Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Roscoe Village Bikes!

A big happy 2nd birthday to Roscoe Village Bikes. As a friend of, and sponsorship recipient of RVB, I'm hugely biased when I say that it is one of the finest bike shops I've ever had the pleasure of fraternizing. However, you'd be hard presses to find anyone who thought otherwise.

Alex and Lesley have made RVB the definitive modern mom and pop shop. From smart mid level commuter bikes, to an expert level service center that has built as many deep dish carbon wheel sets as they have rebuilt coaster brakes - the shop has the know how and patience to please any customer.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Half Acre Cycling: Lessons on community building

These guys rock! I've read race report after race report of people having a blast at Kevin's Crit this week. Now they've pulled out all the stops and are letting the ladies race for free today?!

The whole concept of the race series is genius, plus Tati through in a super deal for the ladies, and now what you have is honest to goodness bike community building.

That is how you get it done. Bravo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I love Road Bike Action, and they love me back

Some nice front page coverage from the Seattle Bike Expo via Road Bike Action. We got a little press from these guys last year in their print coverage of NAHBS.

This is the bike our Portland-based elite road team will be racing.

Check the coverage!

Friday, March 6, 2009

NAHBS 2009: Sharing the love

NAHBS was incredible this year. Here is my much delayed, heavily link, general wrap up. We had a chance to meet and hang with a lot of great people (in all states of dress), we strengthened our Portland-Chicago connection, and we walked away confident that the cycling community believes in our goal of building two distinct lines of bikes.

The first two points are tied pretty close together. It starts with a ton of partying with builders, racers, industry folk, and a bunch of Half Acre Guys, and ends with the official announcement of our expanded COURAGE race team.

Embrocation and Independent Fabrication through a swanky little soiree Saturday night. Once everyone had their drink on Jordan Hufnagel had a burning desire to get in the hot tub. On the Thursday night before the show the Hot Tub Club was formed at Jordan's dad's house. But now, at the hotel Jordan wanted to go for round two. One one else really wanted to get in, but in a moment of clarity Nate, from Signal, realized that the hot tub was closed so we could all just play along to appease Jordan then bail when he learned it was closed. About ten of us showed up at the hotel's pool room to find the maintenance staff hard at work. We were told sorry it's closed...

However, a moment later Jordan, Ben and a dude with a rockin' stash produced 60 bones and the maintenance guy took off after showing us where the towels were. So much to everyone's surprise we all made fast friends in the huge hot tub. I'm eagerly anticipating a wicked Hot Tub Club t-shirt at next year's show.

A little less intimate, but even more important to our long-term goals, we announced our Chicago based Elite 'cross team. Mike Hemme, and Kevin and Holly Klug will be flying the team colors moving forward. Aaron and I couldn't be more excited to have them on board. They are all super friendly, and all PRO on the race course.

If you haven't heard the story yet, or don't know Mike, he moved through the categories at will this year (his second full season). You can read his full write up here but basically after getting shafted on some upgrade points he won a 6 hour mtb race with a partner on Saturday, crushed the 3s for a win Sunday morning, upgraded, and wrapped up the day with a 6th place finish in the 1/2s. He may have logged more hours racing in one weekend than I did all year. I can't wait to see what he does next season.

And of course who wouldn't be thrilled to have the fastest husband and wife cyclocross team in the Midwest representing them. Kevin and Holly both had great season and each finished up with 2nd place finishes in the Illinois State Championships - experiencing their drive first hand leads me to believe they will push each other harder than Aaron or I ever could.

On top of an expanded stable, we also added another stellar team sponsor, Roscoe Village Bikes. Alex Tweedie will be providing the team expert mechanical support. So along with our Chris King and Edge Composites sponsorships we now have a reliable source for keeping our team machines running.

We wrapped our team building weekend with a nice dinner and a few rounds of drinks so everyone could get to know each other - in the end Aaron was double pumped to have such a strong Midwest representation.

On the business end we came to the show with a more refined brand direction represented in our bikes. We're now offering two distinct directions tied together with the common thread that we build purpose driven, beautiful bikes. On one side Aaron is building stunning, thoughtful custom bikes designed to thrill customers and support the way they want to ride. On the other side he's building limited run high performance race chassis. These super chassis (same as our team bikes) still come with custom geometry, but other than choosing a navy or white paint scheme we've limited the options. The race bikes have some wicked details like our custom race specific dropouts, and a mixed and modified tube set that comes together to make 3.25 lbs steel race bike. There will be a lot more info about these bikes on the new website, but check the flickr site next week for some pro photography of the 'cross and road bikes. The reception from all of the 3000+ show attendees was very positive and they believed that we could legitimately bridge the custom built and high performance race categories.

Oh yeah, watch out, we're also entering the component business. I'm going to have to cover that one later.

We've had some good press from the show and are eager to see what comes out in print. Some of the coverage I'm most proud of was from CX Magazine. Two years in a row we've shared their coverage with the likes of Vanilla, Serotta, Parlee and Richard Sachs - serious company. Check out some of the press highlights:

CX Magazine 2009, CX Magazine 2008


Bike Blog Chicago

Fixed Gear Gallery

Another really encouraging thing started happening early on the last day of the show. Guys like Bob Parlee, Carl Strong, and Joe Bell came to our both to talk about our bikes. They we're impressed, and happy to see we we're pushing really beautiful, purposeful bikes. Bob and I talked for a while about starting race teams (he's sponsoring Team Fly V Austraila and had rebranded bikes under pros like Tyler Hamilton). Carl shared a lot of sage advice for succeeding in the bike biz based on his 16 years of experience. And Joe, who has painted a few of our bikes and gets to see everyone's handy work before it gets covered up with paint, repeatedly complimented Aaron's craftsmanship as some of the best he's seen. Getting established veterans like these guys believing in COURAGE is incredibly gratifying.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but for now that's all I've got. As the weather gets better the blog will pick up steam. Word to the wise.