Chances are, you have seen the stylings of Mike Lelliot around your hometown. Those little rubber lights that adorn nearly every bicycle riding through the city. Knog has been around for a number of years doing their thing, but it is their frontman who stands out in a crowd. Any crowd. At 6′ 7″ Mike Lelliot may tower over just about everyone, but he is one of the most soft-spoken gentlemen you could come to know. He stopped by the Rapha North America office for a quick coffee and to show off a few new lights. Business done, we then rode to one of our favorite restaurants in Portland — Biwa. We took a moment to catch up with Mike over dinner and talk about riding through the city, any city.
Name — Michael Lelliott
You are traveling with your bike. What is your travel bike?
My favourite one – A 63cm redressed Cannondale CAPO = It is fast, easy to break down for the travel bag and tough – it has done over 30 trips in four years, battered and scratched – but still get’s me where I need to be. Oh yeah, it is stable too. I’ve taken a ton of photos while hammering on the beast.
Why do you like bringing your bike with you? Aside from the obvious that it might be hard to find a bike in your particular size…
I like riding my own bike – It gives me the freedom to go anywhere — anytime.
What is something that you like about riding through the city?
I like people. Meeting them, hanging out, drinking, eating. Having my bike with me makes this possible. On the flip side, riding in the city is a sensual experience – I often feel like I am flying / sliding through the traffic.
What about clothing when riding through the city? What are your three essentials that you always pack with you?
I usually love threes – but really it comes in 6’s – Good shoes, Good Helmet, Good Leather Gloves, a white t-shirt, the Rapha Classic Wind Jacket and Rapha 3/4 shorts. (oh yeah there is always a 7… long striped socks)
What is your favorite city so far to ride bicycles in? And on the flip side of that, which city would you really like to visit and ride your bike?
For me, it is about people and I have great memories of good people from so many cities. But recently we were doing a photoshoot in Paris and I was riding with a crew of about 30. It was Bastille Day and we found ourselves, post parade, hammering up the cobble stones of the Champs Elysées, a 500 square-metre flag flying in the breeze above the Arch de Triomphe – Fuck me! – that was a moment that sent goosebumps down my spine.
What will be your memory of dinner here at Biwa?
You are in the light business, what is new in your world? What new things can we look for in the bike light world?
People are getting more and more serious about being seen. So we have a series of lights called ‘Blinders’ which are just that. Bright, Waterproof, USB rechargeable and rock solid. I’m personally excited about them as they are technically smart, use materials in new ways, look great and are easy to use. Also, a few weeks ago at Frostbike we released the Blinder Road2, part of our new line of ‘seeing’ lights.
I know that you also like to shoot photos, what are some of the challenges that you have run into with shooting while riding, or shooting at night (since that is when I assume you’re shooting lights)?
I use the camera like a brush,never looking through the viewfinder. I point in the direction and look for the feeling I am after. But the biggest issue at night is always Focus, Focus, Focus…