Linus Bikes – City Style

Founders Chad Kushner and Adam McDermott. “It’s nice working out of the old Venice Bungalow, somehow it never really feels like work,” Adam said.

Fact: Adam McDermott named Linus Bikes after his nephew, Linus, who is now under the impression that all Linus bikes belong to him.

In sunny Venice Beach, CA, the cruiser bike scene is just about as gnarly as the surf scene. Two guys that are contributing to the strength of the cycling culture there – and increasingly elsewhere, as well – are Adam McDermott and Chad Kushner: founders of Linus Bikes, everyday commuters and sometimes surfers, too.

McDermott was born and finished high school in Cape Town, South Africa. That’s also where he met Kushner. Both studied film and later landed in Venice Beach working as camera assistants in the film and television industry. After about three years, and some trips overseas to bike-friendly centers in Europe and Asia, McDermott began to consider founding a brand of city bikes that reflected the cycling culture in Venice Beach.

“Bicycles are the core of the community here,” he told me over the phone from the Linus shop headquarters in Venice Beach. “It’s central to life here. Whenever you’re going out and meeting people, you’re doing it all by bike.”

McDermott’s overseas experiences afforded him the headspace to reflect on where Venice Beach’s urban cycling culture excelled and what it still lacked.

“For me, it was the actual hardware, it was the bike. I felt that it needed a transformation for bicycle culture to take root here.” Co-founding Linus, he said, was an extension of his belief that “a simple, elegant, affordable bike would be a better platform to help breed bike culture in the states.”

For example, “Los Angeles is a really stratified and alienated city,” he said. “The bicycle is the best way to create community.”

Three to four years and many 60-hour work weeks later, the time and effort McDermott and Kushner have invested in their business is finally paying off. Linus bikes are sold in most major cities in the United States.

“We’ve been very fortunate with how we’ve been received,” he said, owing much of his success to timing. “I think it’s been a cultural shift. Bicycles are a recessionary product and people are living differently, living a little smaller; and, I think bicycles play into that.”

Densified urban centers where people can get to most of their daily needs within a five- to 10-mile radius can help to bolster the widespread use of bikes for transportation, McDermott said, and he sees cities moving in that direction. Right now, he’s content to witness the growth of the culture and increasing prevalence of people riding bikes, even in car-centric urban sprawls, such as greater LA.

“I feel like I see bicycles everywhere now. Wherever there’s a bicycle lockup, I’m always seeing stacks of bikes all over Los Angeles.”

“Even people who drive are more aware of cyclists on the road and are sharing the road with them.”

Naturally a daily commuter himself, McDermott divides his time between riding his Dutchi cruiser bike – for shorter trips around town and when hitting the beach – and his Dover five-speed, which he uses for those greater-than-five-miles trips.

Aesthetically-speaking, McDermott is partial to the style and line of the rarer to be seen, but increasing in popularity mixte frame – the Dover is also a mixte.

“I’ve always liked the mixte because it’s the most beautiful frame; I really like the line of a mixte,” he said. “I like how it rides and having the slanted top tube and the extra stand-over clearance. A lot of it is esthetics: The twin top tube that has a diagonal line that goes from the top of the bike to the end of the bike.”

It will come as no surprise that Linus offers four mixte options as part of its 2012 lineup: the Dover 1 and 5 and the Mixte 3 and 8, along with some non-mixties: Dutchi, Roadster Classic, Roadster Sport and Gaston.

Seeing people riding Linuses while he’s in the bike lane is one of the perks of the job.

“It’s really exciting to make something and see it become part of the landscape and become part of people’s lives.” After all, that’s what this whole Linus Bikes business is about, McDermott said. “We want bikes to become part of everyday life.”

Linus’s accessories line supports that lifestyle by proving bicycle add-ons that are functional and that also look good. Their line of bags is expanding, and the company now offers a smooth-edged silver headlamp that can be mounted on a bike’s handlebars, stem or forks.

You can find Linus bikes in stores across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company is also looking to expand to Russia, Japan, Brazil and possibly Korea, the United Kingdom and Argentina, this year.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.

Interbike 2011 – Hot Bikes, Cool Accessories

By Sarah Ripplinger

September 19, 2011

Montante Evergreen Retro bike.

LAS VEGAS, NV – Day one of the Interbike trade show brought with it plenty of bike candy for us to feast our eyes on.

The Evergreen Retro bike, from Montante caught our eyes. It replicates the look and style of a classic 1930s Italian bike down to the smallest detail. The smooth lines and many features of this bike make it not only a beauty to ride, but a delight to see:

  • built-in newspaper holder
  • pump mount with pump
  • classic dynamo hub and lights
  • brake pads that lift up on the rim
  • Brooks leather saddle
  • rear rack with waterproof-treated leather panniers

This steel freewheel bike also comes with fenders, leather grips and step-through and straight bar models (26-inch and 28-inch respectively).

Interbike Day One - NutcasePhoto by David Niddrie

Nutcase’s new Metroride helmet.

Nutcase has a lighter helmet on offer for their 2012 line. The Metroride helmet has several air vents on the front and top to keep you cool, an adjustable fit and a removable rim. Designed with the commuter in mind, the helmet’s light weight makes it a functional addition to your cycling ensemble.

Interbike Day One - DZRPhoto by David Niddrie

SPD-compatible DZR cycling shoes.

DZR’s urban cycling shoes, in men’s and women’s styles, are SPD-compatible and made to walk in, as well as ride in. The rubber sole has a shank that runs three quarters of the way up from the toe to keep the shoe stiff enough to accommodate the cleat cutout in the outsole. And the comfy soles and stylish designs will keep you wearing them off the bike.

The Bern Watts helmet has a new fit system for 2012 that uses Velcro for an optimal fit. The lightness of this hardcase helmet – which weighs only 17 ounces (one pound) – is made possible by zip mold foam that is sturdy enough to protect your noggin, but light enough that it won’t weigh you down.

The Vetta PathFinder 2 cycling computer with integrated headlight is a cool idea that could save you time and handlebar space. The 0.5-watt light isn’t as powerful as some, but the possibility of taking your light and computer with you in one fell swoop, as opposed to having to remove two separate items when leaving your bike unattended, is an enticing convenience. The PathFinder 2 comes with a larger display screen as compared to the previous model, adjustable straps, a clock and a wireless speedometer. Vetta also offers a Solar Flare solar paneled cycling computer that can last up to around 10 years without requiring a single battery change.

Originally published on momentummag.com.

OutDoor Demo 2011

Tern’s P71 folding bike.

LAS VEGAS, NV – Each year, thousands of venders from the bicycle industry gather for one week to advertise new and upcoming products to help make your cycling experience that much sweeter.

From September 12 to 13, 2011, OutDoor Demo, which precedes the 30th installment of Interbike, North America’s largest bicycle industry trade show, draws industry members outside the bright lights of Las Vegas to experience first-hand what’s new on the market. In this mini series, Momentum Magazine brings you fresh information about what’s hitting the lifestyle cycling market in 2012.

One thing that caught our eyes at the OutDoor Demo grounds in Bootleg Canyon, just a 45 minute bus ride outside of Las Vegas, NV, was a Tern folding bike.

Tern is new to the market and offers a variety of folding bikes, including the Eclipse P71. The Eclipse comes with fenders, internal gears, a rack and a front dynamo hub that powers a built-in front light – perfect for getting the urban commuter on the road in a flash. The adjustable stem allows you to rotate the handlebars to attain an optimal riding position and can fit a variety of riders, so you can share your bike with your friends.

Trek has a new Cocoa bike for 2012, with a Dutch-inspired feel. Designed specifically for female riders, the Cocoa has a three-speed rear internal Shimano Nexus hub, skirt guard, full fenders and kickstand. It also has mounts for a front and/ or rear rack and comes in 15- and 19-inch models.

The styling of this bike is reminiscent of Treks of old. The retro saddle and headbadge take the rider back to a time when bikes were built sturdy and with simplicity and comfort in mind. The seat hugs you and the upright position of the bike and wide handlebars almost makes you feel like your reclining in a comfy couch.

Origin-8 offers affordable folding bikes in its 2011-2012 line. The Origin-8 F-series folding bikes come in single-speed, three-speed and seven-speed coaster brake models ($317.99-380.99 USD). The three- and seven-speeds are equipped with fenders and racks. The Sun Bicycles Altas Cargo Bike is compatible with Xtracycle running boards and pannier, as well as disc brakes ($667.99-689.99).

The L.U.X.E. CamelBak bag is just right for the commuter who wants a versatile pack that they can also bring camping and on other excursions. The lightweight design is perfect for using with or without the built-in bladder, which carries three liters (100 ounces). The new design is easy to clean, lighter than before (at 0.64 kilograms) and comes with a main zip bag, as well as several smaller zipper pouches – to keep loose items from getting lost – and a stretch pocket for a helmet or other items.

New Belgium Brewing, a big supporter of the event, quenched the thirst of attendees and offered free postcards and the option to mail one to a friend or family member. A nice way to say “wish you were here” from the 2011 OutDoor Demo.

Originally published on momentummag.com.