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Archive for December, 2011

Let it snow

Posted by Leigh | December 29th, 2011 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Who We Are

photo 22

Despite mother nature’s slow start to the snow season, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the office this week. Mark, our GM, is enjoying some off-piste skiing in Utah. Tyson and Peter are taking turns at Ski Bowl. Josie’s over in Bend probably causing some mischief on the mountain. And Leigh, well, she’s staring down the steep terrain of the Tetons. She took a break from the mountain to give us the low down on life in Jackson, Wyo.

Even when the snow is low, it’s hard to complain about spending the holidays in the Tetons. Walking through the antler arch at JAC, I couldn’t have been happier to be any other place with my family, 8 adults and 5 kids, to seek some mountain adventures. Over the years I’ve made some of the best turns of my life in Teton Village and on Teton pass, but snow is way down this year and it took a little extra motivation to make the best of this winter playground. In a way, I’ve enjoyed the challenge to seek out a stash here or there, earn my turns in the pass or enjoy a snowshoe in Teton park at sunset. As always, Jackson did not disappoint.

Day 1: we were  a large crew on the mountain. Ten out of 13 on snow—impressive for a crew that flew in from Oregon, Vermont, Florida and Italy.  For the first time in 15+ years, I took my first run of the year with my dad, brother-in-law and ripping eight-year-old nephew. All ages were stoked. Over the next several sunny days, I enjoyed skiing and snowboarding with my four year old daughter, husband, parents and siblings. We made the most of low snow on the mountain and explored the magic of Teton park, enjoyed many après beers at the Moose and shared lots of memorable holiday meals.

Winter wishes from Jackson, and I wish mountains everywhere lots of snow in the New Year!
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From our family to yours…

Posted by leighann | December 22nd, 2011 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Who We Are

….Happy Holidays.


Santa’s Carbon Footprint

Posted by leighann | December 20th, 2011 | Filed under Uncategorized

It seems no one is exempt from rethinking their carbon footprint—not even Santa. According to this clever infographic by Ethical Ocean, Santa’s ancient sleigh, oversized reindeer, and energy-sucking factory up north are spreading more than just joy and holiday cheer. Apparently, St. Nick’s yuletide tour could run a cleaner operation.

Land Artisan

Posted by leighann | December 16th, 2011 | Filed under Art, Design
copyright: the anthropologist

© the anthropologist

Stunning. That’s the word we utter when we look at the photos from Jim Denevan’s massive land art on an icy lake in southwestern Siberia.

Some of you might remember him. Back in 2009, this surfer-turned-environmental artist created the world’s largest drawing in the fine sand of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Using chain link fencing and a single engine plane, he carved out more than 1,000 circles covering a swath of land wider than Manhattan.

A year later, Anthropologie commissioned Jim to create a massive drawing for the anthropologist, a thought-provoking website which showcases the work of inspiring individuals. Over the course of two weeks, Jim and his crew carved a startling spiral of circles, along a Fibonacci curve, on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal, eventually converting nine square miles into a work of art. A team of filmmakers, photographers and artists were there to capture every moment and turn it into the breathtaking film—Art Hard.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

To find screenings of Art Hard, visit their website at Arthard.com.

© the anthropologist

© the anthropologist

© the anthropologist

© the anthropologist

© Jim Denevan

© Jim Denevan

© Jim Denevan

© Jim Denevan

© Jim Denevan

© Jim Denevan

Find out more about Jim’s impressive environmental art installations by visiting his website at JimDenevan.com.

Wear it out, pass it on

Posted by leighann | December 13th, 2011 | Filed under Partnerships, Who We Are


Oh Dee, how we love thee, with your tool belt and your two-ton jack. You have always inspired us. And we’re honored that you would wear our shirt long enough to have it shred under the weight of your coveralls. You bring a whole new meaning to our motto: “wear it out, pass it on.” Keep up the good work.

For those who might not remember Dee Williams: she traded in her three bedroom bungalow for an 84-square foot house, a toothbrush and a pickup (biodiesel, that is). And for the past six years, she and her business partner have been helping other people do the same. In their business, Portland Alternative Dwellings, they design and build eco-friendly houses small enough to fit on a trailer. We were so inspired by Dee when we first met that we made a short film about her work. In fact, you can still find it on the Collective.


The Constructeur

Posted by leighann | December 5th, 2011 | Filed under Bikes, Design, Outdoor Sport

Photo by Jonathan Maus

Yes, we love bikes, and we also love people who build bikes, like our friend Tony Pereira. In just six years, Tony has built everything from utility and transportation bikes to randonneuring and touring rigs, road, mountain and cyclocross bikes. Inspired by the French Golden Age, his sleek, fillet-brazed steel bikes have won him awards at the North American Handmade Bike Show and, most recently, at Oregon Manifest’s Constructor’s Design Challenge where he took home top honors for building the ultimate utility bike.  He’s been called a “master of his craft.” And not only by us, but by Rapha who recently selected Tony to craft a one-of-a-kind bicycle for their master framebuilding collection.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Tony at his small shop in Portland to talk about—you guessed it—bikes.

OTG: You’ve been building handcrafted bikes for over 6 years now, everything from single-speed bicycles and randonneuring rigs to touring, road, cyclocross and transportation bikes. With all of these different styles of bikes, what is your overarching design philosophy that ties them all together?
Tony: My design philosophy is informed by two totally separate worlds. One is the early mountain bikes. I started mountain biking in the 80s, and the high end bikes at the time were out of California made by Tom Ritchey and sold by Gary Fisher. Those were all built using fillet-brazing. So when I started building, I was drawn to that technique. But on the other side—the road bikes, city bikes, touring and randonneuring  bikes—they’re all informed by the French Golden Age, the bikes of the 40’s and 50s. They established the form and style of bike that I’ve been so drawn to. And it’s a form that still works. I can build bikes in a style that is still useful. But if I was drawn to bikes of the 1890’s, they wouldn’t translate because the geometry and components have evolved. But by the 40s, geometry had stabilized, and they had figured out what worked well for riding quickly over long distances.

So fillet brazing is a kind of seamless process?
So the fillet is the shape of the joint. I’ve seen it used in manufacturing where there is a rounded edge on a surface which is what they call a filleted edge.

As opposed to lugs?
Right. Lugs are fittings that the tubes slide into. Then it’s a lap joint where you add filler between two pieces. So it’s a dissimilar metal that melts at lower temperature than the parent metal. You’re heating up the main tubes to the melting temperature of the filler, and just the filler melts. That’s what I like about it. It gives you that kind of sculptural flow between the tubes. The other more common lugless joining method that you see today is called TIG welding and that’s how most bikes are built. In the 80’s and before that, TIG welding was expensive. Then in the late 80’s, the cost came down enough that it started to be used in bike building. And ever since, it has taken over for steel and aluminum bikes. But a really good TIG weld, to a trained eye can look good, but to me it never looks as good as the fillet brazing. That’s why I have stuck with fillet brazing as my primary style of building.


Photo Oregon Manifest

In just six years, you’ve already earned a lot of accolades and recognition. You’re doing this collaboration with Rapha, and you won Best of Show this year at Oregon Bike Manifest. But I’m curious about the bike you built for Oregon Bike Manifest— the electro assist, sound system, lockable storage. Where did you find the design inspiration for this bike?
That’s a bike I have been thinking about for a few years. I’ve been intrigued by electro assist for about four years now. I thought that most of the electro assist bikes that have been made so far have been pretty ugly, and I wanted to try and make one that resembled a motorcycle. I also wanted lockable storage on the bike, so you could leave stuff with the bike and walk away.

Yeah, I think that’s one of the limitations of the bicycle. You show up somewhere and you have to take all of these bags off your bike and walk into your meeting or the store or wherever you are. You see bicyclists around and they’ve a helmet and a couple of bags, and they’re sopping wet dragging their things around with them wherever they go. With this bike, you can take your helmet off and leave your stuff behind on the bike. And it locks. With the sound system, I went with this idea of a car replacement. We’re used to having stereos in our car. It’s a little bit goofy— you’re riding down the road and your radio is blaring and people are looking at you funny.

And you had some statistic you threw out about bike commuting….what was it?
So 85% of all of the trips made by car in the US are under five miles.

Wow. That’s a lot.
Yeah, and it’s something like 50- or 60% of trips made by car in the US are under TWO miles. And I’m not the biggest environmentalist or policy wonk, but it just makes sense to me, that if we’re going to change the way we use fossil fuels, then we need to change the way we look at transportation.

Well, that leads me into my next question. I like this quote that you had on the Oregon Manifest’s website: “Most of the products being manufactured today are not meant to last very long. They are made in factories far away by people we will never meet. The modern craft movement —and I do think it is a movement— can help change what people expect from the tools they use and the items they adorn their life with.” So what do you mean by this and how is it going to change things?
Because the internet has made the world such a small place, we are all able to communicate with each other so easily that you can get exactly what you want no matter where you are. Prior to the internet, in order to find a hand-made anything, you had to seek it out. Now everything is more accessible. And it has spurred this modern craft movement. I don’t know if it’s widely perceived as a movement. But there are a lot more craftspeople out there who are able to exist because of things like Etsy. Hopefully it will keep some of the old techniques alive. Fillet brazing is sort of dead in manufacturing. I see it used randomly in things out there and I’m usually surprised

And that’s because?
Stuff is usually welded because it’s faster and cheaper. It doesn’t require as much skill. There are certainly some applications for brazing still, but it’s sort of obsolete.

Ok, one more question. So, let’s say your garage is on fire, and you have to save one bike from your entire collection, which one would it be?
The bike I call the roaring 29er, a single speed styled after a 1920’s cruiser bike. I feel like it’s the bike that got things rolling for me. It won two awards at the 2007 North American Handmade Bike show: best off-road bike and best fillet-brazed bike.  You know, I’m still proud of all of my bikes, but that bike, it’s kind of different.

‘Cross Dispatch: Trench and Trails

Posted by Guest | December 2nd, 2011 | Filed under Bikes, Partnerships

Around here, we’re big fans of people who push boundaries and challenge conventional thinking. That’s why our sponsorship of the Gates Center Track/River City Cyclocross team was a no-brainer; they combined single speeds and belt drives and introduced the duo to the world of cyclocross racing. And they did it with style. Here, in the third and final in a series of dispatches from the team, John Walrod takes the Succinct Trench for an unexpected ride.

Innovation is born from pushing expectations and refining design – two things that, I believe, NAU does while the rest of us sleep. In an attempt to match their constant innovation, I took it upon myself to do a little field testing of the Succinct Trench while on a recent rainy trip to San Francisco.

Here are a few images and my impressions of what turned out to be a superior garment:

Stevil Kinevil of AllHailTheBlackMarket.com. Thanks Jenni Oh for mugshot.

Stevil Kinevil of AllHailTheBlackMarket.com. Thanks Jenni Oh for mugshot.

I was in town with my crew for the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships and to fly the flag for our Gates Carbon Drive/ River City Bicycles Team. After a few nights of heavy shenanigans that turned out to be less than performance enhancing, I was ready to go. An hour before the start I realized that I wasn’t exactly on the start list for this event, so I stole this guy’s number at registration and smeared my face with fake blood so nobody would ask any questions. The trench concealed my stolen number (666 – not kidding) long enough for me to negotiate a semi-sanctioned 667 (under the stage name Chet Texas).

It was finally time to start. The promoters had decided to do a “Le Mans” style start in which the bikes get left on the start grid and the riders march 1/4 mile away for a running start. While the other riders were forced to parade around in their lycra and look like racers, I was able to cloak myself in the woods and gain the holeshot:

Succinct Trench in 1st Place at the World Championships.

In 1st Place at the World Championships!

Now, cyclocross is a brutal sport – aerobic, anaerobic, skills, variables, booze, all of it. After demonstrating dominance in both tactical and race situations, I chose to spectate for awhile :

The Succinct tails were a perfect barrier between me and that clearly muddy log - who knew it had a built in seat? Very clever, NAU.

The Succinct tails were a perfect barrier between me and that clearly muddy log - who knew it had a built in seat?

Luckily for us, an astute spectator observed this and was able to collect some footage.

This photo (Thanks Scottypaz) elegantly showcases the knee length of a traditional businessman’s trench coat while also giving a nod to the impervious fabric that kept me warm and dry in a muddy Golden Gate Park.

This photo (Thanks Scottypaz) showcases the knee length of a traditional businessman’s trench coat while also giving a nod to the impervious fabric that kept me warm and dry in a muddy Golden Gate Park.

Overall, the NAU Succinct Trench Coat performed extremely well. Its split tail allowed me to run, jump, pedal, drink, and commentate all without a hitch. Believe it or not, it escaped the weekend without a single blemish (unlike me). I cannot say enough about how well it worked for concealing my identity when needed, acting as a dry seat, keeping the elements out, and adding that bit of stylistic flair that more traditional cycling clothing just can’t offer. Well done, Nau. Well done.