Allrounder was initially founded as a space to celebrate versatile all-purpose bikes, ones that, if forced to choose, would be the one and only bike you'd ever need to own. Allrounder may be understood as an umbrella term for gravel, adventure, touring, randonneuring, trekking, cyclocross, or road or cross country bikes. All these categories represent bicycles that are able to handle smooth and mildly rough terrain.
But the emphasis on this word is important. I can admit, that for me, there's a little revenge in it, revenge against the barrage of industry marketing that often makes talking about bikes confusing by introducing category after category, as if all of us are specialists. My experience is that few of us are. It's a subtle but crucial difference, but I tend instead to develop a good understanding of the individual I'm working with and build a bike to suit that individual.
But if revenge is the beginning of the story, then gratitude infuses the rest. After 25 years or so of being a shop mechanic, I've developed a good sense of what goes wrong, and what works, what is simple and what is complicated, what's essential and what ain't. And I get a thrill out of seeing bikes do well. I thrive on seeing owners enjoy owning them and appreciating how trouble free they can be.
The bicycle above is a representation of what I'm talking about. Much of it is repurposed parts from the 80s: frame, fork, stem, handlebars for starters. Though allrounder could mean all the categories mentioned above, this incarnation is how I envision a pure allrounder.
It's the kind of bike that if passed through my stand for a tune up, would make me happy and confident that the owner made a good choice. It would reliably tune right back up, with parts that are easy to replace or fix. The shifting would work great and the braking would be strong and never squeal. The gearing would be adequate to help send you up into the hills, and the body would feel relaxed and powerful aboard it. It's a humble little work of art that looks nice in the apartment, especially next to some plants. You take care of it, cause it's part of your life, and adds to your life.
Distilling things down to their essence. Cuttin' out the bs. That is what Allrounder is at heart. Though the bicycles take center stage on instagram, behind the scenes is our little family. This is my little family below. My lovely partner and Allrounder co-owner Monica and our baby, and boss, Naomi. We live here in the shop, a live-work loft in Emeryville. Monica runs a Fit4Mom franchise here in town. In this way, and with the support of the surrounding cycling community, we can both be home as full-time parents, running businesses that allow us to live in our element and hopefully contribute something true and good to the community. Some days are harder than others, but gratitude is the bulk of the story, and we're glad to be here, together.