Jeremy Platt: Bike Builder

Jeremy hails from San Luis Obispo and grew up riding mountain bikes. Jeremy is the Stinner bike builder. He orders parts, fits customers, and does the final build. But, It wasn’t until he met Aaron that he got inspired to add road riding to his repertoire. He still cherishes the early braised steel bike that Aaron made for him shortly after Aaron graduated from frame building school. For the first time in his life he feels at home in a career and takes pride putting the finishing touches on each new build as it heads out the door.

Interviewer: All right. First question I have for you is, why bikes? What do you love about bike culture.

Jeremy: Yeah, I don't know. I guess I got hooked on bikes when I was young. As boy scouts, we used to do bike trips. I had tons of fun on them. Then I also started realizing that I was better at bikes than most kids, so it just really kind of solidified it for me. Yeah, so I was riding bikes through high school, then I move out here after high school.

Bikes, it's just a freedom thing. I love it. Get out there, get exercise, make yourself breathe hard, get from point A to point B. It's like an art form almost. That's how I look at it. That's why I like building the bikes. I like standing back, looking at it and being like, "Yep, that is something I can look at for a while", just like a piece of art. Then they get the extracurricular of being able to ride it, too and have fun on it.

Interviewer: Where are you from?

Jeremy: Atascadero. Just a little further north, San Luis Obispo area. I only did mountain biking then, nothing crazy, just cross-country type stuff. Then I came out here and only brought one bike with me, but it just kind of sat. I was more about, "Hey let's go chase girls around and get drunk." Then I found and started to hang out with another group of guys and they were really into bikes. One of them had a brother who was really into bikes, then I was like, "Well, I like bikes", and it just started kind of an avalanche from there. Then I got a full-on downhill bike and we just started running these trails every weekend for years and years. That really got me back into it because I was so stagnant for a good five years. Just nothing.

Then I really dove back into it, threw a lot of money into it. Then one day, a friend of mine who I'd met through a company called bike log, I don't even know if they still exist anymore. Anyways, we worked there together, hit it off and stayed friends even after we both left, and then I did a few odd jobs. Then one day he came, he found me and said, "Hey, I'm working at a shop. I need your help here in town. Are you interested?" I said, "Sure." Aaron was actually manager of that shop at that time. That's how I met Aaron, through my first bike shop, Bicycle Bob's.

Bikes, it’s just a freedom thing. I love it. Get out there, get exercise, make yourself breathe hard, get from point A to point B. It’s like an art form almost. That’s how I look at it. That’s why I like building the bikes. I like standing back, looking at it and being like, ‘Yep, that is something I can look at for a while’, just like a piece of art.

Interviewer: Your path you just talked about in terms of getting here, you guys worked at the bike shop together, Bicycle Bob’s. That's where you guys first met. So that was the connection that eventually brought you over to Stinner?

Jeremy: Yeah. We worked together at the shop. I think he just got back from frame building school when I started working there, so he was kind of making his transition into being a full-time frame builder. I never really did road, just mountain. But as soon as I found out he was doing frame building, I actually had him build me a road frame. I actually had one of the first, I'm pretty sure it's one of the first 15 bikes he ever built. I've had a Stinner bike for the last three and a half years now. I love it to death. I really enjoy working with Aaron, so it all made sense for me to come over here once he got this big.

Everything up to this, for me anyway, has been a job. For everybody here, this is their career.

Interviewer: You talked a little bit about the quality of the bike and stuff, but what is it, if you were to describe what is it about Stinner that stokes you?

Jeremy: Definitely the driving force is the people behind it. Aaron and I hit it off right when we started working together. I knew how passionate he was about bikes, and everything in general. I knew he would make me an awesome bike. Sometimes you just have to take a risk but i knew this wasn't going to be a risk. I knew he was going to pour all his labor and love into it. Now, at this point in time, I see James, who you'll talk to later. He also used to work at Bicycle Bob's. It's a core group of guys. We're very thorough about what we do. James is the painter and I worked with him at Bicycle Bob’s. He was a lead mechanic, so I knew he had that eye for detail. He always got it perfect. Then, same thing. Once he left, I took over head mechanic so they know I have the detail for doing final product. I think the whole Stinner thing is about the guys behind the scene. Everybody that knows who Aaron is, loves him to death. Everybody also knows who Gary is. He's an amazing rider beyond being really good at running a business in general. I think it's just the core values of the people who work here that really gets people stoked on it. That's why a lot of people, when they pick up their bikes, they'll travel from New York and all over just so they can hang out with the guys who built it.

Interviewer: As far as building out the final product and the process and the craft that goes into that, how important is that craft and that process of building the final bike to the point where you make the hand-off?

Jeremy: It's paramount, really. A lot of people, they'll look at welds and they'll go, "Oh, that's pretty", but they don't necessarily know what they're looking at, especially when it comes to bike people just because carbon has been such a big deal. I think when someone sees all the parts put together, the color schemes that are made, and put into effect, I think that's huge because that's what people really clue in on. It's like, "How'd that cable get rounded and how did this ..."

I had a customer just the other day. I felt like I took a little bit of extra time but I made sure the cables were run a certain way so they just had this nice aesthetic to them. He totally saw it. He was like, "Oh, wow. So glad you rounded the cables like that, looks so much cleaner." I think bike people clue in on the bike parts that are on it instead of necessarily the structurals, like I said, the welds and stuff. Granted, they are just as important, and you can make them look much better than someone down the street, but for me I think it's seeing that. How did they put the stem through the ... There's all these little small details, but they do add up, and I think people notice those, more than anything.

Interviewer: What element of Stinner Bikes do you really appreciate?

Jeremy: Simplicity is huge. I think especially in bikes. I think things are getting so convoluted. I used to work at shops. Of course I worked with these big companies, and they're all about making it have to do this one thing really well, like this bike has to be so aerodynamic. With that, the bike just became so complex that I think it just, yeah it looks cool, but the complexity of it is just too much for a bike. I think the simplicity is definitely one that most people can agree with. It's just like, wow. It's a bike, there's no extra added frosting to it.

A lot of people, they’ll look at welds and they’ll go, ‘Oh, that’s pretty’, but they don’t necessarily know what they’re looking at. There’s all these little small details, but they do add up, and I think people notice those more than anything.