DAILY BICYCLE CO.
by Grace García
1. Why a bicycle garage?
Although Reid began working with bicycles as a messenger, he has worked primarily over the past 8 years as a bicycle mechanic in all the aspects that this profession entails (in shops, on professional teams, and with component manufacturers). DAILY BICYCLE Co. was born from a common passion shared by Reid and Clara for cities that work well through practical mobility. Reid brings to DAILY BICYCLE Co. his broad experience in the field of bicycles and Clara her vision and experience as an architect and urbanist. The project is both a workshop and a store where practical solutions for easy cycling play a key role, all in a space that presents many opportunities for future collaborations with likeminded folks.
2. We know Reid used to be a bicycle messenger, but Clara is an architect. In addition to tastily redoing the place, what has made you choose bicycles (love aside)? Have you always been a bicycle fan?
Clara’s motivation and purpose in DAILY BICYCLE Co. is to project further abroad from the usual concepts or perceptions of the bicycle as a simple sporting instrument. The broader focus that her architecture background gives her brings to DAILY BICYCLE Co. a vision necessary to prove the bicycle is a key player in the transformation that Madrid (and other cities) need to become well designed and liveable places.
3. Whose job is it to mend and repair the bicycles?
Reid is the expert here. His hope is that his quality service and attention to detail are what sets DAILY BICYCLE Co. from other repair workshops. One of his desired future projects is a highquality bicycle repair academy. For now, his goals are maintaining a transparent and efficient workshop where practical solutions and repairs are the focus. Here the workshop is visible to the public as are the service prices.
4. Clara, which kind of mysterious relationship are you in with mechanics?
The function and mechanics of the bicycle are in many ways analogous to that of a city. When the various working parts are cared for and adjusted properly, everything works smoothly. Also, usually the most simple, wellmade solution is the best and longest lasting.
5. Why did you choose small brands when you could sell more popular ones and achieve a higher revenue?
For many, many different reasons. First and foremost, we believe strongly that the whole life of a product is just as important as the final result. We are keenly interested in selling products and services that convince us in terms of their design, fabrication, and focus, and furthermore, come from companies with whom we can develop a longterm relationship. In the end, it will be much less stressful to deal with people whom we’ve known for a long time and who are physically closer, without middlemen. These are people who often share a similar vision to ours, who pursue objectives beyond simply selling more volume, and who desire to design and make products that will last for many many years. Also, in the end it makes much more practical and economical sense: customers who buy wellmade products are happier and also it is easier to sell products that we ourselves are convinced about.
6. Many repair shops make you substitute the vehicle’s pieces for new ones, rejecting the idea of repairing, mending or altering so the material is re used. Older parts of the bicycle are dismissed when to many people these are more valuable than the modern ones. Do you rule out this possibility or do you keep the classical pieces whenever possible?
A big part of the practical repair solutions that we talk about concerns making use of the original parts as often as possible. It is true that some parts are beyond repair and need to be replaced, but it is also true that many workshops no longer employ highquality mechanics; or rather they do not require highquality service from their mechanics. We prefer to charge our customers reasonable prices for service and this means not needlessly replacing parts just to make our job easier.
7. Why are you so keen on classic bicycles and not so much into fixies, which attract more clients?
By seeking to offer practical solutions for urban mobility, we have found that many of the best options are traditionally designed and manufactured bicycles and accessories. A fixed gear bicycle is suitable to fulfill this need for some people (Reid rode one for several years as a messenger), but it is certainly not the answer for everyone. Furthermore, we believe that bicycle use is not a passing fad, nor an alternative transport, rather it is and will be a hugely important element in our current time’s need for the renovation of practical, efficient urban spaces.
8. Unfortunately, cyclists are not as respected in Spain as in other countries. In addition to that, madrileños’ peculiar driving style makes us cyclists a moving danger. How would you change this?
Get rid of traffic in the center of the city. If I remember correctly, in Chicago it is prohibited to park at anytime in the center city. And the parking was outrageously expensive. Huge historical and urbanistic differences apart, the main reason bicycles and more sensible urban mobility are unwelcome in many cities is because of the collapsing effect that the automobile has on these dense spaces.Other steps would be to spend public funds wiser and do as other cities like London, New York, Washington, or Barcelona have done being proactive to provoke this change. Bicycle parking is sparse (or nonexistent in many parts). Allowing bicycles on trains and in the metro is a nobrainer. Slimming down some major roads for cars by painting one more stripe on the side as they’ve begun to do in the Calle MayorAlcalá is a great step forward. The issue here is that bicycle use and modernization in this regard is not a goal of the current local government. But small steps is what it takes, I suppose.
9. Reid, you used to be a bicycle messenger in Philadelphia and Washington. What do you think of this subject regarding Spain idiosyncrasy? Which are the main differences between Spain and other cities you have worked in?
In the cities where I have worked, mainly Washington DC and a short bit in Philadelphia, the bicycle messenger service is common because it works well and is reasonably priced. There has certainly been a decline with recent technological developments but it remains a valid form of transporting documents and other small objects. A city like Madrid, apart from only recently beginning to be more accepting to bicycles, is very expansive, whereas Washington DC and Philadelphia have a central, compressed business district within which messenger services are mainly used. Spanish and other European cities contain neighborhoods generally more diverse and mixed than their American counterparts.
10. In Spain, bicycle messenger services are practically nonexistent. Why not develop this business idea? Why not promote this movement? Have you ever thought of it or did you just discard it due to lack of awareness and setbacks in Spain?
While we will always defend that kind of business, we feel we can contribute more greatly to making this city more liveable by establishing a project like DAILY BICYCLE Co. Our goal is that all kinds of daily trips be made by bicycle in lieu of other forms of transport. What’s more, Reid has already lived that life and broken the bones to prove it. Now he rides with two brakes, gears, a bell, and respects stoplights.
11. A personal question now. Which bike are you in love with lately?
More than personal, this question is just tough: too many possible answers. We have begun in earnest collaborating with and offering in our shop Pelago bicycles and we are thoroughly impressed: sturdy, purposebuilt bicycles made to last 50 years. On the other hand, Reid’s daily ride gives him great joy. Clara loves her Flying Pigeon bicycle, although she does have her eye on a Wren.
More info: http://dailybicycle.eu/