After featuring a few bikes by Stanridge Speed, I was keen to find out a little more about the man who wields the torch, Adam Eldridge. It’s refreshing to hear the thoughts of a staunchly patriotic builder who places such a strong emphasis on the quality of the handmade bicycle.
Most Cycle EXIF readers will know you as the man behind Stanridge Speed, can you tell us a little about your cycling history? Let me start by saying, growing up we didn’t have money. Looking back it’s tough to understand how my father made it happen. I’ve developed a tremendous appreciation for my parents guidance and support. I continue to be thankful for the support they lend to me everyday. We skipped the LBS for the yard sales to buy my first “big” bike. A junker was bought with allowance from feeding the dog etc. Sky blue rattle-can paint, Ajax on the yellow vinyl banana seat and SOS pads brought the bike back. Like every other kid my age ramp building was the name of the game in the summers. Crazy tail whips going down in the gravel with my coaster and blowing up both knees up in the process.
At some point there was a graduation to a brand spankin’ new gold and black Huffy BMX. It was polished and washed everyday eventually ending up white because of all the dried residual wax left behind. The bike became an even bigger part of my life when my right ring finger tip was severed in a stationary exerciser. Hand pedaling the crank and making the back wheel spin to record speed awarded me with a lasting trophy I can’t seem to lose. The ambulance ride was a dream come true.
At university in 99′ I caught the MTB bug. The M300 rekindled my love of cycling. The competitive spirit, the challenge of the trails, whipping past super V’s on a ridged rig really got me going. The trails in the Daniel Boone National Park were at my doorstep. It was awesome. Graduation from University was filled with transient living because of corporate relocations and the ol’ MTB going in the storage shed. Four years out of College I picked up road biking after taking a position at a LBS and have never looked back. Now you can find me out and about around the city proper every day.
Have you worked with any other material other than steel? What are the qualities of steel that makes it so appealing? I haven’t worked with any other material other than steel. Someday we will start to explore and build with other materials. Liquidity and a lack of working knowledge are the roadblocks now. Steel has been around for so many years, it will continue to be refined and will stay around and it will always be part of our portfolio. The ability to quickly and easily repair steel after a mishap appeals to me and should to others. We’re a microwave one minute rice world. When I say quick and easy this means it probably wont get thrown in the rubbish bin after it smacks the ground.
We want our clients to pass their bikes down to the next generation. We believe in legacies and intrinsic value. Our bikes are built to carry on the the original buyer’s spirit. Not only will the bikes last a lifetime based on construction and structure, we feel visually they’ll stand the test of time. We’ve all read and heard it a million times before. I’ll say it again, the ride of a well made custom triple butted steel bike cant be duplicated. However, it’s more than the “qualities” of the steel as we start to explore the nuances of the ride. It’s the construction quality, butt lengths, tube wall thickness and geometry. After you feel the bike, lift it up, hop on and ride it you just understand it’s made properly and well.
The designs are timeless, we’ll be using steel in 20 years. It wont be a trendy looking object. We’re not trend driven. Hopefully you can tell by looking at our bikes that they’re made in the USA. I’m proud of this. You see our bikes and you know they’re handmade. You know not everyone is going to have one.
When creating a frame for a customer, how does your design ethos influence the final product? Building for the customer is the number one focus at Stanridge. Our bikes are an extension of the customer. Almost blending with the customer. I don’t let my personal riding style get in the way of design. It’s tough to communicate such an abstract feeling between two. My frame of reference may be completely different from my clients. Constant communication and sign offs keep the projects on track. The communication process is the toughest part. The building is much more easy. Aesthetically it’s okay to explore, and by aesthetically I’m referring to tube diameters and shapes. Generally speaking it’s really not going to do much for the overall ride. Geometry, Rake, Trail, Front Center this is what effects the “feel”.
We’ve been blinded by so much junk. Most all of us have started to understand this now. We’re starting to understand the difference. I think the economy caused a great deal of folks to simplify. Now our decision making process may focus a bit more on quality and durability.
You’re located in Columbus, Ohio. Have you cycled overseas? How does Columbus compare, and why do you call it home? Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to travel internationally. I wish I could say yes. Right now the focus is on building the brand. Being a high achiever bites me in the rear more often than not. The grass is always greener on the other side. Right? Punching the clock I used to think about all the free time I’d have.. yeah right. Ha.
A former corporate employer relocated me to Cowtown as I called it (Columbus). I didn’t know what to think of it. I didn’t even really care at the time because I was climbing the ladder to the proverbial pot o’ gold. I’m so happy with Columbus, Ohio. It feels big but is quite the opposite. It’s an easy place to build a network. There is a great sense of community pride and the bike scene is amazing.
Where do you see the ‘fixed gear’ scene developing in the next few years? They’ve been around since the 1900′s. They’re not going anywhere. It’s definitely chilled out. NJS ran it’s course. Now we’re into the quasi 700C BMX deal. It’s giving the older dudes who were into BMX in the 80′s the ability to get back into it. There will always be a fixed scene. I have one request. Stop chopping up Colnagos and Merckx’s man! Laugh.
What are your thoughts about the increasing interest in bicycle touring? Are townies, randos or porteurs the next fixie? Thats a leading question! Ha. A strong interest in urban commuting is next. The Burbs’ are out. Cities are in. Baby boomers with empty nests are proving this. They’re tried of cutting they’re grass and house maintenance. They’re moving into condo’s and traveling. After a couple months in an urban environment it’s discovered a bike makes sense. City’s and populations are adopting a healthy, greener attitude. There will never ever be another demographic with more disposable income than the baby boomers… pay attention to them.
The Highstreet Pursuit was a major project for Stanridge Speed… What’s next? That’s a secret.
Thanks to Adam C. Eldridge of Stanridge Speed. You can read more about his design ethos on his website and keep updated by his blog, twitter and facebook page. Top portrait of Adam by Chris Walker. Bottom portrait of Adam by Caleb Ely.