Nate Steiner rides for adventure on community paths, H-F park district trails

Working as a delivery driver for Nestle Water, Nate Steiner of Homewood gets plenty of exercise lugging 5-gallon water bottles into homes and businesses. So for him, riding a bike isn’t about intensity or distance, but a pursuit of adventure and community connection. 

Nate Steiner is bundled up and ready to start a ride on a cold February morning. He participates often in a weekly ride sponsored by GoodSpeed Cycles in Homewood. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  Nate Steiner is bundled up
  and ready to start a ride on a
  cold February morning. He
  participates often in a weekly
  ride sponsored by GoodSpeed
  Cycles in Homewood. 
  
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

He rides as a form of meditation and practice mindfulness. Plus, it’s just fun. He rides with a group nearly every Saturday morning that starts off from GoodSpeed Cycles and bikes wherever they feel like.

How long have you been riding a bike?
I’ve been doing it all my life to a certain extent. I grew up in the Woodborough neighborhood near 187th Street and Aberdeen. My friends would come over: “Wanna ride bikes?” 

Living in suburbia, you had to have a good bike; you had to be equipped. I got a job at a bike shop in Glenwood and started working on bikes. Then I stopped riding for a long time while I was working and had my family (which includes his wife, Susan, and their twin 13-year-old daughters). 

I started again five years ago. I felt like I had some time to spend on a side project, and I found myself wanting to go on bike rides.

I started riding a bike that I had in my garage. It felt good to get out. I stopped by GoodSpeed one day and saw a Surly. I just fell for it. 

Tell us about your bike.
I am at the peak of my bike ownership right now. I have a Surly Karate Monkey. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into components for it. I’ve spent as much money on upgrading it as I did on the bike itself. It’s a mountain bike. I used to ride a single-speed bike but, you know, I need the gears now.

Where do you like to ride?
That’s the good thing about the H-F parks system. You can go from park to park and find a hill or a little path. I can go to Irwin Park and ride up onto the bandshell and then down Ridge Road. To me, that’s what it’s about, the variety this community offers. 

I couldn’t be more pleased...that I spent time out on the bike and was connected to the community. There is an internal conversation that happens. Plus (the park system is) great for going out to test your technical skills on the bike.

That’s what I’ve made my goal every time I go out to ride, to experience what we have in H-F.  

What’s your riding approach? Why do you ride?
I ride for adventure. I know that sounds cliche. I’m out to have the most high quality experience I can in the short time I’m out. If I can get 45 minutes to an hour and a half, that’s enough to satisfy me.

I’ll find a drainage ditch and go down in there. Am I going to feel how wide the tires are, the steel of the bike frame? Can I feel the ground vibrating through the bike into my body? It’s about challenging myself and always finding something different, a different vantage point. A bicycle provides you a different vantage.

 

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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