Grown from the rich soils of Whistler, BC in 2003, the once small seedling of Chromag Bikes has now flourished into a household name in the cycling industry. Known worldwide for its cycle bling and hardy two wheeled devices, this now sturdy, family fertilized business, passes the double figure mark with ease.
Operating right out of the cycling mecca, down in the hustle and bustle of Function Junction, which on a side note, if you have never been down there, you really should go, everything from freshly baked bread to hot tub sales and used furniture, there are some real gems, but tucked up in their little unit workshop you will find the family that is Chromag. Operations, sales, workshop, marketing, pretty much everything comes from inside this metal box they call home.
Ian Ritz planted the business with one vision, steel hardtails to ride gnarly trail on. After designing his first master piece, the Chromag TRL, he moved on to looking at developing cycle components to help his beloved creation handle and ride better on the technical single-track that the surrounding hills have to offer. Working closely with North Shore Billet, Ian’s dream grew bigger and stronger.
Now with over half a dozen full time members of staff, distributing to almost every corner, constantly turning out new products and frame shapes, Chromag Bike’s will stick around as that niche home grown brand that everyone loves.
It wasn't long until a following of hardtail enthusiasts and part breaking animals started noticing the brand for the products they had on offer. It quickly turned into addiction, Chromag junkies just couldn't get enough of the stuff, bikes top to bottom in all the latest Chromag fashions, riders starting to customize their own steeds to fit their own, paint jobs, decals, builds kits, each one making theirs as unique as they possibly could.
Following one Toonie ride some many years ago, the Chromag guys and girls were all sat around, chatting bikes, enjoying some local brew, when the statement was raised “I think my Chromag is the best here
” only to stir up storm of shouting, pointing and loud explanations of why theirs was the best. “Shine em up and line em up
!” so was the birth of the Chromag Show & Shine!
It's come a long way since the ‘post ride
’ car park battles, as Chromag celebrate the 10th annual Show & Shine, but don't be fooled to thinking this is just a gathering of beer fuelled cyclist shouting about their rides, this is about being proud to stand by your bike and say “This is MY Chromag and MINE is the best!
”, one must take honour of his or her's stallion. The stakes are high as three custom medals were up for grabs as well as being crowned the Chromag champion. For one night of the year, the guys open their shutter doors and invite everyone inside, check out how they live, meet the team and have a rowdy time.
The evening kicked off with a Toonie cycle ride organised by WORCA
, part of the series of races held weekly here in Whistler, with Apres landing right back at Chromag HQ. Numbers happily exceeded 400 and it was all geared up to be a night of bikes and debauchery.
The Chromag connoisseurs were out in full force, displays were geniously crafted to fit the style and design of each unique bike. Needless to say some were a lot more involved than others, with real works of art being incorporated into making their steed stand out more than the others.
Upon arrival each person was given a ballot and the important task of inspecting every bike that was on display. There was some fierce competition out there, with some guys going heavy on the voting campaign to make theirs stand out, but there were some quiet ones that caught the eyes of a few. From bright colours, flame paint jobs to stealthy looking mean machines.
What's a bike party without beer and some grub, Philips Brewing Co & Delish were onboard to ensure everyone was well fed and watered! Three types of incredible brews on offer and one hell of a big pot of Chilli didn't last long with over 200 racers jammed in for the after party!
Loud beats accompanied the night well with the regular rapping interval from Chromag’s Julian Hine. Votes were being collected all throughout the night, but there was only one Champion of the Show and Shine!
Becky and Claire supported by security were lead into the office with the vote packed ballet box, to emerged with the results. With third and second split by a single vote, it was looking to be a tight race for the win, but storming out in front with a huge 40+ votes was Chromag’s very own Cookie with his cruiser boom box bike. Packing some wattage in that box, flame paint job and chopper bars, this is one unique cycle, although I'm not too sure on its trail bashing performance, you could at least cruise your local neighbourhood and really annoy everyone on the street!
Chromag prizes were thrown, the beer kegs were ran dry and the bicycle chit chat went late, on into the night, closing what was the biggest Show and Shine to date.Photos & Words: Laurence Crossman-Emms (www.laurence-ce.com)