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Back to BMC Racing Team

Off the Bike with Manuel Quinziato

11. April 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team

Manuel Quinziato and Chris Grahn catch up before Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Our riders clock well over a thousand hours on their bikes every year, whether it’s on-race or training at home. So when you ask a rider what they did with their free time, it’s rare that you hear “I rode my bike”. We’re kicking off a new segment where we put the spotlight on our riders to find out a little bit more about their lives away from cycling.

Manuel Quinziato is one rider who has been around the block. He turned pro back in 2002 so he’s seen more than his fair share of cycling races. On the bike he’s known as one of BMC Racing Team’s biggest powerhouses, the guy who will grit his teeth and go and go and go. Then of course there’s his megawatt smile that we’re sure has earned him a fan or two.

Those who know Manuel well, in which case he’s known as Quinzi, know that there’s one thing in particular that he’s deeply passionate about (apart from cycling) and that’s music. Want to strike up a conversation with Quinzi? Ask him who his favorite band is.

On the eve of Ronde van Vlaanderen, Quinzi caught up with one of his friends, Chris Grahn, the drummer from The Hives, and we crashed their coffee catch up to find out why cycling and music go so well together.

Starting from the beginning

How do a professional cyclist and musician become friends? Well we suppose it was a combination of the two passions.

“I was a big fan of The Hives,” Quinzi explains. “I was following them on Twitter and Instagram and I saw that one of the band members was posting photos with his bike and I had tickets to see them in Madrid back in 2012, so I messaged him on Instagram and said if you want to ride while you are in town, come out with us. So we did and then I went to the concert. Best Show Ever!”

“We’ve stayed in touch ever since and Chris came to see me at some stages of the Giro D’Italia in 2014. It’s funny, I’m meeting more and more rock stars who like cycling.”

And how does a rock n roll drummer get into cycling?

“I always liked cycling. I started riding a lot more about seven years ago and then I started bringing my bike on tour but I wasn’t that fast at the time that we met,” Chris admits.

“I saw Quinzi’s message and I didn’t know who he was at the time but I checked him out and realized he was with BMC Racing Team. It was super fun going out for a ride with him and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Stefan Küng, Michael Schär, Manuel Quinziato, Chris Grahn and Greg Van Avermaet.

Bikes and Rock Music: A Likely Combination

Quinzi and Chris both agree that bikes and rock music, or rather the lives of a professional cyclist and professional musician, are far more similar than one would think.

“Look at it like this, my job is to play music and my biggest interest is cycling. For Manuel it’s just the other way around,” Chris explains.

“And music makes everything better,” Quinzi adds. “When I ride I always listen to music and I’ve also seen when I’ve been backstage what a show like theirs involves. I get the impression that they are almost athletes because they do such great lives shows that they need to be sober and fit. And it’s the same with other musicians I know. The typical sex, drugs and rock n roll image of rock stars is changing a lot. Even look at someone like Madonna who is so fit even though she’s in her sixties. They are also performing with their bodies just like I am so they have to be really careful too about their shape.”

“Just look at some bands who are around for years and years, if you play a high end of rock n roll like we do, it’s impossible for me as a drummer to mess everything up by not staying in shape,” Chris highlights.

Perhaps where the biggest similarity comes from is not just the need to stay in shape, but a shared mindset. At the end of the day, cycling and music are not Quinzi and Chris’ jobs, they’re passions they explain.

“Anyone who does what we do, whether it’s cycling, music or something else, should feel privileged that they can do what they love,” Chris said.

“If your passion is your job you never work and honestly I really feel like that because I love riding my bike,” Quinzi admits.

So how does Quinzi plan to continue to combine his two big loves; cycling and rock music? He and Daniel Oss have already got it figured out with some of their other musician friends. The answer? Spandex Rock…organizing gigs and bike rides.

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