Rad People Who Ride: Josh Tonnissen and Hank & Frank Bicycles, Lafayette
10 September, 2013
Josh loves trails and is always hungry for more. Talking to him after a weekend is always a guessing game as to where Josh had ridden - was it the Lakes Basin near Downieville, Downieville proper, Ashland, Tahoe, Toad's, a grander loop linking into Toad's, Fort Brag, Demo Forest, Santa Cruz, a winning combination of all parks in the east bay, or was he leading a Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay group ride all over the tucks and folds of Mt. Tam? Better yet, has it been a while and Josh has gone on yet another ultimate road trip, finding new tasty trails somewhere out west? Regardless of where Josh has ridden, he'll recount the highlights with the same sense of vigor as though he were riding them for the first time, it's refreshing to hear pure stoke over the phone.
Josh also does a lot for trail groups - whether it's working with the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay organizing videos, fundraisers, and raffles or leading group rides in Marin, he's out there, making it happen. He's committed to being a positive role model of a mountain biker in a land riddled with trail access issues.
Somehow, Josh also finds time to pursue other passions - producing music and organic produce with whatever energy leftovers he hasn't generously heaped onto the trails. He also knows parts and products. Sometimes, if lucky, I can elicit some previously unknown product arrival info from him - things that haven't even hit the part dork blogs that I peruse - yes, revealing a little something about myself here. Josh has spent time in the industry following what he loves and it's great to witness his passion. We're fortunate to feature him on WTB's Rad People Who Ride series, enjoy his fun responses below.
Name: Josh Tonnissen
Home Shop and City: Service Manager: Hank & Frank Bicycles, Lafayette California, reside in Berkeley.
Favorite Ride: Packers Saddle to Mt. Elwell (via…..), down Elwell to Jamison Creek Trail, up to Lavezolla Creek Trail, and into Downieville…. EPIC!!!
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
The first memory I have about mountain bikes is when my dad brought home a few bike catalogs when he was shopping for a new MTB. I was about 10, and was totally fascinated by all the different glamour laid out upon those pages. I remember spending hours reading those catalogs and became totally infatuated by the mountain bike. Ever since then I have pursued a career in the bike industry and have been at it professionally for almost 20 years. Riding for me is the best way to experience what it is to be alive. The perfect meditation, distraction, and freedom that one can experience, is best had behind a pair of wide handlebars. Mountain bike riding is not only the best way to experience the outdoors, but to actually EXPERIENCE your environment. Riding inspires adventure and spontaneity and drives creativity. Getting in a proper epic is the best way for me to become inspired to work in my electronic music studio. Generally speaking, after a weekend romp in the dirt, I come back to the studio and produce my best records.
When not riding, working, or cultivating his own vegetables, Josh spends time producing electronic music under his record label, Omniscient Records.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Tubeless. Got to have that superior traction with lower BAR, and to avoid those pesky pinch flats. Norcal is rocky, and TCS tires are standard equipment!
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
My wife, a spare derailleur and tubeless tire plugs.
Josh and Katie travel far and wide to ride the best of the west. This Sedona shot was from a Mammoth, Bootleg Canyon, St. George, Gooseberry Mesa, then Sedona trip.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride? Riding a lonely trail one Monday afternoon, we came upon an animal a little way down the trail. Upon initial sighting I thought to myself, “sh!&, a dog out here on the trail!” As I came to a stop, I looked down the trail once again, and the perceived dog turned around to look at me. Instantly the dog revealed itself as a Big-Ass Mountain Lion!! Shaken up for sure, I started to feel what a post ride burrito must experience. However, it just took a quick look at me, turned around and headed down the trail…..the same inevitable direction I was headed. After waiting a few minutes, we rallied down the trail carrying on like a bunch of tweaked out chimpanzees, and never saw the King of the Trails again.
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Eat healthy, don’t watch TV, and go ride your bike up the hill for a change. You will thank me later.
Labor Day Harvest - Josh came back from Ashland Oregon's amazing trails to 10 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes awaiting harvest. Josh grows chilies, corn, beans, eggplant, broccoli, and kale all out of his backyard garden.Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
Unfortunately I left it on a BART train…..and a public bus in Santa Cruz…..and at Berkeley Bowl. All in years past fortunately.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Think globally, ride locally. Support those that support you, and in the case of riding in the SF bay area, seek out your local trail group and donate your time to support the sport you love. There are many forces at work trying to keep us off the trails, so please become part of the access solution!