We like to think we’re a cool, interesting bunch of people here at Zagster. What’s cooler than bikeshare, right? But to be honest, not too many of us have our own Wikipedia page or entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But Charlie “The Edge” Venegas does. By day, Venegas is a mechanic for the Zagster bikeshare in San Bernardino, CA, keeping the fleet rolling. But after work, Venegas is one of America’s premier speedway racers: he navigates his motorcycle at blisteringly high speeds around dirt tracks. Speedway racing is most definitely not for the faint of heart. We got Charlie to slow down just long enough to explain it, as well as tell us a bit about life as a Zagster wrench.
First and most important: The Edge?
Bobby Schwartz, one of America’s top speedway motorcycle riders, named me The Edge because I would ride the very outside of the track, for the best traction. To him, I was always on the edge. It stuck.
Tell us a little more about speedway racing.
Speedway motorcycle racing is done on a 500cc brakeless motorcycle that turns only to the left and goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds! I rode in the United Kingdom for the Bellevue Aces, in Manchester, England. Riding for a team there is like being on an American professional baseball team.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve raced speedway motorcycles for 31 seasons but have raced on a variety of two wheels for 43 years. That includes some motorcycle racing on ice, which is cool. I rode in a Xerox commercial in 2004.
Sounds like you’re pretty good at this. Don’t be modest.
I’ve accomplished all of my racing goals. I’ve won the highest title multiple times. I‘ve won the U.S. National Speedway Championship twice and represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Cup. I’m six-time California state champion and 20-time world ICE Racing champion. I still hold the ICE Champion record. It’s in the Guinness book of World Records, although I believe it stopped at 11 wins.
How long have you been with Zagster, and what do you do all day?
This month will be my one-year anniversary working for Zagster. My job is to maintain my bicycle shares and represent the company. To me, that means doing a great job and to always be trying to improve our technique. I love my Zagster job, working on motorcycles, bikes... It’s exactly what I’ve done most of my life. As a kid I worked at various bicycle shops, although when I left home (Nor Cal) to go to school in Arizona, I worked in a skateboard shop. Wrenching on anything with wheels is my passion, not a job! Bike sharing is great and I’ve seen more and more people getting to know Zagster.