Friday, September 16, 2011

Interbike: Joe Breeze...

As someone who has ridden mountain bikes for quite some time now (and road bikes for far longer), I consider myself fairly well-versed in the history of the endeavor, the activity, the sport, however you want to label it. While I may not know all the nuts and bolts, the fine details of the origins of mountain biking out here on the West Coast, I certainly know the names of those early steel tinkerers and Repack daredevils. One of those names forever linked to those times (1970s) is Joe Breeze. You may remember a recent book review I did on It's All About The Bike, in which the author talks, and rides, with Breeze and Charlie Kelly. So, it was with absolute shock and dismay, that I was unable to recognize Mr. Breeze himself, standing next to me, as I took photos of his Breezer #1, that is correct, the original built by him in 1977. 

Joe Breeze with Breezer #1

Thankfully he took an interest in my curiosity, and introduced himself, at which time I either turned white out of shock, or red out of embarassement, I don't know which. We talked a bit about the bike, which has been on display at the Oakland Museum - which parts are original, which are newer. It had been given a new paint job by the museum, which I had mixed feelings about. I pointed out some stickers on the frame, which are also recent additions. It was beyond cool to be able to see and touch the frame, though, and think about all the history that is in it, and how much legacy derives from it. Joe said the showing at Interbike is its last public showing before it takes up permanent residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. That right there tells you just how significant this bike is. Joe Breeze, by the way, didn't call me out for not recognizing him. Very nice guy, easy to talk to, and must have a ton of stories.

Breezer #1. annodized rims and pedals are not
from the original Repack version

Since I am on the topic of Joe Breeze I might as well throw in that he was there with his line of Breezer bikes. As you might expect there is a range of mountain bikes, steel, aluminum and carbon, a new hydroformed, heat-treated steel road bike, and a selection of utility/commuter bikes. All of these are worthy of consideration, if you are looking to purchase a new bike. It is going to be difficult to do, but I don't want to start to sound like a commercial, as I post up images from Interbike over the next few days, so I will leave it to you to check out these bikes at the link above.

the satin-smooth Downtown 8 (as in speeds)

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