Micah Stock’s new bicycle crush is bright red, with a 1973 Raleigh frame, vintage seat, new wheels and brakes. “It’s very exciting,” Stock said. “The man who sold us this bike at the bike shop was extremely excited about this bike, was sad to let it go, which told me we need this bike.”
Cycling has been on Stock’s mind quite a bit these days, tackling the role of Leo in 4000 Miles. The choice of what would represent Leo’s mode of transportation from Seattle to his grandmother in New York City was an important one for the actor to make. One can’t understand the character of Leo without understanding his ride.
“Leo has ridden from Seattle to New York City. This isn’t necessarily part of the play, but what we’ve decided, is that he’s refurbished this vintage touring bike … It’s a hodge-podge of all of these old pieces that Leo in his eco-conscious and sustainable visions would appreciate,” Stock said. “He cannibalized other bikes to improve his own.”
Stock and director Eric Ting have done a bit of research into to understand the mindset behind those who travel cross-country on their bikes (a trip the playwright Amy Herzog did in real life.) “One of the things we learned about when researching cross-country bike trips and the culture surround cross-country biking is that there is a sect of people who are extremely interested in bicycle touring the way it should be done, which is without bells and whistles and computers and electronics and things tacked onto the trip. It is pure, and I think that is the way Leo and his best friend decide they are going to do their trip,” he said.
Crossing the nation on a bike is feat of logistical planning and physical endurance. Obviously, one has to be able to move quickly and travel lightly. “In Leo’s case I have four panniers which sit on the front and back wheels of the bike on racks that are over the wheels. The total weight of the four bags is 50 pounds, after which I have a camping stove and tent. I don’t have that many clothes, just basics for riding. I would also carry food and water, of course,” Stock explained.
In real life, Stock is a casual cyclist, mainly using his bike for transportation around his neighborhood in Brooklyn. His bike was recently stolen and he’s looking for a new ride. “I am going to adopt this beautiful vintage touring bike from Long Wharf,” he said.
— Steve Scarpa