Whoever said "Time flies when you're having fun" must have been talking about 2013. Because just like that, it's almost gone. Rides were had, friends were made, high fives were given, and hangovers were nursed. 2013 was a great year for Urban Bike, Street Photography, Street Racing, and more. We're thankful to all those who rode Chrome in 2013. With the new year upon us, we take a look back at some of our favorite 2013 moments through our year in review:
Photograph by Javier Linares
1. Streets of Chrome
We love the streets: The texture, the sounds, the smells, the yells. The streets inspire us to create and to live. In 2013 we launched Streets of Chrome, The Search for the Next Great Street Photographer. With the help of our friends and legendary photographers Ricky Powell, Tod Seelie, and Ken Goto, we put a call out to everyone and anyone inspired by the streets in which we live and ride — the gear junkies, film fanatics, social media mavens, digital divas... everyone — to capture the realness of the streets in the cities around the world. The winner received a Chrome Niko Camera Pack filled with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 compact-system camera mounted with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 35mm F/1.4 lens. The photos flooded in and the judges had their work cut out for themselves as they looked at one amazing photo after another. In the end, Javier Linares won with his black and white of an old man outside a dress shop. In 2014, Streets of Chrome lives on: It's in your daily commute. It's in your night out. It lives in your way to the store. Streets of Chrome is everywhere. Will you be the next great street photographer?
Photograph by Jason Finn
2. The One Motorcycle Show
At Chrome Industries we're good with all things two-wheeled, no matter if it's gas powered or leg powered. If we can ride it, we'll shred it. That's why we were honored to be part of The One Motorcycle Show in Portland, OR. The One Show is a gathering of doers and creators of custom motorcycles and the people who love them. Thor Drake, of See See Motorcycles, created The One Motorcycle Show, while at Wieden+Kennedy because he wanted to create a show that felt like you were hanging out in your buddy's garage talking shop. That's something we could get behind.
So, we did what Chrome does. We brought the Chrome Van up from San Francisco and with our Portland crew, we went to work building a tattoo studio in the back. People could walk up to the back of the van, step up to the counter, get greeted by our lovely receptionist, pick out one of the 6 pieces of "One Show flash," and put their name in line for a $20 tattoo. The list filled up almost instantly and while people were getting their One Show inspired flash done in the back, there was a whiskey party going on in the lounge built in the front of the van. Let's just say, people got loose and at the end of opening night, Roman candles lit the sky. During the 3-day show we saw amazing, one of a kind, custom motorcycles that blew our minds, and had a blast talking to the folks who created them. In 2014, The One Show will be in a bigger space and you can count on Chrome being there. Think it's going to be tough to top last year? Just you watch.
Photograph by Kenny Arimoto
3. Wolfpack Hussle Unified Title Race Series
Street racing is not for everyone, and it has its share of critics, but it's found its spot in Los Angeles where the boys from Wolfpack have been hosting some of the most epic races in LA. This year we were stoked to team up with the Wolfpack and Redbull to create the Unified Title Race Series in Los Angeles. The series consisted of three races: The Marathon Crash Race, The LA Civic center Crit, and the 6th St. Drag Race.
For the first and most famous of the the three races, The Marathon Crash Race, we got a big posse and drove down from SF. Together with some of the guys from the Zeitgeist racing crew, we piled into the Chrome Van and the newest member to the fleet, Chrome One, a 1976 GMC RV and drove to LA to race. The 26-mile long trans-Los Angeles race starts around 4am on the LA Marathon race course just after officials have laid out all of the barricades (Hence the name "Crash"). There was an estimated 4000 riders, making it the largest unsanctioned race in the world, and they were fast as hell. After the tapes were reviewed, Jo Selso took 1st Woman's overall for the second year in a row, and our barista from our Chrome San Francisco HUB, Veronika Volok, walked away with 1st place Women's Fixed. Evan Stade placed 1st overall Men's and Arizona's State Bicycle Co. team member Craig Streit took 1st Men's fixed.
The second race in the series, the LA Civic Center Crit, was the first ever bike race to encircle City Hall. Sadly, neither the van nor RV made it, but we did send Veronika back to compete. This was Wolfpack's first criterium race format, so they took extra measures and loaded up on the safety infrastructures on the course. Except for a few minor crashes most of the riders emerged unscathed. Mash's Walton Brush crossed the finish line taking first in Men's track and 14 year old, Sean McElroy took the surprise win for men's road giving each of them series points, the traditional winner's dog tags, and a Chrome Coveted Jersey. Once again, Jo Celso took first for the Woman's except this race she rode fixed. First place Woman's road went to Kathryn Donavon. Jo Celso raced the road crit as well, taking the third place spot and adding to her overall points for the race series.
For the third and final race of the Unified Title Race Series, Chrome One (still on the Wrenched Nation Tour) swooped into SF, picked up our SF HUB barista and her crew, and drove down to LA for the 6th St. Drag race that was held on the completely shut down, soon to be demolished 6th St. bridge. A day before leaving, Veronika crashed on a training ride and completely tore up both elbows and both knees in a major way. Because she's a crusher, she HTFU and raced anyway. There were a few glitches through the night, but the view on the bridge was breath taking and as the day turned to night the lights lit the track for high energy sprints. Despite of her extensive injuries, Veronika placed 9th, taking 3rd overall for woman's fixed. Although she placed 1st in our hearts. 1st place Women's went to Shelby Walter, who beat out the woman's series leader, Jo Celso. Nate Koch and Edgar Juarez battled it out for fist place with Nate winning by half a second.
The Unified Title races were so incredibly unique and people came out from all over the country to participate. Congratulations go out to all the Coveted Jersey and dog tag winners. A big thanks to our friends at Redbull and Wolfpack. And, a high five to everyone who came out to make the Unified Title Series a win for everyone.
Photograph by Matt Lingo
4. Ride n Style
On May 4th, riders from all parts of the globe met at San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza for a one day competition of FGFS and track races. To commemorate the event we worked with Redbull to create a rider's bag, our Yalta rolltop completely graffitied-out by artists Sam Flores and Risk. Ride n Style also brought artists, Insa and Tristan Eaton into the mix to create collaborative art on the ramps and the results were astounding. The pull of this race/trick comp brings in riders from all over the world like Jaoa and Dew from Thailand, Ricardo Lino from Portugal, Simon Gomok from the UK. Making the trip from New York was Chrome Familia member Massan, who crushed his first few heats. He went from looking good on the bike, to just plain looking good. Speaking of Familia, our very own Wonka was a judge for the freestyle comp, providing a rider's perspective. The dude paved the way for a lot of the riders out there today. The Chrome Van was the party pit and observation deck with the top loaded to the max with people trying to get a birds eye view of the course. It was the best seat in the house. From there they could watch Macaframa's Jason Clarey take overall for the race and Slumworm aka Matt Reyes who rides Specialized take the freestyle win. It's always fun to partner with Redbull and you can bet your sweet ass you'll see us back in 2014.
Photograph by Christopher Dilts
The North American Cycle Courier Championships is a race for couriers, by couriers, to determine who is the best of the best. Hosted in a different city each year, 2013's NACCC was in Seattle, and people poured in from all over the country for five days of alleycats, group rides, BBQ, and pretty much just any kind of partying you can shake a stick at. The main race was on July 7th, and for the second time in the history of the race 1st overall was won by a women, Christina Peck. It also happened to be her second NACCC win. In 2009 she won the Boston NACCC by a landslide. 150 people raced in the qualifier, where the top 60 finalists got to advance to the main race — a money race format. Do as many jobs as you can in three hours, complete your manifest, and the messenger who made the most cash wins. Boom. There were two categories: Messengers and Ex-messengers. Christina brought in $171.00 for the W in the Messenger category and New York's Austin Horse brought in $172.00 in the Ex-messenger category (aka sponsored by Redbull). Second overall went to the always smiling (unless he's not) Lane Del Futuro of Melbourne, with $164.00. Once all the racers had crossed the finish line and they were done watching Story Corey dance around in one of his many g-strings, everyone headed to Belltown Underground for awards and to party like couriers do...... with a copious amount of booze. Just like that. It was here, then gone, and we are already looking forward to 2014 NACCC in Minneapolis, MN. Skol!
Photograph by Brenton Salo
6. Wrenched Nation Tour
Sometimes the open road beckons and the pull is so intense you throw cation to the wind, grow your hair out, and set out for excitement and adventure. Unfortunately, we couldn't send the whole crew on the road, no matter how much we'd like to, so we chose our former Portland HUB manager, Amanda Sundvor to hit the road in our 1976 RV we lovingly referred to as Chrome One, because out of all of us she high fives the hardest.
Leaving from Portland, the first stop on its maiden voyage was up to Seattle to kick it with Raleigh Sally, Craig Etheridge, and the other bros from the Hodala cyclocross team. The boozy trip up north set the tone for what was ahead. Amanda's co-pilot on this summer long trip is a Basset Hound named Palmer3000, with a joie de vivre that is as infectious as the plague, but in a good way. Amanda and Palmer3000's mission was modeled after our Wrenched zines and was simple: visit creative people in each city, ride with them to their favorite places, their secret gems, their hot spots, and live to tell the tale. Amanda's liver was put through the ringer by the Midwest leg of the tour with help from an alley party with Minneapolis' One on One and Handsome Cycles, the bridge whiskey ride with Milwaukee's Cog Magazine and the Flavor Cycle Crew, and the parking lot Goldsprints party with The Bike Lane, Chicago's #1 bike shop three years years running. In the East, she was punished on the bike by Urban Velo's Brad Quartuccio, she rode with the boys at Boston's legendary Winthrop Messenger House, and hit the streets with New York City's very own Squid. Rumble Through the Bronx 8 and Rocky Race 11? She was there. Tattoos in Austin? She got them. West coast sunshine with her fellow Chromies? She took it in. We're glad to say Palmer and Amanda survived the whirlwind rage-a-thon that was the Wrenched Nation Tour. They have the kind of stories that only come with serious time behind the wheel and miles and miles and miles on the road. Although, if you want to get any of those stories out of Palmer3000, you're going to have to give her belly rubs.
7. Coveted Jersey
If you see someone wearing the Chrome Coveted Jersey it would be safe to assume they are a crusher on the bike. The jersey can't be bought, only won. If you raced one of the 140 races we supported in 2013 and took the win, you not only got mad street cred, but you were now a member of a very elite group. Congrats. It was the third season for the coveted jersey and our biggest year to date supporting races ranging from big to small. Austin Horse beat out 189 riders at NYC's legendary Monster Track XIV race and also took the win at Minneapolis' Stupor Bowl 16 earning him two Coveteds. The jersey even crossed the Pacific and made it on the backs of Martin Brunner and Josephine Reitzel, the men and woman's winners of the European Cycle Messenger Championship in Berne, Switzerland. The 2013 Coveted Jersey was designed by Portland based designer, Sean Light and was inspired by the pack of Marlboro cigarettes. People may think smoking looks tough, but we're pretty sure wearing a jersey you won by beating out everyone in your race looks tougher.
2014 jerseys are in the works and it's anyone's guess who will win one.
9. Wrenched London
When Andy-Fucking-Ellis, founder and editor of Fixed Magazine, said he wanted to do our Wrenched Low Brow City Guide for London, we said, "Say no more." An all-around stand up guy, Andy was stoked to give us some insight on his hometown, London. He profiled some of the people in his city that he respects and asked them where they hang out. Wrenched London is a pint-sized insiders guide to the city shared by the people who are out there making things happen. In it, they reveal their favorite hot spots and hidden gems. Their favorite places to get a pint and their places to see a show. After thumbing through the pages it's hard not to get out there and explore their suggestions or find some spots on you own. To celebrate the launch, we hosted a party at Kinoko Cycles and, what usually happens when you get a bunch of bike people together, there was a race. It was a checkpoint race. Five checkpoints in five pay phones (yes they still have those in London), first one back with all five takes the win and the Coveted Jersey home. Not too bad for a night out. Exciting sprint finish, non stop beer, and Wrenched copy signings from some of the people profiled in the magazine made for hell of a good evening and a successful launch. Look for a copy, there are still some floating around. If you missed it, don't worry. In 2014 more cities will get Wrenched.
Photograph by Takuya Sakamoto
10. Squid's 10 Year Anniversary
If you don't know Squid, you've at least heard of the guy and the stories are that of a legend. For over 20 years he's been in the streets riding as New York City's hardest working messenger and for 10 of those 20 years, he has been Chrome Familia. Lucky us, we know. He's the backbone of NYC's messenger cycling community. Not only has he organized a boat load of races, he is also the founder of New York Bike Messenger Foundation, an organization that helps messengers and their families when they are hurt, or even worse, killed on the job. He's one of those guys that people say, "I wish the world had more people like that" about. That's Squid, yo. This guy is so OG, that when they were making the movie Premium Rush, he worked on set as a technical consultant. He was in the movie, too. You can't miss him, he's the handsome one. This year at Interbike in Las Vegas we raised our glasses to Squid's 10 years at Chrome and we drank to 10 more years. Here's to you Squid! Don't go changing.
Photograph by Brad Quartuccio
11. Urban Cycling Hall of Fame(because it's one more than 10)
2013 was the inaugural year for the Urban Cycling Hall of Fame and we couldn't be more happy to help make it happen. UCHOF celebrates people, events, and artifacts that have shaped urban cycling as we know it today. At Interbike, in our Chrome Urban Yard, we premiered the display of UCHOF Collections including Greg Ugalde's Monster Track posters and Lucas Brunelle's massive spoke card collection. The first ever class to be inducted into the UCHOF was honored at the Double Down with kind words, a UCHOF plaque, and more than one shot of whiskey. The Chrome Aces Award, given to the person in the class that has contribute above and beyond, was received by legendary messenger artist Greg Ugalde. Class of 2013, we salute you.