Matt Leach is issuing a weather advisory: Be aware of the wind.
“The wind here seems to just never stop,” he says. “It's always moving.”
For the newest addition to Indiana NewsCenter's weather team, it's not just about reporting – it's a recreational hazard. Leach is an avid recreational cyclist and a strong wind could cause him to lose control of his bike or topple over.
Having moved to Indiana in March, it's a new experience for the Pacific Northwest native.
“Back home, in Seattle, I guess most of my high school career, I went mountain biking. Lots of beautiful mountains and trails go on out there,” he says. “Coming out here, first of all there's no mountains. Second, I thought it would be nice to try a road bike. I've never actually bought a road bike before, and it's a different experience than mountain biking.
“So far I absolutely love it.”
Leach, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday Tuesday, grew up in an active family. His father enjoys hiking and his mother likes to garden, among other outdoor activities.
“Growing up, we were always outside. We didn't have time to play video games,” he says.
So far, he says he has enjoyed the change in scenery that comes with moving across the country.
“I'm looking forward to seeing the city side of it, but as far as taking the back trails of it, I found that it's a whole different kind of beauty,” Leach says. “The Northwest offers trees, mountains, hills. Here, I love the flat lands, the fields, the farmland, the rivers. So it's a different kind of beauty, but I find it to be just as gorgeous in its own right.”
Gear: As a recreational cyclist, Leach needs just two things – his bike and a helmet. The bike is a lifestyle model from Felt, which he purchased at Human Motor Works, 6374 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Ready to ride: “If I could do it every day, that would be wonderful of course,” Leach says of cycling.
He tries to bike most days but logs the most miles on his days off and on weekends, when he has mornings available.
“Even after work, I try to fit in at least an hour,” he says, adding that he'll bring his bike and a change of clothes to the station so he can leave from there.
Favorite route: Leach says he has biked parts of the Rivergreenway, and his favorite sections have one thing in common: the rivers.
“I like to have water close by since I'm from the Northwest and used to water,” he says. “It's always nice to bike near the rivers.”
Music: “Biking is not one of those activities where if I listened to hard rock that I'd be very fulfilled,” Leach says with a laugh.
If he chooses to listen to music on a ride, he's more apt to choose a country or acoustic album. Among his current favorites is Owl City, an electronica artist from Minnesota.
Cross training: While Leach is most likely to be found on his bike, he does enjoy a tennis game.
A bit reluctantly, he adds that he might be talked into a run on one of the paths in Fort Wayne.
But, “I want to go biking. I want to feel the wind in my face.”
Getting started: As a new resident, Leach sought trail recommendations from co-workers at Indiana's NewsCenter and employees of local bike shops. For him, though, his love of exploration helped him get his start.
“I found out where I was and found out where everything was in relation to that,” he says. “The first time I went out, I just said, ‘All right.' I hitched my bike on the car and … I just decided to hit up the first place that I saw.”
Motivation: “A lot of people do exercise and they don't enjoy it, but they do it because they just want to be fit or lose weight,” he says. “For me, luckily, I know I need to do it and I enjoy it.”
Goal: While Leach has been out on parts of the Fort Wayne area trails, he hopes to branch out.
“I want to tour a lot of the trails in and around the state and just explore. It's one of my favorite things to do.”