Musician, writer, coffee lover, outdoorist, and our newest ambassador, Caziah Franklin. Caz aims to spread inclusivity and diversity in all that he does. Whether he’s in the studio tracking drums, or cycling on the local Nashville greenways and back roads, he does it all with a grin on his face, and a hat on his head.
We caught up with Caziah as he pulled the Topo Designs x TAXA Outdoors Woolly Bear from Austin, Texas to Big Bend national Park this summer to share where his favorite places are in his back yard.
Where is your close to home location?
My close to home location is Shelby Bottoms Nature Center & Greenway (East Nashville, TN). Coordinates: 36.16647801708284, -86.72472074463424
What makes you want/need to ride/climb close to home?
What made me want to start riding closer to home, was the longing inside of me to become more appreciative and aware of the community I am currently in, and all that it encompasses (the people, the businesses, the nature, etc.). I had the desire to know my environment more, and I felt as if biking within my area that I call home would help me slow down, and have a better grasp of all that is around me within my radius of familiarity. And within that my familiarity itself has grown into something new!
What kind of opportunities are available?
Choosing to start riding closer to home is a great way to not only become more acquainted with the instrument that is your bike, but it also helps you conquer a multitude of fears, and aids in the stretching of your comfort. Before I chose to start riding from my place of living, I would load my bike onto my Jeep, and would drive to the nearest greenway entrance that was barely 5 miles from my house… But I did this because I was too afraid and nervous to bike on the street with cars and other vehicles zipping past me, even though there were bike lanes that separated myself from the busy streets. Having the privilege of having a bike greenway nearly 5 miles from my home was the perfect catalyst of breaking that fear of unfamiliarity and became a challenge of its own, and oh was the outcome rewarding!
Why do you ride/climb close to home?
I ride close to home to maintain contentment. It’s so easy to take for granted how instantaneous the simple things in life can be, and sometimes driving 5 miles when I could’ve walked or cycled can hinder myself from letting my body and mind achieve a goal. A really good friend of mine once told me that “cars can become cages”, and I think that he is absolutely right. Riding close to home helps me break from the status quo that is the normality of feasibility that has been engraved into my generation.
Importance of access to public locations?
It is so important and necessary that communities have easy access to public parks, nature science centers, and greenways. humanity has become over-accustomed towards the metropolitan way of life, and tends to forget how healing and beneficial the outdoors can be. I think that a false stigma has been created: you have to drive hours away and head to the mountains and canyons to consider yourself truly being outdoors. This heavy expectation has made us become desensitized towards the spirit of adventure. The truth is, an adventure begins when we leave the comfort that is our home or dwelling place. I believe that maintaining access to our public lands, as well as making them more all-inclusive will aid in keeping the spirit of adventure alive.
What kinds of challenges do you face when trying to ride or climb near home and how do you overcome them?
My main challenge when riding close to home is curated from myself: laziness. Since my body is the engine while cycling, I can easily get in my own head and curate excuses as to why I can’t ride, even if it’s for 30 minutes. Yet, I notice that it’s when I fight past that self-inflicted laziness that I have the best rides of my life!