Posts tagged bicycles
Riding out your dreams — with Jeff Frane

“I like the idea of falling in love and having that object for a very long time, and that's what steel (bike) is for me. If I’m going to have something forever, it needs to be special. I don't like disposal culture. I like being intentional about what I buy and I want people to get value and years of happiness and experience out of each of our products.”

 

JEFF FRANE, Brand Manager, All-City  

Like most kids growing up in middle America, Jeff loved to ride his bike. But unlike some, it’s a love affair that's never waned. When he was old enough to drive a car, he chose to keep riding bicycles instead. Jeff is a bike guy and gearhead through and through, and you could say that his lifelong passion borders on the obsessive — although that would be selling his story short. 

Jeff isn’t an entrepreneur the way they’re often idolized. Rather, he’s the once-plucky kid from the warehouse with an idea and an email, who was given a green light to go build something. That something was his dream job, and it would evolve into All-City — a bicycle brand under the QBP banner and named after the All-City Championship bike race Jeff founded in his bike-friendly city of Minneapolis. 

Jeff takes us on an unvarnished ride that holds nothing back about the steep valleys (getting laid off from his bike shop job, living in van and being flat broke) that sometimes need to be traveled before reaching the peak.  

His story is a street-smart testament to grit and determination, building community and fostering culture, and believing that dreams are meant to be fulfilled if you have the tenacity to power through the trials head-on.  

All-City Bicycles

Bike Jerks

Shifting gears & embracing change — with John Robinson

"There were seeds being planted suggesting 'maybe I'm not living the life I'm supposed to be living.' But I didn't know at that time what it was or how I was going to do it... and so I found myself in that rut again."  

 JOHN ROBINSON, Founder                   Johnny Velo Bikes 

When you're a top performer in your industry, you don't think much about making significant career changes. That is until you find you're spending too much time from home, or realize that your performance alone can't save your job.

John takes us through a bumpy ride from the mountaintop peaks and through deep valleys of his life in corporate banking, revealing just how hard things can get before admitting some sort of change needs to happen. It's a story we believe will resonate with many.  

By the time John fights back the tears at the end of the podcast, hearing his decision to start Johnny Velo Bikes seems obvious and evident. His connection to bikes, cancer (as a survivor himself), community, and the surprise opportunity to finally become an entrepreneur are tailor-made for this story. But to seize it, to fully own it, he had live it out. And that's the hard part.

In retrospect, John just might tell you this was the most challenging ride he's ever been on — but also the one he was meant to travel.  

Johnny Velo Bikes  |  The Purple TuTu Society

Bikes, brews & the things that move you — with Chris Bishop

“I never worked in a bike shop until I owned one. My first day on the job I was reporting to myself. Sometimes we fear what we don’t know but forget to celebrate or praise what we do know. There's this really awesome saying: we fail at the margins of our experience. When we do, great. We grew. We don’t grow by having a cushy, comfortable life.”

CHRIS BISHOP, Founder, Backroom Coffee Roasters and hop merchant 

Pulling up to Chris’s airplane hangar turned “workshop” — where he roasts beans for Backroom Coffee Roasters today — is a much different setting for his business compared to when he was fueling his coffee fix out of the back room of a bike shop, hence the company name.

Chris is far from being stuck in the same gear. He’s the kind of guy who has multiple interests and a willingness to pursue them as far as they will go. He’s also a guy who avoids getting too comfortable with any venture, knowing that comfort has a way of stunting growth and breeding complacency. 

Chris charts his entrepreneurial path and insatiable desire for discovery, from motor sports to bicycles and from coffee to beer. And he believes in doing the kind of work you’re passionate about and can pour yourself into. It’s how he has turned his passions into paychecks and immensely enjoyable work.

Chris’s story will encourage you to go for it — whatever your “it” might be.   

Backroom Coffee Roasters  |  Crosby Hop Farm