Rad People Who Ride: Chris Spilly

13 January, 2015

Duuuude, it booms, echoes, reverberates, emanates, and resounds from within Spilly.  Whether it's during a ride, recounting a ride, or on the way to a ride, you're going to hear it.  When I first had the pleasure of getting shamed by Shane, we both laughed over being lucky enough to know Spilly and beyond that, hearing him say duuuuuude.

Spilly is one of the people I've been holding onto in my back pocket for this series - he, along with the others featured obviously, embodies somebody who deeply cares about riding and tirelessly implements it into his life.  What really is the most boggling of all though is how well Spilly weaves it within being a well-rounded person.  It's beyond that though, he's an exemplar person, a truly good person who shines in all he does.  He runs a successful business providing constant attention and follow through AND he's a good dad.  A stellar dad.  If I had my sights set on dadhood, there would be nobody, I really mean no one, who I would rather model my meager attempt on than Spilly himself.  It's incredible.

Like Shane, if you mention his name, you usually get some body roll backward sway, eyes regain focus on reality moment in return.  An overly long ride perhaps fleetingly relived.  Every ride involves adventure.  Nope, not the overused word of 2014/15 bike/overland/motorcycle/#anyoutdoorindustry word of now, I'm talking deep, don't know if I'm gonna make it home type.  The second worst bout of poison oak I've ever suffered through involved a short cut, my fault, around a ranch on private property then hurtle over barbed wire fences, followed by post hole worthy stomps though coyote bushes seething with poison oak.  We scaled a ridge through eye level twigs of gnarled, impenetrable scraggly pine then the road that was supposed on the other side wasn't on the other side.  The sun... was setting.  Spilly picked up my bike - you see I was lassoed by stinging nettle, hoisted it above his head, and matter-of-factly commented, "Duuude, your single's lighter than mine."  Unflappable.

So when he called me and told me we had to head up to Mendocino to shred trails in our now annual tradition, I told him on one condition - he had to agree to fill out the Rad People Who Ride questionnaire.  I hung up and rang Abner Kingman, another rad dad, and told him it was time to pack his wet weather camera gear.  What followed was the combination of insatiable trail thirst and shamelessly gorgeous eye candy from Abner.  Enjoy.


Spilly lives for trail, no joke, and lemme tell ya, this is a trail worth living for.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Name: Chris Spilly

Home Shop and City: Tam Bikes, Mill Valley


After the ride, it's the After Ride. The bat cave, Spilly's garage, where all good trail nuances are discussed.  Photo: Abner Kingman 

Favorite WTB or Freedom product: Weirwolfs, their kinda like having sandpaper on your tires when you need it. My new favorite is the Vigilante / Trail Boss combo. 


Every ride involves something like this, it is completely normal to worry about being swept away or what will haunt you 2-3 days after the ride.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Favorite Ride: Any long ride with good friends or especially with my kids. Both of my little kids love being on the bike and it’s awesome to be able to pass on all these little gems we have in our backyard. Road trips are always awesome to obscure places. There are so many great riding opportunities we have out there, just takes a little digging to get to the good stuff.


This is also common, though only on longer trips.  The ride time must surpass the transit time and is not up for discussion.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it? Got schooled by a friend that's twice my age - been chasing that same guy ever since. Riding has taken the place surfing which unfortunately I can't really do much anymore unless I'm in warmer water. I completely lose all feeling in my hands cause of the cold water. There's a similar taste of comradery, adventure and family you get with riding. 


There often is some sort of self-penance or unavoidable anguish.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Tube or Tubeless, why? Tubeless - love hearing those things pop when ya get them seated right!

Why? Tubeless just works ………


But every pedal up is more than rewarded down.  How can you say no to this?  Photo: Abner Kingman

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride? Friends, laughter, stormy weather and shoes. For whatever reason, I'm known to forget my shoes and have had a few rides in flip flops which isn’t super fun. I really like riding in messed up weather, something about being out playing in the mountains when everyone else’s watching some sporting event on their TV.



 The stormy weather part is for real.  Here's how it goes: you commit to an upcoming ride, the weather turns, you're still riding AND, get this, it's fun. Photo: Abner Kingman

Craziest things you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride? A good friend lathering up Chamois Butter on his face thinking it was sunscreen. Maybe it's a Crested Butte thing? Can't make this stuff up - he knows who he is!

A small film crew way deep out on an obscure ride. Seemed like they had a box full of toys and the cast looked a little too done up for a PG movie. The friend I was riding with wanted to get cast on the spot as an extra.

 Better believe Spilly said "Duuuude" during this mid-ride tale.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Most important lesson to teach the groms?  Ride a hardtail on occasion. It'll teach you a few things about good line selection. You just can't cheat it.

Left my wallet in… (fill it in): Hid my wallet in the guts of dashboard wires on some long ride. Hid it and forgot I hid it so well. I couldn't find it and thought someone stole it - eventually found it with some deep dredging / digging / maybe even bribed my kids to look for it.


Every ride is always worth it - whether skirting poison oak, scrambling across wet logs, wondering where we're headed - worth it, worth the journey.  Photo: Abner Kingman.

Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog? My family and wife. Sometimes I bust out the story describing the deep understanding my partner has with my riding. A long time ago, on our honeymoon in Hawaii, (yes, I brought the bike) we actually argued because I stopped riding my AM ride because of numerous lava rock flats. Every ride I did ended up with me hitchhiking back to the resort. I was messing up her AM Yoga thing on our honeymoon - funny stuff.



 Always an adventure, yep, the real kind.  Never know where the road will take you.  Here's to people like Chris, to loving riding, and living rad.  Photo: Abner Kingman 
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