When I think back about my journey with bicycles, my memory starts with teaching myself how to ride one day after school and how far away from home I went that first day. Soon after, I was mesmerized by that first visit to the old Bearclaw BMX track with my dad (probably in 1976 or so). I think about how my pal and I started racing BMX and the modifications we dreamed about making to our bikes. We poured over the magazines and lusted over the best frames and parts thinking we could go faster if only we had them, and we soon did. The early BMX racing pioneers like Stu Thompson, Greg Hill and Harry Leary were our heroes. Then we got into jumping, and our distances and heights got further and higher. My pal John Paul asked for a ramp one year for Christmas, and got it. He kept us pushing and pushing with his jumps. The dude had no fear. “Let’s make the jump higher,” JP would say, right after we’d made it so high it was unstable.
Road racing bikes soon followed and my rides would stretch multiple counties and hours. The thread that ties all of this together is that I’ve always pushed it. It was never about leisure or comfort. It wasn’t about art or beauty. It was about going farther, faster and higher. I always thought I could do better and do more of what I was doing.
That experience is what I offer in a bicycle. I use the tubes I do because I think they offer the best combination of specs for performance. I use the components I do because I feel they will build the lightest, stiffest and strongest bicycle that I can make. I pay attention to the details, like how cables are routed for the cyclocross bikes, what dropouts are used for easy wheel changes and how tiny changes in geometry can make a bike ride right, or wrong. Perfect alignment is strived for but never achieved. As long as smaller units of measurement exist, I’ll keep getting closer and closer to perfect. These are all small details by themselves but make up the differences between me and whatever big brand that comes to mind.
So, yes, a history of racing or performance matters. Not so much that the end user needs to race or even be competitively minded, oh no. Ride for you. I think racing matters to me because I know that I’m still pushing to make the best frame and forks I can and that’s something you will notice on a short ride to the grocery store, the local Saturday “hammerfest” or a sanctioned criterium or cyclocross race.