Where we've been. Where we're going. The future is bright for wood.
Montauk Hardwood Bikes got its name after finishing a cross country bike trip which ended in Montauk, NY. Ben, James, and two other friends from college cycled 4,200 miles, coast to coast, in pursuit of testing Ben's engineering design project (a wood road bicycle), the enjoyment of cycling and the outdoors, and raising support for a local ministry. While the bike trip ended in Montauk in 2015, the idea to start this business began to form and the journey to create the best wood bikes has continued on since that day.
Read an excerpt of the beginning of the trip below, with a summary of how we're continuing forward.
June 14th, 2015
It was 7:00am. There was a thick cold fog that settled and was finally beginning to lift. Surfers in the camp spots next to us were starting to shuffle out of their VW buses, murmuring among themselves against the backdrop of breaking waves. In the foreground were their voices, and the noise of breaking waves became the backdrop. Coffee was being brewed and wetsuits were being zipped. It was low tide and all the surfers seemed to acknowledge it but us. At least I felt at home by the ocean.
The entire last day was rough. Heck, the entire last few days, which is probably why we didn't feel eager to join the rest of the campground in their rising and preparing breakfast. So bad, in fact, was our “team” that nobody felt it was their duty to make dinner the night before. So, we ate a can of green beans and ramen for dinner, if you could call that dinner. Morale was low. Really low. I wish I could exaggerate these thoughts, but I’m not: “are we going to even make it past the first day?” Part of me wished I could stay and surf with them; it would be far easier in all respects. But I didn’t show up here having build my own wood road bike to opt into doing something easy. I came because of the long road ahead. We all came because of the long road ahead.
Rolling away from our campsite, everything went as planned. Everything except the most fundamental part of the plan: enjoying two month cross country trip with a great group of friends for a great cause. We were leaving our campground in Cape Alava Washington, the westernmost part of the continental U.S. and would arrive in Montauk, NY 60 days later.
We all knew a few things about each other. We knew who were the cyclists and runners in the group, and who wasn’t (yes, I’m singling out James). James was an all-american decathlete, but unfortunately for him, cycling wasn’t one of the 10 events. So yes, if the first day was any indication of how the trip would go, we were in for a treat.
I’ll spare you all the details. In the end, we rode across the country to finish at Montauk Point. Yes, Montauk is the town we finished in, but it’s not just a town. Within the word Montauk is wrapped up two months of camping under the moonlight, 4000 miles of riding over the Cascadian Mountains, across the endless (and horribly boring) plains of North Dakota, and through short and steep foothills (yes, we’re pointing the finger at you, Pennsylvania), a near death experience with a logging truck (still looking for him), long philosophy debates (mostly about...I forget...that's how they usually go), and at the end of the day, a campfire with s'mores.
In the spirit of doing something great, Montauk Hardwood Bikes will continue to design and build exceptional bikes. Bikes you can simply ride all day on, or bikes you can ride across the country on. In the end, I hope that these bikes get you outside and carry you over the road ahead, in a remarkably comfortable ride, with a whole lot of craftsmanship to boot.