Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet John Watson, owner/hustler of a wonderful place to spend time on the internet, The Radavist. He took some of the photos used in Kyle Kelley’s 1×10, and Kyle suggested John do an interview too! I love his site as a resource for gear and for inspiration and I’m so very happy to have him do a 1×10 here! Read on!
1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?
I began my cycling experience through skateboarding and surfing. I had a beach cruiser with a surf rack and would ride it to the beach with my skateboard on the handlebars. Then, in college I began riding mountain bikes across the North Carolina piedmont region and in the mountains outside of Asheville, NC. Later, in New York City, it was my mode of preferred transportation and in the 6 years I lived there, I never took the train for the last 4, always riding to work no matter the weather. Now, cycling for me is as much about the physical as it is the mental. In terms of health and clarity, I have yet to find a better tool for the job.
“Cycling for me is as much about the physical as it is the mental. In terms of health and clarity, I have yet to find a better tool for the job.”
2. Favorite bike?
I’m blessed to have some amazing friends in the frame building world, who have made me some kick-ass bikes over the years. Right now – because habits, preferences and other deciding factors change – my favorite is my Firefly “Chubby Road” bike. I’ll always miss my Eddy Merckx track bike though!
3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?
While the beauty I’ve found in the American West’s deserts have influenced me a great deal, the pivot point in my life journey came when I was in Australia. My mates took me on a big hard loop over three days. Each day was over 100 miles and over 10k in elevation. It cracked me like an egg, as I laid in the road like a goanna, basking in the sun. That experience told me that I needed to lose weight and get in better shape so I could enjoy these rides in the future.
“…the pivot point in my life journey came when I was in Australia. My mates took me on a big hard loop over three days. Each day was over 100 miles and over 10k in elevation. It cracked me like an egg, as I laid in the road like a goanna, basking in the sun.”
4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?
Everyone that is welcoming to others, regardless of their race, creed, or sexual identities.
5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?
Take your time. Set your own pace and remember to enjoy the view.
“…remember to enjoy the view.”
6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?
1x technologies trickling down to the affordable price groups. I.e. NX / GX Eagle and Apex 1.
7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?
We’re in a quagmire politically right now in terms of public land use. I try to not only encourage the leave no trace principles but also the indigenous history of the land, while injecting a bit of geological significance to my stories. Cycling is a great pace to explore.
“I try to not only encourage the leave no trace principles but also the indigenous history of the land…”
8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?
I’d like to see people treat others with more respect. We’re in such an A or B, black or white world in terms of discourse. There’s no more nuances in discussions, especially on the internet. I’ve fought really hard to keep the Radavist an engaging platform, and yes, there are lots of debates in the comments, but most are educational and respectful – or so I’d like to hope! We should all support one another and not just because we all ride bikes. I’d like to think these principles would trickle over into the real world too.
“I’d like to see people treat others with more respect.”
9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?
Honestly, trying to not let haters, trolls, and even friends get me down. I battle a lot with low self esteem and body issues. Being confident and positive when you’re feeling down on the inside is tough.
10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?
Be kind to one another!
Editorial comment: Amen to that!
John Watson is the owner/hustler at The Radavist. He describes The Radavist as “A group of individuals who share a love of cycling and the outdoors. We will always stop for a photo, or to hit a jump. Rubber side up!”
Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.