Nico Deportago-Cabrera

Nico Deportago-Cabrera riding his gravel bike covered with mud splatter

Current Location:

Kickapoo, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Myaamia Lands (Chicago, IL)

Cycling Discipline(s):

Gravel, Fixed Gear, Ultra Distance

What sparked your interest in cycling? What do you enjoy most about it?

I started cycling when I was about 21 or 22 and I had no driver's license and needed a way to get around the city. It quickly turned from utility to a hobby to a lifestyle. I started working as a bike messenger in Chicago in 2008 and while I am no longer working on in the streets, the 12 years I spent as a courier shaped me as a cyclist.

Any favorite memories from your time working as a bike messenger in Chicago? 

It is difficult to pinpoint a singular moment, but it opened the door for so many experiences and memories that I'll cherish for a lifetime. To this day I feel sentimental for the days of zipping through the streets of Chicago with the wind in my hair on a brakeless track bike going in and out of offices like a little blood cell moving my way through the vascular system of the city.

What was the strangest item you had to deliver?

I recall a pretty intense delivery where I was carrying bio-medical materials used in artificial insemination across town from one medical facility to another. I had to radio in every 5 minutes to make sure that the materials survived outside of the medicinal storage it was in when I picked it up. Less strange, I definitely delivered a 150-year-old violin from an appraisal house to a music restoration shop that was valued at over $150K. NO PRESSURE THO.

Nico posed in front of a garage door with his pink gravel bike loaded with gear

 

 You’re an accomplished rider in the drop-bar bike world—do you ever dabble in mountain bikes?

I love mountain biking! While I'm no mountain biker—merely a dude on a mountain bike—I have so much fun shredding singletrack! I made it through just over half of the Tour Divide and I'm definitely hooked on long-distance mountain biking. I've got the Colorado Trail and the Trans North Georgia on my radar for 2022!

Do you have any surprise hobbies? 

Most people know me for my cycling, but I've been playing music way longer than I've been riding bikes and I'm still active in that scene. I play guitar and keys in a post-punk band called The Static Age and I play guitar really loud and sing in a band called Young Distractions.

Where are a few of your favorite places to ride? 

Take me back to Greece any time. Any part of Greece. Did I mention how much I love cycling in Greece?

Any achievements you’d like us to mention (personal, professional...anything you’re proud of!)

I'm really proud of my accomplishments in the world of messenger racing. I was the Men's 2009 and 2016 North American Cycle Courier Champion, and I took 3rd place in 2017 at the Cycle Messenger World Championships. That is a community that I will always feel lucky to be a part of regardless of where my cycling career takes me.

Are there any organizations that you would like to shout out?

Big shout out to Jeff Frane, the founder of All-City Cycles. Jeff reached out to me over a decade ago about being one of his sponsored riders. Before that, I had no idea that I could have a career in cycling outside of slinging packages around town. That partnership planted the seed that grew into what my career is today, and I’ll forever be thankful for that. 

Nico riding away from the camera with arms out wide on a dirt trail line with trees