Cris Concepcion

Cambridge resident Cris has nailed the art of staying stylish while riding through the winter.

He works downtown at Safari Books Online, the digital library for Pearson Education and O’Reilly Media, where he manages their software engineering teams. We caught up for an email Q & A after the photo shoot, in which Cris talks about riding at night, staying warm the stylish way, and the fallacy of “waterproof” clothing.

What do you do at work?

Our work ranges from helping people get better at coding languages like Java and Python, to working with publishers to make electronic books more awesome, to building websites for reference sources like the Oxford English Dictionary. Just this past week, we were invited to be part of a new initiative from the White House to help K-12 students get a solid foundation of tech skills, which is super exciting. It’s a lot of fun and I work with a lot of smart, funny, and humbling people everyday. I can’t ask for a better workplace or co-workers.

Where do you ride most often?

I live in Inman, work downtown, and have friends all over the city. If it’s anywhere between JP, Newton, Somerville, or Arlington, I’ll ride my bike rather than take a car. I love riding at night, leaving a friend’s house or a venue somewhere between midnight and sunrise, when the streets are quiet and the air is crisp. It’s a different city with an air of new mystery and potential. I’ll take the long way home just to indulge in a bit of exploration, and listen to a stranger’s laughter echoing from a few blocks away, or dish out a high-five to someone trying to hail a taxi cab and listen to them holler in delight as I ride past.

How do you stay warm during the winter?

Layers, layers, layers. In this photo I have a wool t-shirt and a pair of tights underneath the office gear and that keeps me warm but isn’t too hot for the office.  The coat is also good for blocking the wind, which is key for staying warm. Also remember that you lose a lot of heat in your head and your hands. Go heavy on the gloves, scarf, and hat, and you can afford to be a bit chilly in your core. Finally, waterproof clothing is a myth. Either it’s non-breathable and will get you sweaty or it’s not really waterproof and you’ll get damp. Wear clothes that dry quickly, so even if you get to the office a little damp, within an hour you’ll be dry and forget what the weather was like.

Tell us about your bike…

This is a project bike that I built up myself about three years ago. I wanted an all-weather commuter for the city, and for a moment got fixated on the Pashley Guvnor, but thought to myself that I could probably build up an equivalent bike for less than the $1500 that a Guvnor would cost. I also participate in brevets and randonnees, which is this form of long distance, unsupported adventure cycling and so had all of these spare parts (front rack, hub generator, headlights, etc.) from a brevet bike that I had been upgrading. Still, the Path Racer look of the Guvnor was the inspiration. The Raleigh is essentially this speedy heritage mixed with a bit of the traditional English 3-speed utility roadster. Fenders, headlights, front rack, three speeds, etc. but also fixed gear and low handlebars for racing friends on empty streets.


Ride on, Cris!


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