Moving to a new town in the middle of a pandemic has been quite the taxing experience both emotionally and logistically. With relocation comes re-establishing connections and expansion of one’s social network, which is near impossible with stay at home orders. Part of the joy of moving to a new city is to get a lay of the land, meet new people, and find those little idiosyncratic niches small towns are known for. Recently I set out a ping to social media, hoping to track down a fabricator to help build a bike rack swingout for our truck. A friend of a friend connected me with Greg, one of the co-fabricators at a small metal shop on Third Street here in Santa Fe. His shop mate Cooper found out I was into bikes and had to share with me his shed found Univega…
Where do we even begin here? Boone is what I would consider a friend. Someone I met years ago in Portland who is now in Bend and still doing what he loves: making rad shit. Right now, however, he’s making rad shit for himself. When he and I first met, he was working for Argonaut Cycles but that wasn’t his first framebuilding job. As with everyone making bike frames, there’s a story to tell, and that’s what we’re doing here today, so sit back, turn on some metal, and check out the wild shit inside Boone Metal Fab.
As the person behind the marketing of a small brand, I typically have a strategy that I like to think of as, “appear bigger than the bear.” As a tiny brand hustling to compete with some very large brands, we aim to appear larger than we are. My theory is that if we want to be competitive, we need to look like a worthy competitor. You know, if you need to scare off a bear, you should try to look bigger than the bear. The current situation has led me to take pause and give up the ruse. Sometimes there’s more to the story than super sexy photos of bikes. I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I am getting lonely here in my home office. I miss my co-workers. I miss shooting hoops in the warehouse in the afternoon and walking to get a slice of pizza, making awkward small talk in the pizza shop.
If you’re reading this, there’s a high probability you’re into bikes. Being “into” bikes comes in all sorts of flavors: racers, tourers, shredders, gear heads, collectors, vanilla, chocolate, twist. However you identify, spending time and money building, fixing, riding, and re-building is all part of it. Exposure to the melange of personalization across the cycling continuum is a big part of what the Radavist does, in addition to sharing the passion and creativity of the people behind the bikes. People who are into it. People like Karl.
A while ago Liz and I were rolling through Connecticut, on a mission to eat the best pizza in the world. We went to Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s, Modern, and BAR, a list provided to us by the one and only Ronnie Romance. Ronnie even told us a story of a date at BAR that would forever change his life, but both of us still agreed that Sally’s was the best pizza New Haven had to offer, and I’ll even go as far and say it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had. Ronnie and I have shared pizzas all across the globe, we’ve also shared many stories while eating pizza, and besides Namz, I don’t think anyone person has come up more than Peter Weigle. To me, Peter Weigle is a living legend, dealing in a world I know very little about, and because of this, I thought untouchable. Well… besides holding a can of his Frame Saver. To Ronnie, Peter is an old friend, who shaped the way he pieces his own bikes together to share with the thousands followers along for the ride. Hints, making everything Peter does “The New/Old Hot Thing”!
On my way to crashing the beginning of SSAZ down in Bisbee I made a stop by a place I have been wanting to make an excuse to shoot for quite some time now. Now, Bisbee isn’t on the way to anywhere and you really need to make a point to end up there, I think I heard a rumor that Paul Price called it “Like a Downieville in the desert.” Bisbee is was a mining town turned that turned into an artist haven when the copper mining started to dry up. The hours at the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel are loose and you can just give Ken a call if you want him to open up for ya. Now when and if you end up in Bisbee, you probably aren’t expecting much of a bike shop, but oh would you be oh so wrong.
“I never felt I belonged. I never belonged in my whole life, even as a little kid. I was just different and so I never really found my place till I moved to Nashville…” -Dolly Parton.
From the very first moment you step into Halcyon Bike Shop, you will feel at home. Although it’s not so much like being at a parent’s house. It is more like being at your favorite dive (that arty one on the edge of town), sitting in the booth you always sit. You know the one! It’s in the back corner next to the largest window in the joint with a couple of slashes in the red vinyl backrest. It’s a place where you immediately let your guard down and talk to whoever sits across from you for hours.
Wow! It feels like yesterday I was still calling Austin my home, riding the rolling hills and ripping around on the limestone and cedar tree-lined singletrack. Those were some magical years for me, filled with a lot of amazing memories, solid friendships, and watching my friends open their own businesses, only to have them bloom and grow when I left town.
I’ve been back through Austin a few times since leaving in 2015 but never really had enough time to settle in and document the spaces of these businesses. This past trip, we had all the time in the world, so I got to work documenting my favorite of the Austin scene: the space at Cycleast and Flat Track Coffee…
Before you go out and buy a new bike due to discomfort, have you considered a proper bike fit? Portland’s Endurance Bike Fit Studio has taken its operations on the road thanks to Wahoo Fitness and VANDOIT. During Analisa’s pop up at Golden Saddle Cyclery last Sunday, I hopped on board to check it out. Read on below!
My friends at Chumba Cycles have had a truly inspirational story since re-launching the brand in early 2014. While the name Chumba Cycles has been around for some time in the mountain bike world, this is an entirely different company when compared to the brand that launched in California during the early ’90s. Without going into the details too much, Vince and Mark purchased the brand a few years back and began making their tig-welded steel bikes in-house in Austin, TX. Around that same time, they moved shops, and on a recent trip to the Lonestar State, I swung through to check out their new digs and see some of the bikes they were building up for customers.
Paul de Valera does it all, he’s the mechanic, manager, buyer, PR, HR, ride leader, ride organizer, social media expert, designer, illustrator, coaster brake extraordinaire at Atomic Cycles. Paul doesn’t have a cell phone, still uses a yahoo email address, and hand draws every single one of his flyers. While this may be fine for a shop that puts on a handful of events a year, but Paul’s ride calendar is ridiculous. Atomic Cycles host a weekly BMX Cruiser ride, two Coaster Brake Race Series a year, vintage mountain bike rides, downhill racing on children’s bikes, a few long gravel rides, a winter and summer solstice ride across the Santa Monica Mountains, a SoCal Single Speed Mountain Bike Championship, a ride where everyone dresses like ninjas in the middle of the night and spends most the ride in fear of someone jumping out and attacking them, a BMX Sidehack Race, the S.C.U.M.B.A.G Mountain Bike Weekend, a Turkey Day Ride, and a SanFernando Valley to DTLA ride. Try to say that 10 times fast!
My first experience with Nao Tomii from Tomii Cycles was via his old brand, 3RRR, which focused on small components like chainrings, developed in part with industrial design office 44RN. While in Boston, he learned to build bikes under the instruction of Ian Sutton, from Icarus Frames. When he moved to Austin shortly after, I began seeing his bikes pop up all over town, each beautifully constructed and specced, with color palettes so unique to the cycling industry’s normal flashy vibrancy. Nao has an eye for design, proportions, and a willingness to strive for perfection. His work is wildly underappreciated in the saturated market of handmade frames.
After a helluva a time getting through all the Tsunami craziness at Grinduro Japan this past fall me and the Salsa crew finally got back to Tokyo. The rest of the posse had to take off around 4 am the next day, leaving me with about half a day in Tokyo to myself! Bené and Patrick had invited me to swing by Blue Lug for a pop up they were having to showcase there oh so éspecial new Ultradynamico Tyres. Having seen the amazing custom builds coming out of the shop for years I was excited to see what the shop was about.
Over the years Stephanie and I have visited some out-of-the-way frame builders, but Sam Whittingham’s Naked Bicycles is one of the more out-there. Pedaling our camping bikes on the ups and downs of Quadra Island, an eclectic community of 2,700 people off northern Vancouver Island, we’re reminded that this is a two-speed kind of place – where the only gears you need are your easiest and your hardest.
The road narrows and the hills become even steeper, and we eventually come upon a gate, with a kind note asking us to close it after entering, for there are horses inside. We put Denver on his leash and grind the final few hundred metres to Sam’s shop, a quirky metal-roofed building with lots of windows, reflecting the even-more-whimsical shape of his house on the other side of the driveway.
If people make the effort to get here, Sam makes them feel at home. He arrives on the porch with a smile, and invites us in to his frame building shop in the woods.
The way I ride road bikes has evolved with the way the bikes are being built. As I have moved away from pack racing over the past 10 years, I have desired more variety in my daily rides. Most of my rides involve sections of steep LA county fire roads or linking hilly neighborhood climbs together by zigging and zagging through hidden dirt paths.
FOREWORD: Back in May and into June, I had the pleasure of helping the crew at Angry Catfish for a couple of weeks as their summer season began to pick up. The following is a series of entries from a journal I kept during my time there. My hope is that through these vignettes you will get a glimpse of what it’s like to not only work at one of the most successful bike shops in the country, but be a bicycle salesperson and mechanic in the city of Minneappolis. Think of this as an extended shop visit, one where I get my hands dirty and experience the area and community the way those at Angry Catfish and other locals do. All photos are film, shot on 35mm and 120mm. Enjoy!
Have you ever been somewhere and you just knew it was special? For years Bobby from District Bicycles had been telling me about this magical place called Keith’s Bike Fort, providing lodging to the traveling cyclist.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate something special, the 30th anniversary of Paul Component Engineering. Paul is a close friend, and when asked to come down for the weekend, tickets were booked quickly and preparations began in good faith.