Category Archives: Shop Visit
Finally! I finally made it to a Chris King Open House. Over the years, I’ve heard how much fun these events are. The events began on Thursday with an Industry Summit. On Friday we rode out to Chris King’s barn for lunch and Saturday, the doors at the Chris King factory opened to the public where visitors could take tours of the facilities, see the DropSet in person, check out the new limited edition colors – Matte Mango and Matte Turquoise – and ogle the bikes on display from 18 frame builders.
We’ll take a look at those tomorrow, but for now, let’s look inside the Chris King Open House!
Follow Chris King Precision Components on Instagram and check out more from the Open House at #ChrisKingOpenHouse.
I met Norther Cycles owner StarMichael back in 2015 here in Portland at the Bike and Beer festival where I shot one of his creations, a beautiful randonneuring frame. As with most of 2015’s content, when our server crashed, we lost the images. Bummer! So when Rie and the Sim Works crew said they were going to a few shops to deliver tires and racks, I tagged along, especially once I heard they were going to Norther Cycles. (more…)
Mountain towns with thriving ski scenes often benefit from a strong cycling presence to keep the economy alive during warmer months. Take Steamboat Springs, Colorado for instance. With a heavy snow sports presence and a healthy bike scene, the town is able to maintain tourism capital year round. This growth, however, was piecemeal, with one man doing the cycling community a great service by moving to this sleepy little Colorado town, forever changing the cycling community. Not just in Colorado either! His work rippled throughout the world… That man is Kent Eriksen.
In 1975 Kent Eriksen moved to Steamboat and in 1980 he started Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles with the help of several business partners. Kent didn’t just want to make bicycle frames, he wanted to innovate bicycle frame production. While it was summer, Sore Saddle kept the people of Steamboat rolling, and during the slow winter months, Moots production ramped up, to help secure the financial feasibility of Sore Saddle Cyclery. It was a unique business model and one that ensured the success of Moots. (more…)
One of the hardest things about reporting on frame builders and their shops is doing their operations justice. I’m still buzzing from my trip to Colorado to hang out with the crew at Moots and ride the Steamboat Ramble Ride. Spending a few solid days literally living amidst the operations, riding with the fabricators, talking and photographing everyone behind the scenes brought such great joy that I’m literally gushing as I write this intro. The 23 people that make this company tick are all great people who truly love their job and love cycling, at many capacities. Capturing that in photos and then writing about it is not easy!
Moots began in 1981, from the shop of Kent Eriksen, called Sore Saddle Cyclery, which technically opened in 1980, but the operations of Moots didn’t get rolling for a whole year. Kent began the brand with the help of many others, and eventually sold it off to begin his own company, Eriksen Cycles. Meanwhile, Moots began to permutate into their current state as one of the largest framebuilding operations in the USA. I can’t compare their shop to anyone else, other than Seven in the Boston-area. In terms of scale and organization. (more…)
I Never Knew I Had a Sweet Tooth Until I Visited Sugar Wheel Works!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
I was introduced to Jude Gerace and her shop Sugar Wheel Works exactly three years ago. I saw a few photos of Jude and what looked like a bicycle laboratory on Chantal Anderson’s Instagram, one of my favorite modern photographers. She had shot photos of Jude and her space for Levi’s Commuter, but there was no link to an article or any more photos, so I started Googling. I was immediately taken to my friend Anna Maria’s website Pretty Damned Fast and was pleasantly surprised with more photos and even an interview with Jude, conducted by Anna Maria. (more…)
Blazing Trails and Ripping Hardtails with Blaze Bicycles!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Pierre Chastain, the owner and fabricator at Blaze Bicycles, has been building bikes for over 10 years now. I’m not sure if this makes him a veteran or a rookie in this day and age, but I’m leaning towards veteran. Pierre knows what he likes, he also knows what he is good at, and this is how I know he has his shit together. Pierre started building bikes in Venice, California but has since moved to Moab, Utah where he lives and works today. When he first arrived in Utah, he partnered with Chris Hill at Moab Classic Bike. This was the beginning of what would become the Blaze Bicycles empire – I’m not sure it’s an empire, but it sure sounds good! Today Pierre is the sole owner of the bike shop, now branded Bike Fiend, where they concentrate heavily on getting people on these beautiful bikes made in the town they love.
A fun fact about Blaze Bicycles before I continue: Firemen love Blaze Bicycles. (more…)
Bike Fiend Moab: Where the Locals get Their Fix!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Moab Classic Bike was started by Chris Hill back in 2012. It began by selling refurbished bikes to Moab residents and certified dirtbag adrenalin junkies like himself. Later, Pierre Chastain, the man behind Blaze Bicycles, would come on board to refine and reimagine the way the bike shop worked and what they would sell, eventually making Moab Classic Bike more of the bike shop it is today. In 2016 Moab Classic Bike would become Bike Fiend, Pierre would take full ownership, concentrating on Blaze Bicycles and the Bikepacking community at large, all while keeping the “dirtbag” vibes alive! (more…)
Subverting adages is something Carl Strong has made a career from. Take the classic quote by Keith Bontrager: “Light, Cheap, and Strong, pick two.” That old saying need not apply here, because a Strong Frame is light and cheap when you consider “knowledge is wealth” and when you buy a Strong Frame, you’re buying some of that knowledge earned through a lifetime of building bikes.
Carl Strong began to tinker with making bicycle frames in the late 80’s, before setting up shop in his grandma’s garage in the early 90’s. Now, over 3,000 frames later, he is smashing yet another adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Not that Carl is a dog but you get the idea. This year, Carl had a big announcement for the industry. He has built another brand, all within the walls of his small, yet efficient shop in Bozeman, Montana: Pursuit Cycles. (more…)
Keepin’ it Lit with AE and Wildfire Undies
Words by AE Silver Photos by Spencer Harding
A few years ago AE, the sole proprietor of Wildfire Undies, bartered her Surly Karate Monkey for pattern making lessons. She then left the bike industry and decided to make Wildfire Undies her main gig. She specializes in underwear fit for a femme body, but a new line will be dropping this fall. I stopped by for a tour of her shop/bike shed followed by a session at the dirt jumps.
Why did you start wildfire undies?
I started WildFire because I’ve always known that I wanted to be a designer. I realized I wanted to be a lingerie designer when I began working for Elise Olson and she really taught me how to work specifically with lingerie, which I had never done before. She is also self taught and really encouraged me to go for it! Every mentor I’ve had has been self taught and I just didn’t realize I could do something completely on my own until they showed me the way. Thanks ladies!
Why did you leave the bike industry?
I left the industry because I was never allowed to be myself in it. I worked in a shop in Asheville that made me hate the industry. I was hired as the token female and didn’t realize it at the time. I would soon find out by being banned from the service area because I was “too distracting” to the mechanics, a lazy boss that watched everyone work and barked orders from dark corners of the shop, and then hired back a man that they were very aware had been sexually harassing me. I was going to work and having panic attacks everyday in the bathroom. I thought I could chalk it up to just landing in a terrible shop, but I was also surrounded by a community where being a bro was the only way to be accepted. The misogyny runs deep. Women there aren’t allowed to have their femme sides out and proud unless it means putting a tutu over your shorts for a bike ride every once in a while. I was so heartbroken that my home, which I thought was this amazing open, accepting place was totally the opposite in my adult life. Women supporting women there means something completely different. My character was attacked mostly by the women in that community. In contrast, there is little judgment and a lot of love in the small lingerie community I’m apart of.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I feel like I take inspiration from all the corners of my life, nature being the most influential. I think if someone asked, “Where do the bondage aspects come in with my designs?” It’s from vines and aroids and ferns and trails and trees and green and spring forever! But I’m a 90s kid (barely squeaked my birth into the 80s though) so nostalgia is huge for me (think 90s streetwear). But, above all else, comfort is what inspires me the most. How can I make something that looks sexy and makes you feel powerful while still being able to ride your bike or camp in it?
What can men who occupy spaces, like a bike park, do to make those spaces feel more safe?
Acknowledgment, space and DEFINITELY NOT OFFERING ANY COACHING TIPS!!!!! We’re just people who want to ride, too! I was at a skatepark today that felt so hostile. I showed up and was the only womxn (which is never surprising at this point), and didn’t feel like I was allowed to ride because all eyes were on me. So I stayed in my little corner to work on one little trick until a guy who could ride better than me slowly pushed me out of my little corner. So I left. Not feeling stoked.
I remember you trying to start a sewing class for survivors, is that still happening?
I’m still working on a space. I was going to have them at my house but you’ve seen my studio. It’s hard working with two people in there on machines, let alone a group. I decided I would do it there, but just all hand sewing and put it off until I could get a fun curriculum dialed. I may have found a large space though so I’m working on that currently! Most folks I’ve talked to are more interested in machine sewing. It’s IMPERITIVE to me that I put a class together that is completely free. So it might take some time to get together but it’s super important to me so it will happen.
If you are looking for some amazing handmade undies to make you look oh so damn hot, hit up AE for some Wildfire Undies. To all you bag makers out there, I heard AE is looking to get into bikepacking and loves to do trades…
Follow A.E. on Instagram and follow along with Wildfire Undies for updates on when her shop will be open Instagram
Supernatural events are attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature and are not limited to mysticism or black magic, the ability to cull power from these supernatural powers in ways that benefit the holder’s will. Black magic, traditionally, has been linked to the dichotomy of the Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path, two forms of magic, both opposing in the natural and supernational world. While neither is necessarily evil, the notion of Black Magic and the Left-Hand Path has been equated with a rejection societal convention and the status quo, two notions that can hinder the desire for individualism and thus, creativity. Pardon the lesson on black magic here, but bear with me.
In 2016, Rudi Jung of Gold Coast Bicycle Manufacturing and Black Magic Paint was injured in a motorcycle accident, rendering his right hand suffering severe nerve damage, forcing Rudi to adapt his life to only use his left hand. After extensive physical therapy and as you might imagine, much mental adjustment, Rudi decided to leave his Gold Coast frame building operation and focus solely on Black Magic… (more…)