Rider Profile: Gene Oberpriller
By Jeff LockwoodGene Oberpriller has been a unique and interesting fixture in the bicycle industry for many years. Geno, as many people call him, has done it all with bicycles—from racing to working to influencing. A few years ago, Gene and his wife Jennifer opened One On One Bicycle Studio in Minneapolis. One On One is part bike shop, part art gallery and part coffee shop. It all comes together to make one of the coolest cycling spaces I've ever set foot inside. The Studio is the manifestation of Geno's passion and vision. This brief interview is another window into all of that.
Name: Eugene Paul Oberpriller
Hometown: The Mid-Coast of Minneapolis, MN
Current location: Two blocks from the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, MN
Number of years mountain biking: 25
First mountain bike: My sister's Schwinn Sting Ray was the first off-road bike. I borrowed mountain bikes from friends up until 1989 and that's when I bought my first mountain bike. A red and white Bridgestone MB-2.
Current main bike: Well, for me and what I do, there has never been a current main bike. I am always riding something that we offer here at the studio. The last 8 months have been on these: Soulcraft Plowboy, Spot Brand 26, Bianchi G.U.S.S. and B.O.S.S., Maverick ML-7, '62 Schwinn Speedster, Bianchi San Jose, Surly Cross-Check and the SWOBO Folsom.
Riding style: Loose and run what you brung!
Favorite place to ride: The river
Music going through your head while you're riding: Lately, it's been whatever record or CD my three year old daughter Hannah has pulled off the shelve. From nursery rhymes to Mission of Burma.
Favorite trail food: Uh... it's been Octoberfest beers, and White Castle. They somehow keep turning up in my pack.
Best mountain bike vacation spot: My wife Jennifer (I owe her big time now) sent me on a Western Spirit Cycling Adventures 100+ mile trip along the Umpqua River Trail, it's outside of Medford, OR. It was 8 people, 4 strangers and 4 friends... words cannot describe it.
How did you get started mountain biking?
After the 2nd skateboard boom in the late '70s. I started riding my little sister's Schwinn Sting Ray on the motorcycle trails and hiking trails along the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Creek, and it went from there to BMX bikes, English 3-speeds, cruisers. Since we don't have any mountains here, the rivers and creeks are our mountains.
You've been involved in all sorts of parts of the bicycle industry and community. Tell us how it all started, and how you got where you are now.
1980, I was "hired" at Hatcher Cycle to ride, rock, race. Bicycle Express Messenger Service: ride, race, rock. Cedar Cycles: ride. The Alt Bike & Board: rock, race, ride, drink. Finish Line Finders: race, ride. Bridgestone Cycles USA, Ritchey: ride, race, rock. Steve Boemhke, Shimano: rock, race, ride. Andrew Herick/Bruce Fina, Pedro's Synlube: race. QBP, Breezer: ride, race, rock. Bianchi USA: race, ride, rock. SWOBO: rock. Spot Brand: ride, race. Salsa/Surly: rock, race. MBMA: drink, rock, ride. Kenwood Cycle: ride. Grand Performance: ride. Cars-r-Coffins: rock. StrongArm Marketing: rock and roll.
So it seems that the bicycle industry needed somebody who can ride, race, rock and of course roll. And if it was not for the community, I would not have had any of this. The community rides me and I ride them.
Your shop, One on One Bicycle Studio in Minneapolis, is one of the country's premier bicycle retail concepts. What's your philosophy behind starting it?
That people want more than being sold something.
What do you think about how big the whole bicycle commuting thing has become over the past couple years?
There is not much freedom anymore when you commute by an automobile. The average commute in Minneapolis is 3-10 miles and we have an excellent and growing system of trails and lanes here. Bicycles really give you the freedom from it all, so I think people want a little more freedom and less negative stress in their lives. Cycling has been around for over 120 years and it defiantly goes thru cycles, we're in another right now. Bicycles are freedom, get some!
Any hobbies, or something you do to relax?
I love vinyl records and photography and sleep.
I don't know yet, ask me tomorrow.
Anything else you'd like to add?
"Although Gene Oberpriller is one of my very best friends in the whole world, I'd be lying if I said I didn't hate him more than anyone I've ever met." – Steve Smith of Drunkingham.com
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