Category Archives: Shop Visit
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…)
Just a few, short years back, when people shifted their nomenclature from “bicycle touring” to include the term “bikepacking,” there weren’t many brands or shops for that matter, that catered to outings such as overnighters all the way through extensive tours. At least not compared to today’s offerings. Just about every day I read about a new product that claims to make our time on a loaded bicycle easier, or more pleasant, and as you can imagine, there is a lot of filtering that has to happen in order to cull this seemingly endless parade of new products.
That’s where the local bike shop model comes into play. My favorite part about visiting any city are the shops that make these places tick and in Portland, Oregon, there are so many shops around that specificity is the name of the game for survival in the ever-struggling retail economy.
One of the ways shops – and brands for that matter – have found the key to survival is by carefully cultivating a selection of products that have been thoroughly vetted by either the shop’s staff or close friends of the shop. The only way to determine the feasibility of a product is to actually use it, right? I’ve noticed this happening a lot, the culling down of the bike shop. In many ways, this makes for an easier retail experience, from the customer’s perspective and the owner’s. (more…)
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
La Bicyclette is two bike shops in one! Well, not really, but sorta. There are two retail spaces across the street from each other on the same block, and they’re pretty much polar opposites of each other. You ask how that happens? You have a father who loves cycling and cycling heritage, who wants a well-organized showroom with lots of beautiful new product. Then you have two sons that wanna run a service department where they’re the only ones who know where anything is and slang beautiful vintage track bikes and other odds and ends from around the world! (more…)
Steel Cafe: Putting the “Home” in Home Base!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
It’s been almost a year since I went to France with Sean Talkington of Team Dream Bicycling Team, Ace Carretero from The Sleepers, Tebow the Enduro Pro (a.k.a Team Dream / Ringtail Intern) and Mavic Cycling to follow the Tour De France. This trip was life-changing for me and not a day goes by that I don’t think about something or a moment from this trip. It’s probably the fact that I have all of these French friends on Instagram now, or maybe it’s because I had the best meal of my life there at Miznon (that roasted cauliflower…I hear there’s one in NYC now!)
Whatever it is or was…holy cow…that was an amazing time! (more…)
Team Dream GTFO to Oakley’s HQ
Words and photos by Sean Talkington
Just about a year ago we brought over a French intern named Thibault to work with us here at Team Dream. Thibault (or Tebow as America now refers to him) had been working at Mavic during my first trip to the Tour de France and was sent out numerous times to pick us up in a van when the Peugeot 574 would break down. After some long hours stranded on the French roadside with Tebow, we became friends, and one night after a few glasses of rosé I offered him a job with us at Team Dream here in Los Angeles. To be honest I had no idea how crazy it is to obtain a work visa for a foreigner but after a lot of paperwork and a few site inspections at The Cub House we finally got Tebow to Los Angeles! (more…)
My recent trip up to the Sonoma, Napa, and the Santa Rosa-area ended at Cycle Chvrch Cycles in Petaluma. I first met the owner, Tim, a while back when he worked at Paul Component Engineering in Chico. Since then, he moved to Petaluma and opened his shop, tucked behind Bruce Gordon’s old space, in a bustlin’ area downtown, which is great for a bike shop like Cycle Chvrch, as Tim can tap into commuters and families looking for an easier way to get around town. Cycle Chvrch may specialize in steel bikes, but he works on everything from Raleigh coaster brake cruisers, to a Steve Rex tandem, and BMX bikes from the neighborhood kids. Tim has a knack for problem-solving and repairing the most idiosyncratic designs from yesteryear.
As for the space itself, it’s in an old warehouse, but Tim has set it up in a way where, as the name implies, it feels like a church. Only the pews are replaced by saddles, the hymnals by Grant Petersen-era Bridgestone Catalogs, and the choir calls from a freewheel. Spaces like this are stories in themselves, told by the items on display, painting a picture of how Tim feels like a bike shop should look. If you’re in Petaluma, I highly suggest swinging by and checking out Tim’s space and sitting in for a sermon.
Cycle Chvrch Cycles
409 Petaluma Blvd S
Petaluma, CA 94952
Northern California has spawned many frame builders since the 1960’s, beginning in many ways with Albert Eisentraut, whose influence sparked a new wave of American frame builders. One of which is Jeremy Sycip, who learned under Eisentraut’s careful eye at UBI. Prior to that, however, Eisentraut had taught many other builders including; Bruce Gordon, Joe Breeze, Skip Hujsak, Mark Nobilette, and Bill Stevenson. The history of those individuals solidified the US frame building scene, and eventually paved the way for guys like Jeremy Sycip.
For over 25 years, Jeremy has built bicycle frames under the label Sycip. Since 1992, he has been building custom bicycle frames in Northern California. Originally located in San Francisco, he and his brother, Jay, opened a small storefront up in downtown Santa Rosa in the late 90’s. Their plan was pretty genius for its time. Jeremy would work on frames in a glass storefront, while Jay would work on design for the brand, taking breaks to show walk-ins the process. If they came for a custom bike, Jay would offer his custom, one-of-a-kind hand-painted frame… The brand, Sycip Designs, finally took hold. (more…)
I’ve never owned a bike that receives as much attention from non-cyclists as a Retrotec. With comments ranging from “can I fit big tires like that on my cruiser?” to “how’d you put disc brakes on that cruiser?” Once I follow up with an explanation, they quickly lose interest, yet are still entranced with the bike itself. That connection is not too far from the reality of the Retrotec brand, however. Back in 1992, a builder named Bob Seals wanted to race his old cantilever cruiser frame. This frame, the Retrotec number one, still hangs in Curtis’ shop to this day.
Bob’s intent was to make modern-day cruisers, designed to be ridden and raced. The look of Bob’s builds really resonated with Curtis and in 1993, he moved to Chico, CA to work for Retrotec. In 1995, Bob had exhausted his framebuilding efforts, prompting Curtis to take over, relocating the business to San Francisco. This presented a problem for Curtis, who quickly realized that cruiser bikes weren’t really a thing – yet – and work was slow. Curtis chugged along in San Francisco, building frames part-time and experimenting with new Retrotec designs, while sharing a shop with the Sycip brothers.
In 1998 Retrotec moved to Napa, California and everything changed. (more…)
Happy 4.20! Without blowing up the spot too much, let me just say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Santa Rosa. Part of that is the riding, my friends the Sycips being great hosts, and shops like Trail House. Well, to call Trail House a shop is doing it a disservice. Not that it’s not a functioning bike shop, because it is, it’s just so much more. (more…)