April 2010


The Centaur

Trans-Iowa 6 begins at 4am tomorrow morning. Ari and Russ left today – that’s literally 1/2 of our normal staff. Our hope and prayer is that they make it to the finish line with all limbs and mental faculties intact. There is always hope.

They’ll ride 3 centuries back to back in the gravel wilderness of Iowa in less than 36 hours.

Most people don’t even know what the Trans-Iowa is. Around here, it’s been the only thing we’ve talked about for the last 3 months (and the only thing Russ and Ari have thought about for much longer). Their level of commitment has been impressive, inspiring, and routinely mind-blowing since late fall. They maintained a consistent Wednesday night ride all winter, sometimes riding into the wee hours. Their overnight centuries were the most impressive of all. Not just the fact that they did it, but the fact that they could recover and be productive and useful the next day. I remember recently hearing Russ remark, “well, it was just a hundred miles…”

Rusty Bushwacker

The weather report was bleak at the start of the week, but it’s grown brighter as the day grew closer. Ari made his final bike choice only a day or two ago. The choice was whether to ride the juggernaut Fargo for wider tires on wet gravel, or the feathery La Cruz since he’d probably be carrying the bike anyway. He settled on the La Cruz. Russ rode his Gunnar Crosshairs. His tax return went almost completely to making the bike race-ready. The man has priorities.

They’ll return bodily  – Russ to class and Ari to work – by 10am on Monday. I expect mental return to take place sometime on Wednesday.

Ride well, mes frères.

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We’ve just received our Seafaring custom saddle, hand-carved by Kara Ginther, back from Topanga Creek Bicycles in LA. Topanga was the last stop on the SaddleWorks traveling exhibit we created this winter.  It’s good to have it back in the shop.

The whole experience surrounding the exhibit was inspirational. We at NCC have been inspired to continue incorporating more handmade items in our selection and in our personal use. We’ve also felt liberated to host different types of events that aren’t necessarily limited to typical bike shop stuff. We’re hoping to host a fine beer/wine tasting this summer in cooperation with the local and fabulous Inboden’s Market, to name one.

We’re happy to report Kara’s response to the whole experience was positive as well. In her words: “I cannot thank North Central Cyclery, Salvagetti, and Topanga Creek Cycles enough for coming together to host SaddleWorks.   It has been amazing to leave the impersonal world of web pages and digital images to experience the warmth and enthusiasm of real live people and face-to-face interactions.  So much has opened up for me since my initial online debut last October.  I am thrilled to be working on projects for The Tweed Run in London and Salone del Mobile 2010 for Wallpaper* magazine.  I have been able collaborate with bike builders nationwide, displaying my work at venues such as NAHBS 2010 in Virginia.  I’ve even been in contact with Brooks directly and am so happy to have their support!   I am thankful every day for those who have gone out of their way to promote a beginning (and yes, at times, starving) artist; it is at once humbling and incredibly motivating.  Thanks to you all, I have high hopes for the future of Kara Ginther Leather.”

Now, everybody pony up and order a saddle.