Category Archives: Shop Visit
Retail ain’t easy. Especially in the bike industry and it’s not like San Francisco doesn’t already have a large number of bicycle shops already, so if you’re going to start up something new, you better take a unique approach.
City + County Bicycle Co is a new shop in SF. Well, new to me! I’ve known the owner, Jon for a few years and first met him at Box Dog Bikes years back. The shop is located off Clement Avenue, right en route to GGP via the Presidio. If you know the area, you’ll note that it’s intravenous in the vein that is the route to the Golden Gate Bridge. i.e. one of the main access points to the Marin Headlands.
“I don’t have a studio, I have a workshop. I’m not an artist, I’m a fabricator…”
We were talking about the mystique surrounding custom frames and the public’s perception, or in many cases the perpetuation of preciousness associated with “bespoke” frames. Cameron Falconer isn’t an artist, he makes straight forward, utilitarian machines meant to shred. Sure, they’re tailored to fit and Cam’s years of racing and riding influence a lot of their nuances (water bottle cage placement for example) but these are bicycles, not art…
Faster than the Wind at RIH in Amsterdam
Words and photos by Kevin Sparrow
“From riding through the sands in Baghdad to fighting thieves in Istanbul, Kara Ben Demsi ventured all around the world without ever leaving the saddle of his horse” – Rih.
It’s said that the stories of Karl May are the inspiration of the near-century old RIH Sport. And though Demsi is considered a German legend, RIH Sport is a legendary name in the global cycling community.
RIH, in Arabic, means faster than the wind. And RIH Sport racing bikes has lived up to the name. RIH Sport riders have combined for 63 Olympic and World Championship titles dating back to the 1940s. Among them is Gerrie Knetemann – winner of the 1974 Amstel Gold Race and of the 12th stage in the 1975 Tour de France. (more…)
Free Coffee at Heritage General Store
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
Earlier this year when I was visiting Louisville for NAHBS I met Mike Salvatore, the owner of Heritage in Chicago. I had heard of his operation through the special edition collaborations he’s done with builders like Stinner and Humble, but honestly didn’t know much else about the business. Mike filled me in a little bit on his past, what he is working towards and invited me to stop by for a visit before my flight out of Chicago.
With a number of high-end component manufacturers and brands to choose from, I find it helpful to narrow the decision by knowing where and how the products are made. I’ve ridden the Schwarzwald Giro the last three years and each year I’ve wanted to visit the Tune factory, but never could until just a few weeks ago.
The story of Tune started in 1988, when Uli Fahl lived in Munich. He wanted to lighten his mountain bike and began prototyping parts in his kitchen. In 1989, the company was established and Tune’s first product, a lightweight quick-release skewer, was born. Fast forward to today and Tune has a portfolio of different lightweight components for road and mountain bikes. And now, nestled on the edge of the Black forest, it’s near some of the best testing grounds in the world.
Cycling isn’t a new thing for Oakley. As a company, they didn’t see a potential market and invent a legacy or shift marketing dollars in order to tap into it. From supporting Greg Lemond back in the day to working with Mark Cavendish on modern eyewear. They’re an iconic staple heavily vested in creating not only performance eyewear for professional athletes, but supporting scenes and dare I say cycling’s outlying “cultures.”
Their In Residence spaces are designed around a specific use or program. It began in Los Angeles with a Studio, which centered around the art surrounding LA skateboarding and has now moved onto London, where the In Residence Workshop operates as a hub for cyclists.
Nestled on Exmouth Market, a small one-way street that shuts down to vehicular traffic at night for the pubs and restaurant patrons to enjoy, the Workshop is an ideal pre or post-ride meet up. There’s coffee by Prufrock, exhibitions by Spoke London, free Seabass Cycles-operated mechanics area, maintenance workshops with the London Bike Kitchen, weekly rides by East London Fixed, movies by the Bicycle Film Festival and yes, free wifi.
For over 25 years Chico, California has been the home base for Paul Component Engineering. During the Speedvagen Fit Tour we swung by to check in on their operations and to get a sense of what the team, the city of Chico and Paul Price himself are all about…
While en route to Eroica California, we took a pit stop by American Cyclery in San Francisco for some last minute vintage componentry. You know, essentials like 14-28 freewheels, toe straps, toe clips, bar tape and bottles. There were a lot of bikes that needed to be built up for Eroica, each requiring necessary minutiae.
American Cyclery has two shops across the street from each other. One is a bit larger and has mostly new, modern bikes for sale, while the rafters are filled with vintage mountain bikes ranging from Cunningham to Steve Potts. The other is almost entirely vintage road and track bikes, with various bits of cycling memorabilia strung about.
The real honey hole in AC is the basement where the owner Brad keeps all of his various cycling publications. Ranging from the original Fat Tire Flyer zines to his old newsletter, the Bicycle Trader.
We only had a few minutes at American Cyclery, but I liked what I saw and can’t wait to return with a bit more time to shoot some of Brad’s amazing bicycles. Check out a few quick photos in the Gallery.
The Long Haul with Humble Frameworks
Words and Photos by Kyle Kelley
A lot of people asked me why I was flying into Chicago for NAHBS this year when the show was another 5 hours away in Louisville, KY. Well… the answer was easy for me. I wanted to get the party started up north and keep it going all the way down south. There were friends to see, hot dogs and pizza to eat, bike shops to visit and dogs to be walked (my dog lives in Chicago). And last but not least I wanted to spend time driving down Interstate-65 through my home state of Indiana with Michael Catano from Humble Frameworks.
Sacha White and the Vanilla Workshop has been around for over a decade and in that time, they’ve shaped what it means to be not only a frame builder in the US, but what it takes to be a successful brand. Whether it’s a custom, hand-built by Sacha, Vanilla frame or an in-house production Speedvagen, you’re going to get the best frame possible.