[cap]P[/cap]erhaps you’ve seen him barreling down hills with his clown nose on, his cape flying behind him like a flag honoring the weird. Complete with multi-colored hair, a top hat and an extra-long trailer with a spray-painted warning sign reading “Clown Ahead,” this biker means funny business. This is Mike Seager, the founder of Eugene’s only bike-powered circus, the GreyMatter Jugglers.
Seager is the founder, main contributor, and editor to WeBikeEugene, a website dedicated to cycling culture.
Here, the self-proclaimed semi-professional juggler, Web master and science teacher waxes philosophical about bikes and vacuums.
Why do you bike every day?
I do it to stay in shape, and it saves a lot of money in gas. I ride a cargo bike, so there’s really no need for a car. I have trailers that I built to transport circus equipment, including my seven-foot-tall unicycle.
The best part of my day is the bike ride to and from work; it’s about six miles each way. It’s beautiful, and I hardly ever get rained on, even though people always think you do (get rained on). Even then, it’s fun.
You get to really experience the outdoors, smell it, feel it. I don’t think it’s natural to live inside a house, get in a car, and go inside a building to work. You’re never really outside, living in the environment. You need to actually get out in it.
Any tips on bike safety?
The main way to stay safe is to not act like a moron. Use lights, reflective gear and act like a car. It’s pretty safe in this town if you are aware you need to behave responsibly.
If every person that drives a car would ride a bike once a month they would have a whole different outlook. You wouldn’t get the right hooks, the pulling out, and passing would be nicer. On the same token, if everyone that rode a bike would drive a car once a month they would get the perspective of what it’s like to be in a car around cyclists.
There’s really no war between bikers and drivers like the newspapers want you to think, it’s just people that aren’t good at taking the perspective of the other side.
Would you say biking is a lifestyle?
After a while it’s no different than riding in a car, if I’m going to the store I hop on my bike. Pretty soon you stop defining yourself as a cyclist, it’s just what you do. As far as the around-town aspect, you just plan a little bit longer to get there and wear cooler wool clothing.
There’s an analogy I heard that people who use vacuums don’t call themselves vacuumists and people who ride bikes for transportation don’t call themselves bikers.
To check out more Eugene bike culture go to WeBikeEugene.org.
To see Seager on his seven-foot-tall unicycle alongside the antics of the GreyMatter Jugglers, go to www.greymatterjugglers.com.