Matt Duer

Midwest native Matt Duer is the Assistant Manager at Rapha Chicago, where he’s known for deep-winter commuting and for the depths of his euro-pro cycling knowledge.


Matt’s Ride

Every discerning road rider in Chicago rides into the North Shore of Lake County. While Sheridan Rd. and the North Shore is probably the most traveled section in the area by road bike, there are a countless lesser-known roads and off shoots. One of my favorites is the Ravine Climb located in the historic town of Fort Sheridan. The ride leads you down a ravine and spits you out at a beach on Lake Michigan. On the way out you get one of the few sustained climbs the areas has to offer.

Distance: 38.3 miles
Elevation: 783 feet

Download the gpx route  

Who were the first people you rode with? How did they influence you?

When I first started riding, I had just one friend who also rode a bike. We didn’t have a big group to ride with, so we started a donut ride at our local coffee shop and asked people to join us. We were a community of riders motivated by getting out together, experiencing the ride, the pain and joy that comes from group riding. This small collective of riders helped me get out of bed and motivated me to be a better rider. I’m really lucky to have found a group like this here in Chicago. We call each other family and excitingly text each other the night before a ride.

How did you get your start in cycling?

I played collegiate soccer and did a lot of running during my early twenties. After school I ran a marathon and experienced a pain unlike any I’d ever felt before, so naturally I started seeking out less painful forms of exercise. The next week I bought my first road bike. Later on, my local bike shop in Minneapolis helped me cultivate a love for the sport and the culture.


Who is your cycling role model?

One of my favorite riders and role models is Sean Kelly. He’s won Paris-Nice seven times and is just a crusher of the classics. He’s a rider who embodies the willingness to suffer, a critical attribute for any cyclist, especially those of us who live where the winters can be so harsh. Kelly had all this in him from his background. I love the story that when Kelly was recruited by the Flandria professional team in his home country of Ireland, the manager arrived while Kelly was driving a tractor in the field.

What’s the one story from the history of cycling that we should know?

Greg LeMond and his win at the ‘89 Tour de France final stage. LeMond was trailing two-time champion Laurent Fignon by fifty seconds at the start of the final stage, a time trial into Paris. LeMond rode for an average speed of 34 mph, the second fastest time trial ever ridden in the Tour de France, and won the stage.

To add to the drama, Greg had been shot in a hunting accident earlier that year.


What would you tell someone just starting out in the sport?

We were all new riders at one time! Just ride your bike and find rides or riders that inspire you. Watch a Rapha film, chat with us at the clubhouse and just get out and ride. You’ll never regret riding your bike

Coffee ride, paceline, or three-day epic?

Coffee ride, with a little pacelining sprinkled in for good measure.