Rolling Large in the Land of Lincoln
Greg Molnar and I decide to meet up at the trailhead early to beat the heat and humidity. There was a deliciously classic thunderstorm over Chicagoland the night before, so the bike ride will be more of a photoshoot.
Molnar makes it clear he won't be difficult to spot at the Raceway Woods Forest Preserve parking lot.
"I am easy to identify at 6'7"," quips Molnar, as he pulls his pimped out Turner titanium mountain bike off his One-Up rack.
We hunted down Molnar becuase he was one of the first people to purchase one of our new Kali Grit helmet and we wanted to actually see a Grit out in the wild.
Molnar has a very easy-going, Midwestern vibe going and he immediately launches into tales of rides, riders and the difficulty a man of his stature has in finding proper bicycle attire, in particular finding shoes for his above average size feet.
It is not difficult to understand how he is a valued member of the Chicagoland cycling community and if we lived a little closer we would certainly be spending some time turning pedals and telling tales with this big-hearted, large-hooved cyclist.
Kali: Greg, tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up, what you do for work, family, etc...
Molnar: I grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago and still reside there today. I work selling Cloud Technology for Google Cloud. I been married to my wife Jamie for 29 years and have 3 daughters and one dog a 14 year old hound dog Copper.
Kali: Can you remember your first bike?
Molnar: Ha, my first bike was a red Schwinn Stingray that eventually was converted to a BMX bike.
Kali: Did you fall in love immediately or has it been an up and down relationship?
Molnar: I've had a life long love of riding but really became much more serious again when I turned 40 to get into shape. My primary passion is Mountain Biking and have been dipping my toes into Bike Packing. I also ride quite a bit of Road and Gravel.
Kali: Can you share one epic bicycle story with us?
Molnar: Some friends and I did a ride lasting 12 hours last year covering 75 miles on the North Country Trail from Traverse City, MI South to where we were going to camp. The conditions were harder than anticipated and it rained for at least the last quarter of the ride. We bailed on camping and stayed in a hotel to dry out.
Kali: We are meeting up on one of your favorite local trails, can you tell us about it and why you love it.
Molnar: Illinois is considered flat, so no great mountain bike riding. Raceway is an example of the local community building a fun trail with enough up and down to be interesting. Plus it is close enough to home for a spur of the moment ride. There is a great Brewery, Scorched Earth, nearby for post-ride refreshment.