Rad People Who Ride: Brian Ohlen
07 November, 2016
A true man of the mountains. He lives among them, works among them, plays among them, rarely leaves them, complains when he does. Need further proof? His years of fighting forest fires has even crowned him the Saw God among certain circles. Here at WTB, we call him Ranger Danger. How else do you refer to a man who believes a proper bike ride requires boots, wrenches on bikes while thrashing to The Sword, has logged more miles on his pink 1989 Gary Fisher Celebrity than any other bike in his quiver, and firmly believes guns provide more protection than helmets?
Brian is humble. Soft-spoken. Understates everything. Has a way of describing experiences as far more mundane than they really were. Any time he recounts one of his weekend rambles, it comes with an unvoiced guarantee of additional realness he didn't hint towards. The ramble likely ended with him finding a way to pedal a whole antelope out of the woods. He's keen on details. Recognizes and respects the need for them, which has made him such an incredible mentor to countless up-and-coming wrenchers in his many years as a bike shop manager. Especially during his time at the Boise State University Cycling Learning Center, where I met him. Sincere. Truly sincere. Wildly passion about the aspects of life which captivate him, while lacking concern for those which don't intrigue him. That's how it should be.
I once spent an entire shop shift neglecting and avoiding an ever-increasing stack of service tags as I instead spent hours incessantly nagging him to order a 29+ Surly Krampus the moment they first became available on QBP. By the end of the day, I found him sitting at his desk with an expression of complete satisfaction, credit card flung on the keyboard. "It is done."
Brian once nominated me for employee of the year. Somehow, his nomination actually convinced people to hand it over. Years later, I get to apprise folks of how rad he is. To inform fellow riders that there's a guy in Wyoming who's heading out on trails with a rifle leading the way.
Home Shop and City:
Absaroka Bikes. Cody, Wyoming
Notable passions, feats of accomplishment, interests, goals, phobias and unusual experiences:
Passions: I love combining my passions in a way that gets me to places other people don't go. Multi-sport adventures like bike fishing or kayak hunting add a new element to things I already love, and give me leg up over other hunters or anglers. Of course I love all things bikes, but mostly skids, wheelies, and sweet jumps. Fly fishing for trout and anadromous fish! Accomplishments: Living an overwhelmingly awesome life: amazing wife and family. Jobs I enjoy. Living in ridiculously cool places. Goals: I'm supposed to have these aren't I. I'd love to do a bike-fish trip in Iceland for Atlantic Salmon...does that count? Phobias: As a kid it freaked me out to watch someone threaten to pop a balloon. Now I relive this fear on a daily basis every time I seat tubeless tires.
Favorite WTB product:
Really digging the versatility of the Horizon Road Plus tires right now. Also, my WTB 'Merica trucker hat.
1). Chasing a slightly better rider down anything technical or flowy. 2). After-dark pedal down the nondescript two-track that parallels a favorite steelhead river, cracked tallboy in hand, at the start of an extended bike-fish trip.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
My first mountain bike rides were in the baby seat of my mom's vintage Mongoose. Since then, bikes have always been a part of my life. My first job was in a bike shop and I'm still wrenching today. I love looking on a map, planning a ride, and then doing it; so I guess it's an exploration thing.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Tubeless because prickly pear cactus, goat heads, and 13 P.S.I.
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Fishing rod (not pole!), camera, map.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Outside is fun, and the importance of our public lands.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
Never happened. I've got a mind like a steel trap...kind of.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
This winter, as part of the Blackburn Ranger program, I'm pedaling from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast. I'll be hauling fly fishing gear and braving the elements in the name of catching a steelhead in WA, OR, and CA. Follow along at www.spokenfly.com