Sunday I rolled with a bunch of great people out in the hills of Marin. We all survived some gigantic hills, rutted single track and multiple pitchers if mid-ride beer in celebration of awesome bikes. The group included some of the biggest names in custom frame building on the west side of the country and I was lucky enough to chat with a few of them.
Sean from Soulcraft (educate yourself here) introduced the guests, explaining that this ride was a way to meet face-to-face with the people who are building the many bikes in the crowd. It was time to ride, talk a bit, get to know who these builders are and what they are all about. We slow pedal out of Mill Valley, up the hill and onto some fire roads.
Along the way people started to notice that there was somebody in the pack riding a slick-tire road bike with a basket, and everyone seemed to chuckle a bit as I rode past as though I were on a paper-route. shitbike was one of the least suited bikes for this ride, but there were a couple carbon road bikes and some tandems joining for the challenge.
There were too many beautiful bikes to take pictures of, and that really goes to show what a large amount of people appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of custom bike frames. Some other builders on the ride include Sycip, Hunter, Rex, Retrotec, and more. They all have an incredible dedication to their craft that is evident in their bikes. I look forward to learning more about this world and maybe someday owning my own custom frame.
The ride included fire roads up Mt Tam and a single track down the ridge to muir Woods area and back up over the hill to Mill Valley. The terrain carried from very shitbike-able to questionable shitbike-able and most made it through without any problems. The last stop for beer really got us thinking about how nice more beer would be. A group of us ditched the last leg of the ride and shortcut to beer and burritos in the park. If you’re ever in Mill Valley, stop by a very shitbike-approved shop Grilly’s for your spicy burrito cravings. With our legs shot, our stomachs full and hands cold with bottles of beer, we all started talking about our favorite frames, components and ideas. I learned more about the history and current state of the business while sitting half drunk inside a tree grove than the hours I spent on the internet. Every guy (or lady) who showed up was the nicest guy (or lady) you have ever met and it was such a great experience to just sit and talk after an epic ride.