Connect with us

People

Paradise by Reflector Light

You’ve likely seen that prolific biking idiom on a Harley Davidson cutoff tee—or more ironically—a bumper sticker attached to a Prius. Although predominantly used in motorcycle circles by hefty chaps named Tiny, I can’t help but extend its philosophy to the everyday bicycle. After all, cycling has transcended the mere “environmentally conscious option of getting [...]
Danny Hamen

Published

on

You’ve likely seen that prolific biking idiom on a Harley Davidson cutoff tee—or more ironically—a bumper sticker attached to a Prius.

Although predominantly used in motorcycle circles by hefty chaps named Tiny, I can’t help but extend its philosophy to the everyday bicycle. After all, cycling has transcended the mere “environmentally conscious option of getting from A to B” into its own unique and flourishing counterculture, one that accentuates existential release.

But in order for a flourishing culture exist, there is typically a hub through ideas can be propagated and digested, a meeting spot where its affiliates can assemble and embrace their shared cultural mores.

It was this type of fraternal camaraderie that allured Dan Monning, owner of Short North’s Paradise Garage, into cycling culture.

“There was a great shop that I discovered in high school that really turned into a peer group and social atmosphere—from giving us rides to organizing races to helping us work on our bikes,” he said.

So, with the help of his wife Emily, the pair created a space within Columbus for cycling enthusiasts to congregate. Sure, they fix bikes and sell bikes and biking accessories, but to them and many others, their business means so much more.

“In my opinion, Paradise Garage is the most active bike shop in Columbus due to their contributions to Columbus cycling culture,” said Jen Malik, who joined the Paradise Garage mountain biking team last year.

Paradise Garage’s involvement with the cycling scene is the foundation of their success. It is the countless events, fundraisers, gallery showings, and even dance parties that separates them from the pack.

“You always hear companies saying, ‘We care about the community, our customers, and making a difference,’ but a lot of that is just empty corporate jargon,” said Chris Arndt, Paradise Garage’s cyclo-cross captain. “Paradise Garage owners and employees genuinely care about the community and those who are customers of the shop.”

You may recognize Paradise Garage from their High Street real estate, but they’re not just a retail store—far from it, in fact. Their business plan encompasses that jolt of uninhibited energy while riding on a dirt trail, racing for your life, mud whizzing past the spokes and onto your helmet in a fury of competition. This is what they are about—organizing, arranging, and unifying a culture of speed freaks, all exemplified by an outstanding track record of event organization.

“Hands down, there is no other cycling club in Columbus that is more involved on all levels and disciplines of racing (road, mountain bike, cylcocross, track), community rides (Pelotonia, Bike the CBus, TOSRV, Goldsprints, weekly Paradise Garage group rides), and volunteer events (ClungerBeats, COMBO Trail Days, Kids on Bikes),” Arndt said.

“It’s a new form of adventure,” said Emily, reflecting on the rush of competitive trail racing. “It feels like you could be almost anywhere in the world when you are going down a gravel road, especially when there are like chickens and a horse that crosses the road, and you’re like, ‘I could be on any continent in the world, but I am only an hour from my house.”

Walking into the shop, I was immediately struck by its familiarity—from the stained timber walls, the tall standing ceilings to the smell of newly crafted rubber. It has that cool, artsy bike shop vibe one can come to expect from the most prolific bike shop in the Short North. A younger mechanic with an armful of colorful tattoos and bright green gauges worked somberly on a custom Schwinn as Dan and Emily came out to greet me.

Back in 2008, the couple was looking for a place to settle down and own a business that coincided with their shared passion. Not surprisingly, they landed on Columbus.

“Well, one reason was the actually topography. It’s not intimidating,” said Emily. “There are not many hills, lots of great multi-purpose trails, especially north to south, and there are lots of types of riding you can get into. All of that is kind of represented in Columbus.”

Both agree that it wasn’t their divine hand that created a community. After all, cycle culture had already existed in Columbus long before 2008. What is important to note is the reciprocal nature of their relationship with the community, in that they have received just as much support as they have doled out.

“The very first year we opened, we morphed and changed based on the people that worked for us—the people that hung out at the shop and our team,” Emily said. “All of these personalities come together to create this community. Sure, it’s a clubhouse for some, but its really more a place where people have enthusiasm that they want to share with others.”

On that note, the couple emphasized that you don’t have to be a cycling aficionado draped in reflective spandex to enter the scene. Dan and Emily and the Paradise team welcome all into the community, even the newbies, like me.

“If you have never ridden before, are interested, and you want to know how to get into it, you will totally find people here who would love to share that information,” she said.

With that in mind, I asked them for a quick buying guide to get me in gear for the upcoming season. After all, my car is on her last leg. With a genuine set of smiles, the couple divulged the type of things you should have in mind when walking into a shop for the first time:

What style of riding are you interested in?

Are you looking to ride the bike trails, get to work in a timely manner, or race on top of a mountain? This question really helps you get in tune with what type of bike you want to buy.

      

1. Ask all the questions that you have.

A lot of people have a misconception that you are supposed to go in with a lot of prior knowledge. Our people absolutely love answering questions—it makes us feel useful. We are interested in what you are interested in, and after all, we are the experts.

      

2. Ride some bikes.

The proof is in the pudding. Riding the bikes helps you match up with what you like, and help gauge the size of bike that fits you best. What feels good to you? At that point you can narrow in on the bike you want.

3. Accessorize.

Get a helmet, a lock, lights, comfortable clothing, that sort of thing. There are lots of things even casual riders will need to be safe on the trails. After all, safety is sexy.

Continue Reading
Comments

People

Photo Gallery: HighBall Halloween

614now Staff

Published

on

HighBall Halloween is the nation’s most elaborate costume party. Staged in the Art & Soul of Columbus, the annual event bridges runway style with the culture of the Short North Arts District.

Much like in years past, the city turned out in full force and full costume to celebrate fashion, fall, and fun with host Nina West.

Here's a look at some of the best looks of HighBall 2019:

Continue Reading

People

I Love My Job: CBJ national anthem singer Leo Welsh

Regina Fox

Published

on

Every day, people all around Columbus drive/ride/walk to their jobs, eager to contribute their passion and talent to the city. This series aims to highlight those people and give them a platform to spread their love for their careers. Welcome to I Love My Job.

You may not know his face (depending on your seats), but you definitely know his name: LEO! Longtime Columbus Blue Jackets national anthem singer Leo Welsh has been stealing the hearts of hockey-goers at Nationwide Arena with his impressive pipes and passion for the game since 2003.

Here is why he loves his job so much:

614: What do you love most about your job? 

LW: The thing I love most about my position with the CBJ is being such a fan and being part of the game experience. It is a total thrill every single time. 

614: What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

LW: The most challenging part would have to be maintaining my health during the winter. Hard to sing well when you aren’t feeling your best. 

614: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

LW: The most rewarding aspect is when I am singing and I can see young people singing along to our National Anthem.

614: What’s the best story you have from your time with the Columbus Blue Jackets?

LW: So many great stories and interactions with fans and our military honorees. Most recently the playoffs from last year strand out. The CBJ had a World War II veteran on the ice with me every night. These men were all special and excited the crowd and made it very easy for me to be focused on honoring our country. Several were arm in arm with me and singing along to our National Anthem, very special moments. 

614: Who has been the most influential mentor in your career so far?

LW: I have had many great teachers and mentors. Maestro William Boggs stands out. He is one of the reasons I moved to Columbus following graduation from Ohio University. He offered me a job with Opera Columbus. He was critical when he needed to be, demanded preparation from his singers and was supportive by offering examples and best practices at all times. Truly a great mentor.

Leo will be leading players and fans in the national anthem this Friday as the Blue Jackets open their season against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nationwide Arena. Puck drops at 7pm.

Continue Reading

People

I Love My Job: Grayson Kelly of CD102.5

Regina Fox

Published

on

Every day, people all around Columbus drive/ride/walk to their jobs, eager to contribute their passion and talent to the city. This series aims to highlight those people and give them a platform to spread their love for their careers. Welcome to I Love My Job.

Grayson Kelly may never be as punk rock as Tom Butler, but at least he works at CD102.5 with Tom Butler. A CD102.5 listener since his childhood in Granville, Grayson was inspired by his favorite DJs to pursue his love of radio at Ohio State. He quickly started running the online college radio station, AROUSE OSU, and caught the ears of CD102.5. Grayson’s dream came true in late 2018 when he came on as a weekend DJ.

Here is why he loves his job so much:

614: What do you love most about your job? 

GK: This is a tough one to answer, because everything rules at CD102.5. 

I think my favorite moments come when the station is extremely busy—I'm talking a New York Stock Exchange kind of busy—because that’s when the most excitement comes; all the fun gets concentrated into one moment. 

When there’s a band upstairs in the Big Room, while I’m taking a caller for a prize, and I have to hit the air in 30 seconds to talk about that new Foals? There’s nothing else going on in the world in that minute, and I can live entirely in the moment, within the microcosm of our station and its wonderful listeners, and I can’t think of anything else that’s more fun or fulfilling. 

Photo by Alexandra Adcock

My other favorite part is meeting those listeners out on the town. Some of them have been tuning in since before I was born! We think listener feedback is so important, so it's extremely cool to meet the people that tune in, and to bring their ideas right back to the station. This is truly the best job in the world -- and our listeners are the whole reason we're here -- so I'm really grateful for them every time I'm fortunate enough to meet one.

614: When did you know this was what you wanted to do with your career?

GK: I’ve been listening to the station for as long as I can remember, and I think it shifted me way more than I realized on some subconscious level. When I graduated from Granville High School in 2012 (shouts out to my fellow Blue Aces, I know you’re out there), I knew I wanted to be in the music industry, but I didn’t know where -- until I took a couple gap years and found out that radio in other cities… Tends to suck. I knew then what I missed the most: I wanted to come back to my favorite city and work for my favorite station, in any position they’d let me.

614: What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

GK: Signing off on a Sunday evening, because most of the time, I know I won’t be back in your radio until the next weekend! I’d do this for for days at a time if Mase asked me to... But for your sake, I’m glad he doesn’t.

614: How does this job play to your strengths?

GK: Something I find interesting about radio, in particular, is it allows me the chance to satiate my desire for public speaking, without actually seeing people and getting that immediate feedback. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to drop half the bad puns that I drop on the air if I could hear our audience’s deafening silence that undoubtedly follows. 

614: What’s the best story you have from your time at CD102.5?

GK: I asked a similar question to our owner, Randy Malloy, before I was hired. He said it was silly to name a “best time”, but then rattled off a dozen epic tales about seeing the Ramones at CBGB, chilling out with Iggy Pop, and so many other absolutely insane stories. I was baffled by that answer.

But I think I get his point now. I can’t give any definite answer, because so much has happened over the last year -- as soon as I think of one, someone will remind me about that extremely fun interview with Liam Gallagher (of Oasis), or getting to introduce The 1975 to 10,500 of their amazing fans at our Summer Warm-Up.

To be honest, I think the funniest moment came before I was hired. Randy introduced me to Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements), and I was massively starstruck. He proceeded to grab me by the shoulders, and title me a “So So Glo”, before immediately passing out on his tour bus couch. I’m still waiting on my album credit.

614: If you weren’t a DJ, what career would you have chosen?

GK: If I ever get fired, you can find me living in a log cabin in the Upper Peninsula, trying to last through the winters on a diet of hand-caught fish, working on a beard, and wearing only flannel shirts. Really, I have no idea -- but wouldn’t that be fun? 

Photo by Kendall Smith

614: Who has been the most influential mentor in your career so far?

GK: Way too many to mention! The folks that work here are all so inspiring, and the atmosphere is so wholesome.

I’ve been really grateful to get to know our owner, Randy Malloy -- he’s a total workhorse. The dude broke his leg falling off a ladder a couple weeks ago -- then climbed back up to finish the roof before going to the ER, and I’m sure he’s still pulling 60 hour weeks keeping us afloat. He sets a really good example for work ethic and attitude. 

But when I was 17, I took a picture with Tom Butler, and I think it’s still the coolest picture I ever did take. There’s just this pure joy on my face that I got to meet the guy that lived in my radio and showed me all these amazing artists, before we’d ever met. Today, I can’t explain how fortunate I am to work alongside him and look up to him. No matter what kind of bad day / week / month I could have, I know he’s always there to offer some pretty sage advice.

Mase is alright too, I guess.

Bonus question: Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

GK: Matty Healy from The 1975 really changed my perspective on this. If you think about a duck's quack, in relation to the size of the animal... Then scale that up to a horse, you're in what he calls "ship horn territory... [and] it would be relentless". Then he chose the huge duck. I'm gonna need these ears to keep working, so I think I have to try my luck at the 100 tiny horses!

Grayson can usually be heard on CD102.5 Saturdays 1pm- 6pm and Sundays 3pm -6pm. For more on Grayson and the rest of the jocks at The Alternative Station, visit cd1025.com.

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X