Category Archives: Shop Visit
San Francisco’s Fresh Air Bicycles
The original Fresh Air Bicycles sign from when the shop opened in the 70's.

That shirt. You know the one, or maybe you don’t. It’s what first piqued my interest in San Francisco’s Fresh Air Bicycles, a shop that’s been around for a while (who apparently sold a lot of Softride MTBs), yet was just sold a few years back to a new generation of Bay Area cyclists.

Travis and the dudes at Fresh Air live, breathe and eat dirt riding. With the Headlands at their fingertips and cyclocross always just around the corner, the Team Fresh Air Hunter ‘cross squadron need no excuses to get dirty.

While visiting SF, I swung through to see the guys, buy one of those shirts and take a few photos, which you can enjoy in the Gallery.

Fresh Air Bicycles
1943 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Open Tuesday – Saturday 11AM-7PM
415.563.4824

Aug 21, 2015 7 comments
The Lowdown at LOW Bicycles
Michael placing a decal.

While LOW Bicycles might be known best for their made in San Francisco track bikes, for the past year or so, they’ve begun to develop road and ‘cross frames. Debuted at NAHBS, the MKI road is Low’s first geared bike offering, selling in small production runs and starting as a collaboration with Cadence, a longtime supporter of the brand.

A lot has changed at LOW since my last visit. Andrew hired Michael full-time, who aids in everything from prep to production and finishing. This enables Andrew to focus on welding and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for frames.

When I was at the shop, Michael was working on one of the LOW MKI ‘cross frames in their new color: safety orange. These frames are being raced by TCB Courier and should be available soon for purchase.

When visiting a longtime friend like Andrew, more time is spend chatting and catching up, but I did get a few photos of the shop, the new frames and his dog, Manny. Enjoy!

If you’d like to pick up a LOW, head to their web shop or email Andrew for availability of their new MKI road and MKI cross frames.

Aug 17, 2015 4 comments
The New Guys: City + County Bicycle Co
City+County-4

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.

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Aug 17, 2015 4 comments
Inside and Out of the Falconer Cycles Workshop
White light

“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…

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Aug 13, 2015 23 comments
Faster than the Wind at RIH in Amsterdam – Kevin Sparrow
RIH track

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…)

Aug 5, 2015 9 comments
Free Coffee at Heritage General Store – Kyle Kelley
Free Coffee at Heritage General Store

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.

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Aug 3, 2015 3 comments
Born in the Black Forest at Tune – Kevin Sparrow
Fat Kong hub

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.

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Jul 20, 2015 7 comments
Oakley’s In Residence Workshop in London
#InResidence

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.

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Jun 8, 2015 5 comments
A Pitstop at American Cyclery
Inside American Cyclery

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.

Apr 14, 2015 11 comments