His dad said, "Russ, you're gonna wear that thing out!" He was 14 when he got his first BMX bike. He took it apart everyday to clean it and make sure everything was in good working order. I laugh everytime I hear that story now thinking back to when I first met him September 1st, 2004. I found out he was moving to Utah to teach photography at a college prep boarding school which really perked my attention because of what it said about his artistry and his character. And then I found out that he was working at a bike shop down the road from my apartment (this was when we both lived in Chicago- he was finishing up art school at Columbia College and I was dancing professionally with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago's second company). I took my neon orange Huffy down to his bike shop the next day, and as superficial as it sounds...he picked up my bicycle with one hand to put it in the repair stand and I was hooked! Ha!
Russ got a job at a bike shop in Wisconsin when he was 15 years old. During summer breaks in college he came out to stay with a friend and worked as a mechanic at Turin Cyclery in downtown Denver. (Not knowing that a decade later he would own his own bike shop just outside of Denver in Lakewood, CO). Fast forward to when we both lived and taught at Wasatch Academy, the boarding school we ended up teaching at for eight years, in Utah. He taught black and white conventional photography, because it is all about the process. It's hands on and practical and empowering his students to physically create something.
We bought a 1980 VW rabbit pickup that he converted to run on waste vegetable oil. We drove all around this country in that little truck, stopping along the way at diners and Taco Bells to fuel up with more vegetable oil. (Read more about our grease filtering system here!).
Each repair he made on that cute little old truck was because he was willing to pick up a manual and figure it out.
Also while at that boarding school he taught an experiential learning classes where the kids took bikes and created art on them as well as a project with photography, writing, and sculpture where students took a VW rabbit and converted it into a work of art/snowboarding feature for the school's snowboarding park. Check out the little video below of the final art showing.
Even when we moved to Beijing China in 2013 he was taking abandoned bikes and combining them with parts from other bicycles to make one great working bike for our co-workers at the international school we were teaching at. Here's a link to a post from our blog about this while we lived in China. Also, in Beijing he began playing bike polo (kindof like the horse sport with a mallet and a ball, but on a bicycle). At bike polo is where he met the guy, David Wang, that ultimately taught Russ about the bamboo bicycle building process (Bamboo Bikes Beijing).
So to make a long story short, Russ knows a lot about bikes. He loves them, he rides them and he wants to either teach you how to make your own bike out of bamboo (because you could totally do it!!!!) or he wants to get your bike to it's peak performance with the most affordable tune-up around in his little Lakewood, CO bike repair shop (CCBIKES). His tuneups are so affordable, not because his labor is worth less, but because he wants more existing bikes to be on the road as safe and efficient as they can be and doesn't believe that should cost you an arm and a leg.
Bring your bike in today, so he can make it ride like the wind!