People sometimes say our bikes are art, and that they should be hung on a wall. We very much appreciate the sentiment, but emphatically disagree with the practice. Bikes are for riding, and we hope every one of our riders is out on the road or trail at every opportunity.
We met Kevin W at NAHBS last month, and his wife, after teasing him about how much he loves his bike, went one step further and turned his Seven into actual art. This seems, to us, like a solid compromise.
It’s becoming something like a tradition, our friend Mike emails us about his new calendar, sends us a few, and then we spend the year daydreaming about riding the Southwest US where he rides, camera-in-tow, and gets up to some serious bikepacking.
Mike is a Seven rider, and he is always kind enough to include us (we’re June this year!). If you’re looking for something inspiring, pop over to his site, gaze at the vistas, and then go ride your bike.
In 1899, Major Taylor, the first African-American sports star, was the sprint champion of the world. That’s only 36 short years after the Emancipation Proclamation, which makes what he did all the more remarkable. Luckily, through a series of books and videos, more riders are aware of the contribution Taylor made to our sport than only a few years back, when his story had drifted into the mists of time.
We are proud to share this short video with you, to highlight some of the inspiring riders keeping Taylor’s story alive and pushing it forward with their own contributions to cycling.
We use the term a lot, and it’s one of those that lends itself to broad interpretation. Everyone reading it will project their own ideas onto it, and that’s a good thing. It suggests that no matter what you want from a new bike, we can deliver it.
The trick is figuring out what performance means for the individual rider before designing and building their bike. If you’re not careful, you can get your head stuck in the bubble of bike industry media, marketing, and hype. In the bubble, everyone just wants to go faster, forever and always. And while it’s probably fair to say that almost no one who turns the pedals wants to go more slowly, that may not be why they’re getting a new bike.
What we hear from our riders runs a wide gamut, from comfort to endurance, from better handling to better features, from the ability to travel to greater versatility on-road and off. One person’s watts are another person’s panniers, or tire clearance, or root level versatility.
The good news for those of us who design bikes is that figuring out what the rider is really looking for, beyond speed, is also the process of designing, that is to say, in asking questions to discover our customer’s priorities, we are also collaborating with them to design their new bike.
We spend all our time building custom bikes and talking about custom bikes and trying to tell the story of custom bike building. So it’s sort of mind blowing when you work with a customer who fully documents the process from their own perspective, and you get to read it and it opens your eyes to what it is you really do.
A recent Expat S build, for Dan H, gave us this opportunity. Dan has an excellent, personal cycling blog, and he starts right from the beginning on this project, narrowing down his choices and ideas. Then he orders his Seven and does a deep dive on the details. Then we detour into naming the bike, a process that is equal parts goofy charm and intimate portrait of how bicycle riders bask in the culture of riding bikes. That part was pretty inspiring. At last, Dan comes to visit while we are building his bike, and then we deliver it to him.
You can read for yourself that Dan is quite a character, a passionate cyclist, a big thinker. Getting to know our riders is one of the very best parts of doing things the way we do. That Dan is local to Seven and comes to us through the excellent Ride Studio Cafe is great, but we have had this sort of experience with riders from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Germany, Spain, the UK, Texas, California, and Ohio, too.