Seven Cycles Blog » Friends of Seven

Friends of Seven

In Japanese

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

IMG_0258Without so many passionate cyclists, so many good people all over the world, there is no Seven. When we started out, we guessed that we could send bikes to every continent (and have), but that doesn’t happen without people who believe in what we do.

Cycling is a thing that transcends language and culture. In fact some of our strongest partnerships are with people we can’t carry on a normal conversation with. They understand what we’re trying to do, and we understand what they want. Sometimes having to simplify your communication actually improves the end result. That has been our experience anyway.

This week we received these photos of our latest brochure, translated into Japanese. It’s both surreal and deeply satisfying, and we are grateful to our friends at Simworks for making it happen.

On the left, the Japanese version, on the right, the English.IMG_0257IMG_0260IMG_0259

The Places We Go

Friday, August 21st, 2015

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Because we build our bikes one-at-time, for their riders, we don’t have to manage an inventory of anything other than raw materials. That allows us to build the bikes riders want instead of trying to guess what they want or trying to convince them to buy what we have already built.

The challenges our riders have been taking on this last year really bring home to us how the way we do things allows our customers to lead us forward, to take us where they want us to go.

Mike Bybee rode from Arizona to Canada on his Sola SL bike-packing rig. Brad rode across the US, from Oregon to Virginia on his Evergreen SL, set up for loaded randonneuring. We rode in Yorkshire and on the Isle of Man. Matt Roy and David Wilcox attempted a 1000km brevet in the worst heat wave the Pacific Northwest has seen in decades. Daniel Sharp rode the Oregon Outback. Seven was at the Mt.Evans Hill Climb, in the Pyrenees and at Dirty Kanza. Sevens have been ridden through the night, through two full centuries, around Lake Michigan, through Paris and over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

Sometimes we shake our heads in wonder at all of it. What ends up happening is that, as much as guide Seven riders through the process of designing their bike, they guide us through the world of cycling. They show us what is possible and change our own ideas about what a bike can be.

Image: Daniel Sharp

A Tale of Two Millenia, Pt 1

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

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To say that Matt Roy and David Wilcox failed to complete their first attempt at a 1000km brevet this summer in the Pacific Northwest would be technically true, they did not ride 1000km, but so oblivious to the circumstances and outcomes as to be ridiculous. Most of us can’t even conceive of riding 1000km (621 miles), and doing so, as Matt explains, requires a process of understanding how to break down the mileage to begin with.

19247665074_9c447a23c9_z“Anyone who’s done a full brevet series (200km, 300km, 400km, 600km, 1000km) knows they come in palatable chunks. There’s a natural progression, and brevets are designed to be finished as the season goes along, March through August,” he says. “I had done the training, the series, so you get that confidence that you can do the next distance, which eventually adds up to 1000km. I never start with my computer set to countdown from 620 miles. I just break it down and know that I’ll have a mental reset at each checkpoint.”

The week of the PNW 1000km event an historic heat wave swept across the region, visiting temperatures north of 110F on the roads of the long route.

“At the start,” Matt says, “we thought we had it. Temps were peaking around 104F, but it’s dry heat, probably equivalent to the 80s here in New England, so we thought it would be tolerable. We never thought we’d encounter the heat we did, but it became clear midway through the first day. When the heat came it was complete, like you’ve never experienced, and the roads are all really exposed. There was no shade even to change a flat in, and I thought we might be in trouble.”

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Normally, brevets are self-supported. Riders need to manage their own equipment, food and liquid. That first day Matt and David rode from 5am to 1:30am the next night. Around 10pm they received a text from one of the promoters that just said, “Good luck, guys. You’re the only ones still riding.” At that point, Matt’s wife, Mo, began to follow the pair by car packing water bottles with ice for them to carry in their jersey pockets and nylon ice socks to drape over their necks.

19683766099_fc8736f0d1_zThey were on their bikes at 8:45am the next day, and it was already 98F. With 86 miles to the next checkpoint they calculated they had 8 hours to get there. Stopping as they were, every 20 miles at first, then every ten, for Mo to restock them with fluids and ice, they made the checkpoint in 8-and-a-half hours.

“We were riding fine,” Matt says, “probably holding to about a 15mph average, but the day just ticked away from us.”

 

After two days they’d covered 350 miles. They sat in a Taco Time restaurant and assessed the situation. They’d missed the checkpoint closing, and the math on the ride to the next check suggested they’d have to ride straight through to Whitefish, MT in 27 hours.

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“We did that practicality check before we did a safety check really,” Matt says. “Then we said, ‘This looks dumb.’ None of us ever stops anything. This is what we do, but we were all just trashed, even Mo from worrying over all the things we were doing to keep moving.”

19682358400_fb49cdcc8c_zSo they got in the car and continued the trip just as they would have, along the route, but with stops at creeks to swim. They visited Glacier National Park. They saw friends in Missoula.

Matt says, “Listen, we didn’t make the 1000km, and that’s disappointing on some level, but we’re happy with how it worked out. We had our adventures, which is really the point. That’s why you undertake these things. The riding is important, but it’s not everything.”

In part II, Matt tries again, this time back home in New England.

All images: Matt Roy

Chicago to Boston – Tom Schneider’s TRUE Fit

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

VBSwindowTom Schneider is coming to Boston, by bike, from Chicago. There is a reason for this, but we should back up a little first. Schneider grew up in Rockland, MA on the south side of metro-Boston. Tom’s parents didn’t have a car, so he and his family rode bikes to get around. At an early age, he fell in love with physical activity, eventually doing undergrad work in Exercise and Health Sciences at UMass-Boston and then a Master’s in Sports Administration at Northwestern.

After working with kids during recess at several different Chicago Public Schools, he realized what direction he wanted his career to take.

“I saw the activity level of the kids during recess, and it’s definitely not that same as when I was their age. Most kids favor technology over movement, and they’re neglecting the activity they need every day,” he says.

TRUE FitNow, Tom coaches basketball and trains the athletes at one of Chicago’s college prep schools. He’s a personal trainer at the Wilmette Park District. He runs fitness clinics – both pay and pro bono – for kids throughout the city. And he spends a fair amount of time developing TRUE Fit, his education and fitness program aimed at kids of all ages.

The idea of the Chicago to Boston ride came when he and his father took a bike trip from their home in Rockland to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry and back. In total, they rode about 200 miles in 24 hours. Tom knew then that riding and conducting TRUE Fit clinics along the way would be a great way to inspire kids across the country.

That’s when our friends Tony and Julia at Velosmith stepped in to sponsor Tom, providing him a Seven to ride and some much needed expertise in long-distance riding.

Julia said, “Tom’s mission to teach kids about health and fitness is indisputable, and we’re excited to support his commitment to ride from Chicago to Boston,” said Julia. “Kids need to be active and get off their devices. Tony and I battle this with our two kids daily and we stand by Tom in his efforts to teach kids to make good decisions about food, move their bodies often, and get them pumping their muscles along the way! Tom is a motivator and mentor to adults and kids alike.”

Read more about Tom’s trip in the Chicago Tribune. Donate to the cause here.

Outdoors Inc. – Evergreening the Arkansas Dirt

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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Our good friends at Outdoors, Inc. have been supporters of Seven for a long time, including us in their annual cyclocross race and riding our bikes on many of their personal adventures. This week, we got a note from Joel, their buyer and manager, and also, as you’ll see below, a sharp photographer.

Good morning Seven,

I am sure you get a ton of these type emails but thought I would add to them. I recently moved to Arkansas right across the River from Memphis, and finally got to bring the Evergreen home with me for the weekend. This bike was so much fun. From deep gravel to deep dirt to crossing some drainage ditches, it rolled on through. At one point I was actually in a field with soybeans three feet up on both sides of me.

Thanks so much for working with us. We love being a Seven dealer. Have a good one.

Joel @ Outdoors Inc.

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