James Selman


What’s your name, nickname, age, birthplace, hometown?
James Selman, Selman, Salesman, Sea Biscuit, almost 40 (Nov. 5, 1969), Nashville, TN, Portland via Port Angeles, Decatur (GA), West Newbury, Raleigh, Boulder, The D.

Favorite phenomenon?
Dusk. Flame. Flying. The orange color of fresh juice.

How do you like to tell stories?
Words & Pictures, long rides, road trips.

Pivotal moments in life?
Blowing a hole in my Big Wheel plastic tire. Launching a model rocket in my room. Dropping all my AP classes senior year to take photography, art and architectural drawing. Learning the Zen of bike maintenance and all things PRO from The Dude. Completing the first Wilderness 101 with my Dad crewing. Getting hit by a Harley Davidson (Yes, while on my bike). Holding both kids after being born – and everyday since.

Why/how did you start riding?
My dad unknowing letting me and my red Columbia go in the back of my school playground circa 1974. Then the gold banana seat Schwinn. Then saved up a penny at a time for a $144 chrome Takara BMX. Then there is darkness…a little light with the 10-speed Nishiki, and full-on halogens with the Stumpjumper ATB 1988.

Family life, or home life; kids, wife, girlfriend, pets?
Yes, two. Mikala Jo and Riler P… Lisa… Benjamin the Lab.

What’s your special talent/gift to the world?
A good eye.

What’s the continental project mean to you?
It’s full-on fuck-all riding wherever whenever called upon. The style of drop-dead flying-the-flag of turning-to-find-out. It’s the riding I’ve always done on the road but mostly done alone and what better to do it now with like-minded and incredibly talented people? Drama. Substance. The unknown. It’s the grad school of wheels to the road.

Why are you interested in documenting rides?
Why not?

What do you want a riding guidebook to feature (what’s missing from what currently exists out there), and how will you contribute to that end goal?
Better content, writing, photography, design. I don’t have any, which is a clue, so I’m guessing here.

What’s style mean to you?
Aaron Erbeck. And I don’t even know him well enough to say that.

Who’s your favorite local rider and why?
They are all special people.

Where in the world would you like to ride next and why or what group ride if you could do any would you do?
Liking to climb, the Cols of Italy (for the food), the Cols of France (for seeing what the big deal is), but I love the shit cobbles: the bumps, the flats, the weather, the openness… from K-B-K to Roubaix. Let’s go.

You need anyone reading this to know…?
I’m not that intense.

Why cycling and not, running or shot put or speed skating?
The most efficient transportation known to man.

Your favorite ride/moment ever, just the details?
My head just exploded with the thought. But yes, after I put that in reverse, it is funny you mention the details. Definitely all the details, the little things…I remember those the most. The small ever so small puffy white cloud overhead in the pure blue sky (seen for the first time after 9 weeks of rain in Burlington) as I flopped round from being hit by the Harley. That first big bonk, at 85 miles, after leading, alone, for 50 miles. The deer that I could feel breathe next to me for a split second as it jetted onto the road for two quick hops and then just as fast back into the woods as I descended Springville early one morning. Ira and I at the top of Otto Miller at the beginning of the Spring or at the top of 11,500′ Beartooth Pass in the mist at the end of the Summer, oddly the same exact weather. Any climb up Saltzman, but more so in the winter. Fixing a flat in 4 minutes in the high altitude hail and rain of Leadville with high power lines buzzing all around. Riding with Lisa & Mikala & Riler to school after Mikala’s open heart surgery and seeing her smiling a smile so big I will never forget. Yeah, it’s all that, every ride, the details.

What’s your job all about, why does it fit you?
Someone once said, Words&Picture for Business&Culture…I think that does a good job. Says enough of what you do to get yourself into trouble or leave you alone, but also enough that you are serious and you get shit done.

What’s your program, like who and what and where is your world?
Flexibility, on time, and not on time. Depending on how much shit is flying and how I try to do too much. Family, bikes, some fast paced odds & ends hussle. Fast paced and flexible. Yes, that sort of sums it up.

Where you live and why it suits you?
Dan Wieden & I had this little conversation when I left W+K a couple years ago:

DW: So, what are you going to do?
JS: Not sure exactly, but I’m going to stay here in Oregon, figure it out.
DW: Yeah, this State’s built for you.
JS: Yes, yes, it is. (Big fucking grin.)

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