December 17 2021 – Jeff Frane
While I fancy myself a smart person, I've never been great at taglines. You may recall Fast is Forever at All-City, which no one had any idea what that meant (it was a reference to the immortal badassness of cycling's champions. Eddy Merckx, Anne Caroline Chausson, possibly you, etc.)
And for Wilde we've lead off with a "Love Letter to Cycling", which is my attempt to encapsulate our deep passion for bicycle riding, it's rich history, culture, craftspeople, machinery, the experiences and our fellow bike likers.
Deep into a career in bikes and my enthusiasm and excitement and commitment has not wavered, but only gotten stronger. As this is something that is truly an anchor to my world view: bikes make lives better.
Anyhoo, a situation recently happened that I think perfectly demonstrates what the hell that phrase is supposed to mean.
While picking up an old van I purchased from my pal D-Pow in Portland, I had the good fortune to visit Chris Igleheart's frame shop, home of Igleheart bikes. If you follow Bike Jerks or recognize the reference on the Yo Jeffy!, you may be aware of my affinity for all things Fat Chance. Well, Chris was an early employee and a master frame builder, and has become famous for his "New England" style segmented forks. There's a reason why the Log Lady, Electric Queen, and JYD all had segmented forks after all. To say that I'm a fan, is a bit of an understatement.
Now they say you should never meet your heroes, but I'll tell ya, Chris was absolutely charming and incredibly kind to this Midwest kid geeking out over his workshop and shaking his hand.
In fact he was kind enough to sell me a couple of forks and the Fat Chance that he built for his late Father. One of those forks is a modern gravel flat mount jobber with internal dynamo routing, and that is the fork that is the reason for this post.
Let me run it down for you. Fat Chance has been my favorite cycling brand since I was a teen in the 90's, they were the coolest team in Wisconsin, had the best ads in the magazines, the coolest jerseys, the coolest bikes, rode steel, and of course had the raddest forks. That's part of Chris' legacy, but since that time he has created innumerable amazing bicycles on his own and is the world renowned master of the segmented fork. And I love segmented forks.
I got to meet him and buy one of his forks, and now.... And NOW, I get to build a custom Wilde for a customer around that piece. Knock me over with a feather, this is exactly the type of nerd shit I live and breathe for.
So yeah, that's it. This project has it all. Our small bicycle company in Minneapolis, purchasing something rad from a small business and independent frame builder in Portland, with an amazing history and legacy in the industry whom I have always admired from afar, and getting to parlay that into a dream bike for one of our customers. That's the shit right there. That's the way.
Peep some pics from Igleheart Cycles...