Pictured above is a pre-production fabric sample that was produced by Pearl Izumi earlier this year. A lot of effort has gone into our final designs and as always, there’s more to the story. 

From my vantage point, I feel as though cycling is growing and it’s a testament to the awesomeness of the sport. I am trying to extend that awesomeness through the Shimano Gran Fondo and FRETORI as an ongoing project. The value, purpose and meaning cycling has brought to my life is difficult to put into words, but I am hoping others can have similar experiences in their lives via cycling too. My attempt to share and express the merits of cycling is through every facet of FRETORI. For example, I am trying to do this through social media, through our jersey designs, our presentation and ultimately at our main event, the Shimano Gran Fondo. 

Given there are many cycling events and for that matter, many jerseys given out at said events, I’d like to think that the story behind FRETORI and the Shimano Gran Fondo presents something that’s both engaging and unique. I want to create something that can be felt and coveted. 

This week, I am expecting the jerseys and kits for the event to arrive, along with many other items that are going into everyone’s package at the Shimano Gran Fondo. I’d be lying if I were to suggest that opening the box of jerseys when it arrives isn’t a massive moment for me personally, because it is. The thought, time and help I have had to piece the entire presentation together is intangible. I can’t really measure all of it. 

Upon receiving a tracking number earlier this week, in a way I became “unstuck in time” and re-lived a moment in December 2016. I recalled receiving an e-mail from Michael Stokely, the designer who has taken FRETORI’s concept and created an identity. It was an e-mail that contained the first proofs for our jersey design at this year’s event. There were eight designs in total and I was standing with my wife, and a few friends at a Christmas party when I opened the e-mail on my phone eager with anticipation. There was one jersey design stood out from the rest. Over the next six weeks, together with my wife and Michael we refined the colours and final attributes. In late January we unveiled the colours and final design.

It was not until June that I added one more key detail at the last minute before sending the jerseys to production. “Unstuck in Time” was added under the three back pockets of every jersey. It is meant to serve as a message that you must look for to see it. It really felt appropriate as every time I recall the entire FRETORI project, there are countless positive memories to relive and appreciate. The work that has gone into this has been absolutely fulfilling and to be honest I want the Shimano Gran Fondo to be one of your favourite memories riding a bike. I hope that you become “unstuck” and can in a sense, relive those awesome moments from August 27 onward. This added detail is yet another tie to Kurt Vonneget, a great story teller not from the world of cycling, but his concepts and philosophies I find are easily applied through cycling’s lens. I want everyone attending the Shimano Gran Fondo to of course enjoy the material things we’re delivering, but also know the story behind them. The premise of this project is important to me and I hope everyone is at least 5% as excited as I am. Thanks for reading. 

-Charlie