The bicycle has been a constant in my life since I rode my first bike out of the driveway in rural New England when I was 7. As I grew, so did the feelings of independence, autonomy and the joy of being on two wheels.
For many years I ran my own bike shop in Portland, ME, restoring used bikes and repairs, new bikes, Fujis, Peugeots, Raleighs and... cross country skis. I discovered mountain biking back in 1979 and the thrill hasn’t stopped. That led to Fat City Cycles in Somerville, MA where I learned to weld and build Fat Chance Mountain Bikes.
I went out on my own with the Igleheart brand in 1990 making cross bikes, commuter bikes, tandems and mountain bikes out of my shop north of Boston.
For years the mountains of New England delighted and challenged me and my bicycle. But the siren call of Oregon beckoned loudly and in July of 2012, I answered.
Many forks, frames, friends, races, trail miles logged and a continental crossing later, I’m still finding joy building bikes on Page Street in Portland, OR. Cross bikes, commuter bikes, tandems and mountain bikes. Some things never change, they just get better and better.
My first experience with a bike was when I was about 2 years old. My mother stuck me in a kid’s seat on the back of her yellow Schwinn Le Tour and took me around town. I punched her in the kidneys repeatedly with my little fists and yelled, “I can’t see!” I really wanted to know where we were going.
When I turned four I got my first bike. No training wheels, I had to stand on a chair to get on the bike, and marked my progress in the number sidewalk seams I could cross before crashing.
Since then I’ve always had at least one bike in my life. I’ve traveled pretty extensively both on and off of a bike, and made Portland my home back in 1995. It’s been quite a ride seeing this town grow into the bike city it is today.
I first started building bikes and racks in 2002, and moved my shop to Page Street in about 2006. Most of my focus for the past several years has been on making the best touring and commuting bikes I can. Bike touring gets its own special class of bicycles, and has the most potential for customization. Where I’m going, what sort of roads (or lack of them) will I find, how to best carry gear, and what gear to carry — all these things factor into the design.
Igleheart’s been my shop mate for a few years, and we’re always sharing ideas, sharing lunch, trying to find the right music on the stereo. Our favorite radio program is called No Commercial Potential. We ask each other for advice on how to go about certain processes in bike builds. We laugh a lot. He makes some cool things, I make some cool things. We figured that if we got together we could probably blow some minds with extreme coolness, or at least make some people smile while they ride bikes we’ve built for them. If you’re smiling and we’re smiling, we’ve done our job pretty well.
I’ve said it before, and I still believe it: Life is too short to ride mediocre bicycles.