Customer Spotlight: Benny and Fitz the Faraday
This month’s spotlight shines on Benny Torres, a native of Miami who then spent 8 years in Chicago before realizing he preferred the warmth of home and returned to take a visiting lecturer position at the University of Florida. You might already have seen Benny’s fantastic photos of his Faraday – Fitz – cruising around campus. But there’s plenty you don’t know. So read on, and see how Fitz has fit perfectly into Benny’s new life.
Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, what you do, hobbies, family, etc…
I’m originally from Miami, FL but have lived in Chicago, IL for the last 8 years and recently moved back to my college town to take on a visiting lecturer position. I’m gay and single (hint hint, handsome biker bros) and love video games, distance running, gadgets, and Kombucha.
Have you always been interested in biking? What’s your first bike memory? First bike?
Growing up in Florida we always biked. I remember the feeling of freedom of my first bike. I had a nice little neighborhood called Miami Springs that was perfect for biking. My parents still bike a lot in my home town. It’s one of those idyllic bike and wave places.
What’s your favorite thing about biking?
I love the self-propelled speed and the relative freedom and entitlement to the road (versus a pedestrian or a car). They’re amazing machines and haven’t changed all that much – which I dig. I also like how much they can say about a person. So many different styles and types. I’d argue they say more about you than a car or clothing – because they’re kind of functional moving pieces of cobbled together art. Kind of. Maybe not. 🙂
What got you interested in eBikes?
I wasn’t. They’re clunky and dorky looking and feel so… Forgive me here… NERDY. Complex. Hacked together. In a way bikes aren’t supposed to be. Bikes are kinda pure in a weird way. That’s why I love Faraday.
How did you come across Faraday?
I’m an unabashed Kickstarter nerd. And I probably found it on a random browsing binge. When I first saw the materials and pitch and design I knew there was something special. You don’t hear a lot of companies talking about feel and paying attention to experience in a genuine, human way. From my first interaction with Faraday that humanness has shone through. Even though it didn’t fit my lifestyle in Chicago, I gave my original pledge to Faraday without a backer reward because I wanted to support that rare quality I sensed in the company/brand.
What did you think the first time you rode one?
Oh my. I was nervous because I’d already bought it and waited so long! On top of that I purposely didn’t buy a car or scooter (remember – just moved to a college town) because I decided to invest in a Faraday. So in a lot of ways, Fitz (my Faraday has a name – thank you very much) had a lot riding on him. The bike shop had admitted they’d ridden it already and were absolutely giddy about the bike. I knew from the moment I pedaled I’d chosen correctly. I was giddy. It was immediate satisfaction. It was freedom. It was speed. It was joy incarnate. Exhilaration levels akin to a roller coaster or some really really good news. It’s just fun. And you know it from the first pedal.
What are you doing the most on your Faraday? How often do you ride? How far?
Oh. It’s my main mode of transport in a fairly bike friendly, but still car centric city! Everything. Grocery shopping. Errands. Quick jaunts to class (when I’m usually late). There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t ride Fitz. Usually 5-10 miles a day. Much more on errand days.
We know you’ve ditched the car and changed your commute to a Faraday – How has that been beneficial? Are there ever any negative aspects with it? If you do need to use a car, how do you go about it?
I use a ride sharing program at the university and I’m shocked I don’t use it more. Fitz the Faraday is 100% my main means of transportation. It’s made me feel more connected to my new community in a way. Certainly there are negatives. It’s a bike in rainy Florida. There’s a funny stigma associated with not owning a car that’s been interesting when I go places. And sometimes you can’t be sure if a road truly is bike friendly. But I’m shocked at how surprisingly few compromises I feel. Even in the rain Fitz is a trooper. No sweat. Fast travel. Easy to store and move around.
Has the Faraday enabled you to do anything via bike that you used to use your car for, or just wouldn’t do?
My daily life! I used to live in this city in college, and used a car. Turns out I didn’t need it. A bike like this is just fine.
If a neighbor asked you whether they should get a Faraday, what would you tell them?
Absolutely. The more I integrate it into my life the more I realize they aren’t that many types of living that couldn’t use this thing. Heck, wish I’d joined the movement earlier in Chicago. Fitz would’ve been a helluva partner in winter!
Has your Faraday changed your day-to-day life at all? If so, how?
Well. I care more about a bike than I ever have before. And maybe even care more about my mode of transportation than ever before. I have a matching wood helmet and speaker for my rides (yes I’m a biker singer).
Do you have a favorite Faraday story?
Definitely. One of my first big excursions with him was clear across town. Maybe 6 miles and back. I left my house and it looked like heavy rain coming so I hurried. I got to the grocery before it rained but left with a backpack and a paper bag full of two weeks of groceries and weather that had turned damn near hurricane-ish. My bags were stuffed to the gills and the rain wasn’t going to stop for an hour. So I grabbed a garbage bag, wrapped my bags, put them on the back of Fitz securely (with the included ties downs actually!), strapped on my helmet, and said to myself “Well, this is what I signed up for.” I knew Faraday said it was waterproof and all that – but what the heck do I know?! It was a new bike and I was giving it one of the hardest tests I could think of in its first week. The Faraday took it ALL in stride. I was soaked through, but everything important stayed dry and I felt a confidence in major roads in a DOWNPOUR that I don’t even feel in a car. Something about the speed assist, being able to use bike lanes, and the solid feel of Fitz gave me a sense that it’d be okay. It was awesome. I really bonded with the machine during that moment. It sounds hokey, but I would’ve been stuck without it!
Anything else you want to add?
Fitz the Faraday is really one of my daily pieces of happy. I’m astounded by how it feels just like a bike – but evolved. Better. It’s what I assume Tesla drivers feel about their cars. This feels like the future. This feels like it’s the way bikes should have always been. I can’t believe you guys nailed it on the first shot so well. I can’t wait to see where you lead the rest of the industry!