24 August, 2011

48x15 Interview

As the only publication focused on fixed gear culture out of Shanghai, 48x15 is bringing what we all know and love to one of the largest cities in the world. I shot them an email and wanted to find out more. Read on!

Who are you guys? Where did you come from?

Tyler and Adam, two dudes from Canada. It's crazy, we're almost carbon copies of each other – same music, love for bikes, and ambitious. I guess the only big difference is that Tyler is awesome at French and mine, for a Canadian, is shameful. We both went to school in Waterloo, Ontario and that's where we started hanging out through a mix of the music scene and mutual friends. Tyler's background and education is in architecture and design, and mine is in small business strategy and marketing, and we're both pretty happy to be using very little of it and following our dreams.

How’d you get involved with biking?

We both had friends who got us interested around the same time. A bunch of my die hard skateboard/snowboard friends were adopting this new way of getting around town and it was the idea of turning what used to be a mundane part of my day into an enjoyable passtime. I grew up in a pretty prissy neighbourhood so most of my friends had nice cars to get around, but I was always taking the bus or bum rides, so having an awesome way to get around town was an easy sell for me.

What made you start 48x15?

Shanghai is in the middle of a crazy growth spurt. I came here for the first time in February of 2011, and in the last 6 months the number of fixed riders have tripled. We want to give those who are newly interested, or maybe just bike curious something to spark their excitement and get them on the road. There are also a lot of great people doing really interesting things all over the city, and it can be a bit of a chore trying to find out about them in English. The expat community here has a few online publications and one decent printed magazine, but their focus is so broad that for every one cool event you hear about, you have sift through a hundred that aren’t.

What kind of hurdles did you face when trying to print your first issue?

Other than having no experience printing anything ever? We spent the first month just tearing apart anything printed we could get our hands on. Tyler and I are both children of the digital age, so it was

overwhelming digesting these concepts. Once we shook off initial frustration, we collected everything our friends could contribute. This magazine is free and those who contributed did so out of generosity, sobeing a dick about deadlines was hard. Speaking of deadlines, we also gave ourselves an extremely aggressive, unrealistic deadline to get everything done, so much that our printer was laughing at us.

Why not a blog over print?

There are enough blogs out there, I really don't think we could have added any value by blogging about bikes in Shanghai. Also, Tyler already has a blog called People's Bike (www.peoplesbike.com) that is published in both English and Chinese. Print is getting more and more scarce, and we hope to really stun the masses by handing out a free, high quality magazine. With print we get this now rare opportunity to engage people in the real world, hand them something tangible, with texture and character. Plus, we all love to have something to read

while we poop.

What’s good in China?

Riding the waves of total chaos on the street. There are no rules here, so if you're in the city grab a helmet, consider a front brake and go nuts. We did a 70km ride last week to a beer festival in a town called Kun Shan and it was awesome. A lot of the intercity highways here have bike lanes, which makes a lot of long haul rides safe and comfortable. It's also super flat here, which I love.

Any last words?

Time to go drop off 2000 magazines through Shanghai on our trike!

- Six Nguyen

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