James Grady

Photos by Derek Yarra

Photos by Derek Yarra


Sweep Categories: Speed - Men

What was the race equipment you used? 
I raced in the Speed category, so nothing out of the ordinary - road bike with aluminum wheelset (a better match against the streets of SF than my nice race wheels). I used my XL Freight messenger bag (that was filled to the brim by the end). By the end of the race my bag was so heavy (the Food Bank weighed it at 85lbs) and I was wishing for a rack; I will probably try to use one this year. 

Why is the Sweep important to you? 
The Sweep is important to me because it the easiest and most obvious way for me to engage with the SF-Marin Food Bank; it's helped me to understand the vital work being done to support our friends, family, and neighbors.

Favorite Sweep moment/memory? 
It's inspiring to see so many people from the cycling community working together for such an important cause. I don't have one outstanding memory, but every year I'll get a cashier who says, "oh, you're doing that bike race thing" and I get to (quickly) explain further. Greater awareness leads to greater change!

Can you share a tip for someone considering racing speed or fundraising for the first time? 
Make sure your bike is race ready - the streets of SF are unforgiving.

Lots of water - drink early and often.

Bring snacks.

Wear shoes you can run in. Something else I do that may not be obvious to some people is that I use flat pedals with straps (for foot retention). That way I can wear normal shoes (Vans) to facilitate running in and out of the stores easily. Grocery store floors and road bike cleats don't go well together.

Take time at the beginning of the race to plot your course. People will be running to their bikes and leaving; fight the urge to follow suit. Taking a couple minutes to make a plan will save time in the long run.

Be SUPER nice to everyone in the stores. Not only will they let you cut the line if you ask nicely, you're a representative of the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Have fun and be grateful for the opportunity to help others.