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Matt O’s Festive 500

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

F500_5On a more positive note than recent posts, we have just collected some of the photos Matt O’Keefe took during the Rapha Festive 500 at the end of the year.

When you ask Matt why he rides the Festive 500, he’ll laugh and say, “I don’t know,” but then all the reasons come tumbling out. And it’s pretty clear peer pressure got him out the door to begin with, at the end of 2012.

“I had just signed up for Strava,” he says, “and then Rapha put out the challenge, ride 500km in the week between Christmas and New Years, and I mentioned to John Bayley that it was a cool idea, but that I didn’t have a Garmin. So John gave me a Garmin, and I was out of excuses.”

F500_7Despite some untimely snow and a day off for family commitments, he managed to complete last year’s challenge and enjoyed it. This year, the weather was better. The snow held out (until just after the holiday), and Matt managed to get 7,000 miles in his legs over the 2013 season, so the kilometers piled up more easily.

“I don’t know why I do it, but it definitely ends the season with a bang,” he says.

Here are some more of his photos, and for even more of Matt’s cycling adventures, follow him on Instagram.

 

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Nor’easter

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

We got a foot of snow last night and the afternoon high for the day will be 12F. That didn’t keep Rob from striking out at 8:30am to make the slippery trek into the shop. Our Expat S. Studded tires. Full fenders. A frozen water bottle. There is work to do, after all.

photo 1It’s a good thing there were so few cars out. Plow dodging will no doubt become an event in some future Winter Olympics. There is also valuable experience to be gleaned for work on future winter commuters.

photo 4photo 2photo 3And he wasn’t the only one who chose to ride. Cold puddles dot our bike parking lot today.  We can’t recommend riding in these conditions, but it’s amazing how many times “go outside” turns out to be the right decision, and how often the bike is actually the best tool for the job.

Summer Seven Style

Friday, August 16th, 2013

cookout1We rolled thirteen deep, our course winding seventy miles north and west of our Watertown home. It featured a variety of classic New England highlights like olde town centres and ice cream parlors, lakes and rivers, farms and country stores, cows and chickens, hawks and herons, mountains and views. And best of all, a company picnic and camping at the finish!

It has been a big, big year for us here at Seven. We’ve worked hard. So, for the first time in years we decided to have a non-holiday party, simply for the sake of enjoying the weather, a long ride, and each other’s company.

There are several camping trips in the folklore of the company. Senior Seveneers have long alluded to these trips of yesteryear, but until last weekend, the young ‘uns could not relate.

We were excited as we left the Boston-area. We had no idea what to expect, even as pavement gave way to dirt, as we crossed into New Hampshire, as the road turned up and up and up. And when we arrived thirsty and exhausted, we found that a dedicated few had arrived early and prepped the food, grills, chairs, darts, horseshoes, and quite litecookout2rally every other amenity a party-goer could want. Our fatigue quickly faded.  Every few minutes people would arrive, by bike or by car, until every chair was filled.

photoBased on the laughter and smiles it was clear that the company, as a whole, was looking to cut loose and relax. Kids scrambled in and out of the circle. People left for short hikes and took naps in the hammock. By 6:00 there were three grills cranking out burgers, dogs, kebabs, and plumes of smoke.  Tents were set up and as the cool mountain air descended upon us, the bonfire was lit.

It carried us to midnight.

It’s no secret that we have a pretty special group here at Seven. That more than half of us rode our bikes the 70 miles (and some rode further), tells you all you need to know about who we are and what we do. These would be our sixth and seventh consecutive days together, but the only arguments we managed were over horseshoes.

 

 

Where Eagles Dare

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

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Here is the man himself, at the top of the morning shop ride’s first climb, taking his road bike where it was (n)ever meant to go. Axiom SL, wide tires, handling skills, can-do attitude. Categories stop meaning what we think they mean.

The Friday Morning Local

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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Shop Ride – The Wheelie King

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Dan V. and Matt O. (the Wheelie King) on this morning’s shop ride.

Seven at D2R2 2012

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Matt & Susi’s Tandem

 D2R2, or the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, is an annual event on the Seven calendar. Not only does the ride support the Franklin Land Trust, an excellent cause, but it also takes in some of the sweetest back roads and sweeping vistas in New England. It is both brutally hard and magically compelling. For some of us, it is the most difficult thing we’ll do all year, but we sign up over and over. It’s that good.

This year we had Seveneers riding the 100k (Matt and Susi on their Ti tandem), the 115k (Mike Salvatore), the 150k (John Lewis on his Axiom SL) and the 180k (Jake Bridge) routes, and of course we saw more Seven riders on each of the courses, some on road bikes, some on cross bikes.

John’s Axiom SL

As a randonee, D2R2 is not a race. It’s a challenging group ride. It requires cooperation, camaraderie, resource planning, group navigation and a lot of hard work. It is not unlike running a bike company.

And of course it’s all smiles and tall tales back in the food tent after the ride. All the descents were gnarlier and the climbs were longer and we came that much closer to crashing, as pulled pork and mac n’ cheese and Rice Krispy treats disappear in the feeding frenzy.

Jake, who did the long route, has the best story. Two miles into the ride his rear derailleur came apart. The lower pulley and its bolt flying free across the road. Only able to locate the bolt, he road back to the start area, cased the parking lot for any charitable soul with a spare pulley, FOUND ONE, installed it, and hammered back out onto the course, doing the entire 180k of dirt and mayhem on a cobbled together drive train.

Matt and Susi cut two hours off their 100k time from last year. Susi says it’s because they stopped to chat less. Matt believes they still stopped to chat too much.

An event like D2R2 can sustain you for a year. It will leave you with much to think about, climbs you could have handled better, gearing choices that seemed right at the time, and it will send you searching for long stretches of dirt road to conquer, if only to recapture that feeling of being out in the middle of no where, on your bike and flying.

 

Seven Cycles Shop Ride – Vermont’s Kingdom Trails

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Who can say what summer was made for, but rolling out of the shop on Friday night and winding our way up to East Burke, VT, with an eye on a long Saturday trail ride in Vermont’s Kingdom Trails, we had a sense of the order of the universe. We were unmistakably doing the right thing.

The northern woods are cooler than the roads around our Watertown factory, so we had the perfect escape from the heat. Some trails. Some beer. Lots of good food. More reminders of how lucky we are to do what we do, building and selling bikes all week, riding them on the weekends.

 

It never fails to amaze how good it is to ride trail you’ve not ridden before. While some of us were intimately familiar with the treasures on offer at the Kingdom Trails, others were discovering them for the first time. It’s like learning to ride again in all the best ways. It makes it easy to show up for work on Monday morning, inspired to do it all again, maybe even better this time.

 

 

Rhythms

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Like a race or really any hard ride, bike building has a rhythm to it.  There are times you hammer – pardon the pun – and times you sit in and conserve energy.  In a lot of ways, one informs the other.  We ride hard as a group, after work on Wednesday nights.  We sit in a little, at the office on Thursdays.  By Friday morning’s trail ride, we’re ready to rock again.

On cold, wet mornings like today, there is a calm deliberation to our work.  The factory is quiet as folks roll in for the day.  Coffee gets contemplative as we size up the work to be done.  And it’s nice to have that little bit of serenity that comes in the afterglow of a hard ride.  It helps you make the right decisions.  In these quiet times, you hatch your best ideas.

As the afternoon slides toward us, the pace picks up. Finished frames find boxes.  Delivery trucks pull in and pull out.

Whether you’re working or riding together, pushing and testing each other every day, the pace rises and falls with energy and inspiration.  And over time the best always comes out of each of us as we fall into the rhythm of the work, and in large part that’s why we’re so lucky to be able to do what we do.

Group of Nine – Shop Riding

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Nine of us out on the shop ride last night.  Cross bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes all together.  Discovering a new not-so-secret trail and a new little-bit-secret dirt road to link up to our usual trail system, on the way to the path, and the rail bed, and the Battle Road.  Kicking up dust the whole time.  Trying to keep Dan, on his mountain bike, off the front.  Tearing across fields, over bridges.  Causing drivers to double-take at the pack of us, worming our way across town from one patch of dirt to the next.

Hammering up the last hill – to take the KOM points that no one awards and no one remembers, except the one who won -  and then down into town to contend with cars and bright headlights.  Matt S. says, “I don’t even like to ride bikes.  I only came for the pizza and beer.”

Photo by Matt O.