Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's For the Kids Man!

Local bike advocacy nut-job and man of action, Scott Bowen, has organized some MTB skills classes coming up in Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. All the info is on the flier there (click on the flier to enlarge it) but if you want to e-mail someone for more info it's or call Scott directly at 707 703 1392.

Bassmaster Nyiri

I often get asked the question, "What's Matt up to?" Well here you go, at least when he's not pressuring his Camelbak accounts into buying more stuff so he can spend his bonuses on belly boats and waders. He can be seen floating around Lake Ilsanjo up at Annadel shouting at fish. He usually wears a fake beard to disguise himself from his former riding buddies but we know it's him because when he's close to shore his flotation device sits a good two feet above the water, exposing Matt's trademark legs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

08 Howarth Park Dirt Crits

Once again it's time to put it all on the line for local bragging rights. The Wednesday Night Dirt Crits are returning to Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. Check it out y'all.

Friday, May 16, 2008

R.I.P Eastside

Some months ago we were saddened to hear that one of our sponsors, Eastside Cycles in Petaluma, closed its doors for good. Owner John Muela opened Eastside in 1999 and moved the shop to the heart of downtown in December of '06. If you were to take a tour of Petaluma's downtown you probably couldn't have found a better location than where Eastside ended up. As luck (or lack thereof) would have it, his landlord raised his already stiff rent about 100% and made keeping the shop afloat next to impossible.
"We gave it our all and made some great friends over the years. That is what I will miss most." John told me. I saw firsthand what John tried to do for the local scene; sponsoring his own team, planning a local crit (that the city squashed because of politics), helping out the Soulcraft Team with mechanical work, and just being an all around good guy. We just wanted to say, "Thank you John", for all your help and for having the balls to chase a dream.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Thing That Should Not Be

I've been riding this trail (and through this gate) for a little over 20 years without incident. The trail winds its way above the hills between Fairfax and Terra Linda/Lucas Valley in Marin. On the other side of the fence is private land and the previous owner didn't care too much if you passed through as long as you closed the gate behind you. At one point I believe that the Open Space sign actually stated that the property had become Open Space or at least it was "officially" O.K. to roll through. On Saturday I see that it's been closed off with barbed wire and at least 10 "no trespassing" signs. You could tell that something (or someone) had drastically changed. Turns out that a few years back a celebrity type bought the property and hired an ex-policeman to manage the property, hence the not-so-subtle "keep the F out" vibe. Also turns out that said celebrity is none other than James Hetfield of Metallica. I really like Metallica, or I did in the early days, and I don't like to judge someone's work on what they do in their personal time but I think I've made up my mind on at least one point; James Hetfield is a paranoid shitbag.

Black Mountain Cycles

When I was a kid growing up in Marin, Point Reyes Bikes was the place to go to see handmade mountain bikes. Potts, Salsa, Ritchey, Cunningham, etc. That place is long gone but Point Reyes has a new bike shop that is a welcome throwback in this age of slat-wall and plastic bikes. Black Mountain Cycles is the name and it's owned by bike industry veteran Mike Varley. He's got some cool stuff in there and if you're rolling through town you should stop and check it out. Or at least go to their website. Mike was kind enough to build up Daniel Boyes' new Option 3 the day before the Sea Otter this year.

Par for the course, we, I mean "I", got the frame to Daniel last minute which forced Mike to build it up in a hurry, which he did without complaint (as far as I know). He did such a great job that Daniel went out and won the 18 and under expert category. No mechanicals. Check out Mike's post about it here. People are always afraid to race on new bikes and I always say that if the bike is well designed and the person putting it together has skills, then you should be able to do a short shakedown on it and race. That's what a lot of pros have to do with new gear so why not the Soulcraft Team? Anyway, thanks to Mike for the expert build and we wish him all the best at his new shop. By the way, check out his article on chain installation. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts you learn something.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Soulcraft Family

Part of the vibe we like to foster here at Soulcraft is one of "Family". Not necessarily the type of family that I want asking us to bail them out of jail, more like the type we like to party and ride with. This is Jason Elliott's kid and he is wearing a custom "onesey" that Matt Nyiri had made some years back. Matt sent one to another friend named Mike Gerlach in Michigan. As Mike's kid outgrew it he asked if anyone else could use it and I told him to send it to Jason in Portland and he did. Here's the story:

"Recently an envelope showed up at my office, the address on that package informed it came from Gerlach Companies Hartland, Wisconsin. I receive multiple packages each week from random commercial auctioneers liquidating businesses so I assumed...
I read the letter prior to looking in the envelope. The first sentence dropped a little Doobie Brothers on me "you don't know me but we are brothers" needless to say I was a bit concerned until I read on. Mike went on to tell me the history of the onesie and its travels through his family... for him to pass it my way was extremely cool. It certainly put the "soul" in the Soulcraft for me. Anyway...thanks for the infant sportswear hook up. I will certainly "pay it forward" when it is no longer of use around the Elliott home."

So the onesey in the photo is actually a "hand-me-down" that was passed from one Soulcraft customer to another. This wasn't something we planned on when we started Soulcraft but we can honestly say that this may well be the pinnacle of the whole "family" thing we envisioned. Big thanks to Mike and Jason for helping foster that vibe.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring Cleaning Ride

Ario Says:

Looks like we are a go on May 11 for the 6th edition of the ABC Rides. Team Soulcraft will have an open invite to all cyclists to help clean up I-Street as we do twice a year now since 2005.

We are also getting great support from other organizations with similar interests in getting our cherished backroads cleaned up. To name a few, 53x11 Coffee has generously donated water bottles and coffee packs while Sonoma County grant authors are very involved with our progress as part of their "Keep Sonoma Clean" program.

Norcal Velo also continues to support the "Tour de Trash" be covering the northern portion of the county. Claire House from the Norcal Velo Women's Team is doing a litter pickup B-Ride on May 4 from the shop and Jonathan Lee is covering longer distance and larger dumping today by way of GPS donated by REI Santa Rosa.

Hope to see you on one of the rides. Check out Tour de Trash for all the details.