Without 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.
The excitement of a bike race is very rarely captured in the single click of a camera’s shutter. There are so many intimate details in the course of a day, a story that starts before the whistle blows and continues long after the finish. The story is told by faces of pain, in loss or injury, or even in moments of extreme joy. There are nervous glances and rituals behind the scene, environments of beauty, tranquility and sheer chaos.
Kristof Ramon has an eye for such intimacies. His photos of large bike races such as the Paris Roubaix and most recently the Ironman 2012 World Championships evoke emotion while simultaneously giving us context for what is happening in the shot. His ability to capture the very essence of what it means to be a cyclist and athlete makes him a story-teller as much as a taker of pictures. His photos tell both action and the in-between; the glamour and the grit.
We were honored to be able to use one of Kristof’s photos for the Love to Ride project, a haunting portrait of Seven-sponsored racer Mo Bruno Roy at the 2011 World Cup Cyclocross in Namur, Belgium..
You will notice right away that Russian-born photographer Natalia Boltukhova can’t sit still. With a camera slung round her neck she is all action, all energy, and that energy lights up her photos, which, coincidentally, tend to be of other folks who can’t sit still.
Upon moving to the United States in 2006, she immersed herself in New England’s gritty/beautiful cyclocross scene. She not only races cross but also keeps her hands full during the season taking beautiful photos at races. And while Cyclocross is one of her busiest times of the year behind the lens, she shoots full time for her own Tiny Russian Studios and showcases her cycling work under the Pedal Power Photography moniker.
Natalia’s photos have been featured in several magazines, newspapers, and on book covers, and she has even released her own coffee table book on New England Cyclocross titled Beer. Cupcakes. Moustache. She is currently working on a documentary project titled Woman Warrior about female fighters (MMA boxing, wrestling, etc).
We really enjoyed working with Natalia on the Love to Ride project. You will be seeing more of her work in the future. Count on it.
Our new brochure is done, and we are maybe a little too excited about it. We are bike builders after all, not marketing people. But once a year we take on the project of reinventing the company in print. It’s an odd job for us, but as a company we always take the approach, ‘if you need something, make it.’ So we sit down at our desks and we write about our bikes and about bike building. We take pictures. We lay it all out. We pour ourselves into the task and agonize over all the little design decisions, the same way we would with a new bike.
And then the printer delivers it to us on a pallet, in boxes of 50. Imagine if Santa drove a forklift.
This year we have taken a fairly radical departure from the brochure strategy of past years. Instead of taking pictures of all the different bikes we build and trying to write something brief but captivating about each one, we decided to step back and document how and why we do the things we do. Rather than showcasing the end of our work, the bikes themselves, we thought to highlight the beginnings of our work, the methods, reasons and inspirations behind every Seven. What we used to do in 30 pages, we have expanded to 60 pages this time out. It is substantial.
We have titled the new book “Love to Ride.” There were about 20 alternate titles, none of which felt big enough, but this one, “Love to Ride,” hung in the air while we thought it over, testing it against the task at hand, until we smiled and knew it was right.
At root, we build bikes because we love to ride. Every frame that leaves our shop is aimed directly at that love. We want to give every Seven rider a bike they love to ride. That is the method. That is the reason. That is the inspiration. Everything that comes after is detail.
For the complete list of contributors, visit our credits page.
You can order your copy here..