A few years ago I went to Japan for a visit with Nitto to discuss some ideas I wanted them to work on for Crust. While there, my friend Nori asked if I would like to visit MKS pedals. Being a huge bike nerd I could not turn down the opportunity to see a company that has been manufacturing pedals since 1946. That’s right, 1946!!!
The first time I found my way across the train tracks and into the strange little courtyard parking lot of Citizens I was awestruck. It was full of rusty old sculptures of flowers and birds and beautiful strange shapes welded out of discarded bike parts. I knew that I had found something that felt right in that deep way that feels like home and an adventure all at once. It was love at first sight and it only got better as I walked down a makeshift concrete ramp into the dark basement. It took my eyes a few moments to adjust and focus on the chaos that surrounded me. There were folks with bicycles in all states of disrepair and disassembly. There were piles of wheels, rusty frames, milk crates full of thousands of derailleurs and brakes, and every bike part you could possibly imagine. Every surface was covered in murals and the bright colors were dimmed by the shadows of sparse fluorescent lighting. The staff was indistinguishable from the crowd and everyone seemed like they would be just as comfortable in a post-apocalyptic wasteland as in a basement in the center of Tucson Arizona, which come to think of it often resembles a scene from a dystopian novel.
Just before Covid hit the US and races were canceled indefinitely, I had a conversation on a ride with good friend Brendan Lehman (who is sometimes, more often than not, known as the official unofficial mis-manager of the Rock Lobster race team) about joining the risk of Lobsters and racing on a custom frame built by Paul Sadoff himself. I’d been riding with the Rock Lobster crew here in Santa Cruz for several years and we all seemed to share a common bond in doing remarkably stupid endurance rides, putting mental and physical limits to the test for fun and adventure. Since I first laid eyes on one, there has always been something alluring to me about a classic, team issue, seafoam green Rock Lobster. Not only will I get to ride and race on this custom bike built for my body dimensions, but I also get the pleasure to ride it with the builder himself. As a photographer, I figured it would be great to capture the build of my custom frame from start to finish and get to know Paul a little better in the process.
Yesterday, we featured an Inside / Out piece on Moustache Cycles, a Flagstaff-based framebuilding operation headed by Richard May. Today, we’re checking our four of his bikes, with Richard describing each so enjoy!
We visit a lot of makers here at the Radavist. From frames to components to bags. 2020 has put a lot of that on momentary pause, yet I’ve enjoyed meeting cyclists serendipitously since moving to Santa Fe, many of which are small business owners. One of those is Jacob from Bread Shop. He and his wife Mayme, along with his brother Zac run a small bakery that’s big on taste. We’ve been buying loaves once a week from Bread Shop and this week I met up with Jacob to shoot his Surly Cross-Check.
In what I hope will be the first of many monthly(ish) articles, of varying lengths, Nikolai and I visited (in)famous bicycle designer Mike Burrows, who has been a constant in terms of support, inspiration and taking me down a peg or two when I need it (always). Nikolai filmed our trip on my Sony A7iii as part of an ongoing project, so I decided it would be especially fitting for Mike to document our trip on celluloid with my Mamiya C330, and a little Olympus rangefinder on Kodak Portra 800 film.
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.