Introducing ‘The Singles’, a new section gathering conversations with people around the culture of athletics and design.

In this first chapter I talked to Daniel Hutchinson, one of the creative minds behind BBUC.

Last month, Daniel reached me out via my other newsletter, Space for Independent Thought, which I re-started after taking off a couple months for meditation on the project.

I don’t know how he found out about the newsletter, but it reminded me the power and beauty of these early-internet connections without social media as an intermediary.
While I had some sort of questions ready, we ended up chatting casually, and here are the tracks of this record.


TRACK - 001

Daniel is one of the partners at BBUC, a cycling brand for those who look beyond performance to embrace the weird and wonder of pedaling.

BBUC stands for brillibrilliant/unicorn. I first got to know the name of the brand I was like ‘Uh that’s weird…but it’s cool’. While many cycling brands are getting into the fashion and lifestyle spectrum, there’s still a sense of ‘seriousness’ around it [and i liked it’s playfulness]. He explained to me that, the ‘brillibrilliant’ is a reference to Hotel am Brillantengrund where the project originated  and  ‘unicorn’ is a reference to riding the ‘single horn’ of fixies. It’s also reflective of  the magic and fairytale vernacular around Vienna, where they’re based.

One of the most interesting things about, not just the brand, but the people behind it, is how borderless and diverse they are: Daniel has an Eastern European background while living in L.A.; Christian, his creative partner and the brand co-founder is German; while Marvin the other co-founder and hotel director is Filipino-Austrian.

I mention this because, beyond the speech of how bad globalisation is, it reflects the possibility of breaking what borders and nations means — not just through virtual networks but even sport itself: how it’s been and how culture progresses, moving forward by unexpected encounters between individuals with different backgrounds driven by curiosity and empathy.

Daniel celebrates these connections through the brand under the concept of ‘Fictional Nations’:

I enjoy these concepts like a playground. FNC is a place where people share stories almost like an airport, it’s a neutral space where everybody’s passport disappears and you’re just a human

TRACK - 002

When it comes to sports gear, as Daniel explained to me, you have to be careful about detail and functionality you find yourself more limited with the things you can do or not.I think it’s quite interesting how these obstacles turn into a ‘creativity test’ to prove how you can you deliver your best with limited resources. It’s kinda like when you are climbing or running through an unknown path have to make your way out.

I was quite curious about the process involved as a designer when it comes to performance clothing. You see a lot of people starting their own brands by selling t-shirts, which, product-wise, doesn’t involve much beyond selecting the right manufacturers

Somehow since I started cycling and running in London I’ve grown to  discover the city in a more unpredictable way, forming step by step a personal map in my head with my own routes. Some enabled by Google, but many opened by getting lost or a strange event around Buckhingham Palace that forced me to find a different way to get to work.

TRACK - 003

It’s funny that both of us got into cycling as a way to move around a big city without relying on a car or public transport, and how we’ve come to the realisation of how much distance you can cover in little time (compared to walking, of course).

He told me this story I didn’t know about, on how Steve Jobs compared what the bike makes human’s body capable of, to what the computer makes our brains possible.

I loved how this shared sense of possibility, the desire to know what’s next, to imagine, to go further. For two nerds like us who spend hours and hours moving pixels on a screen, it  also translates into something that involves movement.

In this parallelism between body and mind, is where I find the drive to keep doing things, to stay hungry (keeping Job’s philosophy) but also to stay foolish. At the end of the day, as we discussed throughout the conversation, it’s not about creating gear for the sake of it, it’s about unlocking the possibility of making people smile whether it’s a neon green jersey or something else that triggers people’s emotions.

TRACK - 004

This is perfectly related to something I was very curious about, a little tagline on the back of the gilet Daniel sent me which reads “The Sport of Tomorrow”.

When I first asked him about it he reflected the question back to me. “I don’t know” I said, “…but the first time I read it I was like…yeah I get it, makes sense”

We share a lot of self-motivation and expression because the project feels very lonely. We're always working on this and I'masking if anybody else is out there —nd for the most part we get like some pretty crazy interactions from beautiful people out there on the other side who are receiving our transmissions

Apart from being one of the different claims they use in their clothing to defy the logo-lead convention of cycling apparel, where a jersey turns into a commercial billboard, The Sport of Tomorrow speaks about the orientation you need in order to achieve something. Which it doesn’t say not to live ‘today’ but to actually be tenacious in the moment to accomplish something bigger.

It takes courage to embrace the race of creating a cycling brand and ride everyday.

Thanks Daniel!