A match made in heaven.
Hi everybody, Ben here.
I tried to find a picture of a match with angel’s wings, but no luck, and since my photoshop skills are rivaled only by those of Stevil, here’s a picture of a box of matches and a pellet gun on some crappy flooring.
These days I feel like every time I post anything up here my gut instinct is to title it something along the lines of “Is this thing on?”, “Anybody out there?”, “Hello?”, “My turn again?”, or any variation of those sentiments.
This time it was Dennis Porter (oh wait, that’s not him. There he is, clearly consorting with the enemy and planning the downfall of civilization as we know it) who told El Jefe that I should update the OOOBS blog. My response was along the lines of “I’m the only one who ever does.” To which he replied “I know”. What can I say, these days when I write something it is usually on our own site. I’ve got some good ones on there if I do say so myself. Seriously, you should read all of them. I think this one is my favorite. It suits my sometimes pissed off, usually opinionated, old (school) mechanic sensibilities. That’s why I wrote it.
Therefore it is time for a blog. And since I’m the one doing it I shall use it to my own ends. If you don’t like it you can go back to not checking the blog page. Or if you need your daily account of what all the cool kids are up to you can see what facebook has to say about daily soups. ZING!
This shall be a telling of the beautiful, strange, constantly evolving and long standing friendship between Swobo and One On One. Or more specifically Gene and Jen, since it all began long before the shop existed. Sometime back in the first half of the ’90s, which was the decade just before the new millennium for you young kids, a bond was formed. Nobody knows how it all started. Well, Geno might if he can remember, but it’s safe to say that a fire was lit that day. Most likely literally. I’m pretty sure that one of the first times I ever met Geno, at the Sawtooth Invitational MTB race in my home town of Grand Marais, he was wearing a first generation Swobo Merino jersey. These days known as The Trad. As in “traditional”. Look at you smarty pants. Most people will know that the legacy of Swobo began with clothing, and specifically wool. Because wool is awesome. There were a few other non-riding items like the infamous Sideliner jacket.
photo courtesy of Stevil
Which we would like to reintroduce to the line by the way.
When Swobo went off the air the first time we were all completely bummed out. Then about the time that we were tearing out the walls of the sauna and finding money, condoms, syringes, etc. to make room for bikes, coffee and art, we found out about the resurgence. Stoked. The following year bikes were added. Stoked again. We sold the hell out of the stuff for the next 5 years. Then things all went south again and V.2 died. Bummed. About the time I was packing up my life into a big truck and taking a long drive west little tidbits of info started to pop up. Swobo was being sold to someone new, Swobo was perhaps moving out of central California, Swobo would be coming back to life again (maybe the brand is kind of like the undead, drip some warm blood in its mouth and voila!). I kept my ears open, always wondering and asking people, “Who?”, “Where?”. About 6 months after settling in Fort Collins, the story was that the brand was coming here. I called the knower of all things, Geno, for the low down. He helped me track down El Jefe, and now here I am, sitting at my desk shamelessly promoting the brand and myself on the OOOBS site. Giddy up sucker!
What makes Swobo stand out from the packed house of bike brands in this country is that it (we) are a social brand. It is a brand that people LOVE to interact with. Sometimes overly so. There are some things that we don’t need to know about you. That being said, we’ll still let you crash on our couch when you get tired.
We’re a little weird, but that’s ok because so are you.
Anyway, to continue with my tale of friendship, One On One is the pinnacle of what we at Swobo love about shops, both during my time there, and continuing now that I am on this side of the relationship. We love the interaction, input, mutual promotion and admiration, and we really love it when we’re all in the same place at the same time. It’s like a big dysfunctional family reunion, and that just equals fun. When people or other shops just don’t really get us or what the brand is about, don’t understand how internal hubs work or why they are so awesome (we’ve had shop owners and mechanics tell us that they can’t figure out how to get the rear wheel off. That’s just sad.), or claim that they just can’t figure out how to sell the bikes to people, we pretty much always ask if they’ve ever been to Minneapolis and One On One. Most of the time the answer is no. If you ask me, everyone in the industry in any capacity could learn a lot about the way things should and can be by spending a little time in the twin cities riding bikes and visiting shops.
Now let’s make this about me for a minute. Partly because I’m writing this so I can, but mostly because I’m awesome. I am really happy to still be a part of the bike business. I’ll admit, I was pretty burnt out on the daily grind of shop and wrench work there at the end, but bikes are in my blood and I don’t think I can ever get them out. Designing bikes is something that I never thought I’d do. Most of the folks that I know who are bike designers are either accomplished framebuilders, engineers, or literally “designers” and basically just come up with paint and graphic schemes. I’ll admit it was a bit daunting the first time El Jefe said essentially “Here’s a blank piece of paper, come up with a bike”. Therefore I want to call out the fact that if I didn’t have the background of all those years at Kenwood Cyclery and then One On One, working for people that trusted me to know what I was doing and do it correctly, on all manner of bikes new and old, I would not be in the position nor have the knowledge to do what I am doing now. I want to say a great big thank you to everyone who has helped me get here, and it’s because of you that things like this are becoming a reality.
I’d say that’s pretty rad. All that said, I know a lot of people are being a tad bit whiny right now about the fact that we do not have a more extensive clothing line at the moment since the brand came to existence through wearables. Trust me, we want to add more clothing and bring back some of the old favorites too. We would love that. However, until all of you people buy a bike and we can get a third person into this office with us, El Jefe and I are too damn busy worrying about other stuff to have the time. Anybody that would care to have a labor intensive, time consuming, and non-paying internship for a year can come out here and we’ll throw clothing on your plate.
One On One, we love you guys. And with that we’ll throw a big fat skid across the finish line in the alley.
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