Richard Bravo


What’s your name, nickname, age, birthplace, hometown?
Richard Bravo / “Filthy” Rich / 35 / Washington, D.C. / New York City

Favorite phenomenon?
The Anna Karenina Principle.

How do you like to tell stories?
I’m a writer. It’s what I do.

Pivotal moments in life?
I was in the bathroom at a private Justin Timberlake concert (the drinks were free. So, yeah.) I turn around and Damon Wayons is standing right in front of me with a joint in his hand and he asks me for a light. I didn’t have a lighter, but I was so awe-struck I couldn’t form a single word. He turned around and walked away. Regret.

Why/how did you start riding?
I didn’t start riding seriously until I began working as a bike messenger in D.C. Why? I couldn’t believe someone was willing to pay me to ride my bike around all day.

Family life, or home life; kids, wife, girlfriend, pets?
My folks still live outside of Washington, D.C. and my older brother lives here in the city. If you can believe it I’m single.

What’s your special talent/gift to the world?
I’m an incredible croquet player. I’ve excelled at a few more traditional sports, but in the grand scheme of things I was never great. I was great at croquet. Three-time collegiate national champion. If you play me in croquet you’re going to lose.

What’s the continental project mean to you?
The most amazing aspect of the project to me — beyond the beautiful mountain vistas, leg-burning gravel roads, white-knuckle descents — has been the unique opportunity to ride with some of the most incredible personalities I’ve ever come across.

Why are you interested in documenting rides?
I’m always disappointed when people think they need to go to Europe to do truly fantastic rides. Without fail, anytime one of my friends has traveled to upstate New York to ride our Catsills route they have told me it was one of the best rides they’ve ever done. And that’s a very satisfying feeling, to open up such great experiences to people.

What do you want a riding guidebook to feature (what’s missing from what currently exists out there), and how will you contribute to that end goal?
A riding guidebook would need to feature the personalities of the Continental riders, as well as the personalities of each of the rides.

What’s style mean to you?
To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (who was actually describing pornography and not style), “I shall not attempt to define it, but I know it when I see it.”

Who’s your favorite local rider and why?
Bike Snob NYC. Anyone who can make me laugh so much about cycling has to be a good guy.

Where in the world would you like to ride next and why or what group ride if you could do any would you do?
Even though I love riding in the Northeast, I would most like to do the spring classic routes. In terms of group rides I would have to say D2R2. It’s perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had on an established group ride. Fantastic.

You need anyone reading this to know…?
Don’t ask me to ride up Lincoln Gap with you because I’m not going to do it. Okay, maybe I will. But seriously, a 24 percent grade?

Why cycling and not, running or shot put or speed skating?
If Independent Fabrications starts making speed skates give me a call.

Your favorite ride/moment ever, just the details?
My favorite moment was during the Baxter ride, just as we rolled off that 45-mile stretch of gravel. I swear that wasn’t normal pavement. It was some kind of super high-tech, smooth pavement that I’ve never experienced before or since. It felt as if our bikes were hovering a couple inches above the road. Then PVB flatted and the moment was over.

What’s your job all about, why does it fit you?
I’m a reporter at Bloomberg News. When I’m not riding I’m writing. It’s the only other thing I do as well as playing croquet.

What’s your program, like who and what and where is your world?
I remember riding with my friends Simon Firth (of Bilenky Cycle Works) and Pat Gaffney on Paris-Brest-Paris, and seeing a guy on his bike whose neck muscles stopped working. I think it’s called Shermer’s Neck. It was probably around 3 a.m. and we tried to convince the guy to throw in the towel. Apparently he didn’t take our advice because the next morning we saw him riding down the road. He had run a coat hanger through his bibs and attached the other end to his helmet, which was holding his head upright so that he could see where he was going. I’m not sure what my program is, but it isn’t as hardcore as that guy’s program.

Where you live and why it suits you?
I live in New York City. I definitely enjoy the fast-pace life of the city.

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