The Alchemy of a Roadie

Several months ago, I sat down with the Alchemy crew again about building bike #2.  A dedicated singlespeed mountain biker, I needed a road bike.  Probably with gears.  I didn’t know where to begin.

The first bike they built me, a gorgeous stainless steel 29’er single speed, had its very first ride in Afghanistan last fall in a series of rides that happened to coincide with the announcedment that I had been chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.  Emblazoned on the top tube in bright pink #GIVEASHIT.  The tagline we coined for our upcoming partnership with Mountain2Mountain’s domestic program Strength in Numbers.  One of my favorite memories of that trip was when a member of the Afghan National Army took it for a spin and discovered the strength of disc brakes.  Many memories are made on a bike, even in a warzone.  Maybe even moreso in a warzone.

The twist?  I met women who bike, as part of the National Afghan Cycling Federation last fall.  This is the first time anyone has heard of Afghan women riding bikes.  Its still a cultural taboo, and in my own four years of mountain biking throughout areas of Afghanistan, I have never seen a women or girl riding a bike.  Till now.  Riding heavy steel bikes, often with kickstands, these women are the first to not only ride bikes, but to do so publicly and competitively.

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The Making of Alchemy Bike #001

#GIVEASHIT

Emblazoned on my bike as a surprise when I picked it up – the day before I flew to Afghanistan.  Bike #001 was not just a thing of beauty, it had soul.

The incredible team at Alchemy Bicycles blew me away from the moment I met them.  Thanks to a surprise meeting arranged by Skratch Labs founder, Dr. Allen Lim, I found myself at a warehouse in south Denver.  Alchemy’s new Colorado headquarters.  They told me that they believed in the work that I was doing in Afghanistan and wanted to support me with a new bike and be part of the new program I was launching in the US – Strength in Numbers.   It was immediately aware that this was a company with soul.  A company that ‘gives a shit’.

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