years has been with Marin Bikes, right
here in sunny Marin County; however, my
“night” job for the last 25 years or so
has been building wheels for my bicycle
wheel business: Gravy Wheels at
MBA: How did you get into building
Gravy: I was into building wheels from
the early days, as everyone, including me,
was trashing their wheels routinely. But it
really took my mentor, Buck, to hone my
skills and pressure me to get real with the
profession in the early 1990s. I figure that
people will always crave, desire, and need
high-quality hand-built wheels, and I love
MBA: If you had to guess, how many
wheels have you built in your career?
Gravy: I am currently well over 5000
and counting! I have records for most of
them as well.
MBA: Do you still build wheels for
Gravy: Of course! They’re still the bulk
of my business, and there is an incredibly
wide variety of wheel options and upgrades
to choose from these days.
MBA: What’s the secret of building a
good, high-quality wheel?
Gravy: Four “secrets” really:
4. Highest-quality wheel building tools.
MBA: How has wheel technology
changed over the years?
Gravy: Wheel technology has improved
so much! The main changes I have seen
since my youth include: “Freehub” rear hub
technology, forged and butted spokes/
nipples, sealed cartridge bearings,
thru-axles, disc brakes, tubeless tires,
carbon rims, ever-wider dropout spacing,
ever-increasing numbers of gears in the
back, ultra high-quality forgings and rim
extrusions. But, sadly, coaster brake hubs
are now passé.
MBA: What are some of the most
memorable moments from your career?
Gravy: Simple, right? Yet another
“short” list. Gravy’s top 10:
1. Jimmy Deaton’s record fifth Mammoth
Mountain Kamikaze win.
2. Both Myles Rockwell and Missy Giove
reaching the podium at the 1993 Worlds in
Metabeif, France. It was so much work, as
I wrenched for most of Team USA as well.
3. Missy Giove’s World Championship
win in Vail, Colorado.
4. Alison Sydor’s World Championship
win in Vail, Colorado.
5. Tinker Juarez finally winning the U.S.
National [NORBA] series overall in Big Bear,
6. Myles Rockwell and Missy Giove
winning both the Kamikaze and the
Reebok Eliminator in Mammoth Mountain,
7. Colin Bailey reaching the podium of
the World-Cup downhill race in Squaw
8. Returning to the U.S. from the first leg
MBA’s Zapata Espinoza, a Hall of Famer
himself, captured a moment shared
between Gravy and new inductee Missy
Giove at the 2016 Mountain Bike Hall
of Fame ceremony. Sitting behind them
is Myles Rockwell’s Volvo/Cannonade
downhill race bike.
of the World Cup Downhill series with both
Elka Brutsaert and Juergen Beneke in the
9. Myles Rockwell winning his first-ever
World Cup Race in Kaprun, Austria.
10. Tinker Juarez winning the World Cup
Cross-Country race in Silver Star, British