Words by Sam K. (@gatos__gatos__gatos)
Hi, my name is Sam, and I currently live in Berlin, Germany. I am a nearing middle-aged human originally from the Dayton, Ohio region. If you know Yellow Springs beyond Dave Chappelle, let’s talk.
Fortunately, life has taken me around the U.S. for living, working, and, most importantly, pedaling. After my longest stint in Ohio came North Carolina (go on and raise up), and since a year ago, I have claimed Berlin as home. My family and I moved here to begin a new life chapter driven by my work. But is that work “what I do?” I’d like to think it’s something grander in scope. Perhaps here is where we segue to my cycling interests. That feels more like what I’m about. Eclectic would be a good descriptor of them.
I came to cycling via road racing, of which many 20 somethings looking for an athletic outlet do. It was great and stoked the fires for many years, eventually leading me to cyclocross racing. Finally, the exceptional mediocrity of my skills and fitness won out, and I realized it was that romantic exploratory thing I was after. Think early Rapha Continental vibes and all of the lost souls glued to those videos showing us how it “could be” done on a road bike. I have dabbled in mountain biking thanks to living in exceptional areas for it. And, of course, who isn’t riding the occasional gravel road on a curated bike for the task?
To sum up, I pretty much geek out on most things bike-related, whether it’s thinking about and building up a customized something or other, trading texts with friends about route details or frame geometry, or hucking a fullie up and down mountains in Pisgah well out of my depth. Even my distaste for some things in the bike industry come with a level of intensity beyond the casual hobbyist.
Lundbeck is an old friend from uni, one of my first rowing coaches and subsequent bike friends, actually. We started an exceedingly amateur road racing team in Cincinnati, which led him to kindle a passion for framebuilding. Being the good pal I am, several of the first frames ended up being ridden (and sometimes broken) by me. If you ever consider an ISP for a cross bike, don’t drill a hole through it for the brake cable because it “just looks so clean and symmetrical”!
- Frame Lundbeck custom
- Fork Whisky No.7 disc
- Rims Pacenti CL25 (probably)
- Hubs Shutter Precision Dynamo (front) / DT Swiss 350 (rear)
- Tires WTB Byway (front) / Schwalbe G-One Speed (rear)
- Handlebars Zipp XPLR 46cm
- Headset Campagnolo Record (my favorite part)
- Crankset White Industries G30
- Pedals Shimano
- Cassette Shimano XT 11-speed 11-42
- Derailleur Shimano XT 11-speed
- Brakes Paul Klampers
- Shifter(s) Dura Ace (because I knew a guy)
- Saddle Brooks Cambium C17
- Seatpost Thomson Elit
- Stem Thomson Elite 0 degree
- Front bags Wizard Works Mini Shazam
- Other accessories Exposure lights, good luck charm from Tokyo
This was the second CX racing frame he welded for me. It took me through the peak of my enjoyment in that racing discipline until eventually succumbing to a wreck that damaged the rear triangle. After sitting for a couple of years, the frame was given a second chance by a new friend who was willing to re-weld the rear. I had just come off a Soma Wolverine, which was fun but truly an uninspired tank of a bike. I thought, why not try to repurpose this frame as a sort of 650 rando but with things I like? Namely, threaded BB cups, 1 1/8 Headsets, carbon forks, and a borderline uncomfortable saddle-to-bar drop.
Life got away from both of us until I dropped a message saying, “Hey, I’m leaving the country in eight weeks. How’s that frame going?” Two days before the movers arrived, I picked up this welded and painted beauty, put it in a bike bag, and built it some months later for its new life in Germany. These days, it does rides ranging from commutes to work or the city, longer mixed surface jaunts exploring the roads and paths of Berlin and Brandenburg, and even the rare as you like Stammtisch Ride. It’s taught me that dynamo-powered lights and proper fenders are a must around here. On that note, don’t focus too much on the fenders in the pictures. Promise not to zoom in, okay!?
You can see more from Sam on Instagram @gatos__gatos__gatos.
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