Proud Brooklynite and multi-Gold Sprint winner, Moe Adams, has been vigorously riding the streets of NYC for the past 7 years. Whether it’s commuting to work in Bed-Stuy or challenging himself at an alley cat, he rides every single day! I, first, met Moe at the 2014 Warriors Race this past summer and finding him actively partaking in many local competitions ever since. On the latest edition of the Spoke & Word, Moe opens up about the changes in NYC, his Gold Sprint success, and his motivation to keep riding.
What turned you into riding?
I used to skateboard a lot, but I remember having this crappy bike at home. If I ever had to go longer distances, I would just take it. I never really cared about my bike though. After my board got destroyed, that’s when I started taking biking more seriously - plus watching a few videos online of other dudes overseas. You know biking and Macaframa videos. People are out here doing it, too, so I was like ‘oh, seems interesting’, so I tried getting into it.
For me, biking has made NYC more accessible. It’s something that has benefited me greatly. How has riding benefited you?
I definitely see more of the city, but that’s just a small fraction of it. It’s become a part of who I am. I can’t really isolate myself and cycling. It just comes together. Along with getting to work faster, saving money, being green, and meeting a lot of other cyclists when you’re on the road. I can’t put the two apart - it’s just a part of me.
A lot of experienced riders tend to have more than one bike. How many bikes do you own? And how do you choose which bike to use for the day?
All my bikes are track bikes. I own five. I don’t know. It depends on if I’m just commuting to work or if I’m going to a race, then what kind of race it’s going to be influences the bike I choose.
What is it about track bikes that attract so many people?
I’d say there are numerous things. First, it’s the simplicity of a track bike. Two, over the few years, it has really become this big boom. A lot of companies started noticing and began building more track bikes, so a lot of guys have been picking them up. Year and year, it just keeps growing and growing. Yeah, there are all kind of bikes, but I feel like a track bike especially here in the city just works and taken off.
What is your take on riding in this city?
I love it! It’s changing a lot and growing a lot. Some say it’s for the better and others don’t. I’m just happy that cyclists are now being treated not as individuals on bikes, but as human-beings on the road trying to get from one point to another. There are ups and downs with that because you do have some cyclists who are not too familiar with the road, which can disastrous - but in time, I guess they’ll get it [laughs]. Then, you also have those who ride a lot, like you and I, who know the road. The fact that the city is making it safer for us…I like that. It’s a good thing. Cyclists are being heard all over.
As an urban rider from NYC, how do you feel about CitiBike?
When I first heard about the idea, I was like ‘eh.’ I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it when I saw it on the news and in the paper. I’m in the middle! As a cyclist, I’m for it because to see other people riding. It has its pros and cons. The city does recognize people are cycling more. However, they just see it as a way to get money. It’s one thing if you’re riding your own bike. It’s the fact that you’re paying the city to ride their bike. I mean you’re riding, but they are getting your money out of it. I’m okay with people just riding.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get their first bike?
Definitely not a track bike [laughs]! Only because it’s something you grow into. I would probably start them off on a single-speed or 10-speed to get around. One of my very first bikes was a really old 10-speed. It was what I used to get around when I didn’t want to skate.
There is a lack of miscommunication or misunderstanding on the road. What will help improve our coexistence?
Nothing. We have our own reputation. Nothing is going to help get there because, unfortunately, we have accidents happening of people getting hit and losing their lives. Yet, you still have people jaywalking. You still have riders (like myself) who will take red lights. It’s sad to say this, but we’re stubborn (like pedestrians). I’m literally not going to stop at every red light. A jaywalker is not going to walk to the corner of the street and then cross over. We’re just really stubborn. We want to get where we need to go, even if we’re not going anywhere and we want to get there quickly. That’s what everyone knows about NYC. This whole fast-paced hustle to do what?
There is a big sense of community within the cycling world. However, cycling branches off into all types of sub-groups or sub-genres with their own cultures. Which group do you see yourself fall into?
I’ve never thought about that. There are a lot of ‘sub-genres’ of cycling! Because I have been riding for a number of years now, I’m familiar with all kinds of cyclists - commuters, racers, messengers, dudes that just get together and go on rides. I’m familiar with every single one of those individuals from every one of those sub-genres of cycling, so I don’t really identify myself as one specific set. Overall, I’m just a cyclist. I do it all.
Despite not identifying yourself with a particular group, who do you often ride with?
I’ve always been one to ride by myself. I just prefer riding alone. But no man is an island, so the fact that I know so many people, obviously, I have friends and acquaintances. We ride and hang out, like Never Not Riding (NNR), God and Famous, and Shardy from Track Or Die. I’ve known Shardy for a few years, so I’ll hang out and ride with him. He hosts events, so I go out and show my support. I’m not really one to go on big rides or that sort of thing. I’m more about riding around the city and hanging out.
Since you interact with a lot of different cycling groups, what is the general census about NYC becoming a more bike-friendly city? Is there any resistance?
I’d say it goes both ways. You will find a few guys who are all for it, but you do have those have been riding here for so many years (10,15, 20 years) and to see new cyclists get on the road – it’s kind of like “You’re a newbie! I’ve been out here for years!” or “I’m a veteran. You don’t know what it’s like yet!” They kind of want that respect. That old school feeling. It goes both ways.
You had mentioned racing before. What kind of events do you attend?
I participate a lot. Alley cats, Gold Sprints, Lap Jams, or whatever other sprints and lap jams there will be in the city. I’ll try to go out, support, race, and have a good time.
Which one is your favorite?
[laughs] Obviously, the only one I’ve been winning for the past four years, Gold Sprints! I’ve never won any other event, like an Alley Cat. I’m not the greatest, but I’ll do it for fun. I’ve just been really consistent throughout the years with Gold Sprints. I’ve sort of made a name for myself with it and I’m okay with that.
How many have you actually won?
If I could answer that question, I’d be lying. I can’t answer it because it’s literally been too many. Believe it or not, I still have prizes I haven’t even opened yet from events that I’ve won.
What is your technique? Is your beard the secret to your success in Gold Sprints?
[laughs aloud] Na! I don’t think I have a technique. People ask me this a lot and want to know what it is. I think there are two things. One of the things is when I was growing up - I was a runner. However, I’ve always done short distance like the dash - 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, and the 4x1 relays. Those quick dashes and sprints were my running. Getting older, it transferred over. Not so much to my riding style, but overall. I can go the distance, but my specialty would be that quick sprint and I just use that to my advantage.
Due to your consistency, you’ve been often called, “The Fastest Man to Go Nowhere.” How do you feel about that title?
It’s true! [smiles] That title is obvious. Everyone knows that. I’m not trying to brag or toot my own horn, but when you do think of Gold Sprints in NYC - people do think of Moe. But why me? Why not someone else? I guess because of the consistency. I like winning! I lose a lot, too, like in alley cats. I’ve never won an alley cat. I know riders who’ve been doing alley cats for years. I’ll go to the events and determine in my head – ‘alright I know who is going to win.’ It’s obviously not going to be me. I’m not a sore loser. Whether it’s a Gold Sprint that I may or may not win, an alley cat, or whatever it is…I just go, enjoy it, and try to have fun. I’ve just been lucky with Gold Sprints, so I’m okay with that title.
What would you want people to know about you?
Whatever there is to know about me in regards to cycling, people already know. I really don’t think there is a secret. I’m always on my bike, always trying to ride, and always trying to get around. Like every other cyclist, I always want to be better. I want to become stronger. This is not only concerning Gold Sprints, but regarding my endurance, my power, and my strength. Honestly, I’ve been seeing a lot of growth from when I started till now. Even from last year until now. I’ve seen big gains. It’s because of riding with a few guys, like Nemo, Kenny, etc. I’m still not the fastest, but for me - seeing these personal gains…it’s like YES! No one can take that away. It’s not to prove a point to anyone else. I want to become a better and stronger rider for me, while continuing to compete and enjoy it. Whether you’re faster than me or not, I see progress in me and that’s all that matters.
If Moe is not on his bike, then who is he?
People see me and are like ‘Yo Moe! You’re not riding?!’ It’s kind of like that. If I’m not riding, then people ask ‘why aren’t you riding?’ Or I had people come up to me and ask ‘are you Moe?’ My first sport is basketball. I’ve been playing basketball all my life. I played for teams all my life. I’m in a basketball league right now. Aside from cycling, I do a lot of other things that I do enjoy. I’m still Moe.