Cycling has seen historic rise in the last few years leading the way for more and better bike paths, especially in places like Boston, NYC and Washington DC. With that, the relevant product innovation and style trends have moved at a brisk pace as well too. Cycling apparel, equipment and footwear are getting lighter, stronger and better looking all at the same time.
The Pedal Pushers Club is keeping up with the pace. With designs that speak to the benefits of cycling and location specific branding, their line of t-shirts speaks to anyone that takes to two wheels with a soft spot for home. For more on The Pedal Pushers Club t-shirt line, we caught up with their “presedente” Brett Novick.
What is your role at The Pedal Pushers Club?
“My business card reads “presidente” which means that I am pretty much involved in everything except the actual screen printing. Owning a small business can of course be a challenge, but in reality I very much enjoy being able to have a hand in a lot of different projects at the same time. Over the last few years I have learned a tremendous amount about a lot of different topics. I’d say I spend the majority of my working time on marketing and trying to create new partnerships for the business. For example, I am incredibly excited to now be in City Sports because I think we cater to a lot of the same people and have very similar corporate vibes (if that makes sense).”
What was the inspiration behind starting The Pedal Pushers Club?
“To me the Pedal Pushers Club is about making unpretentious clothing for people who like riding bicycles. The industry has become way too flashy by focusing exclusively on the high-performance segment of the sport and forgetting about the everyday cyclist who isn’t counting grams on their commuter bike. The people that ride their beater bikes to work or to the grocery store everyday are just as much cyclists as anyone else. We decided to call the brand a “Club” because as far as I am concerned if you like to ride a bike than that’s all I really need to know, you’re in the Club. Consider us the everyman of cycling t-shirt companies. “
There has been a steady increase in cycling popularity over the past few years, what do you think is the primary cause?
“I think for a long time Americans were stubborn about cycling, relegating it is a fringe activity that was only good for children or the real enthusiasts. It is great to see cycling growing so much both as a sport and as a culture. On the fitness side, I think Lance Armstrong brought a lot of attention to the sport, because even if you didn’t know anything about cycling, his story was truly inspiring to a lot of people. Additionally, regardless what you think of Livestrong as a charity, it is responsible for a lot of new people getting on bicycles.
On the transportation side, I think there have been a lot of factors that have made people realize that riding a bicycle is sometimes simply the most practical way to get around a city. When gas prices started going up, a lot of people really reevaluated the value of driving everywhere they went. Not only can cycling save commuters money, but it is certainly a more enjoyable way to start your day than sitting in traffic. At the same time I think the industry and advocacy groups finally got their act together and started getting cycling issues on the political agenda with local government. Mayors like Menino (Boston), Bloomberg (NYC), and previously Fenty (DC) have really helped by embracing the idea that getting more people on bicycles is good for everyone’s quality of life.
The combination more people riding bikes for sport combined with better advocacy efforts has really led to a broad cultural change in the way people see cycling in this country.”
What is your all-time favorite cycling route?
“That is too hard. I will give a quick top 3.
1. Western Massachusetts. I went to Umass Amherst, and the cycling out there really can’t be beat. I am a New Englander at heart so to me there is nothing better than a ride out to Sugarloaf in Deerfield. You can see the whole valley from the top and the view makes the climb almost seem worthwhile.
2. The C&O Canal path in DC. For those that have not experienced it, the C&O is a crushed gravel trail that goes from here to basically Pittsburgh without any road crossings. It runs along the Potomac river and it is remarkably beautiful, especially because you can leave from the heart of DC and be in what feels like the middle of nowhere in only a few miles. On the weekends it gets pretty crowded, but most weeknights during the summer you can find me out there on my cross bike, and there is nobody else out there.
3. Chugiak in Alaska. I lived in Wasilla for a little while (right up the road from Sarah Palin) and used to love riding up there. I had a few close calls with some wildlife, but Alaska might be the most serene place on earth. Plus it was cool to be able to get out of work at 8 or 9 pm and still have a few hours of daylight to ride. The roads are pretty lousy up there, so another good choice for a cross bike.”
Your clothing line features a lot of market specific details. Can you talk about some of the current designs and how they speak to certain cities?
“It seems obvious, but most people are proud of where they come from and we try to pick symbolic elements to represent that pride. I have lived all over the place, but to me basically the 95 corridor is home pretty much anywhere from DC to Boston. As a brand we try to make location based shirts only about places that one of us has lived or knows well. People always suggest making shirts for this place or that, but if we don’t know anything about the city or have never been there than it probably isn’t going to be an authentic expression of the place.”