Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Changing Gears

I was in Asheville, North Carolina, at the airport with a little time to kill. It was late summer of 2007 and I hadn't talked with Aaron in a couple of months so I rang him in Portland to catch up. He told me he was going to UBI to try his hand at making custom bikes. Aaron needed to be reinvigorated - he had burned himself out designing traditional consumer products and saw handmade bikes as an opportunity to be inspired again. By the time we got off the phone I had involved my self in Aaron's adventure - I wasn't going to be there to make the bikes, but I new I could support him in many other ways. Game on.

Aaron is the most methodical and talented designer I've ever worked with. I knew we could make something valuable, a product, a brand - a statement cyclists could get excited about. Well, here we are, three and a half years later, and we've done it. Using design as our voice, and with the support of a lot of good people, we have an established channel for expressing our opinions about what makes a good bike and how best to invigorate cyclists - purpose, honesty, beauty.

However, we're making a few changes at COURAGE. We will continue to use design as our voice for engaging the cycling world. We will continue to produce bikes. We will continue to explore how to be a productive entity in the bike industry. The main change you will see is Aaron will not be making bespoked frames, not for the foreseeable future. I'm testing the best ways to build limited run race bikes to embody our ideas and create valuable products.

COURAGE is not done exploring. Watch for new projects and new inspiration to come out of the studio. You can stay tuned to the latest happenings at Chicago.CX, where COURAGE is proudly supporting their elite race team.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chicago Bike Community

Can I help you?

I started this season in April with a desperate, empty attempt to stay on an RVB group ride. I failed, hard. I was still 20 miles from home and seriously hurting. We're all big kids out there, everyone knows if you get dropped, you need to be ready to handle it on your own - equipment, fuel, and the know-how to get home. However, for me, at that moment I wasn't just physically empty, I was mentally checked out.

We've all been there. Unable to assess the situation, so shelled you couldn't even form a survival plan. It could be a drawn out moment, 60 miles into a grueling Saturday ride as the pace steadily picks up and you steadily fade. It can also be instantaneous, like charging towards a set of barriers without a thought in the world about dismounting because there is no blood going to your brain.

On that sunny April day I got lucky when my buddy Jim turned around and road back to me. He assessed the situation, got me to eat, then told me to sit in and proceeded to pull me back to the group over the next 30 minutes. We made the catch with just a couple miles left. Instead of wondering why my form was so far off and stew around the house all afternoon, I was pumped all day. Thanks Jim.

We can also find ourselves in need of help off the bike. This season I got some incredible support from the crew at Roscoe Village Bikes. Shipping logistics, last minute repairs, locating hard to get parts, planning, etc - these guys really helped Mike and I run a successful 2010 campaign for COURAGE.

Ever have a change of plans that's free up a weekend and offers another chance to race, only to find out cyclocross is so popular in Chicago that the race is full? I'll use an alias in case it's somehow against the rules to help a guy out, but race promoter "Jris Chensen" did me a big solid by getting me in the race in exchange for a $20 gift certificate to use as a prime for his race. Word.

Every weekend at the ChiCrossCup events I saw people helping each other out. Need a tube? A beer? A place to warm up? Need encouragement? Bacon? Advice about the fastest line? The Chicago cycling community has got your back.