The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit Patagonia.com to see what we do.

RSS Feed

Twitter

    Archives

    Search


    The Voodoo Bike

    By Craig Holloway

    P1020464 Sometime in the late '80s, my bike mechanic friend John finally agreed to sell me his 1972 British-made Raleigh bicycle. I handed him $150 dollars in cash and a cold, six-pack of beer. He cracked open two brews, handed one back to me, and we both took long swigs, saluting the voodoo bike. I asked John where the bike’s name came from and he had no idea. He did request that I bring the voodoo in for maintenance every now and then. We shook hands, and then I wheeled the faded red single-speed out the bike shop’s door toward Chicago’s lakefront.

    Editor's note: Today's story comes from yoga instructor, daily bike commuter and Patagonia editor, Craig Holloway.

    The voodoo is one of the last production bicycles made by Raleigh before it was sold to an Asian manufacturer. The bicycle’s most elegant feature is the headlamp post, with its engraved phoenix situated in front of the handlebars. Children notice the phoenix right away and like to rub its metal beak. The voodoo also features old-fashioned, cable-rod lever brakes, brazed-on pump pegs, and a nifty foldout basket attached to the rear fender. The frame’s geometry makes for an aristocratic upright ride, and eccentric viewing for drivers and passers-by.

    [The voodoo rests against a tree at the Patagonia campus. Ventura, California. All photos: Craig Holloway]

    Continue reading "The Voodoo Bike" »

    Bike To Work Week Wrap Up

    Floriston Last week's Bike-to-Work celebrations kept our dedicated team of coordinators hopping - volunteers made sure events were supplied and staffed, area business folks presented informational clinics on everything from bike tuning to trip planning and route-finding, and supporting businesses offered prizes designed to spread the word and keep the stoke alive. Employees rallied, too, with daily cycling participation hovering near the 20% mark.

    In Ventura, motivated commuters staged a Critical Mass-style commute from Carpinteria to the home base in Ventura - many riders joining the pack logged well over 20 miles one way to take part in a fun, no-drop community ride culminating in a victorious arrival and delicious Riders Only breakfast. A rugged duo from our Reno Distribution Center helped set the standard for their crew with a foggy and frosty 30-mile ride through the mountains from Truckee, California, earning them a showcase spot on the local news.

    Great weather, good vibes, and motivated people helped make this one of the best Bike to Work Weeks yet, but the new Goose Tracking System made a special contribution. Hit the jump to check out the results:

    [Patagonia Dealer Services rep, Mark Blume is enjoying a definite transportation alternative - his 30 mile ride with fellow Pat. employee Rob Flesher followed a winding course over the river, through the woods, and along a smattering of climbers' trails - all within sight of the busy interstate that stretches clear from California to Pennsylvania.]

    Continue reading "Bike To Work Week Wrap Up" »

    Bike to Work Week - Young Lust and New Love

    Today's post comes to us from Patagonia E-mail Maestro, Steve Wages. Steve's the kind of cyclist who celebrates Bike to Work Week every week of the year, finding a way to stay true to the saddle despite obligations as a professional, a husband, and a dad. His story gives us a little peek into the passion that keeps him pedaling.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    _MG_7871_crop Since I can remember, my brother and I saw our bikes as key to our personal freedom. We could go where we wanted when we wanted, and the faster the better. I still recall - ummm - "borrowing" my friend's 10-speed Huffy while she was on vacation. I was about 9 and trying to set new land-speed records: that bike with its drop bars and skinny tires...it had to be an order of magnitude faster then my single-speed red Schwinn. My lust prevailed and I rolled it out of their garage....

    As the younger brother, Dave's relation to bicycles was initially about keeping up with us older kids. Pretty soon, he surpassed us all and discovered the world of competitive cycling. His life became centered around riding and he'd draw intricate sketches of bikes for high-school art class. He worked his way up through the ranks of repair-monkey at the local bike shops, until he got a call from a friend at Serotta in '94. Although he started out in the shipping department, his love of cycles was apparent and soon they let him loose brazing. His first attempts were crude, but with guidance from the frame builders, he picked up the craft of steel bikes and began to see what separated a good frame from an exceptional one.


    [Steve's hand-built Ellis Cycles road bike. Begging to be stolen. Photo: Steve Wages]

    Continue reading "Bike to Work Week - Young Lust and New Love" »

    The GOOSE is Loose!

    Commute_calendar_2 Used to be, I’d change into my biking garb in an exceptionally small closet. I'd shoe-horn into a closet that offered just enough room to change between the clanky boiler, a pile of broken bricks, and an impressive mouse-turd collection. It wasn’t that my last job—at a local rag-tag paper—was un-supportive of biking to work. They just hadn’t ever hired anyone willing to do such a thing. 

    I hold no ill feelings toward my old employer, or even to the folks who threw weird looks at the guy who chose daily to get naked in the company of incontinent mice. But I have to say, compared to that place Patagonia’s support of bike commuting is nothing short of righteous. You’re listening to one satisfied employee on this front. I mean, there’s bike parking, showers, OTHER bike riders. Over the years, more incentives have been added – prize giveaways to the most dedicated commuters, kind-spirited contests between Patagonia stores to see whose employees could pedal the most miles, and incentive programs to keep people riding year-‘round.

    And this year, things just got better. Thanks to a new partnership with Seattle-based Goose Networks, we’ve just been blessed with a killer new tool to keep track of the miles and rack up the smiles.

    [Image: An example of how employees can track their daily commutes on the Goose. Simply drag the appropriate icon from the bottom of the screen to the date (either AM or PM), then choose the distance of your trip and how many people (if any) you rode in with.]

    Continue reading "The GOOSE is Loose!" »

    Be a Super Commuter, Bike to Work This Week

    Lance+fan
    [Solvang Stage, Amgen Tour of California 2009. Photo: © Steve Wages]

    Backyard Adventures: Squirting Blood

    #1 I lay in bed the other night, a lot tired and a little bloodied, but smiling, thinking about the horned toad Alex and I had managed to catch earlier in the day. I’ve only seen a couple of these prehistoric-looking reptiles in the mountains of Southern California, because they’re kind of scarce and accomplished masters of camouflage. To find one was a simple treat that had made the day’s backyard adventure all the more memorable.

    I like to get out on my mountain bike as much as time permits. Like most riders, I generally spend a few hours on the weekend riding a local trail I know well, sessioning the more challenging parts, enjoying the workout and the company of other middle age kids.

    #2 A couple of years ago, one of my more adventurous mountain-biking cohorts, James Ross, died suddenly during a ride at the age of 54. He and I had trespassed together in the name of mountain bike adventures over the years, and I resolved to honor his rogueish exploring spirit by pedaling trails in my area I’d never been on before. Living in Ojai, which borders the nearly 2 million-acre Los Padres National Forest, there’s lots of opportunity to do that.

    [Horned toad and rogueish friend, Patagonia editor Jim Little has discriminating taste in play-time companions. All photos: Jim Little]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: Squirting Blood" »

    Ride for the Wild

    Photo 19 Today's post is from Ryan Applegate, assistant manager of our Dillon, Montana, store. Last summer Ryan took two months off work to pedal his bike 2,300 miles from Yukon’s Watson Lake to Yellowstone National Park. But Ryan’s trip was more than a summer bike tour. Working with the Freedom to Roam Coalition, he and six others rode on behalf of wildlife, which is losing more and more habitat to development and finding itself increasingly challenged by climate change. Funded with an environmental internship grant from Patagonia, Ryan received both salary and benefits during his hiatus.

    I became familiar with the concept of a Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) wildlife corridor while studying conservation biology in the ‘90s, and my attention was refocused with the recent launch of Patagonia's new long-term environmental initiative, Freedom to Roam. Freedom to Roam emanates from the understanding that climate change is significantly altering the earth, and that the key to maintaining healthy, wild populations of creatures of all sizes, depends on their freedom to move, when necessary, to new habitat. It realizes that the best hope these animals and plants have for survival lies in people working, lobbying, donating, volunteering, buying, knowing and/or doing whatever it takes to ensure we protect and manage physical connections among larger protected areas. It is also about raising public awareness to this need, and that is where my Ride for the Wild came in.

    Continue reading "Ride for the Wild" »

    The Year of Big Ideas 2009: Mr. Smart Goes Big

    The_year_of_big_ideas_2009Once again, The Dirtbag Diaries kicks off the new year with a podcast full of inspiration for a fun and rewarding 2009. Show host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    Rangi Smart was riding a small spur of his favorite single-track trail when he stumbled upon a perfectly designed mountain bike jump. A platform of two by fours and plywood launched a rider outward and 20-feet down the steep hillside. It was the kind of thing Rangi had only seen pro riders stomp on mountain bike videos.

    The 33-year-old math teacher thought to himself, “What kind of nut-job rides off something like that?”

    Then Rangi imagined that he was that nut-job

    We can bide our time, wait patiently for our chance to shine, but more often than not, the moment chooses us. It’s our job to answer. Here’s to another year of big ideas, another year of slaying giants, bearing down, not giving up, chasing daylight, paddling in and fostering change.  We bring you the hopes, dreams and goals of professional athletes, regular joes, parents, soldiers and students.  Here’s to the dirtbags. Here’s to Mr. Smart.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to The Year of Big Ideas 2009 (mp3 - 19:45 - right-click to download)

    Fitz is always looking for great stories to feature on the podcast. If you're a climber, skier, surfer, activist or anybody who can't get enough of being outside, consider sharing your story at www.dirtbagdiaries.com.

    The Hammer Monkeys

    BikeSouthAm In early January, former Patagonia performance baselayer developer, Elissa O’Brien, and Chris, her significant other, boarded a plane for Montevideo, Uruguay. Their plan? Eight months on bikes through South America.

    Elissa and Chris are sharing their trip via a great Web site full of fun narrative, photos and video. So if bicycle touring and/or South America hold any appeal, or you just need a moment’s respite from that mind-numbing spreadsheet, live vicariously with the Hammer Monkeys at  www.hammermonkey.ca 

    Hit the jump for a few photos and an excerpt from their recent adventures.

    [All photos: the hammermonkeys]

    Continue reading "The Hammer Monkeys" »

    Backyard Adventures: The Power of Imagination

    Rocks1_2 Editor's note: Our Backyard Adventures series kicks off today and first up is Dave Anderson from Wyoming who proves that a vivid imagination can be your best partner on an outing close to home.

    Gone are the mornings spent lounging on the tailgate of my rusted-out truck, eating last night's leftover pasta with my only concerns for the day being what routes to climb. These days, I greet the morning sun from inside my bank-financed house, shuffling around in fluffy slippers while the ingredients of a smoothie churn predictably around in the blender.

    As I stretch my stiff fingers, I feel a dull ache which now has more to do with long sessions with the keyboard instead of battles with hard finger cracks. Chained to my desk by deadlines and obligations, I sometimes gaze out the window feeling trapped by my new lifestyle.

    As a youngster, I was trapped by birth in the white-bread world of suburbia, where families, normal behavior and the environment were all stamped out in neat, half acre cloned lots. The key to my sanity, to combat that sterilized culture, was my hyperactive imagination. Most days I was out in the “backyard” setting the new home run record (playing t-ball), mapping the vast catacombs near the road (crawling through cement culverts), exploring the uncharted secrets of the Amazon (mucking around in the small creek) or unearthing buried treasures in the deserts of Egypt (digging in the sandbox).

    [While Sinks Canyon is deserving of its reputation for variety, it's most well-known for it's plentiful selection of steep limestone lines. Here, the cliffs just above the canyon road dwarf a climber, barely visible at center. Photo & caption: localcrew collection]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: The Power of Imagination" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.