It all began some years ago. As an art school student at Colorado State University I suplemented my student loan checks by selling bikes at Lee’s Cyclery. My buddy and bike shop colleague, Sugar, mentioned that a fella he knows was building bikes and could use some help with marketing and what not. As an aspiring commercial artist and cycling aficionado it was a perfect convergence of passions. I reached out to this bike builder, James Bleakley, and he told me all about his brand, Black Sheep Bikes. Graphics and websites were made and traded for sweet titanium bicycles. As the Black Sheep brand became more established James brought on an apprentice, not even out of high school, Todd Heath. Together Todd and James evolved the Black Sheep aesthetic. It’s important to note the sundry folks who imparted themselves on to the brand through the years such as Jason Shelman, Jason Trujillo, Chris Sulfrain, and Black Sheep’s current master of finish, Paul Knowles. The Black Sheep story is punctuated by NAHBS gold medals, being a part of the permanent collection at the University of Iowa’s Museum of Art, annual representation at the Single Speed World Championships and constant trail ripping in the name of evolution and joy. Black Sheep is craftsmanship, evolution and progression perpetuated with stoke.
The Black Sheep story continues. And now for a new story.
This new story begins under the moon. Over the last couple years I’ve hosted a group ride out of my garage aptly called Thursday Night Lights. It goes like this…
Kids go off to bed. Hang in the garage as riders show up over beers, herb, music, wrenches and tire kicking. "Ride leaves at 8:30", though we roll out on to the street around 9. In Fort Collins we’re fortunate with a myriad of choices and directions to go. Trails and more trails. There’s single track around the Reservoir and up to a rock of the same name. Chasing a lightening storm at midnight up the Blue Sky valley into Lory is extra ordinary. And a descent of MeeShow at 3am stinking of rotting elk carcass inspires haste to get home. The lesser-traveled trails actually aren't meant for bikes at all but built to move water. The canals always dry out and lend a perspective by bike of the city that leaves one lost, or at least disoriented. Then there's an enormous hole in the ground, a tube built to push water though with mad, pent-up energy. It’s a concrete pipe with 360˚ of transition to surf…on a bike. While the water is away it's best to take its place. But when the water is raging, portage is all right too. It's best ridden yet the bike can be pushed, thrown off the edge of a cliff, used as crutch to cross Gordon Creek, scooted up a trail that suddenly disappears up a steep wash. It's all about the adventure of getting lost in our backyard.
Sometimes the TNL consists of a few other riders. Consistently though it’s we three; Paul, Todd and myself. With the three of us I’m confident that an adventure is always afoot. Our bond over bikes under the moonlight inspires our next adventure,
Coming in 2014