the end of 2009.

it has been a banner year as far as riding, frame building and seeing much more of the world than i ever have before. this past 12 months have confirmed that i am indeed living the dream. the experiences and travels have shaped how i build bicycles and shown me that riding means more than just an average speed or watts produced. the vistas from on top of a mountain in italy riding with rachel and brian to riding along the rugged coastline in norway with alex and al reinforce the use of the bicycle as a way to see the most beautiful places in the world.

recapping the year in cycle trips starts with rachel and i going to italy in may to visit brian hannon who runs a great little bike shop called the bike lab in ascoli, in the marches region near the adriatic coast line. we rode everyday in the mountains for at least 3 hours, headed north to meet up with daniel sharp to watch and photograph the giro before heading back via a visit of dario pegoretti’s workshop. having wine with dario before a tour of his frame building shop was an eye opening trip for an american frame builder.

coming back to work in the shop in portland, it was impossible to not be influenced by the way that dario built bikes and even something as subtle as the overall cycling culture in italy. we live in an amazing place to ride but we have a long way to go to be a european style cycling city. the bikes that i built when we got back from italy were different from what i had built before the trip.

in july, i joined up with the rapha continental in salt lake city to ride the last leg of a summer long trip to document some of the best rides in the u.s. we rode, drove, rode, ate, drank, rode and rode a lot more in a week’s worth of time. riding a bike through yellowstone and up over a 11,000 foot pass will never get old or tiring. it takes a lot for me to cry while i am riding but this view from on top of the world, brought me to tears. thanks to rapha for believing in me as a rider and a builder of a handful of the rapha team bikes.

as of may, i had never been off this continent but in september, i was boarding a plane for my second trip to europe in 6 months. i flew to london before i headed to norway to ride bikes with two of the nicest norwegians i have ever met. the land of the vikings and brown cheese. i am never surprised that the vikings took over so much of the world after seeing how hard a life it is to live in norway. thor hushovd is a god.

photo by Paul Calver

after norway in the rain and cold stone climbs, france seemed like a dream. riding in the first ever cent col challange was amazing even though a crash forced me off my broken bike for 4 days of riding near ventoux. i am grateful for phil deeker and claire for putting this on and doing all the hard work to make this event one of a lifetime. i should say that phil and claire are also hosting events in belgium around the spring classics and i can say frist hand that if you showed up to ride with phil as a guide, you will love every pedal stroke.

photo by ben ingham

with all the riding, i am happy to have my new shop (even if it is cold) and a cozy little house to call home. i am focusing on building a bigger and better ira ryan cycles in 2010. i am about to take shipment of my first lathe and am looking forward to making more beautiful bicycles. a big thank you to all the folks who are riding an ira ryan bike and also for all the folks on the list to get their bicycles in the coming months.


3 Responses to “the end of 2009.”

  1. beth h Says:

    Buckets of goodness to you and Rachel in 2010.
    Have an excellent year as you continue to inspire others just by doing what you love.

  2. devin Says:

    Sounds as if your 2009 was amazing! You do a good job of sharing your travels. And the bikes are drop dead sexy.. Keep up the good work and the fun will follow..

  3. Ute Calway Says:

    I just now came from Bing and want to say thanks for the info on controlling headaches. I hope this may help my son who suffers from migranes. I will have to pass this on. Many thanks yet again!

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