Rolling into 2017 with Richard Sachs

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January 1, 2017

Get to know more about renowned bicycle builder and CX team leader Richard Sachs in this exclusive interview.

Legendary bicycle frame maker Richard Sachs produces seven to eight crazy-in-demand handmade bicycle frames a month while also hopping on a bike to lead his cyclocross team. Withings is a fan, and a sponsor. We caught up with Sachs — via email, no way we could keep up with him on a bike — to share some beautiful pictures from the season and ask him a few questions before he heads to Hartford, CT for the CX 2017 USA National Championships.

Photo by Pete Banach, <a“/>
Photo by Pete Banach,

A few questions for Richard Sachs

What are you and your team doing to prep for the Nationals?

Image by <a href=Brett Rothmeyer“/>
Image by Brett Rothmeyer

Sachs: We have no issues staying focused through the holiday weeks so that we’re ready and full gas for the National Championships.

You are over 60, a time when many people start accepting a slower lane. What keeps you jumping on a bike to ride with a CX team? Any secrets to staying healthy and fit?

Except for maybe five years along the way, I’ve been pinning on numbers and going to bicycle races since 1971. After age 35, you’re mostly racing in peer group, so it’s really not a big deal. We all age up together. None of it seems unusual, or special, from the inside.

Total novice question here… in CX, how do you know when it’s time to carry your bike instead of attempt to ride?

BrittLee Bowman in action by <a href=Bob Kidd Photography“/>
BrittLee Bowman in action by Bob Kidd Photography

There are situations when the volume of riders nears an obstacle — trail width diminishes, or an incline that’s not ride-able — and most will dismount. That’s because it’s faster on foot. Also, some conditions such as mud or even snow and ice, make the accelerations difficult. Here too, running makes more sense.

Image by <a href=Brett Rothmeyer“/>
Image by Brett Rothmeyer

Any highlights from this season? What were some of the best experiences/learnings?

The season is the highlight.

When the CX season is over, what happens? Do you double down on frame building? Take a tropical vacation?

We’ll say goodbyes after the National Championships and stay in touch via email or the occasional visit. For me personally, I’ll forget about the entire ordeal for a week or less and then begin throwing all sorts of energy and making 2017 a success.

You just relocated back to CT and built a new shop. “A room of one’s own…” What did you do differently this time around?

I wanted to bring back the elegance. It wasn’t lost, but I did let it take too long of a nap.

Where do you find inspiration, outside of the cycling community?

Mostly in beautiful things, and mainly handmade ones that come from makers who are students of their culture and/or the tradition and history that the object in question is a part of. And, perhaps oddly enough, I’m a fool for well-designed retail spaces.

You are one of the first people to use the new Steel HR. What has your experience been like so far?

I’ve had mine on full time for six days as of this writing. The first day was a bit of a mystery to be as I’ve never — as in, never ever — used a device for my sporting activities. Since 1971, that includes no speedometers, no Avocets or Cats Eyes, no heart monitors, no power meters – nothing. By day two, especially after studying the results on my iPad, I was a fan, a big fan.

Sachs shows of his <a href=Steel HR graph in the Health Mate app”/>
Sachs shows of his Steel HR graph in the Health Mate app

What’s your favorite Withings product?

Without question it’s the new Wi-Fi scale that I’ve used since November. It replaced the original Withings scale I used the previous 20 months. Why? Because it tells me what I want to know, need to know, and it’s irrefutable.