The time I talked with Bob Shaver about American Flyers

Some people got their start from a parent, or a coach, or a friend who rode bikes, or as a happenstance spectator, but for me, it was David Sommers winning the Hell of the West.  I actually hadn’t thought about that movie in a really long time.

This past January, before my daughter was born, I discovered a copy of the American Flyers soundtrack.  When I heard some of those songs, things I had not heard since third or fourth grade in some instances, I went ballistic.  The shiver up your spine kind of stuff.  You don’t realize it but music forges with this imagery, left stored in the vast stacks of useless memories in your brain, and when it gets pulled back out you re-live it all over again.  It doesn’t happen all the time, so when it does, I’ve learned to seize that feeling and run with it.  I had to have that ShaverSport jersey.  It wasn’t even a question.  I ordered it immediately.

A few hours later, I get an email.

Hi Christopher
Your jersey will ship today. It should arrive on Fri or Sat.
Bob

Whoa – Bob Shaver.

Later on he would send me a tracking number, and I had something to ask.  So what the hell I figure; I’ll ask it.

I’m having a conversation with someone about the blue jersey.  They wondered why it was blue, given that the bikes were red & were made by Specialized.  I figured that blue was picked randomly to contrast with the 7-Eleven kit.  But you probably know the whole story…

A little while later, I get this:

Chris
The design of the ShaverSport kit was in the hands of the wardrobe/costume designer. They wanted to make the SS team look more independent–less big sponsor look.
Let me know if you have other movie production questions!
Bob

Let me know if you have other movie production questions.  Now I start to lose my mind.  I realize how insane it is that I have access to a guy who was actually involved in the production of one of my favorite movies ever.  He doesn’t just know about it – he was there.  His stuff is in the movie.  His name is on the freakin’ kit.  My mind starts to spin like a top.

For a while I just sit in front of my laptop, not knowing what to type.  I feel like someone just gave me the keys to every car on the lot and I have no idea which one to drive first.

Bob, I could probably ask you questions all day long. 

You’ve heard it all before, but this movie is such an important piece of my foundation.  We have these experiences in life; these triggers that start a fire burning for the rest of our lives, and this is what American Flyers did for me.  I was nine years old when I saw that movie for the first time.  I’m 35 now, and I feel like it was yesterday.  You were whipping butt on two wheels and winning races on some of the roads in this movie before I was even born.  It’s pretty exciting to be able to talk to you. 

-How did you end up not only with a contract to supply the jerseys, but with ShaverSport featured so prominently throughout the movie?  That was an amazing piece of promotion for you. 

-You obviously know your way around a bike race.  Did you have any input into the film?  I guess I’d be shocked to hear you did not. 

It’s great to have this back-and-forth with you.  Here’s a little bit about me:
http://www.chasing120.com/2009/05/chasing-120.html 

-Chris

A week later or so, Bob wrote back.

We (were) providing a lot of the wardrobing for a number of the teams (Frontier Airlines, East German, Russian and others) Each rider needed 6 jerseys & 6 shorts, so that was a lot of cyclewear. The director came to us asking if we’d like our name on the lead actors. 

(that was an amazing piece of promotion for you) It has been great for sure. 

(did you have any input into the film)  A little bit on bike race basics but they had Michael Aisner who directed the Coors Classics to guide them. 

There’s a ride in Grand Junction, CO in October–Tour of the Moon and they’re showing AF night before the race. We’re going to showcase Steve Tesich and AF. I’m going to post some of the comments I’ve received over the years from people all over the world. Can I post yours? I won’t mention your name unless you give me permission. 

I think it is so fantastic the film got you into racing! I know my best friend–the late Steve Tesich who wrote American Flyers and won an Oscar for Breaking Away would be thrilled as well.

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3 thoughts on “The time I talked with Bob Shaver about American Flyers

  1. I have watched “American Flyers about a thousand times. It was our pre-race night before go to movie, my riding the wind trainer all winter movie, and my introduce my sons to bike racing movie. Have, and love, the soundtrack album also. We (my sons and I) have several of the Shaversport blue, and “Hell of the West leader” jersies, plus a 7-eleven, Specialized, and even a Shaversport soviet team jersey with Belov on the back. Oh, and a 1986 Specialized Allez SE with Suntour Superbe……yes, I am a “American Flyers” fanatic…..

    Like

  2. I have watched “American Flyers about a thousand times. It was our pre-race night before go to movie, my riding the wind trainer all winter movie, and my introduce my sons to bike racing movie. Have, and love, the soundtrack album also. We (my sons and I) have several of the Shaversport blue, and “Hell of the West leader” jersies, plus a 7-eleven, Specialized, and even a Shaversport soviet team jersey with Belov on the back. Oh, and a 1986 Specialized Allez SE with Suntour Superbe……yes, I am a “American Flyers” fanatic…..

    Like

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