Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jumped In: Tre Wideman

I don't actually remember the first time that I met Tre, but I can recall one of the first times that he worked on my bike in the Winter of 2009. I was running a threaded euro bottom bracket that was making some horrific noises and Tre offered to take a look at it. About 1 hour later, my bottom bracket was not only silent, but my drive train was cleaned and lubed, my wheels were trued, chain line squared, and the mess of assorted headset spacers I had sitting on top of my stem were cleaned up with a swift chop of the steerer tube.

Over the past 2 years and many visits, I have come to know the following 4 things about Tre:

Tre goes the extra mile. A shop visit is not just about resolving the current issue but about making sure your bike is running right and how it should be.

Tre cares about your bike because you care about your bike. He understands the attention to detail not only for your sake but for his as well.

Tre knows his stuff. Not much more elaboration needed.

The bottom line is, Tre is the epitome of first class.

I am proud to have him as a friend and now as a fellow CSK member as well. Enjoy the introductory interview below and keep your eyes peeled for more CSK introductions over the next few weeks.

CSK: So, how does it feel to be the official fixie mechanic in Seattle?
TRE: I don’t remember ever receiving my certificate in the mail but it feels good to have a dedicated following. Seattle has a pretty amazing bike scene and I enjoy being part of it.

CSK: I heard a rumor that you actually work on regular bikes too, how’d you get in to

TRE: I started working on my own bike when I was 12 because if it wasn’t working I didn’t get to ride. Back then I had a mountain bike and a bmx bike. I started working in my local shop when I was 15, when one of the mechanics there broke his leg dirt jumping. 15 years later I’m still wrenching on bikes, working at Recycled Cycles full time, providing neutral support at races whenever I can and working with a few pro bike racers at their home shops.

CSK: How long have you been at Recycled Cycles? Is there anything new on the
horizon for the shop?

TRE: I have been at Recycled Cycles for over 6 years now, it’s a great shop with great people. I love working there because of the amazing range of things I get to work on. On any given day I’ll get to put my hands on claptrap fixies, old English 3 speeds, downhill mountain bikes and super fancy road bikes. I like to know what I’m doing with all manner of bikes, not limit myself to only one or two types. At the shop we work hard to not be elitist and help people as much as we can, I hate hearing that people were turned away from other shops when they are trying to fix their bike on the cheap. I will say, however, that when you come in and we tell you a bike is dead, it’s really really dead. It’s not always easy to be brutally honest but it’s necessary. There are exciting new things on the horizon for Recycled Cycles but I’m not at liberty to discuss them at the moment…

CSK: How many wheels have you built for the Zlog Crew over the past few years?
TRE: I wish I’d kept track, it’s literally been dozens. It’s slowed down a bit now that everyone is on beefy 26” or 29’er rims, but when everyone was on Deep Vs and Chukkers and Eeros it seemed like I was building new wheels for you guys every other week. Clearance for fat tires has made my job easier.

CSK: What does it take to become a master wheel builder?
TRE: Patience and attention to detail. There’s nothing magic about what I do with my wheel builds and I regularly give away my “secrets” when I do wheel building classes. A wheel seems pretty straight forward but a lot of people get in over their heads when they first attempt a wheel build. When starting from a hub, a rim, and a pile of spokes there are a few ways to do it right and way more ways to do it wrong. I take a lot of care to make sure my hub logo lines up with the valve hole, to make sure the spokes don’t cross over the valve, make sure the rim is facing the right way (label readable from the drive side, of course) and I use a tensiometer regularly. I know my wheels are going to have to stand up to a lot of abuse (especially from you Zlog dudes) so I take pride in my quality of work. I even sign and date the rims next to the valve hole under the rim tape.

CSK: If you broke (vegan) edge and ate something from an animal, what would it be
and why? (I just realized that my question of whether you wanted milk in the
coffee I brought you was pretty brainless)

TRE: I’ve been vegan for over 8 years, I really can’t see living any other way. It’s not there aren’t foods that I miss but more than anything I miss the convenience, especially when travelling. I’ve been reduced to dressing-less salads and fries on more than one occasion. And I assumed you meant soy milk, of course.

CSK: Outside of bikes, how do you spend your time?
TRE: I spend my time outside of work with my dog Max and my lovely girlfriend. I love camping and hiking and going on adventures. In the summer I spend a lot of time at the beach, especially Seward Park because I can go swimming with Max. I also play guitar in a band.

CSK: What’s the name of your band and when can I get a signed copy of your CD?
TRE: My band is called Breag Naofa, and no, you can’t get a signed copy of our CD because we aren’t making CDs. You can go to our blog ( and download our 4 song lp for free right now and February 14th we are releasing it on vinyl. I won’t sign your record either, because the artwork is cool. Ok, if you come to our record release show Feb 14th at the Funhouse I will sign it.

CSK: Presta or Schrader?
TRE: Presta. (I’m a euro-snob, I have a Campy logo tattooed on my leg.)

CSK: To you, what does CSK represent?
TRE: I wear a collared shirt every day I’m not wearing a tank top (sun’s out, guns out) so it really is a way of life. Lately I’ve been wearing two collared shirts at once.

CSK: Do you have any questions for me?
1. Can I get some free soda? You name the flavor and pack size and i'll see what I can come up with...
2.When are you gonna put a freewheel on that thing? Probably when I come to the realization that the practicality of the whole setup is null and void. Might be at least a few years though.

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