Rod Munoz (@citzenrod) and his Dad are our Reid Riders of the Month for July.
Rod from Sydney, Australia and his Dad from Chile have become our Reid Riders of the Month for July on our Xenon and MTB Pro Disc after catching our eye on Instagram on a European road trip with #reidbikes! We caught up with Rod, to find out a little bit more about him, his dad and their bikes…
Born and bread in Sydney to Chilean parents who migrated here back in the 70s. Grew up around the Eastern suburbs, love playing soccer and going to the beach. I’ve been an IT nerd for as long as I can remember, loving all things tech. But then my passion for art and design began to come through. I moved into that space after studying Product Design at UTS. I have an app in the app stores called Maate, I’ve run classes on 3D printing, I’ve even exhibited artwork. I’m currently working on a book about bad design based on the articles I’m writing on the topic on Medium.
When and how did you get into bike riding?
I was never a big rider, but I always had a bike, it's just one of those things you had. Starting with BMXs back in the day, then followed by mountain bikes as I got older. Bikes gave you freedom, before owning a car and having a licence could, so it was always cool to get on your wheels and go hang out with your mates. Later bikes were another means of transport, better than taking the bus. It’s great to see how much bike use and bike paths have grown in Sydney in the last few years.
So what made you choose Reid and why the Xenon?
My dad actually bought his racer from Reid when he started cycling, which amazingly was only after he retired from working. Before that, I don’t think I’d seen my dad on a bicycle since I had my BMX. A looong time ago. So I knew of Reid because of him.
When we decided to do the Camino by bike, he then bought a mountain bike from you guys, probably about 2 months before we began our trip. Having decided to go to Spain, I myself knew it was time for a new bike. My old mountain bike was coming to end off life, an old Trek 26”. The frame size was a tad small and it would need a full overhaul to get in it back in good nick for our journey. I made the decision to invest in a new bike.
In my research, I found a couple of mountain bikes in my price range, but the Xenon had the better components out all of them. That was the deciding factor, and knowing Reid is an Australian company was the cherry on top.
Is this your first 29er bike?
Yes, this is my first 29er, and I didn’t even know they existed until I started researching new bikes. I’d been riding my 26” by myself, so I never noticed the new 29er’s coming into fashion.
I was a little concerned that the 29” wheels, along with my new larger frame might be too large and cumbersome for me. But I found there were no issues when I took one for a test ride, in fact, I felt more comfortable and in-control with the new larger bike. Obviously, my previous bike was way too small for me, I had just never noticed.
My dad actually did a 2-week mountain bike ride in the South of Chile and Argentina back in 2017. Ever since then I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do something similar. Towards the end of 2018, I started to think about my dads 70th birthday, which was coming up in 2019, and what I could do to make it special.
So around October 2018, I threw it out there. “Hey dad” I said at dinner one time, “ I have a challenge for you…, May, 2019, 800km bike ride across the North of Spain, we arrive June 1st for your birthday, what do you think?”. And that’s how it began.
It wasn’t long in the making, and it actually wasn’t 100% confirmed until March 2019, when I get a phone call from my dad. He was in your Newtown store, about to buy a mountain bike. “I’m at Reid, I’m about to buy a bike, are we going or not?”. What could I say, I was in the hot seat. “Lock it in Eddy” I said, and that was that, we’re going to Spain.
So, how did the bikes treat you?
The bikes were great, solid and durable. I don’t know how, but my dad managed to get 3 punctures on the journey while I got none. The terrain can get pretty rough on The Camino, people think it's just a dusty walking track, but believe me, it’s not. Whatever you can think of, it's on The Camino. Honestly, if it wasn’t for all the “walkers” on The Camino, The Camino would be an awesome mountain bike trail. It is very challenging, and you could fly through without having to worry about running anybody over, hahaha. I only had a problem with my brakes, but that was my fault. I accidentally got lubricant in them. Big mistake. So I had to ride a couple of days with basically no brakes while I figured out what to do, knowing that some very steep descents were approaching. A few YouTube videos later, and a few cleaning attempts later, still no brakes. The last option was to set the brake pads on fire, another video I had seen on YouTube but was hesitant to try earlier on. So I bought some cleaning alcohol, a lighter, and stopped in a small town to set my brakes on fire, MacGyver style. It was cool. And it worked. It’s always satisfying when you overcome hurdles like these on your adventures, they give you a boost. (You can check out my YouTube channel, @Citizenrod, I will be putting up another video soon about the bike I chose and why. I filmed it in front of the Cathedral in Santiago)
What and where did you go with them?
So there are many paths you can take when you do the Camino, some start in Portugal, some start at the Mediterranean, some start in France, and others start elsewhere. But all paths lead to Santiago de Compostela, in the North West of Spain. The most popular path is “The French Way”, “El Camino Frances”. It starts in France in the border town of St Jean Pied de Port, on the North East side of Spain. From there you make your way 800kms West, until you reach Santiago. In that time, you cut through 5 regions of Spain, you can think of regions like States. But some regions even have their own language, different environment, industry, not to mention their own histories. So it’s quite an amazing country, the Camino gives you the opportunity to try it all. Every day you travel through a new town, every night you stay in a different place, you eat, you drink, you meet locals, you meet people from all over the world, it’s amazing.
Do you have any other future adventures planned?
Cycling the Camino was an awesome adventure, and I would love to do something similar again one day. At the moment I don’t have any such plans, but it is always in the back of my mind. I do need to get back on the bike though, I’ve been back in Sydney for a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t ridden my bike yet. No thanks to the Sydney weather either. Oh how I miss the summer days in Spain. Also, I need to service my bike, I’ve been lazy to get it over to Newtown.
Finally, what advice would you give to those who have never been on a biking adventure or even a bike? Or even those who are just looking for a closer bonding experience with dad?
First thing I would say is DO IT!
People wait and wait, believing that at some point in the future they will magically have more time. We need to realise that we all have time, right now, we just need to 1. Decide to do it, and 2. Plan it. Money also is not an excuse, we use that one all the time. On the Camino, you can pay as little as €5 per night in some places, €5!
Biking adventures are just that, adventures. You see new places, meet new people, taste new food, and more importantly, you grow. Travelling opens up the mind, I love it.
If your goal is to get closer to somebody, to bond, that’s great. But be aware that we all have different perspectives based on our experiences and beliefs, so you need to be very open. Open and listen. Depending on who you will be travelling with, you may normally see that person a couple of times a week or a few hours a day. When you go on an adventure like The Camino, you’re going to be with them 24/7. So yeah, be open.
Fancy going on a cycling holiday?