Brown Deer, Wi
Jared Johnson has always loved riding bikes. It was his first Trek 1500 bought in 1989 that hooked him. Thirty years later, Jared owns eight bikes, has ridden in 26 states, is a member of numerous clubs, and has converted over fifty friends and family to his passion.
We caught up with him (if you truly can) talking about his riding’s personal and community impact - And what he says may be solutions to getting more people on bikes.
You’ve owned some great bikes over the years. How did you know when to upgrade and what impact did that have on you?
I owned a Trek 1500 and was riding 600-700 miles per year. But then I bought my first Trek 5500 carbon bike and it was the best money ever spent. I put 1,800 miles on that bike my first year. I had gained weight over the years, but when I bought my new bike I lost 50 pounds, went off blood pressure medication, and felt terrific. I’ve owned four other carbon bikes since that time.
Riding is the best mental health stress reducer imaginable. I have a sense of freedom in which I’m only thinking about the ride and the environment.
I now own eight bikes ranging from my Mountain to Madone (road bike.) Every one of those bikes is a real pleasure to ride.
Where do you ride bikes and what recommendations do you have for others?
I like taking my different bikes on various trips whether it's for a workout or meeting up with people. Sometimes I just want to take the stress off my work day by taking my road bike out on the Oak Leaf Trail (around Milwaukee County).
I also encourage people to experience riding in different states or regions through bike clubs. For example, I have joined up with groups in Salt Lake, Utah or Florida and others like the Memphis Hightailers Bike Club where you can pick the kind of ride you want.
My advice to others is I believe you should not have to “suffer the pain” of riding. Make sure to ride at your pace and not necessarily others. Start simple and build up to where you want your riding to be.
Joining a club of riders who like to bike like you is a great way to get involved in a bike community. It also lets you explore new routes and meet new people.
What are some of your ideas to improve bike riding for all, especially people of color?
There are many ways and here are a few that I feel are important:
Welcome the Community: Stores like Fox Point similar to the show “Cheers” and are so accommodating. The staff let me pick their brains about bikes, riding, and accessories. That leads to recommendations in the community when someone is looking for a bike or answers to their riding questions. I had a friend move here from another city and asked me in advance where to go. I told them Fox Point, and they did not disappoint.
Show More People of Color: Do more to reflect your customers through visuals, storytelling, and more. People want to see and hear from people who look like them.
Jared says, "make connections!" Here are a few multi-cultural riding groups
Black Girls Do Bikes - Milwaukee (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlackGirlsDoBikeMilwaukee/) Chicago (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlackGirlsDoBikeChicago/) Madison https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlackGirlsDoBikeMadison/
Major Motion Milwaukee - https://www.facebook.com/majormotionmilwaukeeMMMRC/