#21 In Roads-Mr. Wizard
Every once in a while you meet someone you just know is meant for greatness and today, it’s Michael. The chatty guy at the bicycle shop is so full of enthusiasm and energy you can actually see his dreams come to life. As he waves his hands, colorful magic dust trails from his fingertips. The 26 year old is busily creating art and breaking ground as he creates carbon fiber bicycles that will blow your mind. Being totally clueless as to how the whole carbon fiber thing works, Mike took the time to explain the basics.
“It’s a cloth kind of like fiber glass if you’re familiar with that, it’s a fiber infused with resin. First I take clay and sculpt a form then use the fiber, apply resin and bake it in the oven and a lot of other things. There are a lot of steps, lots of block sanding. Each bike has taken about six months to complete. I learned this entire process by researching the Internet and watching YouTube. I’ve built five bikes, sold two, but I’ve given away some. Made one for Make-a-Wish and this bike will be a girl’s bike for breast cancer and here’s the first one I built. I learned a lot from this one. Here’s a picture of the first one I sold, that company wants three more. They’ll put them on turntables with mirrors and lights and everything. People are using them as advertising because they are so unique. For liability I do not say they are to be ridden but I rode mine, this one right here, at the OBC show in Las Vegas for 126-miles in three days and had a blast on it. No padded seat or springs or anything and I won the show; see my trophy over there? There isn’t a class for this because nobody else is doing what I’m doing. I’ll be going public with my company soon and I’m really excited. Other people are, too.” He’ll work with Mercedes-Benz to do a custom bike, soon. He tells me he graduated high school but has no college and has been building stuff “since forever.” He did quarter midget racing as a kid and has well over 1,000 trophies to show for it. He says he won constantly.
“People must have really hated you, huh?” I ask. He laughs, “Yep, and it was pretty much the same at the bicycle show since I did the same thing there. Guys were telling me they’ve been building forever and have never seen anything like my bikes. I just dream them up. They come to me.” It’s the attention to detail that he likes. He smiles with pride at the torching he does on sprockets to create bluing and points out the custom chains he makes.
“I taught myself how to pinstripe so I’ll go back and paint on each of these links so it will have flames. See that engine up there? It’s my friend’s Panhead. We’re going to do a custom build on that, too. I’m going to polish a lot of it then hand paint it and see what we can do with the carbon fiber.” He says it will be a functional motorcycle. I give him my card.