A Conversation with Taylor Phinney: Bikes are Like Legos


As a non-profit cycling organization, Community Cycles creates opportunities to make cycling more accessible. Our goal is to raise $25,000 before December 31.

This year Taylor Phinney is helping us out with a chance to join him for a casual gravel ride + lunch if you donate at least $50 to our year end campaign. Taylor is a local Boulderite and Community Cycles supporter, Olympic cyclist and sustainable cycling advocate.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Taylor last week and find out what he’s up to and his views on the local cycling scene:

Taylor, you’ve taken a liking to rebuilding bikes – where did you find that passion?  

The retro movement really comes from a place of practicality for me—these old frames rip and they have a certain feel and personality that you definitely cannot get from a carbon bike. Modern steel/aluminum frames also have this feel but there is a nostalgic component to the retro bike that adds some magic to your experience with it. This nostalgia is amplified as you dive deeper into the vast array of mechanical *upgrades* you can make to the components by changing the derailleur, cassette, brakes, levers, shifters, handlebars … it’s kind of like an Adult LEGO that you can eventually shred. Personally, I am less interested in the restoration of old frames into what they used to be and more interested in “modernizing” older frames to ride similar to what we’re used to now in a mountain//gravel bike (ie wider handlebars, gear ratios to save the knees, etc.). The way I see it is you can pay $3000-8000 to buy a new “gravel” bike with little to no personality OR you can spend less than $1000 and take on a project that’s far more rewarding in terms of the connection you make with the machine and what you learn in terms of how it works. In a world where sustainability and recycling (pun intended) is something that we all must embrace—this is a super fun way to put sustainability into practice.

With your experience and all your travels, what makes getting more people on bikes such an important piece of our community in Boulder? 

Riding bikes is inherently a communal exercise. I think it is important that people already established in the cycling community take time and space to bring more people into the community, especially those just starting out. Riding with people who are new to the activity can be just as rewarding as doing your same old same old because it forces you to slow down,  and teaching someone else will help you to improve as a person and appreciate your skills as well.

Community Cycles is jazzed to partner with you on this project. Tell us a little bit about why you’re passionate about the work Community Cycles does in Boulder? 

I’m a big fan of second-hand anything. In a world where we’re constantly buying new things, I feel that it’s just as important to upcycle older equipment that at its time may have been the best in the industry—or perhaps it’s just middle of the line but it STILL WORKS for the function that you need it serve. I’m stoked to promote practicality in an industry that is dominated by marketing teams telling you that you need a new this or a new that. I’ve been a part of that machine with brands using my image over the years to sell whatever they wanted, whether that product was even something I used//liked or not. Working with Community Cycles feels like I can balance out some of that karma, as well as promote a great resource that we can all simply use and that is the membership which gives you full access to all their tools to tinker with and take care of your steeds.

Year End Donations

This year we are going “all in” with fabulous local partners to show donors how much we appreciate them. Major recognition goes to Sanitas Brewing and Taylor Phinney for supporting this year-end campaign.

To show our commitment to you, our donors, and partners, we’ve whipped up a little something to help make a lasting impact. When you support us, every $50 donated will earn an entry to win one of three prizes:

  1. A bar tab worth $100 for you and your friends to enjoy Sanitas Brewing. Have you seen this patio!?
  2. A gravel ride (PLUS lunch) with Taylor Phinney. Yep, he’s traded in lycra for miles of dirt.
  3. $75 worth of cycling gear from Community Cycles

To you, the donor, “Thank you” for your support, for fueling the passion behind Community Cycles and the future of our cycling community.