Shop Visit

category

A Slice of Cycling History at Orange Peel Bikes in Steamboat Springs

Reportage

A Slice of Cycling History at Orange Peel Bikes in Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs is the birthplace of Moots, Eriksen, and other outdoor industry brands. Visit this ski town and you’ll see why. Located in the Northern Yampa Valley the city has thrived due to its proximity to the Routt National Forest and its plethora of trails. It doesn’t matter what your preferred form of recreation is, Steamboat has an abundance of resources for it.

One of the bike shops in Steamboat is in one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever visited. Period. When Jon from Moots took me to pick up some last minute supplies before embarking on our Steamboat Ramble Ride trip, my jaw was on the ground. While most of the outdoor shops in Steamboat are very clean and corporate, Orange Peel Bikes embraced its chaotic beauty. Much like something found in nature, there are no right angles in this bee-hive shaped space.

Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags – Kyle Kelley

Reportage

Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags – Kyle Kelley

Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

One of Liz and my stops along the great American Bike Shop Tour of 2017 was Bedrock Bags in Durango, Colorado. A larger than life operation, in a very small space, boasting that they “make the best bikepacking gear on the market.” And when I mean small…I mean small, at first I had no clue how everyone worked in this small space at the same time, but as Joey Ernst, one of the owners, and Tae Hillyer, the production manager, and I chatted about the business I began to understand. This space had been thought out in the same tailored, tight, and clean aesthetic as all of their bags. Just like you don’t want your knees rubbing your framebag, everyone at Bedrock Bags had created a very workable space with no elbow rubbing in a very small, but very efficient corridor.

So you know your knees aren’t going to be rubbing one of their framebags.

Don’t Fake that Funk with Cjell Moné

Reportage

Don’t Fake that Funk with Cjell Moné

Don’t Fake that Funk with Moné Bikes

Words and photos by Spencer Harding

I first saw one of Cjell’s (pronounced like “shell”) bikes on a tour of Adventure Cycling’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana.  His lugged 29+ drop bar Great Divide rig hangs on the walls, in all of its patina’d glory.  Over the past few years, we have had a lot of near hangout misses, from a trip to Ecuador to being in Salida, Colorado the same day this past summer. But alas the stars finally aligned and after spending Thanksgiving in White Sands National Monument, my partner and I decided to make a stopover in Silver City for a spin in the hills and a dip in some hot springs. 

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles – Ian Matteson

Reportage

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles – Ian Matteson

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles

Photos by Ian Matteson, words by Kevin McClelland from ENVE

The Idea for this bike and trip transpired from a casual conversation at NAHBS in Hartford.  I approached Thomas from Horse Cycles at his stunning booth filled with some of my favorite bikes at the the show and we began talking about the yet to be released ENVE Gravel Fork and Gravel Bar. Thomas quickly started to show me photos of his freshly built cabin in Upstate New York surrounded by a beautiful landscape littered with some amazing gravel roads. That was the moment I knew I wanted to get out to New York for some riding with him and I knew I wanted it to be on a Horse Frame.

Loving the Uphill Battle with Roam Industries – Locke Hassett

Reportage

Loving the Uphill Battle with Roam Industries – Locke Hassett

Loving the Uphill Battle with Roam Industries
Words and photos by Locke Hassett

“Long time no see!” piped Dustin from a leather chair near a window with grey morning light pouring in through the huge windows of Roam Industry, a backcountry focused bike, climb, and ski shop in Monticello, UT. He sips his coffee as we catch up and listen to Zeppelin. His kid has teeth coming in, and he is a small business owner in a small town. He is tired, but not too tired to laugh, talk, and show me around the shop.

A Timeless Pairing at the Breadwinner Cycles Cafe

Reportage

A Timeless Pairing at the Breadwinner Cycles Cafe

Coffee and bikes. It’s a timeless pairing and one that Breadwinner Cycles, the Portland-based framebuilding operation, has embraced with their new cafe and shop. It’d been since 2015 when I got to visit their facilities, which at the time were in Tony Pereira’s house. Tony and Ira Ryan make up Breadwinner, along with some of their employees. Last year, Breadwinner opened their new shop and an adjacent cafe, along the bicycle expressway off North Williams. Since then, it’s become a hub for people meeting for group rides, or laptop-toting freelancers, and tourists like myself wanting to peek into the process that is making a Breadwinner.

Scenes from the Chris King Open House

Reportage

Scenes from the Chris King Open House

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.

A Randonneuring Paradise in Portland at Norther Cycles

Reportage

A Randonneuring Paradise in Portland at Norther Cycles

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.

Building on Legacy: Eriksen Cycles and Bingham Built

Reportage

Building on Legacy: Eriksen Cycles and Bingham Built

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.

Inside Moots: the Masters of Metal

Reportage

Inside Moots: the Masters of Metal

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.

I Never Knew I Had a Sweet Tooth Until I Visited Sugar Wheel Works! – Kyle Kelley

Reportage

I Never Knew I Had a Sweet Tooth Until I Visited Sugar Wheel Works! – Kyle Kelley

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.

Blazing Trails and Ripping Hardtails with Blaze Bicycles! – Kyle Kelley

Reportage

Blazing Trails and Ripping Hardtails with Blaze Bicycles! – Kyle Kelley

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.

Bike Fiend Moab: Where the Locals get Their Fix! – Kyle Kelley

Reportage

Bike Fiend Moab: Where the Locals get Their Fix! – Kyle Kelley

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!

Pursuit Cycles Was Born from Strong Frames

Reportage

Pursuit Cycles Was Born from Strong Frames

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.

Keepin’ it Lit with AE and Wildfire Undies – Spencer Harding

Reportage

Keepin’ it Lit with AE and Wildfire Undies – Spencer Harding

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.

Rudi’s Left-Hand Path and Supernatural Frame Wizardry at Black Magic Paint

Reportage

Rudi’s Left-Hand Path and Supernatural Frame Wizardry at Black Magic Paint

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…

Golden Pliers is Portland’s Newest Bike Shop!

Reportage

Golden Pliers is Portland’s Newest Bike Shop!

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.

La Bicyclette… it’s a Family Affair! – Kyle Kelley

Reportage

La Bicyclette… it’s a Family Affair! – Kyle Kelley

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!