Upright Biker Profile: Colin Ernst

Colin Ernst has worn a lot of hats in his life – composer, metalworker, circus performer, instrument builder – and he’s ridden a lot of bicycles.

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Colin Ernst has worn a lot of hats in his life – composer, metalworker, circus performer, instrument builder – and he’s ridden a lot of bicycles. “When I messengered in NYC, I rode a Panasonic road frame with bullhorn drop bars. Very low and hunched over,” he said. He outfitted his current bike, a thrift-store Bridgestone MB-1, with a stem extender and a rise handlebar. “Mostly it’s about comfort,” he said of the change. “I’ve had back issues over the years, and a low dropped position tends to aggravate that, as well as put a lot of strain on my neck. Since I’m not interested in going very fast and I won’t be trying out for the Olympics anytime soon, dropping down low is unnecessary.” He also appreciates the improved visibility – for himself and for drivers – that comes with being above the level of the average car.

Ernst’s four-year-old daughter, Corinne, is his frequent riding companion – sitting in a Bobike seat mounted on the inside of his handlebars. “Today Corinne and I had an absolutely fabulous day riding around Seattle,” he said. “We rode about 20 miles, with stops at the Blue Ridge Pool (for swim lessons), the Seattle Center (for lunch with momma), the waterfront bike trail (nice view), the Ballard locks (major salmon run in progress) and the Ballard library (books …duh!).” Ernst, like many upright riders, uses his bike mainly for utility purposes. “I get around and haul stuff with it,” he explained. “Sometimes I go to the supermarket with Corinne and ride up the hill with her, two panniers and a box full of groceries.” Ernst calculates the total weight his bike carries on those trips – including his daughter, himself and their cargo – at nearly 300 pounds.

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