12 Daze of Summer.

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12 Daze of Summer

Two years ago, with the help of some really great friends, I managed to fulfill a long time dream. After working in bicycle shops for over 10 years, both east and west coast, I couldn’t help but feel like shop life is a sitcom that writes itself daily. The range of characters you encounter both as colleagues and customers is fascinating bruh. Originally I wanted to shoot each episode myself and keep things lo-fi, but the more I shared the idea with folks, the more they offered their expertise. Before I knew it we had two shooters, lights, boom mics… the whole nine, and 12 Daze of Summer was coming to life.

You can read about what prompted my release of this video here.

I just want to thank everyone who was involved. The homie Christian was coming off of a accident where he was hit by a car while working his courier gig. Dude trooped through each scene like a true soldier. Shout outs to Pat and Frankie for fucking with the vision and capturing everything! Ya put on OD for the cause, many thanks! Big ups to the crew of actors! I can’t believe you guys were down to help bring it to life! Thank you for all your patience and efforts. Again, not possible without you. And last but most definitely not least, my extremely talented wife Diana for never letting me deviate from the course. For coming through the night of the shoot, watching the clock, and cracking that whip. You’re the real MVP shorty 😘

With no further ado, 12 Daze of Summer:

 

Breakfast with Tony

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Tony’s Bicycles

When I first moved to New York back in February of 2010, I had the privilege of working with some great people out in Astoria. Before arriving in the city I scoped out all the Craigslist adds for spots hiring and Tony’s Bicycles was the only shop that responded. I spoke with Tony’s son-in-law Dino who simply said, “Pass by the shop when you get here and we’ll talk.”
I’ll never forget the day we “talked.” I shmobbed my road bike from Bushwick to Astoria on a day that was around 37 degrees in a cotton t-shirt, dickies shorts and some Chuck Taylors. Mind you it was sunny and I had just finished the pilgrimage in a ’89 Toyota Land Cruiser, from San Diego. I didn’t fully understand what winter was just yet. I also didn’t have a smart phone, so it was directions written on piece of paper for me. Definitely took an unplanned detour. I arrive at Tony’s Bicycles and go inside to find Dino Gortex’ed from head to toe, smoking a cigarette in the shop with the front door open. I’m standing there sweating, with some bullshit San Diegan clothes on, and winter is rushing in. Dino looks at me, now shivering from the cold, and my old ass Specialized Allez (with fenders and a rack) then says, “So you like, touring or somethin’ bro?”
He went on to tell me that Tony would be getting back from Greece in the next couple of days and I he would ultimately say whether or not I had a job. That Monday I came in to a completely different shop. I was maybe a half an hour early and the shop was already open. I was greeted by blaring Greek music from the shop boombox in the back, and Tony. He was at sitting at his counter reading his newspaper (also in Greek) while I sat and had my cream cheese and jelly roll. He was pretty much silent, I remember wondering if he was shy about speaking English or something because he literally didn’t say shit to me. I mean, here’s this new kid who’s going to be working for/with you, it’s just the two of you in the shop, you don’t want to know anything about me? He barely raised his head from the news paper that first morning.

Breakfast With Tony

 Over the years I’d come in early and have breakfast with Tony more times than I can count. Tony would lace me with gem after gem of life knowledge. I’ve always been the type to listen if you have a story to share, especially if you’re older than me, and man did he have some stories. One thing I know for certain is Tony loved his family. He put on day after day for his people. He would open up his bike shop at 7:30 in the morning (even though the hours said they open at 10am) AFTER going to the gym. Not a single day passed where someone from the neighborhood didn’t stop in to say hello or honk from the street yelling (in Greek of course) into the building to get Tony’s attention.

12 Daze of Summer

 Tony and Dino gave me the opportunity to manage their second bike shop, which ended up being the set for a short pilot I created called 12 Daze of Summer. I wrote the script back in December of 2015 and we shot everything in January of 2016. A week after our one day shoot I finished a super rough edit, then decided I didn’t have enough footage and I didn’t like how my jokes played out on-screen. I had no idea that my 10 page script translated into ten minutes of screen time after editing. I also had no idea that 10 minutes of screen time generally requires ten hours of shooting. The learning curve was insanely steep and I was getting swept by the current. Time goes on, life happens and sometimes projects get scrapped.
Sunday was different though, I reopened Adobe Premiere for the first time in a LONG TIME and was compelled to put in all the work to finish editing the project. When I was writing the credits I wanted to add my list thank yous where I would get to give Tony a shout out, but I felt he deserved more than that. Before I went to sleep Sunday night I erased the whole list of thanks I’d wrote and ended the piece with “Dedicated to Antonios Karpathakis.” I’ve been thinking a lot about Tony lately and yesterday morning I found out that he passed away Sunday night. This didn’t come as a surprise because I was already aware of his health conditions, but it’s never easy.

Family

 I can’t tell you why I decided to finish editing that piece on Sunday, and I can’t tell you why I scrapped my whole thank you list and made that dedication, but I can tell you Tony was a huge part of my life and I consider him family. I’ve celebrated Greek Easter with his family, eating pig off of a spit, while drinking red wine and smoking cigars. Taking shots of ouzo and raki, eating lemon potatoes and loukoumades. The laughter, the cheers, the celebration of life. I hope someday to make it to Tony’s island, Nisyros, and pay homage to the OG.
Ευχαριστώ Tony

North Face Commutr Glove Review

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North Face Commutr Gloves

Fall is here my G and winter is right around the corner. I typically don’t wear gloves while I’m out riding unless it’s off road, but it’s glove season. When I was a kid riding the BMX, I was never a glove person unless I was riding trails. Cycling in a city with four seasons requires the use of gloves no matter who you are. There’s just no way around it, if you’re going to ride in the winter, you need gloves. Right now my commute from Woodside to SoHo is about 25-30 minutes. I think identifying the amount of time you need to be outside is crucial when purchasing a set of winter riding gloves. The rule of thumb when dressing for cold weather is; to be as close to your start body temp when the ride is over. You have to account for how long you’re going to be riding, what the temperature is, how intense the ride will be… The list goes on, but those are the major points to cover. Everyone loves the layer conversation and having options is everything. I never thought I’d be so deep in the glove game, but I love riding my bike and your fingers are always one of the first things to get cold when it’s brick out. Layering gloves in deep winter is always an option for longer rides! I’ve owned a shitload of gloves in the 8 years I’ve been living in NYC. Everything from full cotton, neoprene, lobster fingers ect ect and now these jersey faced fleece joints.

North Face Catalogue

Breakdown

Jersey faced fleece, I honestly had to look it up. When you flip the glove inside out you can see the easily recognizable short fleece, but the outside is smooth and tightly woven. My favorite feature is the leather on the palms and finger contact points. They have a small amount of stretch and are super easy to get on and off. I think they did a great job of balancing a sleek glove with all the function you need for the quick rides in brick city or the longer autumn jaunts. The bits of reflective help when hand signal at night so that’s a plus. Hey kids, always remember safety first. Aside from those features they also have a clip system which attaches the two gloves to one another for storage. Official tissue.

My commuter currently has risers and bar tape.

Verdict

Now that I’ve had them for a minute I can say they’re definitely holding up. I really like the leather additions, they help a ton with gripping a brake lever. I know where my cut off is with them for sure though, 30 minutes with moderate wind, 37/38 degrees is the bottom. Anything lower in temperature and I wear a more insulated glove. Same with rain, if it’s sprinkling, you’ll be fine with these but if it’s pouring, fuhgettaboutit. Side note, the big homie Gabe busted one of the seams soon after copping. It’s kinda funny, we both copped the same gloves separately without any prior conversation. They have a very clean aesthetic and I always get compliments on how dope these gloves look. North Face does offer a lifetime warranty, but shout to Gabe’s Mom who repaired the glove herself. This may have been a one off, but Gabe also breaks EVERYTHING. So there’s that. The North Face Commutr looks great and works with your phone from what I hear. I personally don’t try to use my phone when I have gloves on, but if that’s your thing, NF got you fam. You already knew they’re official. It’s North Face. If you want a sleek glove that’ll hold you down in “moderately cold weather,” look no further.

PNW Pt. 2 – Portland aka Club Wet Wet

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Club Wet Wet

After spending a couple of days in Seattle I made my way down to Portland with the rest of the Chrome crew. If you haven’t peeped the write up on MFG Cross at Magnuson, head over to Cat6Chismes.com for that good recap one time.

 

It had been years, mandatory selfie with mans.

Before copping my ticket I hit up the homie San Agustin to see if he’d be around while I was in town. I lucked out and we made plans to go ride some mountain bikes. Mother nature had other ideas, so we ended up checking out forest park on our CX bikes. Club Wet Wet.  

 

Wet Wet, not muddy.

When I seen Chris pull up with shorts on and waterproof shoe covers, I knew I fucked up. Here we were in this Wet Wet environment, and I’m rocking some Adidas Climacool joints. It pretty much rained the entire time we rode. Regular Portland vibes. One of my favorite exchanges from the weekend was, “how long have you been living in Portland?”

“Who me, oh I’ve been WET for over ten years now.”

 

Firelane 5 was closed.

C6 vibes

After chasing Chris down the trail I followed him across town to Velo Cult, where we grabbed some lunch.

 

S O A K E D

Velo Cult

I’d been to the shop when it was in San Diego, so I kind of had an idea of what to expect, but I was I wrong, that shops come a long way from the shop in SD. It’s basically a mountain bike museum chronicling the glory years of 26″ rompers. Great place to pass by for some solid eye candy! Also, We got the spicy sando, that shit was spicy fo’real fo’real! So good! Kuddos to them for not being afraid of making a hot sandwich. Came through with mad raw jalapenos n all that! Sorry, no food pics.

 

Dueling, truing.

Portland family vehicle.

Pursuit in Portland.

21st Ave Bicycles

Whenever I’m in a new place I like to try and check out at least one bike shop. While on my way to meet up some family for drinks, I passed a spot that had a Crust hanging in the window! The shop was 21st Avenue Bikes, & there was no way I was going to pass this one up. Besides, it was raining (big surprise) and I figured I might catch a dry window if I hung out for a minute.

 

Wide Bar Gang

The folks in the shop were super friendly and welcoming. They took a photo of my C6 jacket, I think a friend of theirs has a shop called “Cat 6.” The more we chatted the more I remembered how fun it can be to work in a shop. From the mutual appreciation for bicycles and their nuances to the kooky build/mod requests, it takes a kind soul to appreciate these things.

 

Waterproof container action, shmoney.

Chrome HQ Portland

This trip was more than I could have asked for. I had the privilege of racing bicycles with my awesome coworkers at Chrome out in Seattle. Shouts to the Pizza Pals! I got to reconnect with a bunch of old BMX homies who all ride adult bikes now. Not to mention hanging out at the Chrome Industries HQ for a couple days to peep all the new fire on deck. I’m hyped to be a part of the current wave (insert shaka emoji)

 

Chrome Store Managers Photo by Matt Reyes

That wraps up my time in the Northwest. Much love and appreciation to all the fam that I was able to link up with. Y’all made the whole trip special and kept me in smiling non stop. Shouts to all my Chrome Industries family, I fox wit ya heavy my G’s.

Peace!

 

FNG at Chrome SoHo

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It’s a new world

For a little over a month now I’ve been working as the new store manager at the Chrome Industries store in SoHo. It’s been challenging to say the least. I’m constantly asked, “How’s the new job?”

To which I often respond, “It’s cool.”

 

chrome bike blender

This is the first iteration of my bicycle blender.

The job itself is actually pretty cool. Chrome has always had a reputation for being a company that throws rad parties and events. I came on at a pretty busy time of year, there were a few events already scheduled for the month of April including the Red Hook Crit party. As the manager it’s my job to make sure everything goes smoothly, and it of course did.

chrome rhc party

RHC pre party goers at the Chrome store.

Chrome pouch game poppin’

A big part of the the store is our in house customs and repairs. We have sewing machines on site and can customize a bag or repair one under our 365 to life guaranty. This is the area of the shop where I have the least experience, and by least I mean almost none. For me this is the most interesting part of the job. I’ve been taking the time to learn as much as I can about the machines as well as the art of sewing. After a few weeks, with some help from our seamstress, I made a hip pouch.

chrome burrito pouch

Spare tube, tools, co2 inflator & SF burrito courtesy Kuya Elmer.

I did everything with the exception of the tape, (black trim) we have a separate machine we use for taping and I’m not really comfortable using that one yet. It’s like riding someone’s bike or driving their car, you have to become familiar with the gear before you can rock out.  I’d always wanted one of the Chrome hip pouches but since I have the old school North Face ones, it just didn’t happen. With the opportunity to make one, I couldn’t resist. Sewing isn’t easy, but it is extremely rewarding. Being able to use something you made is a great feeling.

If this pouch had wheels, they’d never fall off.

I’m on my Zen shit

Spring is almost over and the “season” will soon be here. It’s wild to think how much my life has changed over the course of the last year. I’ll spare you all the long drawn out story filled with adversity and triumph, & leave you with this:

sea of buddha

MOOD (photo by @wavebaptist)

 

 

 

MASH Work Overnight in the Blizzard

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The blizzard neglect is mad real ya!

How about that random blizzard we just got a couple days after it was 65 degrees? Super windy with flurries for hours. I meant to bring my lock up jawn inside, but totally forgot once the weather became gross. Lupita sat out in the blizzard and eventually under a bunch of fluffy white snow. Come today and I need the bike to get out to the Monster Track pre-party and it’s literally under ten inches of frozen snow. I tried to strong arm it and just pull the bike up through the snow, to no avail. Eventually I just used my Tims to kick through the snow until I could break the bike free without busting any spokes. All’s well that ends well right? When I pulled it out, the wheels brought some souvenirs they couldn’t let go of.

mash work blizzard snow

So much snow in my drivetrain!

mash work blizzard snow

Chunks on chunks on chunks

mash work blizzard snow nyc

Never let go Jack.

Of course I had to shoot a couple of flicks and share.

mash work blizzard snow nyc dura ace 7710

The disrespect!

She’s out in the sun defrosting at the moment.

mash work blizzard snow nyc HED BElgiums

This is exactly why you ride HED Belgiums

The neglect is real around here!

 

I’ve already wrote a review praising this bicycle for it’s versatility and solid nature. ( I know someone who cracked 2 already, but he a BIG man that get’s it POPPIN’ in the streets bai, shouts out to the C6 racing team ya!)

That’s all I got for now, oh yeah! I got accepted to the Red Hook Crit, but I also start a new job tomorrow so hopefully they’ll show me some love with the day off! It’s actually pretty funny that I’m going to be planning one of the biggest RHC parties in NYC yet trying to race the event the following day.

That’s all I got for now folks. If you’re going to be at Red Lantern tonight for the MT party, see you there!

 

Peace!

Meet Your Maker: Firefly @ Maglia Rosa

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I’ve been meaning to get out to Maglia Rosa for a Meet Your Maker night for some time now. Having been to the shop once before, I already knew I was in for a treat. Maglia Rosa is a small shop in the Carrol Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. A cafe/bicycle boutique with enough bicycle eye candy to keep you dreaming of your next build. Two things Italians are particularly good at, coffee and bicycles, the shops owner Manuel Mainardi is no exception.

Frame lug, titanium, frame, builder, firefly

Great bikes, good drinks and good people.

Space is pretty limited, so admission is by rsvp and fills up pretty quickly. Those interested should give Maglia Rosa a follow on Instagram for the latest news.

Frame lug, titanium, frame, builder, firefly

The Founders, and 3/4 of the Firefly team. L-R Tyler Evans, Kevin Wolfson, and Jamie Medeiros.

At about 7:30 it was showtime. Tyler, Kevin and Jaime spent sometime breaking down their personal origins in the business, as well as some of the trials and tribulations they encountered along their journey. All three having roots/settled in the Boston area, decided to stay when their former employer, Independent Fabrications, moved to New Hampshire. I won’t recap their entire story here, but if you can ever get the backstory behind their first shop, I highly recommend it!

Frame lug, titanium, frame, builder, firefly

All the pretty colors, except orange, no orange… not yet at least.

Part of that backstory from their first shop led to Jamie’s interest in anodization as an alternative to decals. They now offer some of the most eye catching Ti finishes around. Check out their Instagram page for some in house shoots of their beautiful machines.

Frame lug, titanium, frame, builder, firefly

Tyler breaking down part of their tube butting process.

Another bit I was particularly impressed by, Jamie has a formula that helps determine where and how much tube butting is appropriate according to the physical build and cycling needs of the rider. It’s one thing to buy a butted tube set and cut it to size, it’s another level of customization when you’re individually butting tubes for each frame you build.

Frame lug, titanium, frame, builder, firefly

When the customer initially want a pump peg, then realizes they’d rather have their rear brake cable on the bottom of the top tube way more. You get a sweet, raw lug to pass around!

Between the hors d’oeuvres, the drinks and the great guest speakers, last night was pretty rad. Huge thank you to the guys over at Maglia Rosa for hosting and the Firefly team for sharing!

Maglia Rosa

Maglia Rosa store front.

Peace!

Cavite Fixed Gear, watch out for the jeepneys & tricycles!

How the I stumbled upon the fixed gear scene in Cavite.

While on vacation in the Philippines I had the pleasure of meeting up the dudes from Cavite Fixed Gear. I had been on vacation for almost a month in both PI and Vietnam and had only had a chance to ride a rental beach cruiser so far. I was pretty much going through withdrawals by this point and needed a fix. At some point on my trip I was skimming through the explore page on IG and found @CVTFX.

The Cavite Fixed Gear IG page

I wasted no time and slid right in the DM! It took a while, but eventually someone got back to me. “Where are you located in Cavite? We can hook you up. Just send us a message when you arrive and lets set a ride.”

My heart damn near jumped out of my chest. My wife made fun of me for a solid day because of my sheer glee and giddy behavior. Coordinating schedules took a while but eventually I was able to link up with VJ from Cavite Fixed Gear and get some quality pedaling in.

Now, cyclists are cool people, I can’t stress this enough. Back in the day we would load up someones car with bmx’ers and head out on a road trip, the hospitality never ceased. Sharing spots, meals and couches, the camaraderie among cyclists is unwavering. Eventually I was able to meet with VJ from Cavite Fixed Gear on a day when he was off work and I was not out of town. He was a short jeepney ride away. VJ Scooped me up in his car and brought be back to his house where he gave me the option of riding either of his bikes, sooooo…

The bike VJ let me borrow

Yeah, this NJS banger was HELLA fun bruh! (Thank you again VJ, you the REAL MVP!)

He then hit me off with the ill VELODOOM fit and told me that we’d be riding out to meet his crew for coffee. Sounds like a plan to me. We saddled up and made out way down Aguinaldo Highway.

At some point we pulled off the highway and the terrain became less developed and all I could see was farmland. Then I see a bunch of rollers and some dirt jumps, eventually I remembered the pics from the groups feed where they’re at a pump track and it all made sense. We roll up and there’s a container with a bike shop inside and a coffee dispenser out front, I assume this is the coffee we’ll be having. I live in NYC but I’m not a coffee snob by any means, as a matter of fact there were some spots (I’m talking to you Banaue) where I ordered coffee and they handed me a cup of hot water with a nescafe package. But no no, not these dudes, they had the portable burner and the AeroPress on deck!

Bring out the burner!

Everyone brought mugs, full water bottles to be boiled for coffee, jams, countless coffee blends, and pan de sal (freshly baked sweet rolls) to make for an excellent afternoon at the trails. I was blown away, these folks got chillin’ down to a science! I just need to take a second note: the Filipino hospitality here. Being I had no idea where we were going or what we were getting into, I didn’t bring a mug. One of the guys offered me his mug, before he himself had a cup of coffee. This small gesture speaks volumes about the people of the Philippines and their inherent hospitality.

So AERO my guy

After lots of coffee, snacks, and jokes, the guys got to work. They had been planning an off road race at the pump track and shared a bunch of their ideas with me. Keith, who’s an avid cyclist as well as a professional photographer and videographer, started to do some story boarding for a short video to advertise the race. I was stoked. Haha, getting the chance to hang with all these new people and watch them put together a promo video for their upcoming race was rad! Rankin would be the star of the promo and boy was he READY. After doing a bunch of track sprints in the grass and getting splashed in the face while yelling at the camera he still had the biggest smile on his face. Everyone shared a ton of laughs while the creative process unfolded.

ACTION!

Rankin getting his tracklocross on

Good times were definitely had by all. I really wish I could make it back for the race, I know it’s going to be amazing.

Making the trip to Bmx Cycle Center

At some point during the day Keith mentioned that I should try and make it out to BMX Cycle Center in Quezon City. He told me that it’s a rad shop with lots of inventory and a cool vibe. Sold!

The next week my wife and I made the journey out to Quezon City to check out Mark Astilla at the shop. I really dig the way they have their hands in everything. They throw events, they have their own bmx line, a fixed gear line and of course a full service department… One stop shop.

A couple of The Project’s build outs

 

When I walked in the first thing I noticed was the amount of product on the sales floor. Lots of frames, a couple of which were raw. I was immediately drawn to the raw frames, which ended up being handmade in the Philippines by master frame builder Ave Maldea. Stoked. I’d done a little bit of research about cycling in PI and had come across his name numerous times. There’s actually a really cool piece on him called “Man of Steel” that you can check out on youtube.

Ave Maldea, hand made in the Philippines

I got to chat with Mark for a bit about the riding scene in Pi and about the projects he has in the works. Good stuff, good people, fun bikes. If you’re ever around Metro Manila BMX Cycle Center is worth the quick jaunt.

Mark Astilla and myself in BMX Cycle Center. Photo, Diana Diroy

Back in NYC

That’s all I got for now y’all! I’m back in NYC and reunited with my babies! If you’re down to pedal, hit me up!

Portrait of yours truly by Keith Dador

 

Peace!