I am all about everything local, whatever I can get away with, and my bikes are no exception. Supporting local businesses, however small or big they might be, is a core value of what makes Portland the amazing city it is. That mindset that I learned from my years in Portland has barely escaped me. It reshaped my line of thinking about the communities I belong to and my effectiveness as a member of any of those communities.
Perhaps I talk/write a lot about being a part of many communities and understanding that I am who I am because of who I am around. I also believe that we lend each other characteristics that define our said communities, sometimes organically.
That exchange of qualities, parts of oneself, and memories is not limited to just what defines us as who we are. Those exchanges of qualities are also found in real, tangible things like the tools we use on a day-to-day base. In this case, it's the wheels that carry me across valleys, up to mountains, and to the local bakery for my insatiable appetite for flaky & buttery croissants.
Creators of sound cycling components, HiFi, are not just wheel builders or even as they describe themselves as "ride-experience engineers."
I believe that they are more than that.
Over the years, I kept seeing their wheels everywhere, at Cyclocross, on Portland Greenways, and deep in the Gifford Pinchot. I was intrigued by them, but I don't know why it took me so damn long to actually pull the trigger and buy a set for myself.
Especially since I've only heard good things about them from cyclists I trust, like Dustin Henderson, Ryan Francesconi, Sukho V., and more! These guys are tenured cyclists who have seen it/done it all over the years, so I take what they have to say very seriously. I value their opinions because they invest in more than just the object; they invest in the community behind it.
And that's what spoke to me the most, the HiFi community.
I'm sure some of you are thinking that even though a company must have great values, it must have great products to back that up. So trust me when I say that HiFi wheels have helped pioneer so many adventures and journeys and tear down barriers for BIPOC groups within an industry dominated by a lack of diversity.
What adventures I'm talking about?
I'm talking about adventures as big as circumnavigating a volcano from your front door to a multiday ride such as the notorious Paris-Brest-Paris. Or even a post-work jaunt to your local butte zone.
HiFi has been there, keeping riders right side up and in the saddle for years, covering ground, bringing people together, and making things happen.
The community support that HiFi has shown over the years is much noticeable and profound. They supported up-and-coming riders who became National Champions like the legend Clara Honsinger. On a local level, they've shown a vast sense of engagement throughout the cycling scene in Oregon.
Most recently, by teaming up with BikePocPNW. BikePocPNW is a group of cyclists on a mission to "create a brave and healing space for BIPOC folks to ride, and have accessibility to riding by building the community and building up riders."
HiFi collaborated in offering a series of free cyclocross clinics and "amass and curate a lending library of cyclocross/gravel bikes available to their community"
How cool is that?
With all that I've come to know about HiFi and their continued support for their riders and communities, I knew that I had to show my support for them as well!
I got in touch with them a few days before I left the US, and they built me a set that I've been riding ever since.
I told them what I was looking for and where I wanted to go. A few days later, my freshly baked wheels for my Breadwinner were ready.
So what's the best way to break them in?
Ride a century with friends, and get tacos.
If you think there's a better way than this, please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
For over 5 months, the wheelset I got took me over countless Cols, valleys, and bakeries in Spain. I've ridden thousands of miles, and I couldn't have been happier with these wheels. So I went with their EP 38 Anti-Flutter front & LP 55 Disc Anti-Flutter rear. The "new road rim profiles feature “Anti-Flutter” technology, with a more pronounced, flared shape to the rims that make our wheels even more stable in crosswinds and even faster at a larger range of yaw angles."
The "extremely high-grade carbon fiber" used in these wheels perfectly compliments the Columbus Life tubing vibration dampening qualities. The overall feel of this setup is completely deceiving to the untrained eye. It might seem like a very stiff ride, with little to no compliance. However, I've ridden that setup over gravel, single track, and broken pavement, and it still offers a great riding experience.
The folks at HiFi indeed are "ride-experience engineers." I am proud to support such an influential company that encourages me and others to kit up and ride.
I can't wait to take them with me wherever I go.
The HiFi Community