Urban cycling has a global audience. You might know some solid cities known for their cycling culture: San Francisco, New York, Denmark, and more. This time, we swung by Madrid to talk to our buddy, Mario Cranks. We discovered Mario through Instagram and respected his love for urban cycling and cycling in general. We had to hit him up and see how the cycling life was over in Madrid. Hope you enjoy our interview.
"Cycling has been a part of me since I can remember... It gives you freedom."
What's the cycling culture like in Madrid?
Madrid was the first place where I started riding on a road and between cars. Before, I was only riding up in the mountains. A friend introduced me into fixed gear bikes and I fell in love with the culture that surrounded them. Since then, I discovered a whole new city. I could go farther, faster and have a lot of fun on the way.
But Madrid has always been a difficult city for cycling. It's quite hilly. Some years ago, when I started cycling in the city, drivers were not used to sharing the road with people on bikes. Nowadays, that's all changing. The traffic is calming down and the government is working on new infrastructure to make everything work better. For people who like to ride fast, It's a really cool city.. For those who like to cruise, it can be tricky sometimes.
Do you prefer riding in the city or the great outdoors?
I ride fixed gear mostly in the city. I love to ride fast between cars. Touching them, grabbing them and playing with everything that's around. For me, it's like a game where you set the level.
I also ride long distances on fixed gear bikes. I don't have a road bike so I ride far to climb mountains and bomb hills brakeless when I feel like it. I also love to go to the mountains with my friends and our CX bikes to do some camping at the mountain tops.
What does cycling mean to you?
Cycling has been a part of me since I could remember and the feeling in a way is always the same. It gives you freedom. As a child, it's the best way to go a bit further and explore the countryside. As an adult, it's the best way to explore, to travel or to meet new people. It's part of my daily life no matter if I'm in the city or in the mountains, there's usually a bike around.
When it comes to shooting photography/film, you do a great job at capturing the feeling of that very moment. Is that something you aim to capture when it comes to your creative process?
Every time I do research to find photographers or new pictures, I'm always looking for pictures that make me feel like I'm there. And that is what I always try to do in my work. Make the viewer feel like they're inside the picture and inspire them. That is why I always shoot with natural light and I don't use flash.
I love to work outdoors to go check new locations and observe how the light works on them. Usually, I find a place or an area while riding or driving and I see the picture there. So I just go there with a friend and put him on the spot. I try to shoot what inspire me.
Describe your daily morning ritual.
Usually I wake up early in the morning, I have breakfast and I go for some body weight workout at the park. After that, I start working for the whole morning on the computer. And I try to finish early so I have the evening free for riding, other sports or just to hang out.
How do you take your coffee, if any?
I'm not a big fan of coffee, but if I have to choose, I'd go for a Cappuccino with Cacao.
What type of music do you listen to? Favorite song right now?
I listen to a wide variety of music: Rap, Indie, Rock, Electronic, Flamenco and Classical Music. One of the first things I do in the morning is put on some tunes on the computer. Today, my most listened song is Nightcall from Kavinsky.
What's your opinion about the cycling world and where it's headed?
Cycling, as every sport, is on constant evolution. I'm not really into what is going in professional cycling. I don't care as much. But, I love all the gravel. All the mountain biking, bikepacking, and traveling that is going on around the world. For me, that's the right thing to look at. That is where the bike makes you feel free again, not in the races.
For more features on cyclists in our community, feel free to check out all of our cyclists of the week posts below.