What better time to go to Southern California for a month than late November? It's right around the time that other parts of the country start getting frigid, but in So Cal the sun is still out and you can ride your bike around in a T-shirt... just a T-shirt. I believe the term is "Porky Piggin' it". It sounded great to us, so when we got a chance to team up with Orange 20 to build a Chrome Pop-Up Hub in their gallery space we jumped on it. We assembled a small crew, loaded up our good ol' Chrome van, faced the ocean, turned left, and hit the road headed for Los Angeles, doing burn outs along the way. Continue reading
It’s going to be a good month. We’ve teamed up with the iconic bike shop Orange 20 to bring you a one-of-a-kind Chrome HUB in LA. We call it Chrome_20 and starting November 22nd it’s going to be a month-long party.
Orange 20 is great, the staff kicks ass, and they have been influential in shaping the Los Angeles cycling culture. We’re more than stoked that they invited us into their space; we’re pumped to share some beers (many beers) with the Orange 20 crew over the next 4 weeks.
Chrome_20 is more than just a spot to pick up some bombproof Chrome gear…
First off, we’re hosting a month-long Streets of Chrome photography show. We’ve reached out to our friend Van Styles to curate an exhibition of Los Angeles street photography. Along with his own photoset, Van selected the work of Sagan Lockhart and Jefroe in the show. Van kills it behind the lens and has more Instagram followers than you; Sagan Lockhart is one of the creative geniuses affiliated with Odd Future; Jefroe is the creative director of At Large Media in LA. This show is uniquely Los Angeles and we’re humbled to be showing this work.
Chrome_20 is also home to #Wrenched_LA our interactive Instagram wall featuring favorite local spots. The first interactive edition of our Wrenched city guide, #Wrenched_LA is powered by the people. Chrome_20 features a wall-sized map of LA. Whenever a photo is posted to Instagram with the hashtag #Wrenched_LA, we’re going to print the photo and post it on the map. Next time you’re at a rad spot in LA take a photo and tag it #Wrenched_LA. Favorite dive bar: #Wrenched_LA, killer burrito: #Wrenched_LA, amazing coffee: #Wrenched_LA, best place to watch the sunset: #Wrenched_LA. You get it. We’re asking you to show us your city. At the end of this thing we’ll have a wall documenting the best places in LA. It’s going to be awesome.
Each week you’ll have a chance to win a 2013 Chrome Coveted Jersey. Starting with an alleycat on 11/22 at 7pm, a fixed gear cross race on 11/29 at 7pm, and an uphill sprint race on 12/7 at 1pm. This will be your last chance to get a 2013 Chrome Coveted Jersey - don’t miss out. We’ll get you more information about the ongoing events but for now: the party starts November 22nd at 7pm – 10pm. We’ll have a DJ and beer from New Belgium Brewing (thanks!), you can check out the photographs, and its your first chance to score a Coveted Jersey.
The address is:
4357 Melrose St.
Los Angles, CA 90029
We’ll be there:
Mon.-Sat. 11am - 7pm
Sunday 11am - 5:30pm
We're gonna ride it 'til we just can't ride it no more
From the South Bay to the Valley
From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A. (we love it) -Randy Newman
Coming with on this trip to LA with me was my fellow Chromies, Eddie, Veronika, Other Eddie, and their pup. Veronika won the Chrome Coveted Jersey in the fixed category at the 1st race of the Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series, the Marathon Crash. We brought her down there for the first race of the series and was carting her back on down to southern California for the third and final race, the 6th St. Drag. Continue reading
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!
"I pictured myself in a Denver bar that night, with all the gang, and in their eyes I would be strange and ragged and like the Prophet who has walked across the land to bring the dark Word, and the only Word I had was 'Wow!" -Jack Kerouac "On the Road"
Colorado has a special place in my heart and it's right near the aorta. I used to live and party my brains out at high altitude and loved it like crazy. When I was there my mom and brother each decided to make the move from Fargo and join me in this beautiful state, so stopping in Denver wasn't just another city I was visiting. I was going home. Continue reading
I have never been to Texas' capitol, Austin, before although I have heard nothing but good things about it. I have met people from Austin in Portland, where I live, and they either tell me that Austin and Portland are sister cities or Portland is ripping off Austin. Example: they both have the unofficial motto of "Keep Austin/Portland Weird" also Austin has SXSW and Portland has MusicFestNW. Other than those two things I would say Austin is less of a sister city and maybe more along the lines of a second cousin who sweats a lot. With a heat index ranging from 105-110, you'd be sweaty too. Continue reading
We all have a bucket list right? A list of the things you want to do before die. At the top of mine sits the most wholesome of wholesome activities and it has been on my list since I was around six. Behold.............. DOLLYWOOD! Oh gosh, where should I start? I guess I could start by telling you that Dollywood is a theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN that is owned by Dolly Parton. What I imagined of Pigeon Forge is it would be a sleepy little Tennessee town tucked away in the Smokey Mountains and Dollywood would be the biggest attraction. I was so far off, it wasn't even funny. I mean it, I wasn't laughing. Continue reading
I don't know about you, but I love Rocky. I mean LOVE love him. He's the most optimistic and humble sonofabitch on the planet. Sure, he's not really on the planet because he is a fictional character.... or maybe he is because I carry that character in my heart and I am on this planet. Hmmmmm..... excuse me, it's getting deep in here. Since I have grown up loving all of the Rocky movies I have seen Philadelphia's landscape many times, but have never physically been there... until now. The drive from New York City to Philadelphia was free of traffic and relaxing (please note sarcasm). In addition to Todd Danger, I brought Mike, of the Good Food fame, and his friend Matt along to Philly. NYC and Philadelphia isn't that far away from each other, it's just that there are millions and millions of people in between and that day it seemed they were all out on the road. Also, we were riding that heat wave so that made sitting in a black RV that much more enjoyable (again with the sarcasm). Once we got to Philly, I noticed the streets were just like what I thought Boston's streets would be, brick and narrow. At times I had to hop up on the sidewalk just so I could make it through. I could feel the boys cringing in the back, thinking we were going to hit something, but sistas are doing it for themselves. "Chill out dudes, I got this". Continue reading
"New York, New York, is everything they say
And no place that I'd rather be
Where else can you do a half a million things
All at a quarter to three " -Huey Lewis
Before I was about to take on the Big Apple with a giant RV, I decided to stop, come up with a game plan, and assemble the troupes. I was driving on back highways and there was a parking lot that I pulled off into so I could make some calls. It just so happened by chance that it was the parking lot to a park and trails out in the middle of nowhere. Lucky me. I called up Brianna, the new Vice Manager of our NYC hub because she said the magic words: "air conditioning" and "comfortable couch". You had me at hello, Bri. We, Palmer and me, rolled in to Brooklyn, swung by her house to pick up her boyfriend so he can be my eyes and help park this beast. It's a two person job at times. Believe it or not, we had no trouble parking and.... spoiler alert: I had easy parking the entire time I was there. Andy and I found a great spot, went back to his and Brianna's place where he promptly began to fall in love with Palmer. She has that way with guys. One look in to those droopy eyes and it's game over. You're hooked. Continue reading
All I heard about Boston is the streets are wicked narrow, guy. People were like "you're driving THAT in Boston?! Good luck." They obviously have lack of faith in my super sweet RV driving skills. I mean, I can thread the needle with that bad boy. Before I rolled into town, I chatted with Butters and Ben, of One Shot Couriers. They gave me directions to Winthrop Square, the messenger hangout, and I found illegal parking right away. They assured me that no one messes with them and it was a safe spot, which it was. I busted out some warm Pittsburgh beer, dispersed it amongst the couriers, and we became fast friends. I am pretty sure having Palmer there had something to do with it because, from what I can tell, Boston messengers LOVE dogs. Like LOVE love them. I could tell I was in the right place. Continue reading