me through New York, Philadelphia, New Haven and now daily on the streets of Chicago.

The Allez:
So much hope! So much promise! Then it got stolen out of my basement in Philadelphia. Renter’s insurance is great, but I didn’t have it.

The Surly:
In 2009 I got accepted into graduate school for architecture. As a last hurrah, two of my friends and I decided to do a bike camp from Seattle to San Francisco, and thus the purchase of the Surly. The first three days of our trip, it just poured. If you ever want to learn about the kindness of people, show up soaking wet with all your stuff strapped to your bike. But as soon as we hit the coast it was some of the most beautiful riding and camping.

Gravel and bike camping on the Surly!

Gravel and bike camping on the Surly!

The Fuji:
This is the bike most of you have seen me on. I got this bike during a summer in graduate school. It had one great summer of riding and then sat longing to be ridden. Years passed and I moved from New Haven to San Francisco and finally to Chicago. That’s when I met John Castro. He brought me out to my first Saturday ride and from there I was hooked. I feel so lucky to be able to ride with a team full of such welcoming, friendly, funny and talented riders. The occasional free beer also helps.

Sadly in June I’m relocating to San Francisco with The Minjy (not a bike, a person, specifically my girlfriend). Other bikes might might come and go in my life but I’ll always be a Spidermonkey. Soon Spidermonkey Orange will grace the climbs of Marin County.

P.S.this is an open invitation to join me any time you’re out that way.

To quote the great Cal Naughton Jr. : “we go together like cocaine and waffles”

Vincent and Trenta MTB'ing

Vincent and Trenta MTB’ing

Spidermonkeys of the Week – Sarah and Eric

by Sarah Rice and Eric Landahl


Biking together in California

Sarah Rice
My first time….

Riding a good bike. June 12, 1982, my 9th birthday. My parents got me a gorgeous blue 5-speed Schwinn. I hit the brakes too hard going down a hill, endo’ed, and crashed head first into a parked car. The bike was so messed up that the handlebars touching the seat. My right leg had a 250-stitch gash, and I still have an awesome permanent scar instead of a Cat5 tattoo.

Visiting Chicago. May 25, 1986- “Hands across America”. Heading back to Wisconsin on the Kennedy, I stared longingly at the skyscrapers from the car sick seats in the back of my family’s Pontiac Grand Safari. My parents asked how I liked Chicago and I replied, “I will come here as soon as I can and stay for the rest of my life”.

Athletic Training. Summer, 1987. I read the legend of Milo of Kroton, who trained by carrying a bull calf each day until it became fully grown. Thinking that was B.S., I trained until I could do 18 underwater pullouts in the lake without surfacing. The neighbor kid recruited me to the high school swim team.

Romantically kissing. November, 1991. My dorm room next door neighbor and I were talking and hugging in his room. Then we kissed. It was both of our first serious romantic kiss. Can you imagine trying something for the first time and liking it so much that you had no desire to ever try anything else? That’s what happened. We dated 5 years and then got married.

Our 2nd date, December 1991.

Our 2nd date, December 1991.

Getting an important result. December 1998. Nariman and I were doing a late night experiment that gave us exactly the wrong answer. I erased the “expected results” from the chalkboard and drew up the real results. Then I realized that our experiment had told us how the cell’s transporters walk. The walking mechanism was simple and obvious, and everyone was going for it but no one had thought of it. We hugged each other, jumping up and down and yelling. That experiment led me all the way to Northwestern.

Running a marathon. Chicago 2004. I got hooked and ran 5 marathons before my first serious injury, a torn hamstring. Unable to run and a little burned out, I started triathlons in 2008. I didn’t miss running because riding my bike (something I hadn’t done much before) was really, really fun.

Racing a criterium. In May 2010 I bought the Cervelo R3 now known as Charlie. Ken Mitchell fit me on the bike and told me about the ABD practice crits in West Chicago. First time winning an omnium: June 12, 2010. First time starting in an NRC stage race: June 12, 2013. My 40th birthday.

Laughing beverage up my nose during a race. Lincoln Park, 2013. Spidermonkey teammates were drinking and cheering us on. They were so raucous and funny that I lost it after hearing, “Get off the course you bag o’ dicks!” I can’t wait to return that favor at Montrose in December.

Life has a lot of “firsts” by the time you’re 40. The important ones hit like lightning and stay with you forever. Cycling was an instant obsession for me, and thanks to the camaraderie and support of my Spidermonkey Cycling teammates, it’s gonna stay.


Eric Landahl
My first time…

I’m usually not very good at things the first time.  The first time I went out for an athletic team I got cut (from a swim team at age 7).  The first time I took algebra I flunked it.  And the first time I introduced myself to the gorgeous redhead in the college dorm (the one with the incredible leg muscles!) she told me to go away and slammed her door in my face.

Luckily I’m really stubborn.  I still swim competitively, and I managed to learn algebra eventually–although I did end up staying in school until I was nearly 30 years old.  The redhead is still around as well.

I don’t recall riding a bike for the first time; it was pretty much how I always got around the southside neighborhood where I grew up.  After driving a half-million miles as a Silicon Valley engineer and a government scientist I got rid of my car a few years ago.  Life as a University Physics professor encourages several eccentric behaviors: in my case this includes Divvying around Lincoln Park wearing a coffee-stained corduroy jacket carrying an obscure textbook under one arm with the bits & pieces of some demonstration lashed to the front basket with bungee cords.

Remarkably, my first time riding with Spidermonkey Cycling was a success.  My friend Grace introduced me to Dean at a Universal Sole run.  I had been itching to try something new after a hard triathlon season, so I came out the next Saturday.  I really enjoyed the challenge and camaraderie of the team’s group ride.  The only thing missing was the redhead; my stubbornness won out and she joined up a few months later.

My first time riding a new Surly Pugsley fat bike was two days ago.  I had been on the bike for less than five minutes before I endo’d and ruined the fork and disk brake.  Not many people can destroy a 35 lb bike and walk away from it!  I took this as a good omen.  As soon as I got home I immediately signed up for a winter bike race across northern Wisconsin…

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