This year, instead of the Oregon Manifest just being in sunny Portland OR, it spread it's proverbial wings and created The Bike Design Project. 5 cities. 5 teams. 5 bikes. 1 universal party to reveal each team's bike of tomorrow TODAY. Those 5 cities were San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Portland, and Seattle... and we just happen to have hubs in all those cities. Boom. Party time. Continue reading
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I was lucky enough to take part in the 22nd Annual Cycle Messenger World Championships this past weekend in Mexico City, Mexico!
- Hundreds of cycle couriers from around the world gathered for this most epic event. I want to say a Big Thank You to the CMWC Mexico team and all the wonderful people who volunteered and worked so hard to pull it off!I got in on the same flight with four other NY’ers on Thursday afternoon. Proud to say our city rolled deep with 15 total!
I missed the track racing at the Olympic Velodrome and group ride to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, and the KOM hill climb (Congrats Cooper Ray for bringing NY it’s first World Champ title of the weekend!). Not to worry though, plenty of mayhem was in store for the next few days.
Thursday evening was a pub crawl. I drank enough Mezcal to last me the whole weekend. It was great to see old friends and meet some new ones too.
A little misty that I missed a few of the insane evening events but at 42 years old I have to pick my battles, and decided to focus on day drinking and going to bed at a semi respectable hour.
Friday evening brought the alleycat and more than 200 people gathered in the threatening rain. As the messenger gods laughed, it started to pour and pour and pour! An unbelievable onslaught that would have cancelled any ‘sanctioned’ event. On Safa’s command we blazed into the streets, mixing some of the worlds most intense traffic with a monsoon and a few hundy cycle maniacs. I lasted about 90 minutes with a pack that gelled around me. I stopped to help a guy who went down hard and ended up getting lost (no big surprise). All good though, met a random MC cat and we toured around until catching on with another group of stragglers.
Big Ups to NY’s own Crihs Thormann for the win. As I understand, it was a sprint finish among the lead pack. Saturday brought the qualifiers for the main race, the one event I was sweating. In my 14 previous World Championships, I only managed to qualify for the final twice!
Such a beautiful city and the people are so friendly and peaceful in my experience. While the traffic was intense and insane, the drivers are looking out and the aggro level that's so prevalent in the US is virtually nonexistent. A history rooted in magical culture and mixed with modern day amenities.
The course was a beautiful masterpiece mixing brains and technical ability. I had a smooth run and delivered 19 packages for a strong mid-pack finish. My goal was accomplished! I made the final. With little or no interest in how I performed in the actual main event, my party mode was fully engaged.
Eighty World Champions gathered on Sunday to battle it out on our bikes to see who was the best! Congratulations to Raph from Lausanne and Christina from San Francisco, 1st and 3rd overall, true champions and truly awesome and humble people.
I managed to deliver two packages in the final before taking a break with Todd Danger and riding one of Mexico City’s biggest/baddest roller coasters. My first time on a triple looper, a perfect way to goof off during the race.
Back to the course and I delivered one more then made the rounds and got some pics while visiting the awesome checkpoint crews.
Of all my Championships this one stands out for many reasons. Helmets off to Mexico City Crew and Congratulations to the Melbourne crew who will be hosting the 23rd annual in Melbourne.
Keep an eye out for tons of photos/videos from Tak and many others in the coming weeks.
Ride Safe and Holler!
Kevin “Squid” Bolger is the hardest working man alive. A veteran NYC messenger, he's raced nearly every CMWC since 1995. He’s been sponsored by Chrome since 2004. Check him out at CycleHawk.com
Ride N Style Photographed by Bobby Sanchez
Anytime we get to be a part of people getting rad on their bikes it's a win in our book. So, when our pals at Red Bull asked us if we would, once again, join them for their annual Fixed Gear Free Style event, we answered "Hell yes we will!" Hell yes we'll host registration at our new Mission Hub>>. Hell yes we'll park Vanna Black (the Chrome Van) at Red Bull Ride n Style and party down. Hell yes we'll eat those burritos. Where's the hot sauce? We were so there.
Party photographs by Rasta Dave
Five is the number that symbolizes harmony and balance. It's the number of seconds that can pass after you've dropped food on the floor and still eat it. It's the number of digits we throw in the air and slap as a celebratory hand gesture. To Coco Chanel it signified the pure embodiment of a thing, its spirit, and its mystic meaning. To Chrome the number 5 represents a key milestone, and we can't help reflect on where we started and where we're going. If the grand opening party of our Mission HUB on Valencia, our 5th Chrome HUB, was any indication of what's to come, we'd better break out some sunglasses because the future looks bright.
A bicycle is more than a tool for transportation, it's an escape from the drudgery of the day-to-day. It's a reflection of one's self and often time feels like an old friend (cue Golden Girls theme song), so it only seems right that we take care of our bikes the way they take care of us. Once you've nursed your Spring Break hangover, grab a rag and some lube and get ready to go to work… on your bike. There are simple things you can do for your bike that will keep it rolling through the nice weather ahead.
We worked with Kamp Grizzly to document Chrome Familia member Massan Fluker riding his bike and our Barrage Cargo in the hills and on the streets of Portland. The film includes some of the best riding Portland has to offer including a gnarly descent of Burnside at 40+ mph. Check it and be stoked to go ride your bike.
Shop the Barrage Cargo, compact 100% Welded-Waterproof Rolltop bag with cargo net compression system and iconic seatbelt buckle. Made in USA.
We’re home from the desert and after scraping all the sand out of our hair and running our soiled clothes through the wash a million times we just have to say: Vegas was a blast.
Visionary. Designer. Tool maker. Photographer. Founder of Fixed Magazine and Fixedgearlondon. Andy Ellis is a modern Renaissance man. That's why we were stoked to work with him on our latest edition of #Wrenched, a low brow city guide from people we look up to. #Wrenched_london is Andy's handy work. Hear what keeps the fire burning in Andy.
You have just released Issue #15 of Fixed Magazine, what have you learned over the past five years of publishing the magazine? Have you made any truly epic mistakes that turned out to be great learning opportunities?
When I started Fixed Mag, I had no idea how to publish a printed magazine. It has been a steep learning curve especially since I'm self taught. I guess the main thing I have learned over the years is "if you need something doing, do it yourself" Not everyone has the same passion and drive that I do for Fixed Gear. I try to make things happen without the need to hassle anyone else. I guess I'm hoping that the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams ethos comes true! (if you build it, they will come).
I don't believe in mistakes. I'm trying to make / build a culture through the magazine. I'm not in this for the money, I'm in it because I'm passionate about riding Fixed! The magazine would still happen, even if It had to be printed on a sheet of used paper that's folded in half. I'm prepared for anything that happens concerning Fixed Mag so I don't believe mistakes can happen… does that make sense?
Your magazine has a distinct look that has helped shape the fixed gear culture. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I just try to keep everything simple. We strive to have exclusive photographs that have not been all over the internet and we always have stories that are direct from the riders. I have always struggled with the over design of things, some things just do not need to be there! I like understated obscure design, I like the work that Marc Newson, Jonathan Ive and Dieter Rams have put out. The fixed gear bike is also an understated obscure object so it works for me.
You’ve talked a lot about your love for the purity of fixed gear riding, but you come from a skating background. What initially drew you to fixed gear bikes?
I was in my final year studying product design at St Martin's in 2003 and I rode to and from university everyday (about 10 miles per day) on a terrible mountain bike. This was mainly because they had just introduced ticket barriers at Charing Cross Train station and I could not afford to buy tickets to travel… the mountain bike was the only option I had left. Whilst riding the 40 minute journey to St Martin's I saw messengers and commuters riding these strange bikes that had no brakes or gears and they were traveling much faster than I was. I was interested in these bikes from a design perspective at first, because it seemed like the perfect balance of form and function. As soon as I got my 1st fixed gear bike, it confirmed to me that not only did these bikes look perfect, they also functioned perfectly. I was hooked. For me it's the brakeless aspect that gives you the same feeling as skateboarding, it keeps your wits about you and in turn makes you a safer rider. I skate often and I use my bike to get to and from the skate spots throughout the city, this way I get to skate and ride more places than most as the bike is the easiest way to get around in any city.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of bike brands, from 14 Bike Co to Wolvh Clothing what was unique about working with Chrome?
I have been following what Chrome has been doing for the last few years now. I first saw the Wrenched SF city guide when it came out and I was given a copy of the Wrenched NY whilst at Eurobike. These guides feature a lot of people I look up to and also friends of mine from skateboarding and the fixed gear scene. It was so sick to know where they recommend you go visit in their own city that it made me want to try and make the London version happen! I contacted Chrome (luckily they knew who I was ;) and they agreed to make it happen. The most unique thing about working with Chrome has been the fact that we have a similar ethos about the way we think things should be. This has made our working relationship an extremely awesome experience for me.
What prompted you to make the Lockwhip tool?
I was sick of carrying three heavy tools around with me! So I sketched a tool that had all of these tools in one. The thing I tried to do was make the lock whip tool reflect the form/function balance that is inherent in a fixed gear bike. Nothing over the top and everything you need to survive. I had a prototype made and carried it around with me for a few months, the first instance that I needed the tool (lockring came loose) I almost forgot that it was in the bottom of my bag! After I fixed the lockring and proved to myself that the lockwhip was discreet and effective, I knew I had to put it into production.
In the process of curating #wrenched-london, what new discoveries did you make about your hometown?
I discovered that most of the awesome people featured like a lot of the same things! Most of them have not met each other ever, so it's interesting to see that they frequent the same places. I went to the vast majority of the places detailed in #wrenched_london to photograph these places, doing this helped me discover some cool places. I'd never been to the Hunterian Museum before but because it had been mentioned a couple of times I decided to take a visit and it ended up being one of the places that I picked to go see. #Wrenched brings people together in many ways and I know that people that grab a copy will find some inspiration somewhere within the pages…
If you could describe a quintessential London moment, what would it be?
For me It would be riding in traffic on a typical damp drizzly London morning in heavy rush hour traffic, traveling from west to east on Clerkenwell Road. Commuters are trying to race you, I'll cut through some red lights to keep a steady pace and no taxi drivers will bother to shout at you because they don't want to get wet. The rain puts a dampener on most people, but not me! I've always said "It's never the wrong weather, always the wrong clothes."
You have your fingers in a lot of pots, what do you do to find balance in your life?
I choose the pots I want to put my fingers in! When I graduated from St Martin's I made a choice to work for myself, I never let the need for money dictate my life. It's always been my goal to do what I'm passionate about. I want to make a mark on the world in my lifetime, but I want it to be the best mark I can possibly leave. I recently got married and meeting my wife Kellen was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me! Meeting her made me want to be even better at everything and together we make a great team, we have lots planned for the future. I find balance from doing a little bit of everything all the time, designing stuff, making graphics, sketching, writing, photography, skateboarding, riding fixed, etc. If I chose to do one thing, I think I would get tired of it quite quickly…
Is there any advice you would give to your younger self if you had a time machine and could go back ten years?
Hmmm… I would not want to change a thing!
Who has more bikes, you or your wife Kellen? How about tattoos?
Haha! I have definitely have more bikes and Kellen definitely has more tattoos because I don't have any!
The first time we crossed paths with British illustrator and surface designer Matt Manson was while working on our City Series London installment. We partnered with Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper for the liner artwork and worked closely with Matt on the pattern development. For our Berlin City Series, we worked with Matt to develop a pattern mash up of Chrome’s take on Berlin.
What exactly is Surface Design?
As a surface designer my main role is to provide graphic/illustrative solutions to products and surrounding environments. For example I am often asked to provide wallpapers, carpets and feature graphics for restaurants or hotels that fit in with the their branded identities.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you began your career?
I was born and raised in Bristol, England. Bristol is a small but culturally rich city about 2 hours from London. Growing up in Bristol in the late 80s and throughout the 90s I was exposed to the local music and graffiti scene. Bristol is the original home to bands/producers such as Massive Attack, Portisthead, Roni Size and artists such as Banksy so I grew up around some of England's best counter-cultures from an early age.
In my early 20s wanting to see more of England I relocated to London to study surface design at the University of Arts London. I quickly set up base in Brixton. Brixton was a part of London I was already familiar with as I was often visiting for the local party scene so it felt like a natural relocation.
What are your influences?
Originally my main influence and focus was graffiti, tagging and generic vandalism.
Nowadays I also draw influence from underground comics, the arts and crafts movement of the 1860s and roots reggae.
Do you have something that inspires your designs?
Life, people, the past and the future it all inspires.
What was it like interning at Flavor Paper and Nobrow?
When I first started to studying I wanted to intern as much as possible. I wanted to get the intern stuff under my belt quickly and start getting paid.
Interning at Flavor Paper was amazing. I spent a summer living in Brooklyn, found a squat to live in.
After moving back to London I hooked up with the Nobrow guys and spent the winter screenprinting.
In the mean time I managed to get a student visa to get back to the States. I moved back to Brooklyn to work again at Flavor Paper for 6 months.
You're currently living in Amsterdam, how did you end up there?
I moved back to London and spent a year working as a freelancer. I managed to get a few projects in motion and kept growing my portfolio. Then an opportunity to work at Marcel Wanders as a surface pattern designer came up.
I relocated to Amsterdam 6 months ago...
What was the inspiration behind the Berlin City Series? Tell us about that project.
The inspiration was lederhosen, beer and Bavarian needlework.
I looked to the city's cycle culture and squat scene for inspiration and got some mood boards together. From then on I had my references to base my work on and developed a few ideas.
To see more of Matt's work, please check out his website.