Hey there 😉 if we would meet up in your favorite vegan spot to eat right now – what would you order to drink and to eat and what would you recommend me to pick?
I generally try to eat pretty healthy but since I’m just getting over being sick I could go for some comfort food like The Ignorant Chris combo (a double veggie burger with chilli cheese and onion ring) and fries from Viva La Vegan or a chic’n and waffles plate…or both…everything Miko and Chris cooks is awesome! I’d probably suggest you try the jackfruit philly…soooo good.
Which foods does your healthy diet include then?
I eat alotta fruit, tons of bananas, pasta, greens, tofu, beans, juices I have to take in a lot of calories so I try to keep them as clean as possible most of the time. If you’re eating 4000 calories a day, you don’t wanna be filling yourself with junk
….what would you tell me about yourself so I get to know you and what you do?
These days I’m generally a pretty happy guy that is frustrated with the world around me. At constant odds with a culture I can’t understand and just looking for an “escape” which brought me to riding bikes as fast and as far as I can, football for the Atlanta Silverbacks with my Atlanta Ultras family. When I’m not doing one of those things. Im more often than not hanging out with my partner Becca and our mini “zoo” of rescue animals and pets.
Tell us more about the mini zoo, please, who else lives with you?
The word zoo is probably the wrong term looking at it now as it has such a negative connotation. Becca works with a cat rescue called Good Mews and we also work with Ahimsa House fostering animals for domestic abuse victims. A lot of times a victim will not leave because they are concerned for the safety of their animal companions.We considered ourselves animal lovers long before being vegan and people would get animals and not know how to take care of them, and we would end up taking them in. Right now we have lizards, tarantulas, snakes, five permanent cats, a gerbil and the world’s most affectionate chinchilla. Animals are not ours for entertainment and commerce, for a lot of people they want animals because they are pretty to look at or because they want them to “love them” and when their expectations aren’t met they stop taking care of them properly or want to “sell” or get rid of them. Most times reintroduction of these animals to their natural habitat isn’t an option. We’ve kind of become a wayward home for “discarded” animals, We are lucky to be in a situation where we are able to share our living space with them.
Would you mind introducing some of them and telling us about their quirks?
So without going into naming all of them I’ll go through out mammals haha. We have carrot an all black cat that loves everyone, Sherlock a one eyed rescue from a hoarding situation. Pandora a street rescue that hates everything but me, Spazz and Boots our first two cats that are just kind of fat and lazy these days. We are currently fostering a cat named Zephyr who has FIV and FELV so she is seperated from the other cats she showed up at our house next to dead on our front porch and was meowing a lot, came home from riding and she was just there with her fur all matted and she was hissing and didn’t want me near her but couldn’t seem to get away we left some food and water for her and watched her for a few minutes and she started trying to get me to pet her picked her up and she didn’t struggle so we took her to the vet and have been trying to find her a forever home but with her health issues most rescues can’t take her because she can’t be near other cats and outside she wouldn’t survive. We also have a gerbil that we found in a Home Depot bucket at a local store. And of course Burrito the chinchilla who is currently trying to eat my phone case.
So, you are an Ultra, what drew you to this culture and what do you cherish about it?
I grew up playing and watching football. Atlanta has a rich history with the game, and the culture associated with it. We’ve had a pro team here since the seventies. My dad was my coach growing up we went to games for women’s proteam at the time (The Atlanta Beat) and I fell in love. When the AU101 started up we were three or four guys that wanted to support our team more passionately and show them they were appreciated. We grew into a family. The Atlanta Ultras are about supporting our team and representing our city, the diversity, the passion, the history. Football in the states is very different from anywhere else. We have closed leagues, matches are hundreds of miles away from each other, we have multiple leagues that all operate more or less independently, it’s a pay to play system and it’s over run at every level by corporate intervention. Support here in the states is also different, it’s a lot of plastic empty chants and fake passion in a lot of cases, Supporters groups organized and kept in line by the front office. Football at its roots is about the common people about those that play it and support it. And that’s what we are all about. For me singing at the top of my lungs for the Atlanta Silverbacks with my brothers and sisters and standing for what we believe…it doesn’t get much better.
What is the scene like considering sexism and machismo?
Luckily we don’t deal much with that…partially because we don’t put up with it. We have openly gay members, we have female members, we have a multi racial membership and we all pull for the same team and same city. We are as close to brothers and sisters as you can get. It’s our responsibility to defend and stand up for our members in the same way we do our team. There is of course rampant sexism but I feel like with real football support it’s so ingrained as a counter culture here that we are more inclusive than other places and quite a bit more proactive in combating that sort of ideology.
Are there any fanzines in the Ultrá scene?
Not so much in the US we are a small contingency of supporters, there are more so private forums and social media. I know of some supporters “literature” books that are basically just photos of stickers all over Europe but I can’t remember the name of it…
Ever thought of writing for one or making one?
I enjoy writing and have written for a few different mediums but the passion and time required to keep a Zine going through more than a few issues is difficult. As you understand it’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of planning and organizing. Between working, riding, home life, football…it would be a very difficult balance. I organized a few news letters and websites for awhile and it gets very tiresome for me. Much respect for being able to follow through with this. It’s awesome seeing the Shit you put together.
How did you hear about veganism?
Growing up the idea of “vegan” to me was some hippy shit that primarily yuppies and hippies were into. But then I was low on cash trying to continue to eat healthy, bought beans and greens and brown rice and cooked it a million different ways for that paycheck realized how much better I felt. I had always felt like something was “off” about consuming animal products and I started reconsidering all I had thought I knew about animal agriculture and nutrition and ethics and it just kind of fell into place over night. I hear about people taking time to transition but for me it just clicked. Three years later I can’t imagine how I lived my life any other way. It cleared my mind and perceptions in ways I never could have thought of.
How do you experience being vegan in everyday life (the good and the bad) with work, family life, etc.?
I committed to veganism knowing full well it was a counterculture and that it went against social norms. I have people that don’t understand why I won’t eat food they’ve prepared and tell me I’m rude, or I have people that want to become nutritionists when I tell them I’m vegan, I get into it fairly regularly with people that don’t get it or want to make fun of veganism or tell me that eating dead things is their choice and I should respect it and that comes with the territory…but by the time I went vegan, this shit was easy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a culture of resistance and standing up for the lives of animals at its heart. But you can walk to almost any store and get food with the word vegan on the package! It’s on the covers of magazines, it’s on the news. It’s permeating popular culture. Veganism is the future, and luckily more and more people are waking up to that.
And in which way did straight edge enter your life?
I always feel a little weird answering this. Growing up I was angry, I was angry at myself the world around me. Just angry at everything. I was vehemently against any and everything. I was negative, aggressive, and stayed relatively fucked up on either prescriptions doctors said I should be on or anything else I could justify. I lived a decent chunk of my life crawling from substance to substance angry and afraid and just…not well.At one point I ballooned up to 220 pounds at 5’6, had blood sugar issues got gout in my foot and was just medically and mentally unwell.I always knew about straight edge growing up Minor Threat, Earth Crisis, Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, some of the more seminal bands were always some of my favorites. I was really into straightedge hardcore when I was a teenager. After a particularly shitty time of my life I woke up after an away match with my friends, a pretty rough night, and had one of those “I’m never drinking again” moments at around 21-22 and I never did. I came to grips with the idea I was “hiding” behind substance dependency and I didn’t want to do it anymore. It might seem watered down to some that I spent so much of my life under the influence and then claimed straight edge a year or two after I got cleaned up but for me it’s another level of this culture I had to shake off of myself before I could really be okay.
What do you like about the straight edge?
I love that there is an entire culture of people for whom radical sobriety is a relating factor. For me straight edge is not just about being sober, it’s about solidarity, being steadfast in my beliefs, learning and challenging things without a crutch. If you wanna get fucked up every day and that works for you go for it, but for me the most exciting part of my day shouldn’t be when I make decisions with my brain half off. Fuck bar culture.
And what do you dislike about the scene?
I’m the wrong person to ask about the scene I don’t go to shows often these days. I’m not a huge people person. I don’t do well with groups, I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life and have found I function better keeping a small circle and doing my own thing. Just like any group there are positive and negative things that come with having lots of people involved. I have gotten more out of it than I could possibly explain. It’s challenged my views and forced me to see things differently, it’s helped me be more aware of myself and the world around me, it helped me learn to stand up for what’s right, and how to see through the bullshit. It suffers the same problems forced upon it from the outside world not clear cut problems of its own making.
When are you most happy?
I’m the most relaxed and at ease when I’m spending time with Becca making fun of bad television watching cartoons, eating food and relaxing. Outside of that I enjoy bikes and football.
Which cartoons do you watch?
Teen Titans Go is one of my favorites right now, we bare bears…pretty much anything on Cartoon Network. Of course ninja turtles, classic xmen, Spider-Man…I watch a lot of cartoons..
Tell us about your bikes, what models are they and any specialities to them?
I have tooooo many bikes.I have a Bianchi Super Pista built for the velodrome. I have a Heavy Pedal Zephyr 2.0 frame built up to deal with the street/training/fun with a similar setup, I have a Tribe bicycles steel frame i built up to commute/distance and messing around it’s also the bike I took with me to Asheville. I just got a specialized Allez sprint comp road bike and it’s a totally different feeling. I have a custom made Varco Cycles frame that I’m currently building and painting that was designed to exactly what I wanted for a lugged steel frame that’s being built up for fixed gear crits and making poor decisions a little too fast. Trying to give it a classic look with modern hardware I worked with my buddy Alan on getting everything just right so I’m very excited to get it done. I’m constantly swapping out parts and experimenting with new stuff and luckily I race for a great shop, Outback Bikes and they help keep me on the road and help me learn more, push harder and correct all the weird mistakes I make.
How many miles do you ride with it in an average week?
I go everywhere by bike, junked my car a few years back. I live a few miles outside of the city so between commuting and training most weeks I’m just shy of 200 when I’m actually training and racing. Up until a few weeks ago that was all on a track bike. So we’ll see what those numbers look like once i’m out on the road bike more.
I consider my car a safe space, since the public eye is shut out, no bulies, no catcalls. When you consider getting around in your car and on your bikes, how would you compare getting around concerning other members in traffic?
Honestly that’s not something I think about much. I grew up with confrontation being a fairly common place occurrence and yeah I have people throw shit at me from time to time, run me off the road get aggressive, shout at me. I don’t let it bother me much these days. I used to get hyper aggressive I’d chase cars down get in their face try to fight, now days I handle things a little smarter. I have ladies I ride with that have experienced similar things and it has ruined riding for them they don’t feel comfortable with it, so I try to kind of “guide” people to be a bit more assertive and try my best to be pro-active in countering that kind of behavior. People in traffic are a lot like internet trolls. They will scream shout throw things or whatever because they know after the next light they won’t see you again, riding assertively helps to give them a reason not to keep that kind of shit up.
I love the speed, the wind and the flexibility of cycling – what do you like?
Everything. Outside of runners cyclist have it the easiest when it comes to doing what they love all you need is a bike and you can go wherever you can will yourself. You have to work hard you have to know what you’re doing, make the right choices think ahead keep yourself focused to stay moving and stay safe. It’s like life you gotta make your own path and work to keep yourself going. There’s a rush I get when I’m riding that nothing else comes close to.
So, you are collecting miles on the road for THE HUMANE LEAGUE, too? Congrats on getting over your goal of 1,000 dollars!
I sincerely appreciate it! My fundraiser this year for Team Humane League was riding a track bike from Atlanta to Asheville which was around 300 miles, up through the mountains. It was hands down the most rewarding thing I’ve done on a bike. I climbed mountains with one gear and was able to eat a ton of awesome food when I got there, spread the word about what The Humane League is doing and talk to lots of people about why veganism is an important issue.
We are very picky and choosy with our support. The Humane League got our stamp of approval 🙂 Would you tell us a little more about your passion for exactly this organisation?
When I first went vegan I felt like a sheet was being lifted off of my eyes, like I was waking up from a bad dream. You realize that animal use and torture is systematic and permeates every part of our society not just animal testing and dog fighting. You have to actively train your brain to see what’s happening around you, to see how animal consumption is normalized at every level, from antiquated reports about its health and safety to commercials advocating its normalcy and even commercials which the soul point is to demonize veganism.The Humane League was countering that at a grass roots level. They were hosting events where you could just eat and talk, they were going to college campuses and handing out leaflets and people were actually responsive, they were writing letters and forming petitions. They were organized and intelligent with how they followed through with campaigns against animal abuse, and they were getting results. I don’t remember how I first heard about them but I remember seeing they were hosting fundraisers where athletes would raise money for their campaigns by choosing a challenge and it got me involved. I started with a 100 mile ride to Macon on a track bike around two years ago and have been involved however I could since then. The Humane league has been voted the number one animal charity time and again. They have all but ended the formerly common use of battery cages for egg production and have been personally named by the egg industry head honchos as being a nuisance which is enough reason for me to put my support behind it. The Humane League is covering ground a lot of other animal charities never have and it’s cool to lend my support how I can.
What challenges do you witness within the vegan scene?
We fight sometimes about the wrong shit. I’ve seen people get haughty with one another over who’s been vegan longer, or whether the couch they owned had oil products derived from animals to condition the fabric (not a joke this was a real argument) all in all I think that like with anything people can be passionate about that SOME people can have a superiority complex. People from all walks of life are waking up to realize that veganism is all around a better way to live across the board, so from each walk of life they bring different values and life experience so it’s always a changing community. The fact is all of us are in this for different reasons but many of us are intentionally combatting a systematic disregard for non human life. There are going to be tons of challenges on every level. As a species we don’t even treat each other right, the idea that we should treat non humans with compassion and respect is foreign to a lot of people. I don’t want to tear down veganism for the challenges we face. Veganism has grown and evolved even since I became vegan and I feel like as a movement it will continue to overcome whatever comes up
I’ve recently gotten rid of a decent amount of social media just because it was more of a hindrance to my life than an addition to it. I do still use my personal Instagram frogidropout also check out humaneleagueatlanta as well as the thehumaneleague main page on Instagram as well as Facebook. My race team is on Instagram as outbackbikes_trackracing Same with the Atlanta Ultras we are on Instagram and Facebook. Also check out varcocycles making some killer frames for those of us making poor decisions with no brakes. And for pictures of awesome rescue animals rebecca_pruett_photography
.straight edge 1998