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3201 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212

Blog / News

BLOG: Why Red Kite?

Shannon Williams

Why Red Kite?


We get a lot of questions about our shop's name. Here are some samples:

"What is a Red Kite and what does it have to do with bicycles?"

"Do you sell kites?"

"Why isn't there more red in here?"

"Why did you name your bike shop after a kite? Are you a kite enthusiast?"

Those are all great questions. We don't sell kites-sorry.  The answer to what a Red Kite is is a bit longer.

In international bike racing, there is usually a banner that hangs over the road, signifying the last kilometer-the end of the race. It's referred to as the "red kite", because, well, it's red and looks like a kite. In terms of significance, it's where the race can be won or lost. Crunch time. The red zone.

Why did we choose that as our name? Well, that goes back a bit. To a conversation that I had several years ago with my friend Torsten(real name, I couldn't make up something that cool).  Torsten is from Golden, Colorado but lived here in Nashville for a few years. When he came to town, he ran riot over our local bike racing scene-he was like a grown man racing against kids. It was equal parts impressive and embarrassing. Very few local guys could hang with him when he was even moderately fit.

As I got to know Torsten a bit better, it seemed curious to me that he was as into bike racing as he was. He's an exceptionally well-rounded person. Super smart-he went to Colorado School of Mines-accomplished outdoorsman/climber, etc. He's the kind of guy that, when he tells you that he built his house, he means with his hands, not with a checkbook. I was fascinated that someone like that would be so into a sport like bike racing which, as we all know, is incredibly time-consuming and requires a heavy singularity of purpose. He just didn't seem to fit into the typical roadie mold.

So, over(several) beers one night, I asked him what the deal was. His response was memorable. He said something along the lines of, "I've found few things in life that require total presence. Things that, when you're doing them, you can't be thinking of anything else-your consciousness is consumed. Top-roping a hard pitch is one of them.* A super fast technical crit is another. When you're doing one of those things,your focus is so narrow and sharp that you can see and react to things in a way that's just not normally possible".

I loved that. I think that those moments that he was describing are what keeps bike racers/triathletes/runners/climbers/surfers; etc coming back to their chosen sport. Those times that require absolute focus-no wondering if you left the oven on at home, no thinking about budgets or mortgages or deadlines. Total presence. I know it sounds new-agey. But those moments in life are very few. And, once you've found a source of them, it can be addicting.

You could argue that for bike racers, that moment when we pass under the Red Kite is when we're the most alive.

But if we decide to start selling kites, we'll let you know.