Brad Simeral

Photos by Jonathan Koshi

Photos by Jonathan Koshi


Sweep Categories: Cargo - Men, Fundraising

What was the race equipment you used? 
I've used a variety of equipment. Every year I've bitten off more than the equipment can handle, many of them were more than a bit scary. 

  • My old mountain bike pulling a trailer (one year also I also pulled a wagon behind the trailer)
  • That same bike converted to a cargo bike (Xtracycle extension was a Sweep prize)
  • A city bike pulling a trailer (bike was a Sweep prize)
  • My touring bike with panniers. 

Why is the Sweep important to you? 
Each year I send out a pretty emotional plea for donations in the fundraising category. The essential message is that food insecurity and hunger is a problem that should not exist in an area of such prosperity. My friends, family, colleagues, and I are all privileged enough to not have to worry about where our next meal is coming from and no person deserves to feel that stress. The Sweep is important because it gives me a platform to solicit my network for their donations to help the Food Bank.

How long have you been participating in the Sweep and what's the biggest thing you've learned since then? 
I've been participating in the Sweep since its inception. I had to miss a couple of years when my company's volunteer event had a date conflict, but I've been volunteering on the day of the Sweep since 2005. I've learned that generosity and competition can be great bedfellows. The Cargo competition was such an innovative way to magnify the impact of event. Kudos to our fearless leaders for coming up with that idea.

Favorite Sweep moment/memory? 
Can I have two?

(2012) I loaded 300 pounds of rice on top of the Xtracycle at the FoodsCo in Portola and and it was unridable due to being too top-heavy. I crashed immediately exiting the parking lot. While I was blocking the lane with my mess a police officer stopped behind me and ... asked if she could help. She took half of my load and delivered it to Food Bank. I don't know how I would have finished without her help. 

(2013) I had loaded up 750 pounds of food on the cargo bike, a trailer and a wagon (17 feet of towing capacity), which (yet again) proved too much for me to pull. The whole system was so unstable I ended up falling several times on the way to the Food Bank. When I just couldn't make it up the incline on Indiana street, 3 other riders in the sweep and a homeless man helped push my monstrosity up the hill.  

Any tips for someone considering racing cargo for the first time?

  • Tricycles are required for heavy loads
  • Multiple trips are your friend
  • Pre-order and pay for your food
  • Indiana street is longer, but a much better route if you are heavily loaded 

You've always done really well in the fundraising category. Do you have any strategies or tips so others can also lead successful fundraising campaigns? 

  • Your friends, family, and coworkers want to donate. Compel them with your dedication and a good story. 
  • Remind them several times, but don't be annoying. Offer a story in exchange for their time and annoyance. 
  • Remind them to use their corporate matching funds.
  • Bring them in on the fun. I've started a raffle for my donors. $5 donation buys you a ticket, including confirmed corporate matches. After the race I pull a number out of a computerized hat and the winner gets a bike!