A cycling podcast devoted to one-on-one interviews with artisans about their craft.
#55: Bryan Hollingsworth of Royal H Cycles
Of the many builders I've met over the years, I don't think I've met any with a more unusual background. Bryan Hollingsworth is a New Englander who cut his teeth working for Seven Cycles. He may be the only builder I've ever met who has fabricated frames from carbon fiber, titanium and steel. I'm reasonably convinced I've not met another builder who has laid up an entire carbon fiber frame as well as brazed steel in lugs or done fillet brazing. It turns out, he comes from a family of cyclists and makers. That he should become a frame builder is no great surprise. Hollingsworth has been out on his own 10 years, which is a significant mark for a frame builder; few make it past five years.
#54: Frame Builder Mark Nobilette
Of the many frame builder who can capably be called masters of the craft, it is distinctly possible that no one has been at the bench longer than Mark Nobilette. His credentials are impeccable. He was trained by Albert Eisentraut in the first frame building class that Eisentraut taught, which was held in Chicago, before he moved to California, way back in 1973. Nobilette went to work for Eisentraut and since then has gone on to produce thousands of frames in the Eisentraut tradition, with thinned lug points that are often reshaped, as well as with windows cut in to his taste. But unlike so many of his contemporaries, Nobilette hasn't confined himself to just making lugged steel creations. He's made mountain bikes for Gary Fisher, recumbents, track bikes ridden by Olympians and just about everything in between. We talk craft, how he approaches it and what gets him up in the morning.
#53: Toby Stanton of Hot Tubes, Part II
In this second part of my interview with Toby Stanton, we discuss his team of juniors and what the ingredients are that has made the team so incredibly and consistently successful. Hot Tubes riders and stars and stripes jerseys are kinda like peanut butter and jelly. There are other things you can do with peanut butter, but peanut butter with jelly doesn't really surprise anyone. Stanton is incredibly candid and he gives insight not just to what makes his riders ride so well, but also how he sees his relationship to him and how he defines leadership. He could teach a course. This is one interview that is so full of keen insight into the human condition I expect I'll be listening back to this one for years to come.
#52: Toby Stanton of Hot Tubes, Part I
I first met Toby Stanton at a mountain bike race in 1991. He was coaching a team that included future cyclocross supahstah (this was in Massachusetts, mind you) Jonathan Page and their kits were white with red, yellow and blue dots, signifying their sponsorship by Wonder Bread. A year or two later I sent him my Canadian-built Miele frame to be repainted and to have a second set of bottle bosses added. I would go on to ride in his VW Vanagon helping him provide neutral support at some races in New England, gradually getting to know the intense builder, painter and coach. For as long as I've known him his life has revolved around cycling: building frames, painting them and shaping some of the finest young riders the U.S. has produced.For anyone who has done serious time in national-caliber juniors racing, the Hot Tubes name is as respected as it is feared. With 115 national championships to the team's credit, Toby Stanton is the most successful coach in U.S. history. It's a distinction of such superlative achievement, I can't find another coach who has even five years of coaching juniors; Stanton has been doing it for 29 years and he's been operating Hot Tubes for just as long. Because our conversation went on for two hours, I've split the interview in two halves, one that deals with his business and one that deals with his team. The start is a little unconventional because when he picked up the phone we were immediately into old friend catchup mode and I never really had a chance to do the traditional intro before we were off and talking about his business. Oh, and be forewarned, there is plenty of salty language in this interview.
#51: David Wages of Ellis Cycles
My guest today is frame builder David Wages of Ellis Cycles. There was a time when the most common career path for a frame builder was to put in solid years building bikes for a brand that sold bikes in production sizing. Only after having put in a couple of decades at the bench was a builder established enough in reputation to venture out and order decals with his nam. David Wages may be among the last builders to have worked for established brands before he concluded it was time to make his name known. Of course, by the time he did decide to open his own shop, he was one of the more experienced builders in the U.S. with more than a dozen years split between Serotta Competition Cycles and Waterford Precision Cycles. By any contemporary standard, Wages was a master builder by the time he set up his own shop.Since then, his work has gone on to be highly recognized. At the North American Handmade Bicycle Show he has won the categories of best road frame, best steel frame, best lugged frame and best fillet frame, as well as winning Best in Show. To my knowledge, he is the only builder ever to win both the best lugged and best fillet categories, which speaks to the breadth of his talent.
#50: Steven Kotler, Author and Flow State Expert
This week my guest is writer and flow state expert Steven Kotler. Kotler is a New York Times-bestselling author known for his work decoding the neurochemistry of flow. What began as a series of articles for Discover Magazine led to his first book of nonfiction, West of Jesus, a tale of surfing, spirituality and a reappraisal of mystical states. His book The Rise of Superman explores how flow states lead extreme athletes to progress at a rate that is unheard of in other sports. He breaks down how chasing flow leads to progression in ability, no matter what the realm is. He goes on to identify flow triggers so that anyone can improve the frequency and quality of flow in their own lives. Rise was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. While flow is a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it was Kotler’s work in West of Jesus that first aggregated all the research that had been done on flow, creating the first portrait of the experience at the biological level. For me, finding out that flow was a verifiable, tangible phenomenon, and not just some cute name for a good mood made a huge impact on me, helping to legitimize many of my life’s pursuits, and my ongoing love of the bike. In 2017 Kotler and then-business partner Jamie Wheal released Stealing Fire, a book that explores how altered states of consciousness—not just flow—lead to breakthroughs and optimal performance. It’s a book that asks the reader to suspend judgment on commonly held beliefs about psychedelics and what they may offer us as a tool to a richer, more rewarding life. Be sure to listen to the end; Kotler hints at something in store for RKP's audience.
I MUST stop listening!
Ok. I found The Pull about a month or so ago. I’d been researching MTB frames and thought I’d made my decision when I listened to the Sycip podcast. Then I kept listening to podcasts. I ended up putting a deposit down on a Paul Sadoff built Rock Lobster ... but kept listening to podcasts. After every podcast, I seriously think about ordering a frame from each of the builders. I MUST stop listening (listening to Dave Wages, now I want/need a lugged MTB frame)! Great interviews, keep up the great work.
Rich from San Francisco Bay Area.
Craft + advocacy
It's not far outside your wheelhouse to broadcast Austin McInerny's enthusiasm for NICA. Tomorrow's bike designers & users, environmental stewards and transportation regulators start off as kids on bikes. Austin's narrative is spot on.
Pushing The Pull!
Love this show, and can't wait for the next one. I love hearing what makes real bike artisans tick and how they do their craft. If you love the equipment as much as the ride...you'll enjoy the program. And Patrick Brady's knowledge and enthusiasm makes him a great host and interviewer.