Paul Camp wows “journos” with blue bits, bike rides, beer

I have a warm place in my heart for Paul. Just look at that happy camper. Paul Components and Dirt Rag Magazine both started in 1989 and we’re both pushing 30 years as companies. We met at Interbike before either of us were big enough to even have a booth. And we’ve grown together over the years through thick and thin. It was with great honor that I accepted Paul’s invitation to head out to Chico and ride bikes with him and some other cronies.

Like Dirt Rag, Paul rode a wave of 1990’s purple and other colored anodized CNC bike parts. Like so many others, Paul started in a garage, made bike parts, and called my magazine to buy ads. Those were heady times, the mid 90’s. But the whole craze shit the bed later as the two big “S” companies upped their game and made parts we couldn’t refuse. This put a hurt on a lot of small boutique U.S. parts makers. And put a hurt on the ‘Ol Rag as well.

But Paul made it through, getting a boost with the advent of the single speed mtb movement. Dirt Rag was there covering it as well.

And so the ups and downs continue. Paul is doing well, with the sweet Klamper mechanical disk brake coming out in 2015, and all the other great parts. There’s even a resurgence of colored anodization with Paul featuring a different color each year. The news at camp is that for 2017 the color of the year is blue. You heard it here first. You can get most any part you want in blue, but you might need to pre order for best results.

And that’s it as far as news goes. But this camp was so much more. This is where marketing dollars go these days. A schmooze fest for bike geeks and bloggers where it’s pretty difficult to leave without a story.  A crew of top framebuilders was assembled to make bikes for us media to ride at camp using those blue Paul  and White Industries parts. The results were pretty neat.

From the “Old Man” of the gang, Steve Rex, who’s been building in Sacramento since 1987 to Adam Sklar, of Bozeman who’s been dubbed “The Kid”. Twenty Four and there’s so much more. Adam’s been at it 6 years, which by my math is before he could go to war or get a drink.

The caption goes on….  Left to right we have Cameron Falconer (Formerly San Francisco but now in Quincy California). Rick Hunter from Santa Cruz, Robert Ives from Blue Collar, who’s passion for dogs rivals his passion for bikes. Steve Rex, Sklar, Alec White, the new young version of Doug, from White Industries. Paul. Burnsey from Oddity. Curtis Inglis (who’s bike I rode). John Caletti. Jeremy Sycip (Sonoma County since 1992). Chris Mcgovern (with his carbon fiber frames). Dag.

Curtis, whose Retrotech Mountain bikes have won a number of NAHBS trophies over the years. My bike for two days would be Curtis’ own 29 plus MTB, which is just fine as we are the same size! This Blue beauty would be my ride for the two days of the camp.

So great to see everyone. I hadn’t ridden with Paul since the 90’s, when Curtis still worked with Bob Seals in Quonset hut in Chico, making Cool Tools and Retrotech bikes. So ride we did, through the wonderful local park called Bidwell.

Lovely. With the earth still a bit green since California has recovered a little from the drought. Ride ride ride the blue parts. I mean, seriously. And BTW, this Retrotech doesn’t just look good, it rides great and makes my day through the rougher parts of the park. 29 plus!

Bidwell is a great place to ride…

And take snapshots…

Followed by a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery? I shit you not. I was unaware that a bike show with all my builder pals had been scheduled for that evening at the brewery. We showed off the bikes we had ridden that day and got a swell tour of the amazing Sierra Nevada facility. Complete with tons of beer. That’s a pretty rad Oddity bike right there, and a groovy Caletti too.

Better yet they were actually making beer like they do 24/7 and i got to see this dude dump a shitton of hops into the boil for aroma. Yes, aroma.

MMmmmmm beeer. What else happened? I forget.  Beer. Fude. Cool old Parts Paul telling us his story over lunch?

And more riding. Gotta go! Catch up with Travis on his hunka Falconer!