Our team riders Sandy Carson and Taj Mihelich both have custom designed skate decks in the Project Loop 50/50 2 Auction. Project Loop is an amazing charity that helps empower kids to do cool stuff. This particular auction is benefitting a skate park they are trying to build in Taylor, Texas. Loads and loads of great artists and great people made boards this year. Browse through some of the work on the online auction here: http://www.32auctions.com/50502 The auction ends in time for Christmas too, could be a cool gift idea.
Aside from Sandy and Taj look for boards from Jim Bauer, Jed Rogers, Bryan Nelson, Michael Sieben, and tons more!!
Check out Sandy Carson‘s great photo gallery over on ESPN’s X-Games page. You might notice Leif and a Weekender too! Check it out here.
We haven’t had an update on our team rider Seth in quite a while. He was the leader of our epic Seattle to SF Field Trip (which is worth a read!). After 7 hard working years as a bike messenger in Seattle he took a job working in the Mt Baker National Forest and more or less fell off the grid. No cell service or internet, just trees, mountains and nature. That area of the country is amazingly beautiful and about as perfect an escape as you could dream up. He sent a few photos and a little update for us….
I’ve been excited to build this bike since we first started talking about creating the Fairdale brand. It’s a bike where we get to show what we can do when we combine proven manufacturing techniques with modern technology. It’s also a bike that most companies would not be able to do. Thanks to Fairdale being part of Odyssey BMX, we were able to tap into 30 years of manufacturing know-how in order to create something truly unique. Continuing on with our daily posts of the 2015 line (full catalog HERE) we’ve reached our last new model, THE GOODSHIP. Let’s dive into the details….
If you’ve been reading our posts about each of our 2015 bikes you may have noticed me saying this one’s a “favorite”, or that one’s “our favorite”. Well, this bike is my REAL favorite model of the 2015 line. The Weekender with drop bars is so nice to ride and I’m very excited for you all to see it (and ride one). I feel like we absolutely nailed the spec on this bike and it has created a bike that is very special. The Drop Weekender is a tough, all-purpose road bike. It is reliable transportation that can keep you out of cars, and keep you smiling.
Our Weekender has been our most favorite bike since the beginning. It’s practical design has found it a home with many different types of riders. You can sum it up as a 9-speed bike built on a quality frame with quality components and a comfortable all-around riding position. Folks who have Weekenders use them for anything from neighborhood cruisers to daily commuters or like myself, as a touring bike ( Taj’s Japan trip on a Weekender). What I really like about it is that I’ve seen our Weekender turn a lot of people who were interested in bikes into actual “cyclists”. This is really the basic intent of Fairdale in a nutshell. We want to make bikes that allow you to fall in love with cycling… to experience a bit of the magic that we’ve gotten to enjoy. The Weekender really opens that door for a lot of people. A bike easy enough for the most novice of rider to use, but also a bike with enough range to put some serious miles on it.
The TAJ is a bit of a special project bike for us…. well, maybe it would be better to say it’s a special project bike for me! Because it’s got my name on it. Here’s a trick I learned about being a bike designer, put your name on the bike and claim it as a “Signature Model” and you can do whatever you want! That’s basically what I did with this bike. I had a “Taj” signature model back in the Hoffman Bikes BMX days (1995) so I justified doing this model as kind of a throw back to that. All justifications aside I got to design this bike exactly how I wanted. I wanted a BMX styled cruiser that was tough enough to do some real ramping on, but relaxed enough that you could actually sit on the seat and do some actual cruising. BMX bikes are so simple and durable having one that you can actually cruise on makes a lot of sense. This easy to keep rolling bike would make a great bike for anyone who just wants something easy to ride that is reliable. Tough proven parts and BMX sensibilities means this bike will work when you want it to. And, it’s a lot of fun knowing you can jump some curbs along the way.
Outside of the name (and 100% chromoly frame and fork) there really is no similarity to the old Hoffman Bikes Taj. The intent wasn’t to go retro so much as just to build a BMX bike that I could enjoy. I think a lot of other people can enjoy it as well. When I first moved to Austin back in 1993 there was tons of college kids riding BMX cruisers. That’s sort of died away now and I think it’s a shame. Put one of your friends who doesn’t really ride a lot on a TAJ and I bet they’ll love it. The toughness of a BMX along with the smaller frame size make it a bike that really lends itself to a lot of different sized and level of riders.
In our catalog one of the tag-lines for the Coaster reads, “Bike riding is beautiful because it’s simple… Here’s our most simple bike.” That sincere statement sums up the Coaster models pretty well. Bike riding can be lots of things other than “simple” of course, but one thread that runs through all forms of cycling is that at its very core we still feel that little buzz of enjoyment from simply balancing on two wheels.
The Daybird comes as both a standard version or a step-through version. This neighborhood cruiser is designed to be user friendly from the start. We wanted to make a bike that was inviting for anyone to hop on and ride. It’s a bike with simple spec that will be there when you are ready to ride. Throw a basket or a rack on it and it will do your grocery shopping for you, maybe even ride it to school or work. This is a bike we hope you will enjoy enough to hook you on riding a lot more!
Our Parser was the first model we introduced back in 2011, so it was also the first of the 2015 bike models to be introduced.
I have believed for many years that the world would be a better place if everyone traveled more. Seeing new places and new cultures unlocks new ways to see the world. It expands your mind, opens your view of your place in the grand scheme of things, and it simultaneously makes you appreciate what you have at home. From the subtle differences of one American town to another, to the outright culture shock I felt when dropped jet-lagged and confused into the middle of downtown Tokyo I find I always learn new things while traveling. On this trip I started with a solo ride across part of Japan. I found myself pedaling along trying to wrap my head around many of the differences that I saw everywhere. Little things would take up hours of my thoughts as I tried to rationalize why this culture had developed the way it had. For instance I found myself asking why is there not one piece of broken glass on the ground in all of Japan? Unlike the USA where I’m trained to constantly watch for tire-popping glass-shards, I never saw even a hint of glass on my entire ride. Surely people in Japan must occasionally drop things? Is there just some social obligation to clean up after yourself that American’s often don’t have? Or are the street cleaners there just better then ours? The things that are different then home (good and bad) are the things that really stand out. Even with many hours of solo pedaling I’m not sure if I really worked out or made sense of a lot of things I saw in Japan, but that’s not really the point. All that time spent reasoning and trying to understand the new things you see is like a mental exercise in opening your mind. Unlike learning about cultures from a book or the internet actually immersing yourself in them effortlessly engages your mind and puts it to work. I really believe traveling is the ultimate educator. It shows you different ways of life and increases your compassion for other people.
Click HERE to view the full Travel Log.
We all took a train together back into Tokyo in the evening after the last event. I felt like every rider who was on the trip had become a friend. Pretty awesome group! I had a little time the next day before my flight to wander around and shop a bit for my petsitters. You could easily spend weeks exploring Tokyo, but even the little bit I did see was entertaining. Great people watching and interesting shops everywhere. A quick train ride to the airport and I was headed back home.
I never made it TAJimi but I’d have to assume its pretty cool.
2015 Dropbar Weekender.
I won’t spend a ton of time going over the events but they are certainly worth mentioning. 35 years is a pretty big milestone for any business and it was quite an honor to be invited over for the celebration. MX brought over people from all the brands they distribute. I got to catch up with old friends Steve Crandall from FBM and Mat Hoffman from Hoffman Bikes. I also got to meet a lot of younger riders and Thor from Surly Bikes (a design engineer there). It ended up being a really cool group. We did some light street riding in the morning and seeing all the different riding styles together was really cool. Everyone was really mellow and clicked together well.
Strava map day 4 part 1, day 4 part 2
Along the ride there was a lot of small road construction zones. There was always a flagger directing traffic and often helping me find where the bike path might pick up again. The flagger guys were always stoked and waving their flag like crazy. Today I found a gravel bike path that wound its way far off the busy highway I was following. I was in the middle of a farmers field with no one around when I came across one guy running a weed whacker and a flagger dude. It seemed so comical to me because we were so far from anyone. The flag guy took it very seriously and waved furiously to have me ride on the far edge of the trail as far as possible from the lonely weed whacker. I laughed for a while about that moment.
Strava map day 3.
Herds of kids riding to school.
My morning ride put me right into the middle of the school run. I rode with packs of kids pedaling to school. It was fun and a few of them wanted to race me. We rode together for probably 4 miles before they turned off towards their school. I gotta say it seems like a better life with kids riding bikes to school. My route jumped around a bit but I finally got myself back to the coast.
Strava map day 2.
Odawara Castle was amazing. This building is enormous, you could drive a semi truck through that front door.
I checked my map and saw that there was a castle near my hotel. Out pedaling by 6am I rode up to the Odawara castle. It was really amazing. Not like a stone castle you’d find in Europe, but a big beautiful and ornate temple looking place. Huge walls and gates and a feeling of oldness that made it seem almost holy. Perhaps it was, but the spacious and tranquil grounds sure were a nice change from the traffic. My route had me cutting across a peninsula today and I really didn’t know what to expect. It appeared I would be going over a mountain range but I had no idea how big or how far it was. I mapped out some back roads to cut down on traffic and headed inland. Immediately I started climbing and the little roads I was on were so steep! Honestly they were the steepest roads I have ever seen. I think you could probably fall down these roads they were so steep. Every pedal took a stand-up, gut-busting effort. I climbed something like 1400 feet in less than a mile. When I finally reached the top I felt like a super hero and encountered a confusing sign with highway 11 shooting off in 3 different directions. I rested there for a while and spent some time figuring out which of the “11’s” I should take. Luckily choosing correctly I was rewarded with a long decent where I was able to cruise at about 30 mph sitting completely upright letting the wind cool me down. I stayed at the speed of traffic and had a wonderful coasting cruise for a few miles.
Stava map Day 1 Part 1 , Day 1 Part 2
Wide awake at 4am I spent a while stretching and catching up on emails on my tablet. At 7am breakfast started and I was first in line. I started with the “Traditional Western” buffet and had a completely non-traditional western breakfast consisting of french fries, miso soup, iceberg lettuce and white rice. Being vegetarian in Japan can be challenging for sure! I felt a million times better then I did the day before and was excited to get out on my bike. My plan was to ride from Tokyo along the coast to my destination in Nagoya. The company that imports Fairdale into Japan was having their 35th anniversary and they had brought me over to be part of the celebration. Rather than flying over for just the few days of the event I flew in a bit early so I’d have time to do the ride. I had planned absolutely nothing for my trip and barely even looked at a map. Over planning can kill a trip. Instead I was just going to work it out on the fly.
It had been a busy month leading up to this trip. Fairdale displayed it’s 2015 bikes at the Interbike Tradeshow just days before I left on my Japan trip. I had been so busy getting ready for and working at the tradeshow that I had done almost no riding to prepare myself. I hadn’t even planned out what bike I would ride or gotten gear together for myself. This all kind of hit me as I flew back from Las Vegas realizing I was heading to Japan in only 2 days. Typically I also had managed to get very sick at the tradeshow and was feeling like hustling to get myself ready for a big trip was going to be a huge pain. I borrowed some Blackburn bags and a front rack from Fairdale team rider (and neighbor) Leif. He also helped me set up a Weekender Archer bar bike for the trip. It was a sample bike we made in the Electro-Silver color and happened to be a large (which was my size). With only a short around-the-block test ride I packed up the bike into a cardboard bike box along with all my bags and gear. The $200 bike fee United charges each way was painful but at least I had a direct flight from Denver straight to Tokyo.
Sandy posted some really amazing photos of his Tour De LoLorado. For sure click the link to see some epic-ness.
Sandy also designed a cool back pack you should check out: Sandy’s Betabrand back pack design. A handful more votes and it will go into production.
Here’s a flipbook of a bunch of sort of recent drawings from Taj.
A surprise summer shipment of a small number of Taj bikes in the coveted Military Blue colorway arrive next week. Hit up our in-house distributor Full Factory to order one (or tell your favorite bike shop to)!
When we are ready to show new bikes to bike shops we send out something like above. It’s just a preview of what is coming and a way for a bike shop to predict which models they will order from us. We usually include some plea for them to keep the new bikes secret and not share the images. I’m not really sure what we’re so worried about… I think we worry that no one will buy the “older” bikes if they see the new ones. Personally I think it’s more likely to drum up some excitement for the brand and hopefully get folks interested in trying our bikes. So, this year we are letting you all see the very same preview we sent to bike shops. Keep in mind these bikes won’t be out until November. Also, there’s no specs or geo listings in this preview… that will all come later once I get it all organized and fit for print (in our consumer catalog).
So check out the COMING SOON bikes!
We got kits in! Limited numbers available (because making custom kits is rather expensive). The cool thing is not a lot of people will look like you dressed up in a Fairdale kit. Made for us by Castelli you can be sure of the quality and fit (Castelli kits are our favorites). Check ‘em out…
We gave away a Coaster set up with a skaterack to the winner of the “Hipster” hip competition at the Denver stop of Volcom Wild In the Parks event a couple weeks ago. The winner must now grow a mustache, wear decorative scarves and go everywhere with a messenger bag cinched up extra tight. Volcom does a really great job with this fun and free skate event. Top 15 dudes get invited to a $15,000 purse event at Volcom’s private skatepark later this year! Congrats to Devin for winning the bike and cheers to Volcom for having us be a part of things.
Ryan Tuerck got himself a few custom pit bikes thanks to Sunday Bikes and Fairdale. The bikes are designed to match his sliding car and came out pretty darned cool! We always love seeing custom bikes. Check out some more photos below and check Ryan’s amazing driving out too.