Whatever you do in this life, do it with fucking passion and power.
Make sure the world knows it – Edward B. Gieda III
I’ve been so inspired by the voices, initiatives and attitudes from our bicycle community in the last year in general and especially in the last couple of weeks of unrest and calibration of who we are and what we’re doing to each other. The calling out of toxic elements and the demand for change has a snowballing effect that is nothing but refreshing. I believe in the bicycle as a tool for change and grassroots movements like the Cycling Industry Pledge by WTF Bikexplorers is just one powerful example of how to drive change and hold us all accountable for our actions, or the lack thereof. For some, the bicycle will always just be a toy or a piece of sporting equipment but for many others, it’s a tool that enables change, growth and freedom.
Unrest is good. It’s uncomfortable and it forces us to think and reflect about our own situation. If we really believe in the bicycle as a tool for change, growth and freedom, we just simply have to get better at supporting the initiatives that works to create a cooler, more diverse and more inclusive community. As a privileged white man designing bicycles for a living, I’m cool with the sport of cycling being the alpha expression, but I often get the feeling that the bicycle is being held hostage by other privileged white men (Read Stockholm Syndrome, literally (I was born there)) who compete against each other and deter newcomers to engage.
The threshold is too high and not inviting enough, but we’re changing that.
I’m committed to use my voice help drive positive change, diversify cycling and bring change to people whose yet to be introduced to the true magic of the bicycle. Not in the context of a self-centered sport, but as a more welcoming alternative where more and different kinds of people are welcome. Not hating on the sport of cycling, in fact I love that too, but that’s not where my heart is. Instead I want to help amplify the non-competitive side of cycling, the seek and enjoy rather than seek and destroy. I want to help to get more new riders into nature and I know that the bicycle is part of the solution. I also know that the hurdles are too high and that initiatives like the three mentioned below, are working towards lowering them and create a welcoming and supportive environment for a wider array of new riders.
On a grassroots level, we can drive positive change much faster and make sure more underrepresented youngsters find their way to cycling and help them experience nature the way many of us take for granted. Initiatives like WTF Bikexplorers, Bikepacking Roots’ BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant and SF messenger Antonio Chavez’s Adventure cycling program for BIPOC, even Specialized’s own Outride are just some cool examples of how each and every one of us can give a little to achieve a lot.
The day after I had announced “A raffle for a good cause” with a Sequoia bike on my Instagram, Tyler Angelo Marchesano / @tunedbytyler, the inhouse painter at Specialized reached out and asked: “I wonder if some fresh paint would add to the raffle sales”. Initially, the idea was to do a couple of days of rafflin’ and then announce the winner, hoping that the bike would benefit someone who didn’t have a bike but with Tyler’s kind offer, this idea turned into a much more ambitious project that to date, have raised $15.000. With Tyler’s magical paint skills, and my, mostly moral support, we’ve created this amazing one of a kind NOS 50 cm (Fits a rider 5’2” to 5’4”) Read up on the Specialized Sequoia from The Radavists’s review from the launch.
The Sequoia, a bike that I led the design of in 2015/16, is one of the last brand-new bikes that will see the light of day as this model has been discontinued. We launched it in North Carolina in 2016, just weeks after the discriminatory Charlotte bathroom bill was introduced, with the slogan “We don’t care how you roll”, and we truly designed it to be a multi-faceted bike for a wide array of purposes and riders. The essence of this bike is welcoming and humble. The original frame was white, but I thought it would be a nice symbolic gesture to have the whiteness gtfo for a while. Frame and fork are now covered in five beautiful brown hues with a water dipping technique that is too complicated to do for production bikes. Check my Instagram / @hellhommus for paint process images. The result looks something like a dry riverbed in Death Valley seen from an airplane – some see the surface of Saturn. It’s incredibly rich in detail and not one square millimeter of the bike is the same. Post color dip, we gave it two layers of gloss clear before the final satin clear. This project has been made possible with kind help from pro mechanic @patricktreemiller and photographer @Collinchappelle and it will come with a cool little @roadrunnerbags and some surprise schwag. The Sequoia will be shipped to its new owner in the US in a few days.
The winner of the bike will be announced Tuesday July 14th at 21.00 Pacific time on my Instagram @hellhommus. One raffle ticket is $10 payed via Venmo to Erik-Nohlin (U.S only) and you can buy as many tickets you like – and pls go at it!
Together we win, Thank You All!
SF, July 12 2020.