A Bike for Prince

I don't brush with fame very often, and when I do I try not to make a big deal of it. The moment is fleeting, and I always feel empty inside like there was something bigger supposed to happen after I get paid. I received an inquiry two weeks ago that sounded something like this:
RUSH ORDER 2 Day Delivery Request: custom purple mountain bike, must be 10 speed, no logos or markings, size medium, a large cushy black saddle.
There was never a mention of who the bike was for, just "a show." I thought maybe for a TV show. When I asked for whom, the company replied, "an artist." I had only a little interest in who the artist may have been, but I was more interested in completing the project to their satisfaction since there was a significant fee to apply for our guarantee to have the project completed by the specified date.

I started researching the company requesting the bike, and I saw they put on concerts for pretty big names, Prince being the biggest one, and all the tickets for that show listed as sold out. I didn't look at the dates very closely, but just if there was something I wanted to see. There wasn't. I figured as part of a negotiation with an entertainment company I should get a pair of tickets to something exclusive in addition to my normal fee , since they were asking so much of my company to deliver a custom painted bike in just 2 days time, and tickets are their business. So I asked for two pairs of tickets to the sold out Prince concert. I am not a big Prince fan, but there are a few songs I like in addition to when he does the squeaky voice. More than that, I knew the tickets were highly valuable and thought that I could either sell them or go, depending on how I felt or what I could get for them.

I did not even realize the Prince show was coming in two days (I thought it was a month away), or I would have negotiated for backstage passes plus a mandatory delivery to my potential client! Upon coming to an agreement with the entertainment company in regards to our fees, the agent commended my puzzle solving abilities in selecting the impossible to get Prince tickets as part of our deal, but truly it was just selfish coincidence. I delivered the bike to the Fox Theatre, but I was informed that Prince would not be there until the evening, and I assumed as much beforehand. I went to work with his assistants setting the seat height according to the person who has sized multiple bikes for him before. We ended up hacking the seatpost of his new GT Zaskar and another unlabeled bike in the basement rigging room with a Sawzall so they would go low enough. I showed the agent and staff the final product ready for its rider, received my payment, and was told where I could pick up my tickets. That was it. No personal presentation, no handshake with a happy rider, no real thrill for a new customer. Just a production company receiving one of their artists very specific requests, satisfied. Granted, the help was very pleased and impressed with the bike, but it was not for them.

I am grateful to all of my customers for the work they provide my staff and the money that comes with it, but the most gratifying part of the job does not generally come at the point of payment. Rather, it is when you can present your customer with the special project that you made just for them that the job is truly complete. I hate to say that with a big superstar like Prince, we were resigned to work with his helper and someone who has fit multiple bicycles for him as he tours, but I feel with projects like this, we too can be the superstars for our customers when they have special demands. I did have a personal question about music I wanted to ask him, and I regret that I could not meet such an inspirational person to so many others. Moreso, however, I regret that we did not meet so I could tell him how much his business means to my staff, and how happy we were to be able to put together a custom project for him. Kent did an excellent job on the powder and spent a ton of extra time in the shop preparing this bike while HaeganDavid, and Lawrence made sure that everything else in the shop was running smoothly and according to schedule.

Despite not getting to meet Prince about his new bicycle, Jane and I did enjoy our excellent seats at the show watching him perform, and we both left as fans. Many of the songs he played on piano were far better than their studio counterparts, in my opinion, and I even found a few new ones I hadn't heard that I like. It's funny how you don't have to meet someone for them to make a difference in your life and in your perspective. Thanks for the work, and the tickets, Prince. Rest in peace.

3 Days on James Bond Beach, Jamaica

This past October I was very fortunate to have been sent to Jamaica by my lawyer, Clay Parks, to help out with a non-profit organization that he is involved with. There is a whole lot of backstory on how a bike mechanic ends up in Jamaica teaching people how to work on bikes, but the important part here is that I got to go to Jamaica to teach people how to work on bikes! It was an awesome trip, but as it was mostly work, believe it or not, there was only a little ride time. We brought a shop's worth of tools and supplies like cables, housing, tubes, tires, patches, chains, etc, to keep the bikes maintained, as they are setting up a community bike shop. Common things like tubes and tires that we are used to being able to buy almost anywhere are actually quite scarce in Jamaica. The locals go much further to fix things and keep them running than in the U.S. because replacements may not be available at all or any time soon.

Our tropical classroom. 

Our tropical classroom. 

Introductions by Jonathan Gosse, Executive Director of the Oracabessa Foundation. He helped create the Two Wheels, One Love program in 2015, which aims at fostering young cyclists by building community around BMX competition, cooperation and love for the sport.

Introductions by Jonathan Gosse, Executive Director of the Oracabessa Foundation. He helped create the Two Wheels, One Love program in 2015, which aims at fostering young cyclists by building community around BMX competition, cooperation and love for the sport.

Getting into the gears and hubs. 

Getting into the gears and hubs. 

Tough conditions to teach under.

Tough conditions to teach under.

Learning how to wash a bike. 

Learning how to wash a bike. 

Sanchez, the program's main mentor and instructor, and a Braves fan.

Sanchez, the program's main mentor and instructor, and a Braves fan.

Learning the differences between shifter and brake cables.

Learning the differences between shifter and brake cables.

Wildin' out. 

Wildin' out. 

Program graduates. 

Program graduates. 

At the Eden Park BMX Track

At the Eden Park BMX Track

Last day of teaching led us to the bmx track for a few laps.  They didn't know this whiteboy was familiar with bmx. 

This was a very fun trip for Jane and me. Clay took us through the Blue Mountains to get to Kingston for our flight home which was a very scenic drive.  

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Visit the websites for more information about the Oracabessa Foundation and Two Wheels, One Love.

Special thanks to Clay Parks for the opportunity to help with such a cool project. http://parks-law.com

The view from Cafe Blue, home of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, one of the finest, scarcest, most expensive coffee in the world.

The view from Cafe Blue, home of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, one of the finest, scarcest, most expensive coffee in the world.

Wah gwan.

Wah gwan.

We're Expanding Our Team!

What's the best way to get the most out of your cycling? Logging miles, maintaining a healthy nutrition plan and following a training program are good, but above everything else is having people to ride with. Whether you are a seasoned racer or a complete beginner, there is nothing better than riding with like-minded cyclists to develop your skills and challenge yourself.

So if you love cycling, why go at it alone?

We're looking for fun-loving, dedicated, and supportive riders who are itching to join a local club team that offers many benefits. We encourage racing, but you do not have to race to be part of the team. Everyone is welcome!

Our Mission is to provide an atmosphere that is inclusive, supportive, with a potential to grow and create awareness for the sport, community and Team Snyder Cycles. We look forward to making a lasting impact together!

Team Snyder Cycles members should possess these qualities:

  • Love for cycling
  • Passion for our team's Mission
  • Desire to explore new roads, routes, terrain, and riding styles
  • Open mind to learn or hone your riding skills, control and focus
  • Camaraderie and companionship
  • Willingness to stay connected in the local cycling community

Benefits and perks for joining Team Snyder Cycles include:

  • A Team kit (Bib and Jersey from Castelli, or Castelli baggy jersey with Sugoi baggy shorts)
  • 25% off a new Scott, Cannondale or GT bicycle, once a year
  • 25% off a new Kask helmet, once a year
  • Four free pre-event quick tunes
  • Great discounts on bike shop services and products
  • Organized Team rides
  • Social events 

Dues for the 2017 Season is $300 for adults and $150 for junior riders, and covers all the benefits and perks listed above. Please submit your information below to register for membership to Team Snyder Cycles. Deadline for kit orders and payment is on the night of our first mandatory meeting, held on Tuesday February 21st, 2017 at 7:30-8:30 P.M at Snyder Cycles in Tucker. 

Registration for Membership is now Closed.

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone
I currently ride: *
I'd also like to get into riding: *
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Photos by Sharif Hassan Photography

Thinking About a New Bike for the Holidays? Read This First.

There are a lot of exciting things to find under the tree on Christmas morning, but few that bring the lasting excitement and freedom of a shiny, new bicycle. Whether it’s your first two wheeler, or a replacement for that hand-me-down from your older sibling, a new bike that’s all your own is one of those presents you never forget.

It’s easy to walk into any big box store this time of year and see lots of shiny, fancy-looking bikes that seem like the perfect thing to put under the tree this holiday season, but when you look closer, there are a lot of good reasons to make a trip to your local bike shop instead.

We have customers stop in year-round with their brand new department store bicycle complaining that gears are not shifting smoothly, brakes are not engaging, and things just don’t seem quite right. Nine times out of ten, when we put it up in the repair stand and take a look, it is clear that the bike was never assembled properly by a knowledgeable and experienced bike mechanic. The brakes rub, the wheels are not straight, and often parts are backwards, upside down or dangerously loose. We understand that is not a reassuring way to start your first ride. The first thing to remember when you see those lower prices is that you’ll probably end up paying a professional $70 or more just to make your new bike work properly. At any reputable bike shop, staff are trained professionals who take the time to adjust and inspect every part of your new bike as they assemble it, making sure it is perfect for your first ride, at no extra cost.

Even after you’ve had your bike professionally re-assembled, department store bikes aren’t designed for the same kind of use as a bike that you’ll find in your local shop. Department store bikes are essentially designed as a toy to be used occasionally, where a high-quality bike can be ridden every day for years and years. Because of the lower quality of the parts, these bikes need far more service than a bike shop equivalent, and often “service” of a department store bike will involve replacing the original parts with higher quality ones in order to solve the problem. When we can service the existing parts on a department store bike, because of the loose tolerances in manufacturing, we can’t guarantee that the adjustments will last for as long as they would on a higher quality bike. All of this can lead to a lot of extra spending on service and less time on the road or trail enjoying the ride.

On top off all that, department store bikes do not even come in sizes! Can you imagine going to buy a pair of shoes but only being able to get a size 9? Why should your bike be any different? Without a bike that fits comfortably, riding is neither fun nor easy. Often when people say they do not enjoy riding, it is because they associate the difficulty and discomfort of a department store bike to all bike riding. Most quality bike shop bikes come in a range of sizes to fit all sized riders and are easily adjustable to keep you comfortable.

All of these issues are magnified for the younger rider. The extra resistance of rubbing brakes and poorly adjusted bearings are especially difficult for young riders, who are still practicing and learning. As kids master the skills they need for riding, they deserve to enjoy a bike that is able to keep up with them as their ability progresses.

These days there a lot of different options available when it comes to picking a new bike, and you might think that as a casual rider the specifics aren’t really all that important. In a lot of cases you’d be right, there are a lot of technical specs and choices that don’t make that much of a difference. But there are some that are important regardless of your level of riding. Finding a bike that is suited to what you will use it for, fits you well, and has features that benefit you is what your local bike shop specializes in. Someone will take the time to talk about what you want out of a new bike and use their expertise to recommend a bike that will suit your needs, even if you don’t know where to start.

This Christmas, save yourself the time, money, and headache of dealing with a department store bike, check out your local bike shop and feel the difference yourself by testing out a few bikes.

Snyder Cycles has a thorough collection of kid's bikes ready to place under the tree this holiday season. We even offer the ability to store your bikes at the shop up until Christmas Eve so it's ready to pick up at the last minute. Talk to us about how we can be part of the big surprise! 

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