It seems like only yesterday, Tijon Randall was wrenching client bikes in the basement of his Brooklyn apartment due to COVID-19 shutting down shops across the country. Prior, Tijon was one of the mechanics at a local bike shop in Manhattan when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, including the one he worked at. Thankfully, Tijon’s relationship with clients was strong enough that the demand for repairs, maintenance, and builds kept him afloat as everyone was trying to figure out how and when it was safe to re-open stores and businesses again. This new reality showed that he might be able to fulfill his once-longshot dream of opening his own shop. And just like that, TUNED, a boutique bike shop in Brooklyn, New York, was born.
The Philly Bike Expo brings together folks from all over the country each year, many of whom have transformed the event into a gathering of some of the finest frame builders in the world. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years attending the show and documenting these awesome builders. While at the show in Philly, I often approach it with a mission in the back of my mind to bring good friends back to Johnstown, PA where I live. It’s a place that desperately needs more cycling culture.
A couple of years ago I did just that and, with fingers crossed, I sprung this question on Megan Dean of Moth Attack: “This bike is unreal, it’s truly a work of art, have you ever thought about teaching a frame-building class?” I think Megan said something like “Funny you should say that… I actually have been.” I responded by telling her that I have a friend in town with a special spot we could use called Center For Metal Arts. It’s filled with light, a fire, and the glow of forged metals most days of the week. Not familiar with CMA? No problem, read on.
I still look back at my time in Austin, Texas, with the fondest of memories, thanks to the many people I met while living there. I got to know the most amazing, down-to-Earth, truly unique souls in the five years I called Austin my home. Many of which I’m still quite close with today. A few have since moved on to other cities and are doing big things in their respective new homes.
One of which is Taylor Wallace, a fella I met at Flat Track Coffee years back and have since gotten to see the life he’s made for himself in Bozeman, Montana, where I’ve been visiting for a little over a week now. Taylor owns a coffee company which he operates with his brother, Gavin, called Roly Poly Coffee. We haven’t featured many coffee shops here at The Radavist but Roly Poly, as an extension of Taylor himself is much, much more…
You might recall seeing the half-frame bag from Vernacular Sewn Storage (VRNCLR) on the prototype Super Something gravel bike Adam Sklar had at Ruta del Jefe. VRNCLR is the Oakland, CA – based bag company of maker Tom Gilpatrick. Tom has been working in sew business for some time now, currently focusing on bags for bikes and also Go Fast Campers (GFC). Earlier this summer I was in the Bay Area with filmmaker Justin Balog and we had a slice of time before heading to the airport to catch flights home, so stopped in to visit with Tom and check out his space in the eclectic O2 Artisans Aggregate.
I met Alex when he was probably 15 or 16 years old in our local Santa Barbara bike shop Velo Pro. I had recognized him from punk/hardcore shows and I vividly remember him wearing a Minderaser shirt. He came up and was like “what’s up dude I’ve seen you at shows I had no idea you were into bikes!” After that he and I became close friends and over the past 10 or so years I’ve watched him and his wife Erin get married, open two businesses, and have a child. These two not only have, but live, that DIY lifestyle they are no bullshit about anything and it’s been awesome to watch. As soon as they told me they were opening a bike shop next to their barbershop I knew it would be something special. They’ve curated a style unlike anything seen in Santa Barbara and have built an entire community around the bike shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gravel grinder, BMX wheelie kid, or a commuter you will be welcomed into the Boom Boom family. If you’ve never been to Boom Boom Bike Room just imagine the video of Bad Brains playing CBGB in 1982 as the intro to The Big Take Over is starting and then the entire room explodes. That’s the energy that Boom Boom is putting out in our community!
When I started working here at The Radavist full-time last fall, one of my first projects was collaborating with Jarrod Bunk on the builder galleries he photographed at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo. It was a great project for me at the time, as I got to interview many of the builders about the bikes they showcased and, more generally, their individual framebuilding ethos. Designing and building bicycle frames is, for the most part, an individualistic pursuit and I always enjoy learning about how builders’ personal backgrounds and experiences become physically manifested in their craft. As alphabetical order would have it, the file folder labeled Amigo Bug Out was the first I opened and I instantly fell in love with the bike I found inside. The Bug Out had everything I’d been looking for: shreddy geo, setup versatility, innovative design solutions, beefy tire clearance, and badass artwork from my buddy Casey Robertson.
After a few emails and brief phone calls with builder Zach Small of Nashville-based Amigo Frameworks, I was more than stoked to put my name on the list for the initial run of Bug Outs. Zach and I ended up talking even more over the following weeks and when we determined the bike would be built and painted in time for the annual Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering, we hatched a ridiculous plan for me to travel to Nashville, build up my bike in his shop, and then ride GDGG together. Ergo, from the coverage we’ve already shared, I had a great and productive time with Zach and I not only returned home with a hellova fresh bike, but also a new friend… or I should say amigo.
Continue reading below for an immersive look inside Amigo Frameworks and to hear more about Zach’s path toward becoming a full-time framebuilder!
Editing the photos from my visit to Baum Cycles this February, an eerie feeling came over me. I knew it’d been some time since I last took photos with the ‘big camera’ at 7 Seabright St, North Shore. For some reason, it felt like a precise period of time. My suspicion was confirmed. 10 years.
Santa Cruz, California, is home to many wonderful framebuilders and many of which we’ve documented here on The Radavist over the years. From Rock Lobster to Black Cat, and Hunter Cycles, there’s no shortage of Shop Visits from the area to browse. However, one shop I’ve long wanted to document is Caletti Cycles, so when the Chris King Guest House event happened earlier this month, based out of the Caletti Cycles shop, I made sure to photograph this wonderful space along with one of John Caletti’s recent personal builds.
Let’s check out what goes on Inside Caletti Cycles below!
Lobsters don’t have a home, per se. Rather, they move across the rocky ocean floors searching for a cobble or den. In many ways, Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster Cycles has been looking for a new cobble for the past few years, bouncing to and fro various shop spaces, all within a mile of each other. His new space, however, might just be the best yet.
On my recent trip out to Sea Otter, I swung through to catch up with Paul. It’d been over two years since the last time I saw him and as he’s one of my favorite builders to hang out with, I was looking forward to spending some time talkin’ tubes with him. Read on below for a Shop Visit as well as a look at the Rock Lobster singlespeed 29er from the Chris King Guest House event…
The intersection of cycling with other outdoor activities is where my mind has been for the past few years. Bikefishing, bikerafting, bicycle touring, and the like all bring together cycling with outdoor recreation. A few retail environments come to mind that encourages not only cycling but these adjacent activities. Most prominently in my mid-term memory is Circles in Nagoya Japan, and recently, I found myself at Campfire Cycling in Tucson with camera in hand. While there, I documented a few of the shop employee’s personal bikes, as well as the space itself. Let’s take a look below!
It has been a little over a year since we relocated Chumba Bikes to our new, bigger, and brighter shop space in South Austin. We have yet to host an open house here due to COVID and trying to keep our staff as safe as possible. I approached Vince about doing a 35mm photography project to share our new shop space along with the hands that have moved Chumba forward. To showcase our new shop I shot a month’s worth of photos and compiled this gallery. I’m excited to give you a peep into our world at Chumba!
When Maverick Cycles opened its doors in my neighborhood last April, it took me a minute to get over my disbelief that such a place had sprung into existence here on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County.
“Our driveway is rough.” Those are the words John Campbell of Alpine Luddites used to describe the windy, undulating, treelined drive, freshly blanketed in seven inches of snow, tucked away in the quiet town of Westmore, Vermont. It’s an understatement — a theme that emerges as you pick Campbell’s brain about his work making ultralight and durable bikepacking bags and backpacks for outdoor endeavors.
His shop is located on a picturesque fourth-generation Vermont family farm of 1,100 acres, a place secluded enough that your cellphone welcomes you to Canada as you crest the hill of his aforementioned driveway. Around the back, past the woodshed and out toward the fields, you’ll find Campbell’s workshop. It’s an idyllic setting that easily could have been the setting for a Hudson River School painting in the mid-19th century.
Dulce Ortiz and Wladimir Labraña are the couple behind Atom Cycles, the handmade bicycle building project in Ojo de Agua in the State of México, just outside of México City. What started as a love story between a Mexican woman and a Chilean man isn’t mine to tell, but it resulted in the fusion of the expertise of a graphic designer and a metal construction technician to bring to life fillet brazed bicycle frames, racks, and an expanding range of bicycle accessories.
In addition to riding some amazing purpose-built singletrack in my former hometown of West Michigan this past summer (more on that to come!), another highlight was linking up with Mitch Mileski for a very unexpected type of trail riding. Mitch manages the Fulton Street location of the Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. and, having also grown up in Grand Rapids (just much more recently than me) he knows the city very well and was generous to show off a few hidden gems. I met up with Mitch early on a moody weekday morning with a typical summer weather forecast calling for a 50% chance of precipitation.
During a visit to my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI this past summer I stopped in at Velocity USA, purveyors of finely shaped and colorful formed aluminum. Jill Martindale – resident endurance racing aficionado and winter weather lover – graciously took time out of her day to show me around their manufacturing facility. I’ve been a fan of Velocity for quite a while (still have a 20ish-year-old set of Deep Vs kicking around) and was very geeked out roaming around the factory with Jill, observing the precision processes that go into creating each rim and wheel build, and meeting the folks that make it all happen.
In the mountains of the State of México, about two hours by car to the west of México City, there’s a little town named San Simón el Alto; in this town, there’s a house which would pass as any other house save for the sign that reads “Bebidas exóticas”, exotic drinks, and an outdoor bar, a Biergarten if you will, with chairs in an inviting position. Wandering in the garden, a big turkey makes sure everything is in order and slowly approaches whoever stays idle for too long, be it dog, cat, or person. To the right there’s the house and one of the doors opens up to reveal two sewing machines, rolls of Xpac and Liteskin, and a few half-made bicycle bags. This is Peregrinus Equipment, the bike bag enterprise run by physicist, cyclist, and nature enthusiast Nicolás Legorreta.
Here in the Quaker City of Philadelphia, we’re blessed with a number of reliable shops in just about every corner of town. Shops for very serious racers, shops for mountain bikers, shops just for anyone in the neighborhood in need of help getting around on two wheels. We’ve got ‘em all and plenty of ‘em. Keystone is one of Philly’s newest shops catering to all kinds of bikes with an emphasis on everything rando, touring, and bikepacking.