Grandpa Family is our way to highlight creative, interesting, and ambitious people in our vicinity. This time around we met up with Tobias Adolfsson - founder of And The Revolution, a bicycle Mecca on Södermalm, Stockholm.
Tobias has probably worked every job related to bicycles there are. But he’s still not fed up with it - far from it. He describes that still to this day he sometimes loses track of time whilst working on a customer’s order. It’s this passion that makes us very happy to be able to offer our customers the option to design their dream bike with ATR’s bike builder within our stores. The customer designs the bike, ATR builds it, and delivers it to the store. Find the interview with Tobias below:
- Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I run a bike shop at Åsögatan 122, and I’m doing so with a mission in mind: ever since I started working with bikes way up in Umeå I’ve wanted to help as many people as possible to find the joy that bicycling brings. My first job was as a bike courier, but since then I’ve probably had about every bike-related job there is. Running the bike shop ATR is the most gratifying I’ve ever done, as I get to help people design, build, and service their dream bikes. We want our bikes to be competitively priced while also being the lightest weight, best designed, and smart bike there is.
My life isn’t all about bikes though, I’ve got a pretty typical family with wife and kids. We go for pizzas on Fridays and head on excursions in the forests around Stockholm on Sundays. Other than bikes my biggest hobby right now is my own brain, which I try and understand in a new way using meditation and a lot of reading. Right now the books are about nature, philosophy, Buddism, and Stoicism. There’s so much I still don’t know about how my body and brain work, and I love getting lost in every aspect of it.
- Could you suggest maybe two good reads on that subject?
1. Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Suzuki Rochi. This will convince you of the importance of slowing down and to meditation a few minutes a day. This wonderful Japanese writer took Buddhism to California during the 60’s. “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few”.
2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, in the translation by Gregory Hay. Aurelius was not just a Roman emperor, he was also one of the most prominent Stoic philosophers. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
- How did you come up with the idea of starting a bike shop?
After years of working with bikes in every other fashion, I saw that many customers didn’t get the support and service they needed and should get. I was afraid that not enough people would realize how great bicycling is unless I took this thing seriously. May sound a bit like hubris - but I think hubris is a great driving factor.
- Do you have any thoughts on bicycling as a phenomenon?
If we’re going to live, breathe and socialize in the ever-growing cities around the world I’m convinced that bikes are an essential part of making that possible. Just looking at the proven benefits of cycling - both in terms of impact on health and climate - I can’t believe people are still taking the tube, the bus, or worse: the car, to work. Especially if you’ve got a sedimentary job, sitting down all day.
- Do you see any trends related to bicycling?
With the current corona situation, it’s pretty clear that we all stay healthier by breathing fresh air as opposed to cramming together on the subway. Imagine it had to take a pandemic for us to realize this. I also think people are getting more aware of the true costs of owning a car, and are looking towards bikes as an option.
- We’ve got this collaboration where our customers can use the ATR bike builder to create their own bike. How does that work?
In all of Grandpa’s stores, there’s a demo bike and an iPad that guides the customers through the process of designing their dream bike. The order is sent from the iPad straight to us at the shop and we’ll piece the bike together and send it to the store for pay-and-collect. It’s easier than buying an IKEA-kitchen online! The bikes come with a lifetime warranty on the frame, and one year of free service within Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. The goal of the collaboration is to inspire more people to find the joy there is in bicycling!
- Could you tell us a bit about some of the bike accessories that we both sell?
Crane Bell - We’ve sold these bells from the Japanese manufacturer Crane since staring up ATR. A bell might be a small detail, but all of aspects of the Crane Bell has an air of craftsmanship about it.
Bookman - Block Light is has enough brightness to lit the way for you, but is still discreet enough not to stand out too much. They’re charged conveniently using USB.