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photo and interview by George Marshall
Taj Mihelich is an ex-professional BMX rider and is regarded by many as one of the most creative and influential riders BMX has ever seen. In recent years he has turned his talents to road and town bicycles with his Texas based company Fairdale. We visited Taj in his hometown of Austin to see how his new venture is going.
How did a career as a professional BMX rider lead into making road bicycles?
I've spent my life riding bikes and falling in love with them. I've always been a part of designing products for the companies I was sponsored by, so it was pretty natural to start a brand. Fairdale is just the next stage of my bike riding life (and they happen to be good bikes for retired BMXers).
How does your background in BMX influence the design of a town/ road bike?
BMX bikes are some of the most simple and inexpensive of all bikes, but they can do the most amazing things ever. I keep that in mind while designing and resist the urge to overcomplicate things. The idea is to be out riding and enjoying them, not worrying about the tech behind it.
What makes Fairdale different from the other companies?
I've had a lifetime enjoying bikes in a lot of different ways. From the scariest most dangerous moments of my life, to my biggest accomplishments, to traveling all over as a pro rider, and of course to a simple cruise on a sunny day. In honest truth the motivation for Fairdale is simply to pass some of that experience on to other people. We hope to make bikes that get people out riding and enjoying what is wonderful about bikes. Creating the vehicle (literally I guess) so that people can appreciate bikes in their own way.
Can you tell us about your coastal ride last year?
It was quite an experience. I rode with some buddies from Seattle to San Francisco. An amazing and beautiful ride, but I got over my head though as the guys I rode with were way fitter and more experienced then me. By the end of it though I could ride and climb mountains all day. I kept a daily journal if anyone's interested. fairdalebikes.com/fieldtrips
What plans do you have for Fairdale in the future?
Just working on making cool bikes. The bigger we get the more specific we can get with the bikes too. For example, with our ties to Odyssey BMX Co. we have the ability to do some ultra high-end stuff. I don't really intend Fairdale to ever be a 'race' brand but it will be fun to make some more performance based products. At the same time always working to make bikes more practical and functional for people too.
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