Raphael Cycles was born out of the idea that a bicycle is a synthesis of craft and engineering. A bicycle should last forever. It should be a constant companion on adventure. A bicycle should inspire confidence, it should disappear underneath you. A bicycle should be a bomb proof and durable machine of art and quality. I stand behind that idea that this machine should be built by a local builder, using the highest grade materials, sized and constructed in a local workshop. As consumers, we make choices about what we purchase and where we purchase it from. My bicycles are not mass made goods. They are not made in places far away, with little regard for waste and environment. They are made, one at a time, in a workshop, by one person investing sweat and time, love and care, to create a locally made, high quality product built to exacting standards.
I have been in love with bicycles since I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, but I got the real itch around 2004. In college my friend Josey showed me a monster of a bicycle he had built, JB Weld-ing a sprocket to a freewheel hub, mismatched crank sizes, no paint to speak of. I fell in love with the bicycle again, fast and head-over-heels. I made my own fixed gear, and the intensity of my relationship with bicycles was reborn. I moved out to San Francoisco in the summer of 2005, and here is where I fell deeply and truly in love. Riding as a lifestyle, bicycle adventuring and camping, being a lead mechanic at a local shop, volunteering at a non-profit teaching folks to fix their own bikes, riding 3800 miles across the USA, teaching bicycle fabrication and design at CCA. Bicycles are what I love.
So what did I do? I uprooted everything and moved across the country to attend Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for landscape architecture. But I couldn’t stay away. Not a chance. I dropped out of Harvard and made my way back to my home in the West, and dove headfirst into this world of making, working with a local framebuilder, and my own hands and mind, my heart and sweat, to learn a new craft.
So here I am. In San Francisco. In my workshop. Building bicycles. One at a time. For you.