Biking with Máthews Fazza
One of the best things about biking in Dallas is the people. Dallas cyclists are not just one type… we are all shapes, sizes, styles, colors, ages, and lifestyles. We ride big bikes, small bikes, fat tires, thin tires, one tire, three tires, sitting up, sitting back, leaning forward, fast, slow, and everything in between. To highlight and celebrate the variety of the people of the Dallas cycling scene, we are launching a brand-new feature series called “Biking with…“ We hope that you’ll enjoy meeting the folks that are Biking in Dallas.
Just a few months ago, I met Máthews Fazza on a social ride in East Dallas. The day was a bit chilly, and most of us were bundled up… but Matt had his shorts on and was ready to roll on his beautiful Mash. You may not have had the opportunity to meet Matt yet, because he’s actually a bit new to Dallas. He moved here 10 months ago from Brazil, “I moved here because I married this wonderful lady named Jessica and unfortunately she doesn’t speak Portuguese. So I came to her country instead of the other way round.”
Here in Dallas, you might catch Matt as a bike courier downtown. Back home in Brazil, though? He’s a hairdresser.
“In Brazil the culture of cycling as a sport seems to be bigger than it is here, however the culture of commuting on a bike is not as strong. There are several reasons for that but really, the hilly geography and lack of bike lanes makes it hard for people to use their bicycles as a commuting vehicle.”
Since Matt not only uses his bike for deliveries but also commutes to work on his bike, he decided it was time to put together a dedicated delivery bike.
I have another bike, a Cinelli Mash Histogram which is a low profile pursuit bicycle designed for the velodrome (though I only ride it in the city). I started working using this track bicycle but work started to take its toll on it: everything at work is so fast and I really don’t have time to lock my bike everywhere I go and that was really damaging the frame.
I was also having problems carrying drinks inside a bag. I tried a backpack, a camera bag, a messenger bag and a tote. Every attempt resulted in unwanted drink spilling and really uncomfortable riding. I decided I should have a bike just for work and save my main bicycle from all the damage.
Since my main problem was carrying drinks and putting the bicycle through some damage, I focused on “cargo space” and price. I remember a friend of mine had a crate mounted to her ride and how easily she could pull things out of it. the concept was perfect for what i do. I decided to mount a milk crate on mine and get lots of used parts. The total cost of this bike was a bit less than 200 dollars, all used or lightly damaged parts I bought online and at a local bicycle shop. I went for a track frame because it’s what I feel most comfortable riding. An interesting detail about this delivery bicycle is that I decided to put a front brake on it instead of riding clipless or strapped. So it’s still fixed gear but I can just hop on it and and go deliver whatever I have to without fishing for the pedals as I go.
How many bikes do you own?
I currently own two bicycles here and two bicycles back in Brazil. Here in the US I have the delivery bike and my track bike. I also own another track bicycle back in Brazil and a road bicycle from the seventies. I was restoring the ladder when I left my country and I would really like to finish it one day.
What is the coolest bike that you have seen?
When I was researching about having a crate mounted on my bicycle, I came across this adaptation that transforms a milk crate into a seat. That was probably the coolest thing I have ever seen on a bicycle. Not necessarily the bicycle itself but the adaptation.
What do you like to do when you are not riding your bike?
My daily commute is a mix of bus riding, train riding and bicycle riding. I try to read as much as possible during the commute and also at home. Apart from that I try to spend some time with my wife and Guinea Pigs and cook, I love cooking as well. It doesn’t sound like much but I spend most of my free time riding my bicycle or recording music on the iPad. Oh, I also watch The Office and The Following. This past week I finished re-reading “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. It’s a great book about the fast-food industry and all the geographical, social, and economical change it triggers.
What got you into riding bikes as an adult?
I don’t know if I can say that there was something that got me into riding as an adult. I have always been into cycling and I have always thought it made more sense than driving a car. As an adult I can say I started seeing bicycles in a different way. It’s not only a clean transportation, something fun to do, an exercise and a sport. A bicycle is an instrument of social change. It can prompt you to live locally, avoid taxes, meet incredible people, save money, etc.
What is your favorite bicycle destination in Dallas?
I really like going downtown. When I moved here my wife kept on saying that it was not a very safe place and that I should be really careful. That somewhat mystified the whole area to where I felt like getting acquainted to everything and I love the place. Riding downtown made me realize how bikable this city is, despite of all its stereotypes.
What route is your favorite to ride in Dallas?
I really like riding from White Rock Lake to Klyde Warren Park through the Santa Fe Trail. I guess it displays the most faces of Dallas. From the million dollar houses at White Rock Lake to less privileged neighborhoods along the trail and then Downtown where all the business is. I find this ride to be a good representation of what Dallas is, and I like it.
Matt is just one of the great people that you might meet while Biking in Dallas. Thanks for biking with us today, Matt!