Jonathan Neve VYNL meets TEXAS

photo credit: Travis Hallmark

When we contacted Jonathan Neve last year to see if he wanted to race a VYNL, we knew we had found a solid person as well as a solid bike rider. Since then, JKN has piloted his Retro Blue/White VYNL at the Driveway Series and beyond. Always down for a chat and a beer, we recently spent some time to get to know him better, so you could get to know him better, too.

Miami Vice Calling

What is your earliest awesome memory on the bike, when you knew you would be hooked?

My parents were avid cyclotourists before I was born. They lived in Boston and would spend their weekends riding centuries together, always exploring new routes and stopping for food at small restaurants along the way. In a cold December in 1988, my mom rode one particularly hilly century a few days before I was born, just to make sure the sport would stick with me. When I was very young, my dad and I would sit in the driveway and tinker with bikes, and before long I was charging up the steep hill at the end of Rose Lane, until one day I finally made it to the top without having to dismount and walk. Bicycles were a constant companion after that, always with me in one form or another.

What is your favorite part about living in Austin and riding bikes? What are a few "locals only" tips you have either riding, coffee, bike shop, etc wise?

The weather, even though it's the first thing you take for granted when you've lived here more than one season. A lot of folks here have flexible schedules and can work remotely, so you'll often see a group of 6 to 8 of us out on a Tuesday morning for a long road ride.

Traffic is a constant concern here, and bike/car interactions have been increasingly on the dangerous side recently. Planning the timing of rides, as well as the direction of the loops we do, has become more important than ever. However, if you get the timing right, you can roll from your favorite coffee shop (shoutout to Flitch Coffee on Tillery!) and be out on country roads in 30 minutes.

The swimming holes are abundant in Central Texas--it's not a real summer road ride here without a dip in the chilly waters of Barton Creek or a backflip off the boathouse at Common's Ford Park. You gotta go to Fresa's for a cold brew horchata when it's really hot out. And last but not least, we get to race road bikes every Thursday from March to October at the Driveway Bike Race series, where anyone can spectate for free and enjoy a beer courtesy of a local brewery--just don't forget the homemade popsicle cart manned by the talented folks from Cold Ones!

JKN's first vynl

Why did you start riding VYNL and why did you keep riding VYNL? What other bikes are in your stable?

For me, VYNL's road frames were love at first sight. I'd spent the last few years getting rid of carbon bikes in favor of aluminum ones, both for utility and for a growing appreciation of the feel of a well-designed alloy race bike. I graduated from an Allez Smartweld to a CAAD12 and finally landed on the VYNL road frame. It's a culmination of everything I was learning to love about racing and riding, even on rough roads, and synced up with a bike that feels exactly how I wanted it to feel, and remains unfazed regardless of what I throw at it.

The rest of my bikes are good examples of the different angles of cycling that I love so much--a steel hardtail from Seth Rosko, a singlespeed scandium CX frame from Paul Sadhoff at Rock Lobster (currently sporting a flat bar and flat pedals for in-town shredding), a grocery-getter and day tripper from Rivendell, and a gravel and dirt road bike from Cameron Falconer. I love racing criteriums, and I do intervals when my coach (who is also my wife) tells me to, but it's easy to forget that the world of cycling is incredibly dynamic and there are so many ways to enjoy it. There's something for everyone to love, from slow trips to the grocery store, to tandem dates around town, to 60mph descents on a lightweight race bike!

When you're not on the bike, what can you be found doing?

I spend my days working a full-time job as a mechanic at Mellow Johnny's, consulting with cycling brands, brainstorming and celebrating life with friends, reading too many books at once, cherishing quality time with my cats, and always trying to bake more cookies for the world to enjoy.

If money and time were irrelevant, what is one place in the world you would love to go ride for a week, but haven't yet?

Shoot, I have to just pick one place? Right now I can't let go of the idea of a dirt road tour from upstate New York into Canada. Give me miles and miles of quiet forested roads and a paper map to find my way. Maybe later this summer I'll actually make this happen.

So we hear you and the lovely Jolene Holland are an official item, what is it like to have a best friend/partner who also rides?

I'm beyond lucky to know a partner like Jolene and be able to spend my days in her company. Our cycling life is dynamic; as a car-free couple, we commute around town together when our schedules line up, go out on hard training rides together and talk each other through interval sets, but we also struggle to connect and communicate all the time, too!

We've learned how important it is to listen and respect where your partner is at, whether physically or emotionally, and to be as patient and supportive as possible when we're struggling. This balance is something I believe is achievable for anyone, but requires a lot of diligent work, patience and grace. We fail miserably at it all the time, but the key (for me, at least) is to keep giving more of yourself than you ask in return. Just go out and ride, especially if you're mad. It'll help to make all your shit fall away and make you remember the things you love the most.

Pedal Together, Stay Together

photo credit: Jordan Gomez

What's in your earholes right now?

Russian Circles - Guidance

Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book

Migos - Culture

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style

Angel Olsen - My Woman

Jonathan can be found on Instagram @jkneve - Give him a follow. We do.


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