This month's staff spotlight features the amazing Reed! The longest running employee of Recycled Cycles and all around great guy that has been buffing bikes for us for just over 21 years. Read on to lift the shroud of mystery on this elusive superstar...
Darien: How did you come to work for Recycled Cycles?
Reed: How did I come to work for Recycled Cycles? Well, I was working at Velo stores with Scott and Steve. They were working the Capitol Hill location and me in the U district. They left Velo to start Recycled Cycles. I knew them through working at Velo and when business started picking up, they said "why don't you pick up a few hours here too".
D: So you are the very first employee?
R: Well, not really. They had hired some sales guys in the early early beginning but I was the first hired mechanic and definitely the longest one here! It's wasn’t long after they opened the shop that business started to really pick up and they asked if I would work full time there and I said sure.
D: Wow, so how long into the timeline of Recycled did they hire you full time?
D: Less than a year, for sure.
D: Wow! That really crazy for a starting business! The iron was really hot I guess!
R: Yeah I mean, Seattle was really ripe for a used bike shop. In the mid 90's there was a big need to meet the demand and once it was here, it really blew up.
D: It was the only used bike shop in the area? I mean, I guess it still is…
R: Yep. I originally moved from Phoenix because I wanted to get out of the desert. I picked a spot that was green and good for cycling and Seattle was the spot.
D: You've been cycling your entire life?
R: Pretty much, I think in '87, those were the Greg Lemond years, and every kid was like, "I'm going to be the next Lemond". Later, when he got hurt in a hunting accident, he left the cycling scene but was doing this biathlon series where they paid for him to just make a appearance. He came to Phoenix and I got to meet him and everything, really fun.
D: Wow! You met the legend himself! What was your first bike? Your gateway drug, if you will.
R: Well, my first bike was a junky Huffy…
D: Ok, your first REAL bike.
R: My first bike was a Benotto that was pretty decent and it was a great bike to ride. All steel. Bought it from a race shop in Phoenix and rode that a bunch.
D: Did you bring it up with you when you moved?
R: No, I ended up upgrading to a sweet Tommasini that I also rode a ton.
D: Nice! I think most people would probably remember you from our Fremont location? I think before the new store, you weren't really around customers.
R: Yeah I was there the whole time the store was there. But before, I was working in the warehouse just building up bikes.
D: As somebody who is looking at bikes all day, what tips would you have for our wide customer base?
R: Well, I would probably say to thoroughly inspect a bike before getting too involved with it. You don't want to build a bike just to find out it isn't going to be safe to ride. I mean there have been times when I was finishing a build, and looking for the serial number on the bottom bracket only to see the crack right over the number. The bottom bracket is the most important to check first!
D: A solid inspection truly is a wise decision. What is your favorite tool to use on bikes? Bonus points if it's unconventional and weird.
R: My favorite tool is probably a ratcheting Snap-on T-handle. That little tool is probably in my hand the entire day. There aren't a lot of mechanics that use it but I really like it. I honestly think it feels faster than the regular handle ratchets.
D: I use T-handles at home and I have to agree. Who makes the prettiest bikes? What kind of bikes do you like the look of?
R: My Tomassini! I've had several and just love those chrome lugs. I've always loved them. I know Travis has a really flashy painted one but, I like mine a lot.
D: Shimano, SRAM or Campy?
R: Campy for sure! It's an Italian bike and it needs Italian parts.
D: Perfectly fair. So on the culture side of things, what do you think of the bike share program? We are the first in the nation to adopt such a program and with them pretty established, they have only been getting bigger.
R: I think it's nice to get more people on bikes, it gets people interested in bikes. I think the interest will get more people buying good bikes.
D: Yeah. They sure are a great bike advertisement.
R: It's true, you see people riding them that would never even consider buying a bike. It is a shame that you'll every so often come across a huge pile of them or some of them blocking a bike rack.
D: I think it will be really interesting to see the public's adoption of the electric assisted bikes because they are going to be a possibility to all people! Then we get more bike paths hopefully! So, as a industry veteran, have you noticed any big trends in cycling that really catch on? I guess kinda like that fixed gear phase in the early 00's.
R: Yeah that fixed gear phase was unreal! We had to order crates of hubs just to stock the fixed gear wheel builds. But yeah, back in the early 90's people where ditching their mountain bikes for road bike because they just wanted something new. I guess that’s kinda coming back around with the gravel and "all road" bikes we are seeing now. People want to get off the road again and get in the dirt!
D: Have you seen any unconventional fixes or bike addition recently?
R: Other than the guy who used butter knives and hose clamps to "stabilize" his very broken downtube, not anything that really jumps out at me.
D: We did have a guy upstairs slice a pool noodle and clamp them to his rack as a fender. Pretty unconventional but the guy swore by it. He said it was light and impossible to break. He had a pretty convincing argument about why it was cool. Still looked goofy though. Is cycling a family thing for you? Do the kids ride a bunch?
R: Not a ton. They don't race or anything but we do have bikes for everyone and we will occasionally go out and ride. My wife is more of a runner though. She sometimes likes to run with the kids as they bike too.
D: I see that sometimes when I ride around Greenlake. 2 kids biking with a mom jogging with an infant and its super cool! Get the whole family outside! Well, thanks again for hanging out with me and gabbin!
R: Thank you!
(Edited for clarity and length)