May 1, 2013


Founder of Toronto – based La Carrera Cycles 

What do you use black markers for in your day-to-day activities ?

Making notes and processing paperwork for the shop. Labelling inventory and packages to send out.  Creating cardboard “Be Right Back” signs for the front door. I often use black markers to touch up scratches on bike frames and parts. A black marker is part of my daily kit.

What brands and types of markers do you use in the workshop ? What brands and types of markers did you use when working as a bicycle messenger ?

I use a combination of Sharpie Fine Point, Super Sharpie, Sharpie Chisel and Sharpie King around the workshop. They work great on most surfaces, but I find that the ink leaves a blue hue when used over black metal.

The tool wall at my previous shop had black marker silhouettes on the pegboard to indicate where each tool belonged, keeping things organized. All those marker outlines were made with a Sakura paint marker.

I have a few Tamiya paint markers I brought back from a recent trip to Japan that I use around the shop as well.

When i’m involved with cycling events and races, we often use black markers to plan race routes, create spoke cards, and process riders at checkpoints.

As a messenger I started using Marks-a-Lot and Letraset Pro markers,  and then eventually just Sharpie product.

I use to get markers from Gwartzman’s Art shop on Spadina. Sanford/ Sharpie King size. Pilots. Never particularly liked the vibe there, but they had a good selection of product.

Working internationally as a messenger in Europe I would use a variety of Edding markers. While spending time in Guatemala and Mexico I often use generic bootleg black markers. Sharpie brand is rather hard to come by, and if found in shops, quite expensive.

Black markers tend to accumulate in the various toolboxes and stations in my workshop, as well as my jackets and messenger bags.

Do any marker brands and companies sponsor any cycling related events or races ?

Sharpie used to sponsor a Nascar racing team, but as far as marker brands sponsoring cycling teams or being involved in cycling events, I haven’t come across anything. Would be a great fit though. Black markers are used for checkpoints during races, on the road as a messenger, and in workshops by mechanics and frame builders. Similar metal tubing is used to make metal markers and bike frames.

Is the metal tubing used to construct black markers like the Pilot Jumbo or Sharpie Magnum the same type of metal used to build bike frames ? Would a bike frame made out of marker tubing be a solid ride ?

Quite similar, depending on what company is building the bicycle frames and what material they are using. The Sharpie Magnum for instance, seems to be made from aluminum. The gauge and construction seems quite sturdy and would make an interesting frame build. Would profile and ride like a Sprint bike. Lightweight. Could be brittle depending on how the build came together. Would be interesting to see a bicycle frame made by a marker company, or a marker made by a cycling brand.

What characteristics and features would a La Carrera Cycles marker have ?

The marker body would be one piece, modelled after the silhouette of a Sharpie King Size. It would be made from a magnesium alloy or carbon fiber in an orange hue. Detailing and La Carrera branding would be hand – painted in contrast blue, black and white.

The marker would contain dark black permanent ink that appears in dark black when applied onto black metal surfaces, handy for cycling frame touch – ups.

Valve action to regulate ink flow from heavy to light.

If the ink could wipe off from surfaces within 1 minute drying time, but become permanent after 1 minute, that would be handy.

The marker cap would be made from rubber and have a tire – tread patterned exterior, with plastic interior.

The marker would come with a clip to attach it onto my bike frame.

Any projects you’re developing that we should keep an eye out for in the year ahead ?

I’ve opened a new La Carrera Cycles in the Junction area. Retail at front of space, multi-station workshop in the back. In addition to daily operations, i’m continuing to build the brand through managing projects that involve arts, design and the cycling community.

I’m working with five contemporary artists / designers to prepare collaborative product with Kashimax Japan. It’s taking some time for the elements to come together  but the process is part of the journey and i’m confident the results and end experience will be worth the wait.


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