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Our newest, most obscure hub, The Fixed WORD
A long time ago there were these nutty Nor Cal bike rider types who got fed up with Shimano changing drivetrain standards every year and decided they would just go complete whacko and run only one gear. That, of course, is what started single speed mountain biking which by now is a pretty steady category in that sport.

But Tracklocross? Fixed gear cyclocross racing? Well, 20 years later it’s the same story: some people started doing this utterly confounding racing and requested some hubs from us. This time it only took a few months to really get them goin’ and with all the knowledge we’ve acquired in the last twenty years, these hubs are super nice right out of the box. They’re available in many spoke counts and in single/fixed or fixed/free configurations.

Fixed WORD from PAUL Component Engineering: Clip in and never stop pedaling…..

Get one for yourself here!
7 Questions with Emily of Squid Bikes


Why? What about your history and bikes led to starting a bike company?

I just generally didn’t like the aesthetic of 99% of the bikes I saw. I love riding my bike but didn’t want to ride something that I thought was ugly. Especially when I could do something about it. I spray painted my old race bike in school and turned it into my townie, painted my first cyclocross bike and basically wrapped my entire race bike one year in neon vinyl because I didn’t like the way they looked. When we started the company one of the main premises was that we wanted the bikes to look more like surfboards and the bottom of skateboards. I wanted our bikes to look different. I wanted them to look like something you are meant to shred and play on.

What’s the best industry moment you can remember? After you started a bike company what’s the funnest or most fulfilling thing you have done so far in this crazy little bike world of ours?

When we first started we didn’t offer any paint jobs, we only offered raw frames with the intention that customer painted it themselves. DIYFS. It definitely limited the number of people who purchased our bikes, but the people who decided to take on that project were always super pumped. I felt like painting your own bike was kinda like a badge of honor.  I didn’t expect to feed off of our customers stoke as much as I did. It was really cool. I love painting bikes for people but I still really love it when customers order raw frames. It’s like opening the door to creativity for a lot of people. 

Do you miss racing cyclocross? 

I think I will miss racing cyclocross. Right now I’m just enjoying being retired and not having the pressure of needing to train. Being injured without the pressure of a coming season has been a very different experience than past injuries where I constantly feel like I am behind where I want to be. I’m sure I’ll jump in a few single speed races this Fall and get my fix that way.


Do you miss using both legs?

Yes. But honestly. A forced change of pace has been kinda nice. I have been kayaking lately which has been super fun. 


Were you ever a roadie?

Yeah.... I started racing bikes in college for UC Davis. The Central Valley isn’t great for mountain biking or even really city riding so I kinda got tracked into riding and racing road bikes. The college team provided a really fun supportive team environment and I really enjoyed collegiate racing. USCF not so much and I quit racing after college. I actually quit riding for about 3 years but found that I missed being really fit, pushing myself and playing the game. After I moved back up to Northern California I started riding again, and slowly got back into racing. I managed a number of notable results during my graduate studies and was offered a spot on a professional team. I raced full time for about 3 years and was lucky enough to get to race with the National Team for two seasons and do a few of the road World Cup races which was pretty cool. 

I have a huge soft spot for Sacramento, especially Downtown and Midtown. I went to college there, it was far enough from my parent’s town that they wouldn’t randomly stop by and close enough I could do laundry every couple of weeks. It was also my first time in a “big city”. How did you end up there? 

I hated Sacramento when I first moved here. It took about 2 years for me to finally come around. I grew up in San Diego but knew that I really liked Northern California from going to school in Davis. I got married and my husband (and co-squid owner [not Chris]) was applying to graduate schools. He got into school in Sacramento so we decided to make the move.


At one point you told me about the degree you had and I was just blown out of the water. What is it and why are you not in that field now vs. starting a little (but awesome) bike company where we all know the odds of making any real money at all are really slim?

I have a MS in Biology. I worked a little in the field before going to graduate school but always loved school and was really lucky to get to work on a really cool project for my research. When graduation rolled around, the job market was pretty depressed and I got offered a contract to ride, so I just did that, knowing the opportunity to race at a high level wasn’t going to last forever. Road racing turned into cyclocross racing and running my own program. With the help and contributions of a number of people my cyclocross program transitioned into what is now Squid. By the time all that got rolling I had been out of the environmental field for a while and didn’t have a burning desire to go back. I love what I’m doing.

When you don’t have a broken leg do you prefer 3”, 7”, or knee socks with your bike shoes?

Currently 7”

Follow Emily on Instagram

7 Questions with Chris from Squid Bikes


What was the final straw that made you make the decision to join/start Squid with Emily? Pretty sure you worked in bike shops before this.

I had been helping Emily, Pete and Marty (the other 3 Squid Founders) with a local cyclocross group hosting pick up races and building up loaner bikes. I had already been working in shops, but had started getting interested in doing race mechanic work, so the other 3 had decided they wanted to build a frame company to replace Emily's need for a new frame sponsor. 

Do you design the bikes? If so where do you get inspiration? Geometry etc?

Yeah I do pretty much all the frame design, the frames we build through Ventana include a secondary revision by Sherwood to fit his high standards of design. Every frame we've made has been in response to a need/desire by myself or one of my friends.


What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Getting to work on all different aspects of the business. The day to day changes all the time from painting bikes, drawing geo, maintaining team bikes, designing lycra clothing, graphic design, book-keeping. A lot of the time it’s just putting out which ever fire is the largest but its keeps things interesting.

What is your dream after work ride like?

Honestly I get to do it a lot. Riding some single track to get a cold beverage to enjoy down by the river. Watch the sun set and ride home. 


Are you from Sac? If not how did you get there?

Born in Los Angeles, transplanted with my parents when my mom got a promotion and I’ve been here since. I’ve tried to leave a few times but keep coming back.

Do you enjoy the Train Museum there? I sure do!

Yes! I’ve been going since I was a kid, my parents are members there and go frequently.

Follow Chris on Instagram

Take a tour of Squid Bikes with us!
We've had a lot of good times with the Squid crew over the last few years, so it was time to visit their headquarters, have a look at all their rad custom projects, and ask them some weird questions!
The Rise Of Tracklocross
by Mikey Fucken Pizza


This isn’t the first time that intrepid delinquents have brought fixies to unadvised places.  We should remember that there is nothing new in cycling, and so to claim that Tracklocross is a novel discipline is to disregard nearly 200 years of shenanigans.  I would nonetheless contend that the present moment in the history of bicycle mischief is special for many reasons.  The bike community is very strong, super well connected by “the internets,” and the last couple of decades have seen amazing refinement of bikes and their associated components.
“Run what you brung” stands as a crucial doctrine for practitioners of Tracklocross.  Should you find yourself watching or competing in this spectacle, you will notice that the bicycles are as multifarious as the athletes.  The single unifying characteristic of these machines is that there are no freewheels and no brakes.  The same may be said of the riders themselves: these rascals live life in the duality of sprinting and skidding.  There’s no provision for coasting, metaphorical or otherwise. 
Tracklocross is one of the few provinces of cycling where simplicity is the prevailing doctrine.  Moreover, and to remove any pretense that Tracklocross is anything other than fun, I will add that Tracklocross is fun.  So much fun.  So much fun and physically very hard.  So much fun and very hard and dumb.  Dumb like simple.  Dumb like you don’t have to shift or coast or do anything with levers.  Just go, dummy.  Tracklocross!
In a time where we are told that a different and increasingly esoteric bicycle is needed for each type of event, Tracklocross tells us to pick the equipment that works for us; and to do so in spirit as well as in machine.  This is not always the prevailing philosophy of the bicycle industry.  In the interest of market fragmentation and economies of scale, “Big Bicycle” wants to sell us bikes for grav grav, bikes for commuting, bikes for riding single-track and bikes for going camping.  Doubtless, some readers will use the same bike for all of these things.  Others will have a well-rounded quiver of machines driven by the “N+1” principle.  Most of us occupy middle ground between these two approaches, and they are both correct.    
The prompt for this piece reads: “How and why did Tracklocross come into being?”  The simple answer is that a few people had the will to organize, and still more people had the will to participate.  The long and complicated answer is what I have alluded to above: the Tracklocross community is built from an existing kit of parts just like the dumb, silly, beautiful people and bicycles that turn up at a Tracklocross race.  There is also a vibrant network of small-scale manufacturers, from Northern California to Russia to Chile that is uniquely equipped to support demand for parts not commonly sought after by the mainstream, so that innovation in equipment can occur in the rare opportunities that surface to improve upon machines that are already quite good at their job.  In the case of Tracklocross, their job is to be sketchy enough to deliver dumb fun, but safe enough to survive the ordeal.  Sketchy but safe. Tracklocross.


Can't get enough of the Tracklocross? Watch this video of Shredder Sammi on by CX Magazine!
Copyright © 2019 Paul Component Engineering, All rights reserved.

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