Category Archives: Shop Visit
Everyone’s welcome at Ponderosa Cycle + Tour!
Words and Photos by Kyle Kelley
Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour was the first stop on my most recent Bike Shop Tour through middle America. Ponderosa is a relatively new shop compared to the two other shops I’d be stopping at on my way back to California, but it sure didn’t feel that way when I got there. Maybe that was because of Vince’s 14 years of experience in bike shops, or it could be Vince’s love of bicycle tourism and many of the amazing products once produced for the bicycle tourist around the time of the Bikecentennial. Or just maybe it has something to do with the build out of the shop. As I looked around I was astonished by many of the antique fixtures and reclaimed shelving in the store, when I asked about them, before Vince could even get a word in, Jessica, his partner, and co-worker at the shop told us all about Vince’s addiction to Craigslist. (more…)
Squid Bikes: Taking Over the World One Rattlecan at a Time!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Ever since meeting Emily at numerous bike races all over California, and following along with Squid Bikes on Instagram, I must say I’ve become somewhat of a super fan of the brand. First, they’re making bikes in the US, and of course, everyone knows that’s my jam and it’s been my jam since I started jamming! Second, they’re awesome! Third, they have given the world the ability and the confidence to turn any bicycle into a blank canvas! If you aren’t already a super fan too then hopefully these photos and words will change your mind, because these two are going to be bigger than the Beatles! (more…)
Knowledge is best passed, like a torch, through experience. There are many institutions which educate hopeful framebuilders in the art of design, construction, and finishing of a bicycle frame. They each take their own approach to this process and many of our favorite builders have learned in this hands-on, classroom environment.
Nestled in an industrial building, within the town of Frome in Somerset, the Bicycle Academy threw their towel into the framebuilding education ring a few years back and in that time, have grown their curriculum into an impressive institution. All this could not have been possible if it were not for the successful crowdfunding operation and the 183 people who donated money and 23 individuals who donated their skills to jumpstart the Bicycle Academy. (more…)
This cycling world we all live in is very small, or at least smaller thanks to the reach of social media. As soon as we posted up in St. George, Utah, a few local riders reached out to us, offering to show-off their local trails. We eventually met up with Dan, a dude who lives out of his pickup and rambles around the Southwest as a guide and climbing instructor. He finds himself back in St. George this time of year and just so happened to have a few minutes to meet up with us. Dan told Kyle and I about Sabrosa Cycles, a local frame builder who isn’t really actively seeking to boost his queue, but builds a few bikes in his spare time for his friends. After some exchanges over text and Instagram, we set up a time to meet Jon from Sabrosa Cycles at his home shop.
With meet-ups like this, you never know what you’re getting yourself into. You could have some dude with gas cannister and a torch, repairing Schwinn cruisers, or a full-on framebuilding operation. I had heard the name Sabrosa before, but wasn’t aware of Jon or his operation. I think I speak for the entire group who rolled over to Jon’s shop when I say we were all surprised and impressed.
Jon’s not just a builder. He teaches geological classes at the local university, owns a fleet of VWs and is an avid fabricator. When you step into his shop, the bikes are low-hanging fruit, but the equipment and tooling he’s compiled over the years is where the real candy is. His experience with framebuilding came in 2002 when he needed a new cyclocross fork. The stock one had broke and Jon wanted to find a replacement. When he reached out to a friend, he offered to show Jon how to make a fork, not just buy a new one.
From there, he was hooked and began making forks, stems and eventually frames. While he doesn’t really take orders from the internet, he does work with a few locals on their dream builds for the roads and trails of Southern Utah. I’m including a mixte Jon made for his wife, as well as the tricycle he made for his daughter. We’ll take a look at Jon’s personal dirty roadie in more detail later… Follow Jon on Instagram and check out more of his work at Sabrosa Cycles!
To call Martin from Second Spin Cycles a “collector” doesn’t do his operation justice. When I think of bicycle collectors, I picture hoarders stacking NOS parts for the sake of their own enjoyment, often shutting off their acquisitions from the real world, while only allowing members of various online forums the sneak peek inside, via photos. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but personally, I feel a great amount of indifference to people who hoard bicycles and components. Unless they’re riding them… (more…)
Hanging with Charlie Kelly at the Marin Museum of Bicycling!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
When in Marin you better make it a point to do one of two things. The first thing I’d recommend is going on a ride and taking a stab at the world record Repack decent of 4:22 still held by Gary Fisher on a Klunker! The second thing I’d recommend is getting over to the Marin Museum of Bicycling! If you have time, I’d even suggest you do them both. I would even go as far to say that you should ride down from the mountains straight into the museum, high on Klunker stoke, knowing that you just rode the fire roads where legends were born.
I was unable to go on a ride because of time, but will most definitely be up in the coming Spring to give Gary Fisher a run for his money. Sean from Team Dream and I were visiting Northern California to attend one of our good friend’s wedding around the Point Reyes area, it was a quick trip so there was no riding in our cards, but we definitely made the time for the Marin Museum of Bicycling. (more…)
Free Cycles is a Long Ride from Here
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by Locke Hassett
“It’s a long ride from here. 80 miles, and the first 20 are uphill. The train leaves at 5pm, and we have to be there at 4, because we have bicycles. It should be a good day.”
That was when I knew that my new job was not your ordinary bike shop gig, and never would be. Bob Giordano, the founder of Free Cycles, Missoula’s community bike shop, warmed his hands with his breath as the sun broke over Logan Pass and illuminated Heaven’s Peak, which was in our view as we stopped for morning coffee on Going to the Sun Road. This was a casual employee bonding ride: Missoula to Glacier, over the pass, catch a train to Whitefish and hitchhike back to open the shop on Tuesday. Pathologically optimistic, barely planned, and wonderful. Our plan was as loose as what got us there and without hesitation, we kept on riding. We were unsure of what would happen, but we knew it would be good, and that is the magic of Free Cycles. (more…)
Faster than a Bullitt at Larry vs Harry in Copenhagen
Photos and words by Kevin Sparrow
Welcome to Copenhagen, the mecca of cargo bikes! Well, at least for Bullitt bike owners.
During the 2013 Cycle Messenger World Championships in Lausanne, I had the privilege of meeting the co-founder of Larry vs Harry, Hans Bullitt Fogh. After returning stateside, I joined the LvsH family by purchasing a Bullitt of my own, and I’ve been wanting to visit their operations ever since. A few weeks ago, I was in Copenhagen and finally got that chance.
The company started 9 years ago with the V1 of the Bullitt. Throughout the years, design changes have been made and an accessory line realized in response to customer demands.
The Larry vs Harry storefront, on Frederiksborggade, showcases their entire cargo fleet in all colors and versions. The shop also sells custom built Bullitts and services local ones. (more…)
When I was in Santa Cruz after Grinduro, I swung by to see Paul Sadoff, the man behind Rock Lobster Cycles. Paul’s always pretty busy and this trip was no exception. He was in the throes of planning the Rock Lobster Cup Two, which is being held at the lighthouse park in Santa Cruz. After talking about the course, why it was moved from Bonny Doon and how he’s planning on making a relatively flat course exciting, I decided I’d skip town yet again and come up to photograph the race. Hell, I might even jump in it.
Because you can’t swing by Rock Lobster and not take a few photos, I documented the shop’s current condition, which I might add, is the best I’ve seen it so far. Check out a few more photos below. (more…)
Todd Ingermansen has been working in the cycling industry for a long time. Too long if you ask him. Since the age of 13 he’s had a presence in bike shops. What began as sweeping the shop floors eventually culminated into being a mechanic, riding bikes and living bikes. Yet, Todd wanted something more. Running parallel to his bike shop jobs was his art school education, where he realized his 2D and 3-dimension eye for details. In his early 20’s he chased his love of singlespeed MTB riding and racing to Oakland, California where cycling completely enveloped his life.
Back then, there weren’t any US manufacturers of singlespeed MTB frames. Or at least none that piqued Todd’s interest, so he began building his own. A few friends helped him out, some frames worked, some didn’t, yet every frame taught Todd something. Eventually he moved back down the California coast, to San Luis Obispo and began fillet brazing. He had built a dozen or so frames before landing a job with Rick Hunter of Hunter Cycles. Under Rick’s torch, Todd began to realize the importance of actually making a bicycle frame, something that stands true even today.
For the past 14 years, Todd’s been building a brand, and a modus operandi to how he believes bicycles should be made. Black Cat Bicycles are unique, arguably unlike anything else I’ve witnessed in my years of documenting framebuilders. Much like his mentor, Rick Hunter, Todd doesn’t just weld a mail order kit of parts together and paint it. He engineers his own dropouts, builds stems, machines metal into whatever he pleases, carves his own lugs and bends his tubing in very unique shapes. For instance, how do you make chainstays that are bent, yet have an ever-so-slight arc to them? (more…)