Cycling is a lifestyle. Just ask Nate Chappelle, Métier Seattle team member and our good friend. Born in Indianapolis, Nate got into cycling at a young age, but instead of falling in love immediately, he found himself getting deeper into the sport throughout the years.
Why make the move from Indianapolis and how is the PNW so far?
I’ve always had a dream of moving to the west coast. I visited San Francisco back in 2016 and instantly fell in love. It was the most fun I’ve had riding a bike. The scenery is amazing, the culture is even better, and I knew this was my place. I recently moved to Seattle, WA without even knowing anything about the
city. I’ve never been before. I had an opportunity and went with it - it was like a now or never type of thought process. Coming from a smaller city (Indianapolis) it’s definitely a drastic change. The riding and climate is different, the scenery and culture is amazing, and what Seattle has to offer in general has been a blessing.
What's the cycling culture like in both cities?
I’ve been riding throughout different cities for a while now. I try to travel and connect with other cyclist as much as I can. Riding in Indianapolis, I wouldn’t say is really challenging in any way. It’s very flat, so jumping from Indy to Seattle; I have definitely become a stronger cyclist. Indy is definitely a growing city and it has a lot of potential.
The cycling community has some heat to bring, for sure; a lot of good cyclist coming out of Indy - it has a serious bike courier scene, the road and track scene is strong, and cross is progressing more and more. Seattle on the other hand… thus far, to me, is a home to cyclist. Everyone is on a bike here, it’s a very bike friendly city, and everyone is welcoming. Indy is a little “cliquey” in the bike culture, so to come to a city where everyone is very welcoming and wants to share a passion, it’s nice. I don’t think you’ll ever get bored on a bike here… You have water, you have hills, you have mountains, you have desert, you have forest, etc… it can be a very challenging climate to ride in, but that’s what makes it fun. If you didn’t have challenges in life, then life would be boring.
How'd you get into cycling in the first place?
I got into cycling at a young age, just by cruising around the neighborhood on my Trek MTB jumping off curbs and you know, a kid being a kid. One summer I was introduced to Le Tour De France, I think in seventh or eighth grade and that’s when I was actually interested in the idea of cycling. Still didn’t get serious at all, but it was there. I got my first ten speed when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school; we would take turns riding and running time trials around the neighborhood; a few years later (2013), I was introduced to the track bike. I saw the documentary “Fixation” and became obsessed. I remember getting my first fixed gear beater and being so hype. After a few crashes and leisurely rides, I took it to a mechanic, and he asked me if I ever rode downtown. I thought about it, and was like no way, I can’t ride this brakeless bike downtown, that’s crazy. Not too long after that day, I went to downtown Indy, scared shitless. I barely even rode.
The guy I bought the bike from invited me to check out this alley cat race “Monster Mash” I remember being so nervous and excited. I was like, I have to balls up and do this. I check out this race a week later and watch guys ride with traffic, touching cars, splitting lanes, and running lights; so I tried it. I was mashing up Illinois street on a Friday night with traffic on both sides following two riders and we were coming up on a red light. Thought process: don’t remember a thing I was thinking; we blew the light and my adrenaline went through the roof! I was out of breath, heart pumping, and thinking that was f***ing awesome! That night I fell in love with riding my bike and the rest is history.
How's it feel to ride?
The feeling of the ride... I can sit here and explain to you what the feeling is like and you can get a glimpse of it, but until you do it yourself, you will not know how it feels. This comes from all different standpoints whether that’s commuting to work, riding with your friends, mashing up city streets, or racing. They are all beautiful moments and the feelings are like no other, but my favorite moments are riding alone through city streets at night, particularly on a Friday or Saturday when the city is alive.
There isn’t anything like throwing your headphones in and listening to your, what I like to call my “Mobbin” playlist. You hit play and it’s on. Bikes good, you look good, and you feel good. It’s almost as if you’re taking your bike out on a date!
Once you hit that zone, it’s almost if nothing can stop you. It’s therapeutic, it’s smooth, it’s chemistry, and as cliché as it sounds, it’s you and your bike; nothing else. Everything kind of goes blank and you’ll end up pulling maneuvers that you had no idea how you did. That’s what I love.
Where do you think the cycling industry is heading?
The cycling industry is booming! I feel like a lot more and more young kids are getting into cycling. I feel like more and more people are interested in the sport whether that be for transportation or for fun, but I’d say the most unique culture is the track bike scene. It’s seems so big, but it’s so small, and that’s what makes it awesome. To connect with cyclist around the world through one passion is a great feeling. I love to see and be a part of the community.
A buddy I met in Brooklyn this past year at RHC (Red Hook Crit) nailed it and said, “This is the new MottoGP.” That’s because it is. It’s progressed and it will keep
progressing and more and more people are going to be interested; as far as I know, bike companies and the culture in general are killin’ it. Road, Track, Commuter, Cross, MTB, FGFS, all of it.
Any favorite tunes at the moment?
Favorite tunes, I go with whatever I’m feeling. I have a whole variety of different genres and listen to about anything. So depending on the ride and vibe - it ranges. Music is a big part of my life and I’m always open to new tunes.
Every morning I make a pour over. I enjoy waking up early, making coffee, playing mellow tunes, and scrolling the gram to see what dope activities all my friends are up to. That’s literally every morning; then I hop on the bike and go do what I need to do.
What else do you do?
Off the bike, I enjoy photography, coffee, and hiking. I’m a very active and self motivated person, so if I’m not on the bike then you can catch me grinding at the gym, working/hanging out at a coffee shop, or with my camera somewhere.
I’ve come to learn you have to give up a lot if you want to do anything with
cycling. It’s a very competitive community; racing, photography, whatever the case may be, it’s a lifestyle and you have to make choices. My photography is focused on cycling, so if there is a huge event or race that I know I can benefit from or gain opportunity; then yeah, I’m willing to give up a weekend of hanging out with friends or going to a cabin and partying for a weekend. In order to grow, you’ll have to sacrifice and do what’s best for you. It comes down to how bad you want it. I agree that it’s healthy to take a break and enjoy other activities, but you won’t catch me away from bike more than a day. It’s my life. Luckily, majority of my friends are cyclists and share the same interest so I don’t have to worry too much about that!
What drew you to Unsettle?
Unsettle, Charlie hit me up on Instagram about sending me a few items to shoot and represent. I checked out his profile and it was like if I had a twin across the way; bikes, coffee, music, photography, style… yeah, I’m interested. I love working with small and upcoming companies. Unsettle is a lifestyle and wants to bring some style to your everyday commute. We’re working hard to get the brand name
out and I know Charlie is working his ass off to produce product that cyclist want. I have a lot of confidence in him and am proud to represent the brand.
Words of wisdom… find what motivates you! Find your passion, take a hold of that passion and kill it. The world is yours and it all starts with you. Explore, connect, take chances, and have fun because that’s what it’s all about.
Refreshing look into someone I’m getting to know better. Wow; ride Nate ride, not to find it but to live it. Its not over the next hill, you’re in it now,enjoy my friend.