Toby Smith’s Tidbit Archives

Toby is an alchemist of bike love, a wizard of cycling culture and a prophet of adventuring by bicycle. We’re so stoked to have him plying his trade managing our bike shop, building up new bicycles, servicing old ones and fine tuning our showroom in anticipation of the return of cool weather and a functional Toole street in front of our building.

Toby has been living the bike shop life since 2004, getting started at the Sports Basement in San Fransisco before relocating to Ventura. In 2010, Toby co-founded the Ventura Bike Hub an amazing community bike shop. Toby helped build this organization into a thriving and integral part of Ventura’s cycling community and it was a tough and sad parting of ways for him and his partner Benicia to move on to Tucson. But it is also a testament of what they built that they can move along and pass their leadership on to the next generation of HUB leaders.

Beyond bicycle wrenching and riding, Toby’s interests include surfing, restoring old cars and traveling with his family.

extremecommutering   – Apr. 5, 2024

It’s been a bit rainy and coldish here lately. It’s means I’ve had to ride in the rain with no fenders <gasp> because why would you ride with fenders when it’s usually warm and sunny and they just bang around and get bent. I’ve been thinking of all the folks that are coming out of their snow season and people that ride year round in the slush and grey and lobster mitts and bar yaks. How lucky i am to only slightly be uncomfortable a few days a year on my daily bike commute. Here’s an ode to y’all. May the sunny days be sunnier and warmth radiate on your skin. May the cars give you much girth and wave you through. Here’s a pic of me extreme commutering maybe 15 years ago beach style. (There was a random trampoline on the boardwalk on my way home from work)

Ode to before work rides.  – Mar. 29, 2024

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a morning person. I’m lucky enough to get to commute by bike and ride with my kiddo in. On Mondays and Fridays we’re open a little later and it means I can have a chill morning to myself or go for a little ride. Here’s a snippet from riding up to Sentinal Peak “A” mountain here for earned coffee and breakfast with a view after a little climb up the road…

Behind the scenes. – Mar. 22, 2024

I believe strongly that no one is self made, it’s always about the people and the support structures around us that make or break people. It was a really cool opportunity to be able to host Swift Industries at our shop for their pop up and be able to ride with them this last weekend. It’s also really fun when we get to do something different and do the Swift Industries instagram takeover. I’m not much of a grammer, and the shop has been busy so it would have been tricky trying to do a good job and pull it off, but I’m super lucky my partner, Benicia is super rad and really good at making beautiful  instagram stuff. We took the reins of the Swift Instagram in the A.M. and took them on a morning ride around downtown and to the barrio to grab some coffee, see some flowers and open the shop than take people on a beautiful sunset ride along the loop. Benicia made it such a beautiful and fun experience and the visuals were fantastic. Thank you so much Benicia for always being my rock and making my life better! 

Deep breaths – Mar. 15, 2024

Got a chance to do a little trail time this weekend with my kiddo and a bud. Kiddo decided they weren’t into it anymore when we got out there, but I convinced them to push on and how sometimes being uncomfortable could be worked through and to try and focus on the present moment. After multiple stops and breakdowns and maybe 5.5 miles we took a long break and hiked to a beautiful spot with a wide view of snow capped peaks and took some breaths together. We chatted, we sat in silence, we enjoyed the view and then at some point maybe after 15 minutes it just kinda clicked. We rode on and finished the rest of the ride in flying colors and rewarded ourselves with some fast food on our way home. I mean it even happens to me sometimes when I’m out on my own. Sometimes struggles stick and sometimes we can work through it. Stoked we were able to work through it because it made for a wonderful day. Grateful for a little vitamin T. 

Spring has sprung – Mar. 8, 2024

Lately on my rides and commutes I have been on the kind of meandering vibe.  I’ve been soft pedaling around and taking different routes every few days. When I ride with my kid I’ve been encouraging the wander when we go on a cruise. What this is all meaning to me is that it’s warming up and I feel a bit more stoked to be outside ( I know it’s relative, but 50’ is cold haha). We’ve had some good rains lately and flowers are blooming. Here’s some poppies and my messy workbench- because it’s bike season here in Tucson and it’s not just the flowers that poppin- so is the shop! Come by and say hi! 

On the Chill Ride – Mar. 1, 2024

Once a month our buddy Henley and his partner Katie offer to get folks together and do a little chill ride. The idea of the chill ride is cruise around and enjoy town casually with a bunch of friends and check stuff out. Sometimes the theme could be tacos, or paletas, or murals. The ride always starts at Presta Coffee a local shop and roaster that’s has fantastic coffee, than we’ll cruises out around town. This month we cruised to Tucson’s Tallest tree, Phina’s Tree. Read about it here. It was a nice cruise around downtown, the Santa Cruz River path and back into town to grab some delicious tacos and raspados from Taqueria Pico del Gallo.  If you don’t already, give Henley a follow and hopefully see y’all out there!

Giving Some Love to Alexander’s Bike – Feb. 23, 2024

Bikes take us on all kinds of journeys- weather it be physical, mental or spiritual. This week I had the pleasure of working on my friend Alexander’s rad rig. It’s taken him on many physical journeys as well as healing journeys. Thousands of miles of sweat, pain and love have been pedaled out in this beautiful robins egg Surly Bridge Club.  It constantly amazes me what bikes can do for us. Imagine if everyone rode everyday and just pedaled through thoughts. We had this conversation about how sitting in a car really changes your mindset and your vibe. So go get that fresh air, pedal through your thoughts and pain and heal. Pedal through those headwinds in life. Pedal through those headwinds on a ride and just keep pedaling. 

KofA Leaverite – Feb. 16, 2024

One of my favorite things to do when visiting new and unfamiliar places is spending time just walking around and checking it out. I love seeing things left behind that tell a story of people that have inhabited or traveled through the area. This last weekend we cruised through the KofA national wildlife refuge, and we were lucky enough to camp right below a mining dump on the first night. The area was full of old glass, cans, containers, and other debris. Here’s where Leaverite comes in… it’s a term that usually refers to a common, worthless mineral that people don’t want, but for me it’s more of a personal philosophy about respecting the places I visit, not taking what isn’t mine, as well as preserving a place for future generations to visit. It’s very important to remember to respect indigenous sites and not visit those areas if they are sacred as well as to remember that many of these items are also protected by the archaeological and historical preservation act as well as the antiquities act. So what I do is check out the pieces left behind, whether it be pottery, glass, cans, equipment and I Leaverite there for others to find and check out. It’s really fulfilling to find these pieces and contemplate about the time period and the people that these items belonged to and think about their story and what life was like for them at that time. At this site we saw lots of manganese purple glass, thick bottles, plates and various other cans and containers. It was interesting to see a juxtaposition of items from 1880-1930’s as well as various can and containers left by visitors that dated up until the 60’s. Here’s a splattering of pictures of some leaverite that we saw this weekend. And remember, take only pictures and Leaverite there!  

Tortolita Preserve Personal Preservation – Feb. 2, 2024

With an upcoming trip I’ve been trying to spend a little extra time on my bike to get ready (spoiler alert- it hasn’t really happened) sometimes life has a way of sidetracking and getting you in a different direction. Everyone in my family has gotten sick a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, but we did manage to make it out for quick little ride. We chose to take it easy and chose a smooth, swoopy 10 mile loop called Tortolita Preserve. My original plan was to ride home through another mountain bike area making it a 25 mile trail and 25 mile road day, but food poisoning the night before derailed (get it) that idea. End the end, those 10 miles of smooth swooping trails was what the soul really needed. Hopefully I survive the Gila River Ramble. Haha. 

Ode to JoJo – Jan 26, 2024

JoJo the wonderdog.
Dogs make the world a better place. The same can be said for a bike shop dog- or cat for that matter. I’m really excited to be dog sitting JoJo Jenkins the wondedog.  JoJo’s human is Nick Bardonnay, a friend who has been on some shop camping trips as well as put on many friends rides including Sarah Swallow’s Sky Islands Adventure series as well as Henley Phillip’s Chill Rides. You’d be surprised but I’ve seen JoJo run 16 miles! JoJo also nestles nicely into a backpack for those longer or unsafe sections. If you grab a bike JoJo will excitedly spin circles letting you know that he’s stoked to go on a ride. I’m pretty sure JoJo is about the perfect dog, come find out for yourself.

Used Bike Emporiam – Jan 19, 2024

A little known fact is that we will occasionally do consignments here at the shop. Keep in mind these are rare and only in special cases of a combination of our need and special bikes that fit our niche as well these are local sales only. But, also very rare is that we have multiple really cool bikes for sale here at the same time…

  1. Jones Spaceframe size Small custom build with Sram GX gruppo that is an ultimate bikepacking rig $4000.
  2. Jones SWB stock build size large with low miles, a dream machine for $1500   
  3. 1995 Bontrager OR 17″ Handmade in Santa Cruz that is amazingly clean and original! $900
  4. 1994/5? Jamis Dragon Fly 17.5″ Handmade by Tim Teesdale in the USA out of the very uncommon aramet tubing and Ti Spokes! $750 $ 
  5. Really cool and classic Soma Saga Touring bike 54cm that sports 650b wheels and is ready to be loaded up! $800

Come by and check em out best deals out there in Toby’s Used bike emporium(J/K). 

Ode to Night Riding – Jan 12, 2024

As we jump from summer/fall to winter, I want to reminisce about the pure joy of night riding in Tucson. Night riding holds a special place for me. During these seasons you can simply head out in t-shirts and shorts, not thinking of gear or layers and just pedal in any direction your heart desires.  I have a kid and it’s the easiest time for me to make space for myself and get out and pedal. It’s super important during summer as an escape from the heat, but also becomes a special time to leave the busy shop in the fall and head straight out the door to some beautiful nature and space. I always feel it’s important to get in some vitamin nature when you can and just go out there and absorb it.  There’s something about the stars and night sky that gives me direction, I have to remember this when I get too busy and remember fresh air is just a pedal away.