Category Archives: Bike Industry

Tim Blumenthal: The National Fight for People Who Bike

Bikes Belong Staff Portraits
PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal. Photo courtesy PeopleForBikes

Bike advocacy is a sweeping term that captures a huge array of work. Fighting for better bike infrastructure on neighborhood streets, building new mountain bike trails, organizing charity rides, lobbying elected officials and many other things fit under that rather large umbrella of advocacy. Some might see that diversity of advocacy issues as a problem–that lots of sub-interests competing for limited funding and public attention will curb success for all. PeopleForBikes sees that variety as a boon to bicycling in America. The national advocacy organization helps fund everything from protected bike lanes to mountain bike parks; lobbies government agencies and elected officials; partners with professional cycling teams; provides grant funding; organizes their own charity ride; and much more. They’re guided by the basic principle that the more people ride, the better bicycling will be for everyone, regardless of what type of riding they do.

With over three decades of work in advocacy and bike racing, PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal is a fitting leader. He got his start as a cycling journalist for publications such as VeloNews and Bicycling, worked with NBC on cycling coverage for seven Olympics, and spent 11 years at the helm of the International Mountain Bike Association before joining PeopleForBikes. I spoke to Blumenthal about PeopleForBikes’ work, his career in the cycling world, the value of combining cycling-as-sport and cycling-as-transportation in advocacy work, the strengths and shortcomings of American bike advocacy, and more.

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Andy Bokanev: Photographing the Life Within Racing

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Andy Bokanev on a ride in LA. Photo by Kelly Nowels.

Lauding the Internet for breaking down the barriers between creators and their potential audience is so commonplace it’s cliche. But without that easy access to eager Instagrammers, tweeters, and bloggers, Andy Bokanev almost definitely would not have had his blazing fast rise from hobbyist photographer to professional. In the course of about a year he went from shooting local cyclocross to embedding with pro teams like Hagens Berman and Rapha Condor at major US races and working with big brands such as Specialized and Castelli. In a similar vein as his cycling photography contemporaries Emily Maye, Emiliano Granado, and Daniel Wakefield Pasley, Bokanev’s work centers as much on life around bike racing–the race prep, the mechanics, the bored hours whiled away at the crappy motel–as it does on the actual racing. I sat down with Bokanev in a loud pub in Seattle to talk about his foray into photography, his efforts to break into professional work, cycling’s attraction, his photography influences, his immigration to the US, and more.

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The Builder – Max Kullaway

The Builder – Max Kullaway from Loaded Pictures on Vimeo.

Max Kullaway’s history in frame building run deep. He got his start in New England welding for Merlin then Seven. He later moved to Seattle where he started his own company 333 Fabrications and builds for Hampsten and Davidson. For more, check out the interview Max did with The Bicycle Story back in 2012. In this neat short film from Loaded Pictures, Max talks about his frame building philosophies, his love for bikes and making things by hand, and more.

Firefly’s Kevin Wolfson: Carving a Place in Boston Bike Builder History

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Firefly founders (L-R) Kevin Wolfson, Jamie Medeiros, and Tyler Evans. Photo from Firefly Bicycles flickr.

When Firefly Bicycles came onto the scene in 2011, the cycling world quickly took notice of their colorful anodizes graphics and clean titanium welds. The three founders, Jamie Medeiros, Tyler Evans, and Kevin Wolfson launched Firefly after jumping ship from Independent Fabrications when the company announced plans to move its operations to New Hampshire. In the years since launching, Firefly has established itself among the upper tiers of custom frame builders. I spoke to Kevin about the company and their frame building philosophies, their backgrounds with I.F. and beyond, American frame building’s deep roots in New England, and more.

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Cosmo Catalano: the Snarky, Outsider Voice of Professional Racing

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Cosmo on the set of The Week In Bike, AKA his home office. Screengrab from YouTube.

As with any industry, cycling media is often defined by its relationships to advertisers. Punches are pulled, criticisms dulled, and praise amplified resulting in the maintenance of the status quo. Cyclocosm’s Cosmo Catalano stands among the notable exceptions. An industry outsider, he’s emerged as a sharp race analyst and unabashed critic of the problems he sees in professional racing. His weekly video series How The Race Was Won breaks down the intricacies of major professional road races. The Week In Bike examines and critiques the goings on of professional teams, the UCI, smaller races and more. Both are done with a trademark snarky humor. I spoke with Cosmo about his work with Cyclocosm over the past nine years, his evolution as a race analyst, his own forays into bike racing, the ongoing problems in pro cycling, and much more.

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