TCI Friday

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I am the luckiest guy you know. I do what I want. I work with people I like and trust. I’ve made a living (mostly) in the bike industry without having to compromise the things I believe in or represent products that aren’t the best in their class. This is a singular experience.

First, I wrote for RKP, which some of you will remember. I only ever wanted to write, and Padraig gave me a platform to do that. We had complete autonomy to express only the things we wanted to express, and we had a readership that supported us in doing that. If any of our advertisers ever had a thought about anything I wrote there, I never heard a word about it.

Then I worked for Seven Cycles, a custom framebuilder with a factory 5 miles, roughly, from my front door. Like any small company, Seven has/had its challenges, things you would have liked to have done better, but I worked there for nearly a decade and never questioned why we did things the way we did. A deep, deep knowledge of frame design, material science, and manufacturing methodology contributed to a product that, while I don’t work there anymore, I still believe produces the best bike you can buy.

After Seven I started TCI with Padraig to shift our focus away from the niche-iest parts of cycling culture toward a much more inclusive approach. We vowed to be reader-supported, and when we conceded that we would need corporate sponsorship, we drew bold lines around editorial independence in advance. Better to go down in flames and shut down the site then become corporate pimps (actually, in this metaphor, I suppose we are not the pimps…).

Simultaneously I’ve been able to cobble together a consulting practice whose main client is Chris King Precision Components. Again, no need to compromise standards. King makes the best stuff in the right way and working with them has actually taught me a lot about what responsible corporate leadership looks like. My other clients are shops run by people I like and respect.

Truthfully, there’s a cost to all this. I make a fraction of the money I made when I worked in software and publishing. But money can’t buy you love. Or integrity. Or contentment. So I’m the luckiest guy you know. I’ve been able to work in the industry that matches my passions, and I’ve gotten to work for people of immaculate character who have taught me more than I knew there was to learn. I sometimes joke that the number of companies, even in our small industry, for whom I’d be comfortable working, goes down every year. I look at the way our cohort does things, and I cringe. There are better, more honest, more sustainable ways forward.

This week’s TCI Friday asks: Of all the companies in the bike biz you’ve had the pleasure to deal with, who would you consider working for? Let’s assume money is not an object, and let’s say you get to do whatever it is you want for that company. What’s your bike industry dream job?

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Join the conversation
  1. Jeff vdD says

    Cycling Tips
    Life Time/Leadville Race Series

  2. Barry Johnson says

    Road ID
    Velo Orange
    Walz Caps

    This list is of the companies whom I have had the most positive and memorable communication and experiences doing business, returns and riding pleasure.

  3. tommilani says

    White Industries — I’d bring back the urban platform pedals
    Paul Components — they seem to have more fun than most companies
    TCI — if only you published fiction

  4. bhackathorne says

    I have my dream job right now, but for the third and final act of my life:

    Past: US Postal Team Mechanic – record all the messed up stuff going on, see the world, write a tell all book, don’t get any of the negativity blame game, cash in on the TV interviews.

    Present: IMBA National Trail Crew – Travel to, build up, ride on trails across the nation.

    Future: Red Bull Rampage Course Designer for Bomb the Mons – Enduro event in the vein of Megavalanche on Mars starting on top of Olympus Mons. Race to the bottom.

  5. johnrom719 says

    DeFeet socks. Yep, socks. Dig ’em. You put ’em on yer feet and forget about ’em until someone says, “cool socks.” Wouldn’t it be great to help people not think about their feet on a long bike ride? Unless they look cool?

  6. dr sweets says

    Bike manufacturers/components:

    Paul Components


    Cat Fancy

  7. cramissor says

    I think we might be running neck-and-neck for the luckiest guy award. I have lived a few professional career lives including working for a bicycle company and many years as a shop mechanic. If we are playing the “money is no object” game then I’ll add the “if I were not happily married with two kids” modifier (which is ridiculous because it’s the main reason I am actually the luckiest guy, but…). I suppose I would like to try my hand as a world tour mechanic. Would I be good enough? Would the pressure and constant travel be exciting or ultimately excruciating? It would be interesting to try it.

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