Rama Wieland shares why YNOT rocks, talks about his fleet of nine bicycles and the “life changing” pants he swears by. He also once crashed the 2nd largest St. Patrick’s Day party in North America wearing full spandex.
Who are you and what do you do?
Rama Wieland and I work at YNOT. Technically I’m the Director of Sales, but we’re a small company so I do a bit of everything. I run our flagship retail shop here on Queen Street West in Toronto.
YNOT is a Toronto-based design team who creates everyday gear for active lifestyles. Our backpacks and messenger bags have become a staple with commuters and city cyclists because they have lots of technical features but they don’t look too technical.
There’s a bizarre dichotomy with outdoor gear; it’s either crazy technical and nerdy, or painfully nostalgic with none of the features to make it practical. YNOT has found a sweet spot in the athleisure market. We’re fashion-forward but highly technical. Our local production gives us the ability to do it this way.
How is the cycling lifestyle essential to you?
Living downtown I don’t own a car so cycling is my means of transport. I ride all year round and love the freedom you have with a bicycle. There’s no waiting in lines for public transport or standing uncomfortably close to grumpy strangers in a street car. It might be a bit cold or really hot, but you get to wherever you are going in your own time and with a clear head.
Cycling is also recreational for me. There is nothing better than a long day in the saddle with good mates, carbs and usually finishing with coffee and beer.
What is the most interesting city cycling idea you’ve seen recently?
It was really inspiring to be around Simcoe Bicycles when it was being developed in Toronto by Steve Tam and Erik Kamphof. A local designed bicycle capturing the spirit of the city. YNOT is also working on a collaboration with them for Curbside Cycle that will be launched soon.
Tell us about your favourite cycling city?
I love Toronto as a cycling city. I come from Australia, lived in the UK and have been lucky enough to travel with my bicycle so I’ve seen a lot. Toronto is a really great city to bicycle in. Having a grid system and some of the dedicated bike lanes makes it really straight forward.
I hear people say they are scared of cycling in Toronto and I get that it can be intimidating. But once you make that first ride you realize it’s a pretty friendly city for cycling. Motorists are forgiving and with the current traffic situation you are almost always going faster than the cars.
I feel like there’s more cyclists on the road each day in Toronto. You see beautiful men and women riding upright bikes who’d never be caught dead on a road bike. It’s a way of life, not a fitness thing. – Rama Wieland, YNOT
What’s your craziest cycling experience?
I have a lot of crazy cycling memories. Speaking of road bikes, I was out for a road ride with a friend in Savannah, Georgia and tried to navigate through through the 2nd biggest St. Patrick’s Day party in North America. It was just a mess. We were two idiots in full spandex kit trying to get through the revellery.
Where does your dream cycling adventure take you?
I would really love to bicycle across Canada. It’s a ride that I’m planning on doing in the near future. Another bigger dream is to ride from Canada to Patagonia!
Tell us about your rides. It’s totally fine to nerd out a bit.
I have 9 bicycles so it’s hard to say. There are some really special nerdy bikes in the mix. My everyday ride is a gnarly All-City Nature Boy. They’re a company designing bicycles in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My road bike is an OCTTO, which is a nice made in Toronto story. Dave Anthony used to work for Cervélo and went out making road bikes, as well as the wheels and accessories to go with it. I love track bikes. The rest of my collection is a mix of track bikes from around the world. I have a bike room in my house with a full repair shop.
What’s part of your everyday carry?
Since friends of ours in Vancouver launched DU/ER technical denim, I haven’t worn anything else. The blend of technical features with a clean aesthetic is the same philosophy that we go for at YNOT. These are life changing pants, man!
My everyday bag until recently was the YNOT Magnetica and I just switched to the slightly upgraded Wildland Scout pack that we launched on Kickstarter.
As for tools, I always have the Reductivist Ring Tool on my keychain. It’s such a rad little innovative piece.
Pick your poison. Is it craft beer, coffee or something food? (No it can’t be an energy ball.)
Yeah all that. Usually it goes coffee then craft beer and finally food. Being spoiled with an incredible coffee culture in Australia, I am really into great coffee. One of my favourite spots–and arguably one of the best coffee shops in Canada–is Boxcar Social. They have a few locations now and make an amazing brew. They also serve local nerdy craft beers so it’s a win win!
Finish this thought. “Cycling is…”
Cycling is a really nice release–it’s my daily transportation and form of enjoyment.
Discover the line of city cycling, travel and everyday bags and accessories designed by YNOT. Whatever your pick, know that their products are built to stand the test of time, and they’ve got your back with a lifetime warranty just in case.
(Images courtesy of YNOT.)
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