This video gave all the feels. Hit play to learn a little more about Taj’s legendary roots in BMX, his transition out of being pro, and re-discovering the joy of riding bikes of all sizes. After all these years, it’s wild to think Fairdale just started as a blog for his illustrations.
Some of the Fairdale family and a whole lot of our friends have taken part in The Project Loop 50/50 for Taylor project. The non-profit sends out 100’s of blank skatedecks to artists and Fairdale employees to paint, draw or design on. The finished decks are being auctioned online right now until December 5. There is so many great decks to check out on the site… if nothing else it’s rad inspiration to see so many interpretations of what you can do with a skateboard. Our team rider Sandy Carson meticulously deconstructed his first SLR camera, Tim Kerr honors Jeff Phillips with his deck (Tim was once a hobo in one of our videos), Michael Sieben’s work is always awesome (and he once designed the Roger Bike for us), Jeremy Hrabal helped us out many times building Texas Toast and did this beautiful inlaid board, Jim Bauer is the art director for our mother company Odyssey BMX, is a big part of Fairdale, and put together this rad core sampled board, Steve Crandal helped us out as the announcer for TX Toast and painted a rad board, Aaron Ross has a couple Fairdales and came up with this giant skateboard/ cell phone thing. I drew the bat on a bike one here. Search around and find decks from Mat Hoffman and loads of other legends of skate and BMX. Also, tons of great artists contributed too. https://www.32auctions.com/50503 -Taj
I built up a Weekender frame and fork set with some fancy parts. It’s a special treat to myself since I’m usually a riding a bike with an assortment of miss-mathced sample parts. I started with our Weekender frameset in Electro Silver (available now). View More
The 2015 Taj is Taj Mihelich’s signature bike. With nostalgic roots to its BMX predecessor, this bike is quite possibly the simplest and most indestructible bike in the Fairdale 2015 line-up. It’s also one of the most fun 26″ bikes available.
It’s the perfect bike for rad dads (or moms!) and just about anybody else who wants a fun cruiser. Pump up the tires and you’re good to go!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bike Biz asked me to write a little piece on how I transitioned from hardcore BMX dude into bikes with bigger wheels. I got slightly off subject and ended up writing more about how I managed to stay in love with bikes all these years. The whole mag is pretty awesome (aimed at the bicycle industry). Check out my story on page 11. View it online here or download a PDF version of the mag here. Thanks Bike Biz! -Taj
The big bicycle tradeshow, Interbike, is coming up September 18-20th in Las Vegas. Aside from the “industry” party with George Thorogood we hope that one of the highlights will be our new models we’ll be showing off. I’m pretty excited about this one in particular so I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek.
Fifteen years ago I was a BMX pro riding around Austin with a single minded focus on BMX. I’d spend all day on my bike searching the city for the next street riding spot but hardly even notice I was on a bike, thinking more about the potential of the spots I’d find than enjoying the ride there. On one ride I found a rad old 1950’s grandma cruiser hanging out of a dumpster. I dug it out and dragged it home unsure of why I’d done it. I was so completely focused on BMX at this point in my life that I was actually embarrassed to be seen riding a non-BMX bike. A few makeshift repairs later I had it rolling as my grocery getter. On my first cruise I had an epiphany; this was FUN! That old cruiser reduced cycling to it’s most simple element… just rolling. There was no desire to push myself on that bike and there was no point trying to see how fast it could go. It wasn’t a work out, it wasn’t a challenge and it wasn’t a means to any end. It was simply rolling around on a bike and that was all it needed to be.
A few months ago I was waiting around at home for the cable guy trying to figure out what to draw. Rather then waste time planning it something out I just started going. Stumbled upon the old drawings today and dropped them into this little flipbook. -Taj View More
I’m freestyling a route around the country something like this.
Today I loaded up my new car and hit the road to do a loop of the eastern half of the country. I’m going to visit bike shops and show them the new Fairdales we have coming in. Thanks to a late start I only covered around 500 miles and am now holed up in a hotel in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
ESPN wrote a really nice piece about Fairdale and me that I’m very honored by. I guess it sort of chronicles my riding career and leads into the creation of Fairdale. Thanks guys -Taj
“Over 25 years ago, a BMXer by the name of Taj Mihelich started a path through BMX that few had ever ventured to explore. A racer in his early years, Mihelich quickly discovered dirt jumping and proceeded to combine his abilities to boost and stretch jump variations with his roots as a racer. By his teens, Mihelich was sponsored by the local BMX shop and traveling to regional contests in the Midwest. Still clutching to his race setup, Mihelich stood out for more than his riding style…”