18MILESPERHOUR PROFILE: RITTE VAN VLAANDEREN
See that skinny bastard in the upper-right corner there? That’s my friend Spencer. I have a lot of friends who are really good cyclists. That make me feel heavy, old and slow.
Spencer slathers a whole ‘nother layer of shame on top of that.
He makes me feel heavy, old, slow plus unfunny and unmotivated.
As cyclists we sit around at those coffee places talking about opening a bike shop or doing something in the cycling world.
Fuck’n Spencer just went for it.
He’s the brainchild, founder, owner and team captain of Ritte Van Vlaanderen Cycles. In the uptight world of road racing, Ritte is a shining beacon of lighten-the-fuck-up. They prove that a good race team, great bikes and having a sense of humor are not mutually exclusive. And hell, they’ve given the uppity, a-hole-ish, West Side of L.A. road cycling world a well-deserved slap in the face.
Spencer was the guy who worked in the next office over at the behemoth ad agency where we met. I commuted in from time to time and this young, cocky, wiry guy comes up and starts bagging on the fact that it was the first time he’d ever seen someone so dumb as to put Campy Record on a Surly frame (it was a temp frame while my current one was being built – sue me). It didn’t take long to realize he was actually a really nice and funny-as-hell guy and not cocky at all. Well, maybe just a little. But there was real writing talent and cycling ability there.
At any rate, years in advertising spent dealing with timid, pansy clients taught him the value of having a brand that had balls. That wasn’t afraid of having a personality. All that was clearly poured into Ritte.