VV Profile: Jon Snydal
Name: Jon Snydal
Occupation: Principal Designer, Frog Design
Hometown: San Jose
Current city/Neighborhood: Oakland/Maxwell Park
Favorite city to ride a bike in in the world: Bangalore
Helmet or no helmet: Helmet!
Describe your personal style: thrifted up, with lots of belt buckles and colorful shirts.
Type of bike: Atlas Goldline single speed
Tell us the story about how you found/acquired your bike: I was working in India and was tired of riding around in taxis all the time. So I got a bike and started riding it to work. I kept seeing other dudes riding around with cool, tricked out roadsters, so I made a game out of tracking down accessories like the front shocks and bull hood ornament.
I found that biking around Bangalore instantly broke down all sorts of cultural barriers and opened up all kinds of conversations with locals. After tricking out my bike, I couldn’t leave it in India, so I brought it back on the plane with me.
Describe what you like best about your bike: I love that the design of this bike seems “old school” but it is that way for practical reasons, not for style. It’s built from affordable materials (not carbon fiber!) that are extremely heavy duty and easy to fix, thanks to its simple mechanical design. All you need is a few wrenches, a standard screwdriver and a hammer and you can take care of just about any problem. My favorite parts are the cantilevered brakes, motorcycle kickstand and glowing bull hood ornament.
Tell us about your daily bike commute from Oakland to SF: I ride to the bus stop near MacArthur Blvd in Oakland and jump on the NX3, loading my bike on the front. I get off at the Transbay Terminal and head down Embarcadero along the waterfront to my studio near the Ball Park.
Favorite time and/or place to ride:
Family biking - Calistoga to St. Helena on the backroads or Point Isabel bike trail in Richmond
Mountain biking - Miwok trail & China Camp (Marin), Chabot Park (Oakland)
What's the connection between bikes and design and daily life?
The design problem connected to daily life and bikes has less to do with bikes and more to do with the design of cities. Cities still do not embrace bikes as well as they should. There are some positive developments like bike lanes, dedicated bike paths and buses with bike racks. What about BART? Why isn’t there a BART wagon just for bikes like they have on Cal Train? Why doesn’t Oakland create some bike friendly pathways from the neighborhoods to the waterfront? Why is it that our bazillion dollar Bay Bridge redesign does not include a bike lane from Oakland to SF? Improving the design of transportation systems and infrastructure will have the biggest impact on our daily, bike-commuting lives.
Vélo Vogue tip of the day: Always bring a spare tube and know how to fix your own flat!