Sunday, May 30, 2010

once upon a time in rainy belgium

Nature can be cruel... last weekend was sunny, hot, great cycling weather.
The perfect time to shred the trails in Landgraaf with the Ignite full suspension.
Spending 3h in the woods, close to nature, enjoying myself as if i was a little kid.

set my mind to another full filled weekend on the bike... but the rain and the birthday party from our respected colleague "Den Dorser" :p decided otherwise.
A one hour ride on Saturday and a quick run today will hopefully make up for it.

So it's almost June, the MY11 bike spec's have been finished for some time now and we’re prepping everything for the photo shoot.
It's quite exiting... our new frames build to bikes in the correct color, groupset

I get to open a new package every day, Christmas in June... who cares about the rain :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Customized kaders

Every week we'll show some snap shots of customizer frames we have in production to share the different designs we produce for Ridley riders all around the world.

Dean: base design 913A

Excalibur: base design MCEGIR09

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We had a public holiday in Belgium on Monday and the sun was shining so it was the perfect day to get some extra kilometres on the bike. Armed with factor 75 sun block (being Scottish I don't take to the sun too well) and the X-Fire, we set out on a route I've been wanting to do for a long time, the Trappist beer route to Westmalle Abbey. Westmalle is one of only 7 Trappist breweries in existence, luckily the others are not far away, 6 are in Belgium and the other is in the Netherlands.

Heading out from our town, the ride worked out to be 100km round trip on the Belgian fiets route. Belgium has thousands of kilometres of cycle networks with a mix of cycle only lanes and quiet roads, it truly is a biker's paradise. The route was full of cyclists of all types, lots of club runs, families and friends out together enjoying the sunshine. As a cyclist, it's amazing to see so many people out using their bike.

What more could you ask for a holiday Monday, a nice long ride, sunshine and Belgian beer, life doesn't get much better than that :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

The creative process

For me, as a designer, music is necessary in a creative process. The mood of the day will decide which tunes, basslines or guitar riffs will fill the room. It's a kind of mental guide.

After some first graphical forms and shapes I started to feel in which direction this embryonic drawing supported by addicting sounds is heading for. It's like pedaling the first metres on a hard climb finding the right cadence and heartbeat. At this moment the rhythm can push me into a higher gear, a "flow" and in this flow things are evolving fast. No distraction. 100% concentration. And a good feeling like if you've having superlegs in an escape on your way to the finish.

The climax, the finish, the result is a design which gives me possitive and addictive sensations. Sensations over a beautifull product which hopefully will convince more people sharing the same bicycle passion!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good rides to everyone !

May 6, 2010.

Even if I am not so old, I have now worked in the bicycle industry for the last 21 year, mainly on mid-term projects, so, normally, after 3-4 years, I used to move to another company. It's now almost 7 years that I have been working at Ridley and the goals and consequently my motivation to keep working hard here is always there.

It's true that the company changed completely, from 7 years ago, when our boss decided to "go international". Those who could see the company 7-8 years ago and now, they would think it is a different company (and, in fact, we also just moved to our new building, which is 3 times bigger the previous one), but there's more. What I could see in these 7 years, is the will to understand the markets worldwide, the attempt to approach them in a different way, than usual and the consequent huge efforts to try to satisfy the needs of cyclists worldwide.

It's is not rethorical, to say that we immediately understood that the success of Ridley could only come, in years, through the satisfaction of our customers and partners. Anybody, with some investments, can make himself known fast : you fill magazines with tons of publicities, telling most of the time bull-shit stories about this and that and you can get an immediate feed-back, but how long will it last ?

We have immediately understood that the best publicity is the publicity made by users of our bikes, possibly cyclists that have already used other famous bikes and they get to try a Ridley. It definitively takes longer to come out, but it also lasts longer. Much longer.

We started all this, when the bicicyle market was not in need of any new brand. It was already full of famous, established brands and, as a demonstration of what I wrote before, we have seen several brands appear and disappear, in short periods of time. There have always been many good bikes in the market, why should anyone choose a Ridley, especially 7 years ago, when nobody outside Belgium and Holland knew it ? I remember the first years, visiting bike dealers around the world and receiving always the same questions : "Ridley ? What is it ? Is it American ?"

It seems like centuries ago, now, but it was only 5-6 years ago and this is the big result we have achieved, not the figures of turnovers and pieces sold every year. We have been able to establish the brand and make it well known as a brand that stands out, for the hi-tech of its exclusive models and the unicity of its designs and paint-jobs. Ridley is now compared only to the most famous bicycle brands worldwide. We are trusted.

This is a new starting point. We are fully aware that we still have a lot to do, but the base is solid and we can build on and around it. This is basically why I am here, after 7 years and, if I am not kicked out before........, I hope to keep working with this bunch of friends, until I keep seeing this satisfaction from the people I see and I talk to.

You can be confident that we will always be the same. Our philosophy will not change. It will be good to share with you our successes and inevitable mistakes (we hope few) and this new section of our web site is to get even more in contact with the world outside.

Good rides to everyone !

Me, Myself and…… Ridley Bike.

Me, Myself and…… Ridley Bike,

Monday morning, get up at 6 to go to work. Don’t dress to impress, but get ready to ride to work. Jump on my Ridley bike and the adrenaline is pumping in my veins. The city is still asleep and it is just me, myself and my Ridley Bike. Once crossed the city centre, only big cycling roads in the middle of the corn fields are my companion. The only noise you can hear are the whistling birds, the wind blowing in my face, the sound of my wheels rolling over the smooth surface of the tarmac and my pounding heartbeat.Sun sets in the East, a lovely orange glow colors the sky. And it is still me, myself and my Ridley bike. No traffic jams, no pollution, the only thing I feel are the drops of sweat on the front of my head, my respiration and my legs that spin the crank to reach the speed of a pro rider. The closer I get to the office, more sweat,heavier respiration and the faster I go.

But still me, myself and my Ridley bike. Mission completed, I reached Ridley Bikes HQ.

25 K of pure joy and entertainment. And ready for another day in the Ridley office. What more can you ask for on a morning ? Ring ring, there goes my telephone.

- “Hello ?”

- Ridley Bikes, Jan speaking”

- “Hey, this is Stybar speaking. How are you today ?”

- “I am fine thanks, how can I help you ?”

- “Can I pick up my cyclo cross bikes today ?”

- “Of course you can, they are ready to be picked up”

There is no finish line at Ridley Bikes, only challenges, new technology, the fastest bike in the world and the fantastic atmosphere and colleagues that make my ride worthwhile.

We are Belgium

We are Belgium

What springs to mind when you think of Belgium? When we ask this question to people outside of Belgium the answers always include the best beer in the world, fine chocolate and frites with mayonnaise. Luckily for us Belgians, we also love to cycle which is why we can afford such indulgences.

Cycling courses through the veins of us as though it’s part of our biological make up. The major components of any Belgian village, in no particular order are – bakery, café, church and of course a bike shop. Every Belgian owns at least one bike from children to grandparents. We use our bikes to commute to school, work, to run errands and of course we also race. During the race season there are many club and national races taking place all throughout the week. On weekends, you will see hundreds of riders out on their club runs, in all levels of ability and in all weather.

Belgium is the home of the Spring Classics with the Ronde Van Vlaanderen being the most prestigious and dating back to 1913. Infamous for the harshest riding conditions, bone rattling pave and ever changing weather, the Ronde epitomizes the Belgian obsession for cycling. For a Belgian rider, it’s more important to win the Ronde than the yellow jersey.

Every year regular cyclists have the chance to ride the Ronde course. This year we took our Japanese distributor, JP Sports to ride with us along with 19,000 other participants. We had the perfect Ronde weather, rain, more rain, heavy side-ways rain, sleet, wind, just a little bit of sun shine and big painful hailstones. As if the cobbles and climbs weren’t enough to contend with. But this is what makes the Ronde, this and the spectators lining the course on the most difficult –read entertaining- climbs such as het Muur, cheering on the participants.

We were happy when we reached the finish line, soaking wet and cold, but with another Ronde in our legs. Naturally we toasted the day with a local beer and frites with mayonnaise J

This is our culture, we are Belgium.

The day that changed my life.

22 April 2003.

That’s the day that my life changed.

That day I started working @ Ridley-Bikes!

If at previous jobs people on Mondays asked me what I did in the past weekend and I told them stories about climbing Le Mur de Huy on 39x25, they looked at me as if I came from Mars and said that I was a complete fool. Ok maybe I am a fool….but since that April day in 2003 I discovered that there are other fools who share the same passion for bike racing as I have. And furthermore, they are my colleagues!

These guys have the same crazy passion as I have and some of them are chasing identically the same bike objectives as me and they do know that ‘Galibier’ is not a kind of beer but one of the most beautiful climbs there are.

Now I can tell you, if you have a shared the feeling ; on a Saturday, imagine; climbing side to side a big ‘col’ with the burning sun in your face, suffering rain showers in the descent of the col, cramps from your toes to your ears,... This creates a special connection between people. One look at each other is enough to understand the experience you both are feeling ! And then on Monday when the same colleague has some ‘issues’ in their job, you are the first one to help them and vice versa.

Viva La Bicicletta!


Designing a Ridley bicycle

Let me introduce myself, my name is Yannick Christiaens and i am junior product manager / product developer at Ridley bikes.

During my first posts I will explain you what bicycle design is all about.

First off all you need to be passionate about cycling off course, me myself I started racing quite late at the age of 16. Unlike soccer, cycling did consume me and it was on my mind all the time. I wasn’t good at it but I got a hell of good time. Not only did I enjoy the physical side of the sport but also the mechanical, technical side.

At the age of 18 I decided to go and study for product designer. Although active cycling got a bit on the background, I stayed interested. During my last year of school I contacted Ridley to do my final thesis. And here I am working at Ridley. How one thing lead to the other…

The content of my job? Designing bicycles is quite a natural process.

· You start by defining your goals: Ridley’s goal is to offer the fastest bikes in the world.

· We brainstorm and explore different way’s in how we can make our bikes faster, lighter… Inspiration can come from automobile, nature…

· We translate these ideas into actual products or features we can apply onto a frame.

· The backbone of a frame is it’s geometry. The most lightweight and aerodynamic frame is useless if you mess up the geometry. That’s why we spend a lot of time and effort to get it right

· We simulate, ask feedback from riders…

Around this geometry we start shaping the tubes. Goal is to encapsulate the Ridley technology but keep in mind the build specifications given by part suppliers, UCI, legal instances.

· This leads up to the first detailed 2D sketch of the frame. Once approved we build up the 3D model.

· Next step is to cut a frame mold, first usable sample follow.

This is roughly how a new frame is developed, stay tuned for more info next time. I might just give away some teasers for our model year 2011 bikes J

Welcome on our blog!

Dear Ridley friends, first of all I would like to welcome you all on our blog.

A short introduction on myself so you can understand how Ridley Bikes has started.

Every week, as a 3-year-old boy, my parents took me to the cycling races of my eldest brother Stefan. It only took a few moments and I was his biggest fan and cycling became my biggest inspiration. As soon as I could ride a bike, I started racing. Later, on the age of 14, my first race was a fact. I started road cycling and cyclocross on a competitive level. I was an all-rounder and I could pull my string on any kind of track. Except for the sprint. Nevertheless I managed to win 30 races in the youth categories (U15 and U18). The dream of becoming a pro rider was soon there and cycling was all that mattered. But a knee injury ended my cycling career before it even started. When I graduated from my school I started racing again. My parents encouraged me to get a part-time job to earn a few euro’s. That’s when my older brother, who was working with the Bioracer company, proposed me to paint their frames. It only took me a few months of preparation and together with my dad I accepted my brother’s offer. We went beyond the painting and started the construction of custom fitted frames for Bioracer. Instead of a part-time job and racing, I found myself with a more than fulltime job to do and no more racing. That’s when my cycling career really ended.

My dad and my brothers have always been my greatest support and this from the very beginning. Even today, my 72-year-old dad, is still working in my company on a daily basis. The first 2 years I spent my days learning and constructing custom fitted frames for Bioracer (now And when the day was over, the evening was spent painting frames. Working minimum 12 hours a day. The days were long but very inspiring. After a couple of years, the hard work paid off and we became the biggest OEM supplier for custom painted frames in the Benelux and Bioracer was the biggest supplier of steel custom fitted frames in the Benelux.

When aluminum frames replaced the steel frames, Bioracer stopped selling frames. That was the perfect moment to start my own brand – Ridley. With my experience of building and painting custom fitted frames we prepared a very attractive range of frames in no time. The collaboration with Bioracer led to the development of our much demanded race ready geometry. It’s gone very fast from the beginning. The riders and mechanics which I worked with in my racing years, helped me with their feedback to develop our range faster than any of our competitors. This continued search for innovation and development resulted that Ridley has the biggest and most balanced range of competition bikes in the world. And…….we have much more to come. I will keep you informed through my blog of the latest developments at Ridley Bikes.

My dream to become a pro rider did not come true, but I enjoy working with the pro’s on a daily basis. My passion for racing has been projected on my bikes and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see the pro riders racing on my bikes.

Welcome to our new Ridley Bikes blog section.

As an introduction blog I would like to talk a bit about the way we try to market Ridley as a brand.

If you have such a great product, with so many positive aspects it’s very difficult to translate all these assets into advertisements and other promotional tools. Marketing a product with one competitive advantage is more easy as a product which has many.Ridley stands for: Belgian heritage, developed in collaboration with some of the best teams in the world, technically advanced with a focus on aerodynamic development, superb graphical designs that are hand painted, … .

Therefore when we market our product, we try to give a message which makes people wonder. There are too many things to say and we want people to take time and discover our product.

As a marketer it’s a huge challenge to work for such a fantastic brand. The best way to describe the feeling of working here is like racing a pro tour stage every day and getting huge satisfaction when you win or if one of your bikes do.

I know many dream of the Belgian classics, with our bad weather and cobble roads, but personally I am very happy we had some great weather over the last week, so I could ride my Ridley with my sunglasses on and feel like a pro on a fantastic bike, a feeling I can never describe in an advertisement.