Long time Nutcase fan, Mike Cobb, was picked by MIPS to be their Athlete of the Month. We reached out to Mike and asked him to share a bit about who he is and what it means to be the Athlete of the month. We were blown away by his thoughtful response. We hope you enjoy...
I've grown up American and therefore have a keen understanding of how established Americans are supposed to interact with transportation technology: bikes are for kids who are too young to drive or for privileged fitness enthusiasts. I failed to follow the prescribed cultural progression. When I was supposed to "age out" of the bike phase, I kept liking bikes. I recognized an essential truth: bikes work. Being self-consciously off-culture, as a high school bike commuter, I made special efforts to hide my ride: it was always parked a block from the school, behind a church, under a tarp.
As I transitioned vocationally from courier work to bike mechanic work and contract welding, I started to dream bigger about how important cargo bikes could be to mitigating/slowing/healing the environmental and community destructiveness of modern society. I got hired on as "expedition mechanic" for a few Pleasant Revolution tours: basically a rock-and-roll tour without destructive travel. Developed by Xtracycle co-founder, Kipchoge Spencer, these tours through Mexico and western Europe and western United States were comprised of musicians hauling music and stage equipment from gig to gig and using integrated pedal generators to power said stage equipment. We were a rolling visual statement of possibilities and we had fun doing it. Revolution can be pleasant. Around the same time, Haiti experienced a horrendous earthquake and subsequent horrendously inadequate relief efforts. It was painful to watch and prompting to action. I was sufficiently embarrassed for our species that I felt obligated to act. I developed Disaster Relief Trials competitions to display, test, and refine decentralized citizen-led cargo bike-based relief possibilities. Described as a drill to simulate a Day 4 supply run, the event captured the imagination of FEMA and many communities throughout the United States. We now have seven cities who host Disaster Relief Trials and emergency managers down the line from FEMA to neighborhood fire stations have taken notice.
I'm a professional bike mechanic, a welder, a tinkerer, and a good design enthusiast. These trade passions are married to my sustainable transportation passion and the result fills me with purpose and love. This is to say, I'm irrepressibly compelled to use equipment tailored to the task, whether that task involves cargo-hauling, errand running, fast commuting, mixed terrain rambling, or heading out on a date. As anybody who has biked on city streets knows vaguely or all-to-intimately, street survival involves eliminating all threats we can control: lane positioning, situational awareness, collision evasion skills, well-designed equipment. The helmet one chooses plays a large roll in stacking odds. My helmet is always fresh, well-adjusted, and MIPS-enhanced. I have a limited attention budget that must be dedicated to dangers that I cannot control. I do NOT worry about an under-protected skull. I focus on co-existing with distracted drivers and errant potholes, not under-developed safety equipment. If the worst happens, a minimized possibility, my survival odds are maximized.