At first glance, Michael could be someone intimidating because of the large number of tattoos on his body. For others, that turns out to be something fascinating and mysterious; the truth is that Michael is a person with an incredibly friendly character, who being the first rider of the team NVAYRK, has showed to be able to overcome any goal proposed by harder it may be.

His first stage of competitive cycling was with NVAYRK, and there is no doubt that is only the beginning of a big stage in the competitive life of Michael, as this year also will be part of a road cycling team in New York, as captain of the Fulton Bikes Race Team.

Who’s Michael Stromberg?

My name is Michael Stromberg and I ride for NVAYRK. Some people, particularly my mates in London, know me as ‘Shit Bag’. This self-appointed nickname developed there when I was living in the UK, working and getting my Master’s degree. It is meant to be somewhat Ironic, because I am a good dude, and well educated, but at the end of the day I am really just a tattooed, shit bag cyclist. So I gave myself the forum name ‘Yankee Shit Bag’ when joining the LFGSS forum. It has gotten shortened to ‘Shit Bag’ over time; ‘Yankee’ doesn’t have the same cache over here.

What’s passion for cycling for you?

Man, cycling is the most important thing in my life. Unlike people, I can always rely on my bikes, not to mention riding gives me more joy than anyone or anything ever has in my life. When people expect me to blow off my 6:00 a.m. ride to spend the evening with them, I just laugh. Bikes are my one true love, and they will always be around. People, money, and other things come and go.

How did you get into fixed gear and NVAYRK team?

I started riding track bikes about 5 years ago, just as kind of a Tattooed punk around Las Vegas. Though I have always ridden bikes at some rate or another, this is when my passion for cycling really took off. The purity and fluidity of fixed gear gave me that feeling that is totally unique, on the edge of control at times, fast, and tough. A feeling that quickly reminded me of my roots as a competitive ski racer in Colorado.

I got into NVAYRK shortly after moving to NYC, just from riding bikes. I rode with my friend Shelby quite a bit around Brooklyn and Manhattan. She soon introduced me to Beto, and informed me about the project. When they asked me to be a part of it, I said of course. This was all in the fall of 2014, I had never even raced a bike yet. In fact, my ‘friend’ profile on NVAYRK makes me sound like a ‘Fixie Skidder’ ha. But this is where I come from, riding bikes around the city, really fast, listening to deathcore and skitching busses, I still love that shit. But I love distance and racing the most these days, and my first competitive year could not have gone better I reckon.

What does represent NVAYRK for you?

NVAYRK represents a collective of cyclists worldwide. That is why I am so stoked to be a part of it. The more I ride, race, and travel, I am finding out that the cycling community is small and tight knit, worldwide, and the fixed gear scene is even smaller. I have friends worldwide and it is all because of cycling. This is what NVAYRK is all about, cycling connects.

How did you train for criterium?

The way I trained for the Crit, I didn’t really consider training. Simply because riding bikes hard and fast is my favorite thing to do, and every free moment I had this is what I wanted to be doing. I usually ride solo, road bikes mostly these days, hard and fast for 75+ miles, listening to deathcore for a few hours straight. People call me crazy, I love it. I owe a lot of my progression as a cyclist to tough bands like Carnifex, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Acacia Strain, Parkway Drive, and of course Slipknot. Ergo, I was inadvertently doing a lot of threshold training, ha.

What’s your cyclist profile?

Even though people change, and I spend most of my time on road bikes these days, much of it still holds true, and of course it is where I come from. One thing that will always hold true is my motto.

Motto: Ride your fucking bike, mate

So many people in the scene these days want to do everything but ride their bike it seems, take photos, pose, blog, whatever. That’s fine if that’s what you’re into, but at the end of the day it is all about bikes, ergo just ride your bike mate, save the talk, it’s whatever. I don’t have a Garmin, a power meter, or even a cycling computer for that matter; I just want to ride my bikes man.

Thanks to…

I want to give special thanks to NVAYRK and Beto for always being super supportive, and particularly for seeing something in me before anyone else did. I am only getting started ya’ll. Special thanks to my employer Fulton Bikes, for their added and continuous support. And special thanks to LOW// Bicycles.

Most importantly, I want to give all the thanks to my Parents. They are awesome and I love them to pieces. They were rad enough to travel all the way to Milan this year to watch me race, and cheer me on. Their cheers meant everything. Reminded me of being a kid again, and going to ski races all over Colorado.

Author: Stefano
Photographer: Roman Siromakha
Translater: Sandrine