Why We Ride Bikes – Gabriel’s Story

Posted by Steve Prudente on May 24, 2016

May is Bike Month!  Please join us in our ongoing celebration as we share some cycling stories from our employees all month long.  If you missed them, check out parts one, twothreefour, five, six and seven!

Gabriel Mandujano

CEO

 

What is your favorite cycling memory?
I went to grad school in the UK and took a couple of long distance bike trips with a friend.  The UK’s pretty good about bike friendliness, so any time that we came to a river to cross, there was almost always a safe, bike-friendly way to get across (whether a bike lane, or a ferry, or something).

Halfway through a trip from London to Cardiff, we arrived at the River Severn, which has a 5-mile bridge-and-causeway span on the equivalent of an Interstate Highway, with a wide shoulder but no apparent space for bikes.

Without any real alternative (at least within 50 miles), we put on our hi-vis gear and started pedaling.  We were almost across the bridge when we got pulled over by two Welsh policemen who weren’t too pleased.  They threatened to arrest us, but after discovering that both my friend and the police officer’s cousin were from Montana(??), they decided to escort us to the toll booth so we could get us back on local roads.

What’s your least favorite or most unexpected cycling memory?
Eh, I don’t like talking much about bad experiences with drivers.  Of course I run into bad drivers every once in a while, but I think focusing on these stories feeds into the “culture war” narrative of “bikes versus cars” which really shouldn’t be a thing.  In a city like Philly, there’s plenty of room for both, and whether you’re in a car or on a bike, you’re bound to run into a knucklehead every few months.

Screen_Shot_2016-02-22_at_3.14.27_PM.pngHow often do you choose to ride a bike and why?
Almost every day.  For me it’s all about the time — by far the quickest way to get around Philadelphia.

Why did you decide to start Wash Cycle Laundry?
I think we get all this received wisdom and common sense about the way the world should be that’s just plain wrong — that we can’t build sustainable cities, that people with certain backgrounds are unemployable, and so on.  It’s important that we question these things, and when we can, show people that the received wisdom and common sense just isn’t true in practice.

What’s your earliest bike riding memory?
Falling into the C&O Canal outside of Washington DC.  It was the first time I’d ridden a bike outside of my front driveway, and at 6 years old, I had just graduated from a small bike with coaster brakes to one with handlebar brakes.  I got spooked on my bike, couldn’t remember how to stop it, and fell right in.

Finally, what would you say to convince someone to ride a bike?
Just try it for a few days.  Ideally in the springtime.  If you’re not hooked, then I won’t bother you anymore.

 


We hope you have enjoyed our inspiring stories this month!  You still have time to celebrate Bike Month with us and receive 15% off your first service before May 31st by using the code “BIKEMONTH2016” at checkout:

Celebrate Bike Month with 15% off Your First Service! Use code BIKEMONTH2016 at checkout

Thanks for reading and riding!