As those who know Jeremy Cattanach will tell you, wherever he is to be found, his trademark fixed-gear bike is rarely far away. Even without his preferred mode of transportation, he's not an easy guy to miss: his tall build and extensive, intricate tattoos make him an attention-grabbing presence, to say the least.
His "Fast Life" knuckle tattoos in particular garnered a healthy dose of unwanted publicity a few years ago, when they served as the model for French street artist MTO's oddly controversial Rosemary District mural. These days, though, Cattanach is focused on a different kind of fast life: his new bike courier business, Ride SRQ Bike Courier. We sat down with him to talk about his new business, the fixed-gear lifestyle and the ever-changing landscape of Sarasota.
So, how did you end up in Sarasota?
I'm originally from Reno, Nev. I moved to San Diego when I was 17. I lived there until 2005, when I moved to St. Pete for a construction job. I'm a heavy equipment operator by trade, and I came to Sarasota in 2010 to build the hospital. I found Clothesline when I was here, and Austin Kowal and I became friends, and I started working there. We both ride fixies, so we kind of hit it off. After that, I sort of got in the groove of Sarasota. It's a beautiful place to live.
How did you come up with the idea for a bike courier business here?
I've noticed how quickly Sarasota is changing, and it had always been a thought in my mind. I'd just always been too busy with construction. I went back to San Francisco over Christmas to visit some family, and when I came back, I decided the timing was right, and that it was something I really wanted to do. I had some more free time to devote to it. I think it's something that can really happen here. So, I started pursuing it seriously at the start of February.
What are the advantages to a bike courier?
Well, it's faster. It's more efficient. It saves people time, not to mention it's eco friendly. I can get anywhere in town on my bike faster than you can in a car. By the time you're looking for parking, I'm likely already on my way back. It's great for people like lawyers, doctors and architects who need documents delivered regularly, either to the courthouse or to other businesses. It saves them time. Whoever has been running those packages back and forth doesn't have to leave the office anymore.
Where do you plan to deliver?
I'm looking at three basic zones right now — downtown, Siesta Key and St. Armands. I think my biggest focus will be downtown.
Have you ever thought about the phrase "Fast Life" applying to the fixed-gear bike lifestyle?
I actually never considered it until recently, when someone else pointed it out. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm always on my bikes. They say, "Oh, you know, fast life — no brakes — you're always zooming in and out on your bike." And I guess it does sort of play into that, because with this business, I'm all about speed and efficiency.
The whole controversy that happened with the mural was unfortunate. I didn't want to be a part of the negativity that was coming along with it, so I tried to stay out of it. I think there is a fear that is associated with being tattooed. I don't want to make people feel that way, but I've been tattooed since I was 17, so I've learned to go with the highs and lows. There will be some people who aren't okay with it, but for every one of them, there will be someone else who will just look at whether I can get the job done. It's made me that much stronger and comfortable with who I am.
What's your vision for Ride SRQ Bike Courier?
I'm still building my clientele. I've only been pursuing this for about a month now, but I think it will have a snowball effect. I think Sarasota is ready for this, and it will only become a better option as time goes on. Like any city, it's going to continue to grow. If things go the way they should, I have a crew of riders who are ready to accommodate. I think the future is bright for this type of business, and I really believe in it. What I hope to see is less driving — more bikes.