Get to Know Us: Obed's Matt Shrader
For a good many of us, gravel riding consists of just that; gravel. Dirt fire-roads with some washboard, maybe some graded paths, all offering a bit of dust and sweat. And a few miles of climbing and descending. For some of the hearty ones, maybe a few hundred miles, and a few thousand feet of vert!
Yeah, that’s not Matt Shrader’s style.
Shrader is one of Obed’s assembly aces; when your bike is finished getting the color and decal treatment you’ve selected, it’s his job to strap all the parts on, tune it and give it a test-ride in the facility to make sure it’s shifting like a dream before it’s boxed up and shipped out to you.
And while your Boundary gets the gold star treatment from Shrader, his own personal Boundary is, for all intents and purposes, his Swiss Army knife. The versatility of his Boundary as aptly-named “quiver-killer” that makes it his choice. It can do it all.
“I really love that it can go anywhere I want it to. I take it to the store, to see friends, to work. Whatever I want to do, it’s capable. It can go fast, it can handle hard riding, it’s smooth when I want it to be. It can just do it all.
And like a Swiss Army knife, there’s one blade that gets most often used. For Shrader, that utility is on single track—the gnarliest, most technical stuff he can find in the Chattanooga, Tenn. area. In short, Shrader rides his Boundary hard—probably harder than the average gravelleur. Think of where you would want suspension, maybe a mountain bike? Shrader goes there.
“I really like to take my Boundary where I ride my mountain bike,” he says. That means chunky single track climbs. Wild, sometimes on-the-edge-of-control descents through rutted trails. Water crossings? Water bars? Little kickers? Baby-head rock gardens? Yup, yup, yup. “I really think that kind of riding just more fun for me. The way I ride, I feel like I push the bike right up to the edge of what it’s capable of. It definitely keeps my handling sharp, and yeah, it’s just more fun.”
It all starts to make sense when you dig into Shrader’s background. A former dirt bike rider, he’s used to finding the most ragged terrain to ride. It’s his happy place. So to take a gravel bike out to the edge of its capabilities, he’s more than ready.
“I actually started on bikes in motocross, just riding the trails around Chattanooga with my friends,” he says. “A little racing, but mostly just going out and having fun. Dirt bikes transitioned into mountain bikes. It wasn’t until I started working here that I learned about gravel, got on a Boundary, and fell in love with it!
So with the sudden influx of gravel (building Boundaries for customers daily, he sees it!), is he ready to pin up a number plate and take on racing on those graded high-mountain gravel roads of Colorado, or the wide-open plains of Kansas? Maybe if the course become a bit less benign, a bit more rowdy.
Yeah, maybe... I dunno," he says with a tone that tilts toward "no." For him, riding doesn't need a start and finish line. It just might only need a cold beverage apres-ride. “I really have the most fun just going out around, getting in trouble around here.”
As long as you have a good rocky ride on tap (and maybe a good cell signal, just in case), we’re down!