I landed around 11am on a Tuesday into Seattle. I'd never been there before; all I knew of it was the fact the TV series Frasier had been based there, and grunge was born there, and that Microsoft and Starbucks called it home, not to mention it was the home of my old team mate, Tyler Farrar. Which I suppose is quite a lot of diverse, and global things to be going on in one city. One other thing I did know? Ryder Hesjedal didn't live too far away.
Around 11:30, while waiting for my baggage, I got a message from Ryder saying, “Where you at?” He'd hopped on a seaplane from Victoria, Vancouver Island, and flown down to Seattle so we could hang out for the day and night, he'd landed about 20 minutes before me and was already getting itchy feet. Hotels were rammed for some reason, so we couldn't even get two rooms in the same hotel, we managed to get two that were near each other, but neither could be described as salubrious, so I shan't be referencing them in the travel section, what it did mean was that we were inspired to spend as little time in them as possible.
For some reason I had expected Ryder to know exactly what was going on in Seattle, so I was left a little deflated when he arrived at the hotel with a map in hand and a somewhat non-existent idea of what to do.
We didn't panic, we went and had a beer, in what was basically the nearest place to the hotel. Then we went ‘full tourist’, the only thing Ryder was sure of was the Space Needle, the iconic tower of the Seattle skyline. It is perhaps the most famous thing about Seattle, so it wasn't as if he had found rocking horse shit. Anyway, I did want to see it, and thought it would be cool to go up it, so wet set off to conquer it.
We didn't conquer it - we got to the base of it and decided to come back later for sundowners, and instead got on the adjacent monorail and headed for the centre of the city. Like quite a few States in the US marijuana is legal, and in Seattle there are dozens of shops selling it, so we decided to check the scene out. We specified clearly what we wanted, "We want to laugh, and we don't want to be too stoned." 30 minutes later we were sat on the Seattle waterfront on a park bench amongst numerous other like-minded people passing the happy and weak joint between us. It wasn't big and it wasn't clever, but it was damn funny, and thankfully nobody asked for a selfie.
From there we went to the nearby Pike Place Market, a waterside strip, with a market filled with shops and restaurants. It has been open since 1907 and has been described as Seattle in a bottle. We went there for oysters, only due to our slightly relaxed state of mind it took us three full laps to decide on somewhere to settle down.
Then that was it, we never made it back to the Space Needle, although we did walk around what felt like most of central Seattle, and we did end up in another nice restaurant followed by a backstreet bar called Bathtub Gin & Co. which did actually feel like a prohibition jazz time speakeasy. Good times. Although all said and done, I had to keep it on the relative down low as the next day was the reason I was there in the first place.
I was actually on a West Coast USA shop tour with Brooks, where we were promoting their Cambium C13 saddle and also our other collaborations together. I was with their North American Brand Manager, Jason Norton, who was as cool as you'd expect a Brooks man to be. Actually cooler, as he is definitely more 21st than 19th century...
Our first port of call was Métier (metierseattle.com) in Seattle, a new generation type of shop, although calling it a shop does it a disservice. It’s capable of catering to every need a cyclist might have: gym, coaching, bike fit, restaurant/cafe/bar, retail, events… It's impressive, Todd and David, the founders, have done an amazing job.
I was to join them on their Wednesday lunchtime ride, which would have been a lovely affair if it hadn't been pissing down with rain, all the same it was good to get out and even better to see and understand a bit better the type of clothing tech required to be a keen cyclist living and riding in Seattle. It rains a lot, and everybody was prepared to make the investment in apparel required to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible in such a climate. I went full K61 and wasn't bothered in the slightest by the weather.
That evening I engaged full travelling salesman mode and presented CHPT3 and explained everything it was about and why we had joined forces with Brooks.
Métier wasn't a CHPT3 stockist at the time but hopefully will be before long, and we couldn't be happier about that is it really is the type of place and kind of people we want to be associated with, I'm looking forward to being back there. Thanks for having us, and thank you for the t-shirt, I love it: