Adaptability. Sometimes life provides us with circumstances that are not exactly beautiful. Somewhere among the ugly bits, though, these cracks emerge from the rubble of things seemingly falling apart. I think of that space the cracks create as portals to a different way. These chasms are opportunities if you will. And that’s just it – you must have will.
I walked into the shop and was greeted by an animated guy covered in tattoos. While talking to him, I noticed he was locked onto what I was saying. Paying attention to every detail or timid question I asked, he was ready to help me. Understanding that I was new to mountain bikes, he took the time to deconstruct explanations of the mechanics of a mountain bike. No matter how silly I felt asking a question or calling something by the wrong name, he was quick to politely correct me to ensure I was informed. As we walked through my bike’s features, I could tell he was extremely knowledgeable. Without any hesitation, he was able to explain things, while simultaneously working away. He was in a flow state of mind at this point and there wasn’t much that was going to take him out of it. This ability only comes with an expertise that is unmatched.
Hear me out here, set your preconceptions aside for a bit. Before jumping into today’s Shop Visit, I have to clear the air and give an introduction to the iconography and ideologies which represent this particular framebuilder’s brand…
Pandemic life means a lot of the normal, day-to-day coverage we cherished has gotten put on hold. One of which are Shop Visits. While I’ve been sticking local to Santa Fe over the past twelve months, my friend Nick was able to submit a Shop Visit to his local digs, Two Wheel Drive down in Albuquerque. Read on for Nick’s photos and words by Zach, Two Wheel Drive’s manager…
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…