Marc’s Axiom S Fixed Gear Road Bike

IMG_6896This is Marc’s Axiom S. He wanted it dead simple. Track dropouts. Campy Pista crank. It’s not a track bike, but it has that seething-with-speed thing that track bikes have, while being set up for round-town road riding. Our friends at Velosmith did the build, and it definitely reflects their refined sense of what a bike should look like.

Chicago to Boston – Tom Schneider’s TRUE Fit

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.

A Month with the Lake

We recently received this story from our friends at Velosmith. Two Seven riders, whose bikes we built just last year, are headed out for a month-long trip round Lake Michigan. See the story below:


Ask Suzie LaBelle about her Seven and she will tell you about its geometry and handling. She understands how the weight of the bike and the material used affects her performance and feel of the ride. And she knows that it feels stable on climbs, descents, and around corners.

Sounds like a hardcore, performance-minded racer, right?

In this case, you’d be incorrect. You won’t find Suzie on the local race circuit. Rather, you’ll find her in the midst of a month-long, fully self-supported, 1,400-mile bike trip around Lake Michigan.

The Adventure

The trip around Lake Michigan began May 17 and will take 30 days in total: 25 days of riding and five rest days. Suzie and her riding partner Will – also a Seven rider – met through the Evanston Bicycle Club, a local group of cyclists who ride together several times a week.

They soon discovered they both had a taste for adventure, and started to plan this tour. It will be self-supported; both Sevens are equipped with racks and they will carry only what they need.

“Will is a stronger rider than I am so he gets to pull in the wind,” she says with a chuckle. In addition to their own personal items, they’ve compromised on who carries what on their bikes. “He gets to carry the tools and I carry the first aid kit.”
The Training

Suzie and Will are both in their 60s, but don’t let their age fool you. These are two strong and experienced riders, and preparing for the trip meant many hours in the saddle.

Their typical week consisted of a moderate ride of 40-50 miles on Tuesday, a hard 40 miles on Wednesday, a fast 50 miles on Friday, and about 60 miles on one or both days over the weekend.

“For me this is more than an athletic undertaking. This is a journey – a pilgrimage – and I want time to stop and see the sites around Lake Michigan.”

The Best (and Possible Worst)

Suzie did most of the route planning and is most looking forward to discovering what she calls the “reality under the maps.”

“I love making the routes, visualizing what it will be like. I look forward to being in that environment day after day. And when we get there, discovering hidden meadows, hills, and lakes that maps don’t always show. “

She’s most concerned about the weather, especially as they get up towards the Upper Peninsula – which can still include very cold temps and snow at this time of year.

“Through our club contacts, we’ve been able to line up emergency people along the way in case we encounter extreme weather or a mechanical issue we can’t resolve ourselves.”


For more, follow along on their blog, or read more in the Chicago Tribune.


Velosmith Interview with Rob Vandermark, an Excerpt


Our friends at Velosmith Bicycle Studio did an interview with Seven founder Rob Vandermark recently for a series they’re doing on bike builders. We’ve been working with Velosmith since they opened in 2010, and Tony Bustamante, one of the studio’s founders and owners, once worked with us here at Seven, too. Watch the Velosmith site for the full interview.

In the meantime, here is a brief excerpt:

Velosmith: In 1997, offering a custom bike was a relatively new concept for traditional bike shops. Tell us a little about those early years.

Rob Vandermark: That’s right. There weren’t a lot of options at that time. People were interested in high-end titanium and well-made steel but they didn’t really think that they were going to do true custom. There was no model for it yet. The four of us who started Seven had strong industry backgrounds in design, development, building, marketing, and sales – we had all the bases covered. So, we were able to find retailers who trusted us because of our reputation or past relationships. Within eight weeks of opening, we were shipping orders out the door.

Rob V. on the Trail

Where do you find inspiration for products and design?

RV: I’ve been frame building for 29 years and it’s still engaging for me. It doesn’t get old because the way I relate to the bike keeps changing. For the last few years, my inspiration has come from adventure riding. There was a time when I would look at other industries for inspiration – motorcycles, cars, wheelchairs – more than actually riding. Now, the pendulum has swung back to bike usage, bike riding, and all the niches that are happening in the industry today. It’s always about reconnecting to the bike in a different way.

Who do you see as your ideal customer?

RV: Because everything we do is custom, I see everyone as a Seven customer. It’s anyone who loves riding and wants a better experience while riding.

On the Road: Tony B Evergreens Chicagoland

We built this Evergreen SL (with S&S Couplers) for our good friend Tony at Velosmith Bicycle Studio on Chicago’s north shore. Tony wanted it for an annual ride he does with some friends. That ride involves a pre-dawn alarm clock, a train trip and a long, rambling food-filled ride back home.