Some people are just plain interesting. Some professions are just plain fascinating.
That is the case with our guest this week and what he does for a living. Sam Whittingham is a custom bicycle builder. For more than 15 years now, he has hand-crafted bicycles for people across Canada and United States. It all started as a young boy when he took apart his bike to fix something that wasn’t right. From there, he’s turned a passion for cycling into thriving business.
Sam is so good at what he does – even Lance Armstrong owns one of his bikes!
We caught with Sam just before Christmas. On the night of our conversation, whilst talking about bicycles and his passion for building them, the weather outside was frightful. Winter storms were the order of the day in both Minnesota and Quadra Island, British Columbia.
Whether you are an avid cyclist or just a casual rider, I know you’ll enjoy the conversation.
About Sam Whittingham & Naked Bicycles
Sam Whittingham, founder, designer and builder for custom bicycle fabrication company, Naked Bicycles and Design, has been building custom frames one by one with love, logic and elbow grease for over a decade now.
“I have a definite style which I cannot help but bring to each and every bicycle, but I am greatly influenced by the needs and desires of each customer.”
Bike making is in our blood. You could say this company really started 30 years ago as Sam ripped apart his first coaster hub to make it “skid better”. Or maybe it was when he duct-taped a broom stick to his “girls bike” to make it a “boys bike”.
Sam worked in bike shops and learned to weld, draft, machine and paint long before he put together his first frame.
Sam spent years racing and perfecting bike fit and riding analysis for various disciplines. This is definitely one of the things that sets naked bikes apart; Making each bike fit just right. The first Naked frame was built for Sam’s good friend Neil Carson nearly 12 years ago. And that bike is still being ridden daily. These first few bikes were made late at night in the dungeon of Fairfield Bicycle Shop in Victoria, BC. Later, we moved into a little garage in Victoria and started building bikes under the name of Forte! This lasted for a number of years before we realized that things were really taking off and we needed more space.
After a brief stint on Gabriola Island, we have now settled permanently on Quadra Island. This was a return to my home town and we changed the name one last time to naked. The name reflects our desire to build bikes un-adulterated by hype and the latest fads.
Sam’s Favorite Book
Life of Pi (Affiliate Link)