Rich always seems happier after his lunch bike ride. Smellier, sweatier. But happier. On a day that Rich did not have his ride, we were trying to decide the name for a new font collection that we’d been working on with Christian Schwartz since a long time ago. Bondé typed the word Vélo on her computer in the new font and it made Rich happy just like a bike ride might, so that’s what we called the new font family. Documentarian Erich Weiss and professional cyclist Dan Chabanov helped us articulate this divine inspiration in this short film.
Rich said that if we’re going to have a font collection called Vélo then maybe we should make a bike. Rich is a tall geezer, though, and a custom bike made to fit him doesn’t have the best proportions. Rich looked around and thought that Ken’s frame might look good, so we did some measurements and it turned out that Ken is even more of a freak of nature than Rich. But you can’t say you’re going to do something for Ken then not do it, so we had to make Ken’s bike. By this time Andy pipes up and says that he doesn’t really give a shit about bikes but we should make more of them because the photos will be cool and they would be a great alternative to boring type specimens. We asked for a show of hands, and Bondé, David and Bob Smartner said they wanted bikes.
Rich started calling all of his favorite component makers to see if they would make custom versions of their parts. Paul Components machined custom brakes, Brooks fashioned a special saddle, Specialites TA forged cool cranks, King Cage bent bottle cages, Tanner Goods cut and stamped saddlebags and Cinelli wrapped it up with special bar tape.
What kind of bikes are they? It’s hard to say. They’re not especially light, but they’re not that heavy either. Waterford made them out of American custom drawn double-butted tubing and incorporated a generous bend in the front fork to produce a delightful steely twang. So they’re probably the kind of bikes that you ride, and that’s what we do.