Name: Robert Craven

Age: 1970s child

Occupation: Assistant Superintendent, for a school district

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Trek Crockett, Serotta Custom Ti vintage, Look 675, State Fixie x 2, Detroit New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire 3 Speed, Cannondale Tandem, Breezer Lightning (Custom Vintage), Giant Mtn Bike, Dolan Track Bike, Miyata Custom Vintage Cross, Trek Emonda SL, I might have a problem!

Q: When and how did you discover cycling?
A: I was 12 when my swimming coach recommended I try it out. I loved it to say the least. The team at King’s Cyclery (Rhode Island, not California) was great, giving me some work cleaning and teaching me all about cycling. After that day I never stopped. I especially loved the freedom I found in cycling, the ability to get away from everyone, the time alone, and that complete freedom was amazing. 

Q: Has your inspiration to ride changed since then, and what is it now?
A: I still find that nothing else gives me the freedom, the time to think clearly, to push myself, to focus on nothing but the bike, the scenery, and the people I’m with. Once I stopped racing in my late 20s though I found it hard to enjoy riding. It wasn’t until my son wanted to ride as an 8-year old that I rekindled my love for the sport. Since then I’ve been able to find the sheer joy of riding with friends and family, and the camaraderie of the entire cycling community to be incredible. 
Q: How would you define your style of gravel riding?

A: Enjoying the exploration of new places, the laughter with friends, and the challenge of pushing myself to new limits. 

Q: Describe an ideal day on the bike.

A: Coffee to start, a long all-day ride with great friends in a new location (the Alps are awesome), ending the ride at a brewery for some great beer and pizza. 

Q: What are some notable trips you’ve done to enjoy cycling?

A: Last year the highlight was riding around Bourg d’Oisans between Alpe d’Huez and the climb to Reynad, what an incredible place. Riding through England in the 1990s was awesome. Lately, local rides through Southern California with friends to Palomar, Palos Verdes, or just to a new location are tough to beat. Especially when you mix in coffee and beer. 

Q: You’re a Barnstormer Chapter Leader. What does that entail, and is there anything you hope to help other riders find within the club?

A: I look forward to getting people out together to meet new people, enjoy some time on the bike, check out a new trail or two and have fun. 

Q: Everyone who rides has something unique to offer. Do you know what you might offer, in that regard?

A: I love finding the fun in cycling and using it as a springboard to build connections with other people. I enjoy using cycling as a means to get friends out to spend time together in a new place, building friendships, and laughing while having a great time. 

Q: What role does cycling play in your current lifestyle?
A: Cycling is central to my lifestyle. It’s how I connect with friends, it’s what I enjoy researching, from equipment to new routes, I enjoy watching races; all in all, cycling is definitely provides the moments of balance in an otherwise hectic life.