Origin stories are all the rage right now. From super heroes to Star Wars, people love to know where things and people and characters come from. I'm not putting MHCC or myself on the level of Star Wars (and if you know me you know what a tempting prospect this would be) but I do want to dedicate a post to giving you all some of the story that led up to me starting MHCC.
I bought my first bike when I was 28. It was a Trek Checkpoint gravel bike. Dark blue with red logos. It was July 2020 and the world was in the thickest throes of the COVID pandemic. My wife had been encouraging (to put it lightly) me to get a bike for a long time. She had been into cycling before we met, and was getting the itch to get onto a bike again.
I was hesitant to say the least; bullishly so. Probably downright passive-aggressively stubborn with sarcastic undertones. If you were to ask my wife, she would tell you that I have a tendency to oppose new ideas. Thankfully she has a knack for being persistent in a loving way.
Regardless, we both bought gravel bikes and started to ride.
The first morning that I went for a ride is burned into my memory forever. 6.78 miles of pure torturous un-comfortability. I didn't have padded shorts or clipless pedals or any idea how to be in the right gear at the right time or any level of proper fitness to speak of. It was hellish. I got home and made a mental note to see if I could return the bike. I absolutely hated it.
Later on in the day, I started second guessing myself. I was incredibly sore, but I was proud of myself for making it back home that morning without having to walk. And deep down, I knew that my life was in desperate need of some changes.
I was 28 and 50 pounds overweight. I was struggling with crippling depression and anxiety. I had a 1 year old son and a wife. And I was treating my physical and mental health extremely poorly. I was on the ragged edge every day just trying to force myself to get up and go to a job that I hated. Something needed to give.
So I got up the next day and rode that stupid bike again. And I rode it the day after that and the day after that. I just kept riding it. Each time I would try to go a little further and a little further. I started getting obsessed with how far I could ride or how fast.
That Trek became my gym and my therapy. Every day that I rode, I got stronger. My body got strong and I got more confident, but more importantly by far is how my mind got stronger. Coupled with other methods of managing my mental health issues (and I cannot stress enough how important it is to properly treat mental health issues) I started to overcome the issues that had been stifling me.
I began to lose weight and regain my quality of life. It's hard to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it, but you reach a mental breaking point if you ride your bike enough. Times when you have to overcome your body and your mind telling you to stop and to quit pedaling; your muscles screaming that you can't go any further when you're 20 miles away from home. These are the moments that changed my life on a bicycle.
Anyone that knows me knows that I get passionately obsessed with things very easily. If I become interested in a subject, I will read and research about it until I know everything there is to know about it. Cycling became an obsession. I would read about bikes and racing and components and training and watch videos and on and on and on.
As I delved deeper into the cycling world, I started to notice that I had a hard time finding cycling gear that I really liked. You probably know as well as I do that you can buy super cheap kits on Amazon, or you can blow a paycheck on a kit that's a solid color and looks boring. I spent hours looking for jerseys and bib shorts that reflected the styles I enjoyed off the bike.
I've always been interested in fashion and design. I love cool and interesting looks, and I have particularly always been fascinated with streetwear companies like Supreme. It blows my mind that they can put their name on literally anything and sell it. Supreme has become the holy grail of streetwear companies, and inspired countless other similar clothing and lifestyle companies to follow suit.
I began to wonder why there were no cycling companies that adopted a streetwear approach. Design odd, unique, cool products, sell them seasonally, have cool product launches, and build a cult-following. I looked and looked for jerseys that stood out to me, and to be fair there are companies out there who make interesting stuff, but nothing ticked all the boxes for me.
So I started using free online software to design jerseys for fun in my free time. They were truly awful at first, but I kept at it just as a hobby. Eventually I started showing a few friends and family members, and got some decent feedback. I decided to start investigating what would be involved to find a manufacturing partner and get some samples made.
The rest of the story is pretty boring, but I did eventually get the company going, and MHCC Cycling Streetwear is the result. I created a company that combined my loves of cycling, fashion, design, and charity. I love that we get to donate money to charity every time someone makes a purchase.
Above and beyond all of that though, my biggest dream for MHCC is to be a community. A community of misfits and weirdos and cyclists and people who just want to spread love and positivity and ride bikes and make the world a better place. I love writing these blogs and sharing what knowledge I do have, and I love interacting with you all on here and on social media.
In my mind, MHCC is a success when more people are out riding bikes and more people feel comfortable expressing themselves on their bikes. Whether that's in an MHCC kit or not, it doesn't matter to me. This is a company that allows me to do what I love, but it's also a company that allows me to spread love and joy, and that's worth more to me than anything else.
Cycling has impacted a lot of lives. It truly changed my life, and it can change yours too.
Anywhere is home. Just ride bikes.