This past summer Dirty and I went to Denver before hitting up SSUSA and we came across Pearl Velo / Berkeley Supply / Avery Co. Cycles. If you wanna get up to speed with how we found them, check out Dirty’s words.
Anyways, the only person we didn’t get to meet was Josh Culbertson from Avery Co. Cycles. So when I was in Denver recently, I dropped by his shop to see if connecting with him was a possibility. Luckily I was able to catch him putting his final touches together with the two bikes he was taking to NAHBS (North American Handmade Bicycle Show) which is taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina this year. Last year Josh won Best New Builder which, from what I heard from some other well known frame builders, was well deserved. This year he was entering two categories; Best Theme and Best Finish.
I called Josh at 11:30pm last night. He already had 5 or 6 beers in him, so it seemed like the perfect time for a DC interview. I asked him how he was doing after a whole day of setting up his booth at NAHBS and replied, “finally calm”. I thought I should get to the point and ask him about his two show bikes and why he did what he did for this year.
The inspiration for the two bikes comes from Josh’s sub 24 hour trip gatherings (leave at 3:00 on a Saturday and be back by 3:00 Sunday) on the weekends. He gets some friends together and they pedal to a place for an evening of outdoor living and come back to civilization in less than 24 hours. Sounds to me like a good excuse to get whiskey drunk and pedal it off the next morning.
The bike he built for himself is a 26″ wheel touring bike that has the same paint job as the Bandit’s Trans-Am- couple things I noticed right off the bat- carbon fiber bike racks, Avery water bottles with the Coor’s Banquet theme and a inverted seat post.
The carbon fiber bike racks are something to talk about. Josh had to build these on the bike in order to ensure a perfect fit. Another thing to note, is that he has never worked with carbon before. Anyone that knows good carbon fiber lay-up can see immediately Josh is one hell of a quick learn and gets badass at his craft on in his first attempt. Total time for building the front and back racks is about 8 hours of labor plus 2 hours of dry time for the glue. Tyler from Pearl Velo made a joke saying the racks took longer than the bike frame did; which lead me to ask to how much it would cost to sell carbon bike racks- it would be around $600-$800 for it to be worth Josh’s time.
I asked Josh what he usually takes with him on these sub 24 hour adventures and he said “I pack light- one man tent, freeze dried food, water, whiskey and some comfy slippers from home.” Um, I personally think that bringing slippers from home seals the deal with his camping kit! So good.
Josh’s second bike he built is for Eli that runs Berkeley Supply. This bike was also built for the sub 24 hour rides they do. Its kinda a funny story for why this bike was created- Elie wanted to just meet everyone at the camping spot with his motorcycle and Josh virtually said, “hell no man, you are gonna pedal with us if you wanna be part of our trips.” So Eli wanted a cross/gravel bike that was comfortable, light and a paint job that is based off of a 85-86 Audi S1 rally car. Well, I think the rally car theme Eli had in mind really gave this bike some personality in the paint department.
My trip to Denver had an added bonus with hooking up with Josh and having the opportunity to document his two bikes he was taking to NAHB’s. People like Josh keep my stoke alive when it comes to the bicycle industry for the reason of his overall love of bikes, his craftsmanship and he’s a personality worth getting to know better- we need more people stepping up to the plate and giving a go at the of chance of failure; which in Josh’s case, he has faced that fear a lot of us carry and has made some works of art that just happen to be a bicycle. Whether we make bikes or just ride them, we are all part of this family and have the opportunity to keep making this industry progressively rad.by