Darrel Williams and his brand, Thrive Cycles, hail from the small town of Savannah, Missouri, a place with many quiet roads lovely for riding but “about the furthest you can get from being a cycling town.” Being an entirely self-taught builder, Darrel has already gotten attention in forums for his process, routing techniques, and juicy fillets. His bikes have a clean, minimalist aesthetic that is reflective of his brand’s motto, “deliberately simple,” as well as his polite eschewing of the flashy paint jobs and elaborate metalwork that he feels can be distracting from the machine. Jive with the drive behind Thrive Cycles after the jump…
BIKERUMOR: What gets you really stoked about what you do today?
DARREL: For me, it has to be when a customer tells me how great their new bike looks or feels. Those stories never get old!
BIKERUMOR: What got you excited about building when you first started out?
DARREL: It was definitely loading tubes into the jig, standing back, and watching a frame go from measurements on paper to an actual bike. It was even better if the measurements were correct! Honestly, it still gets me excited now.
BIKERUMOR: Why did you first decide to build your first bike?
DARREL: For me it was merely where passion and ability intersected. Bicycles have always been an integral part of my life. Combine that with my desire to create, it’s a perfect match. Having raced many big brand name bikes, I longed for something truly personal. I wanted a bike that I could obsess over each and every detail, from beginning to finish.
BIKERUMOR: Who did you build it for?
DARREL: My first frame was a single speed 29er for myself. It taught me a lot about what not to do. Even with all its mistakes, I still love taking it out.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the cool thing you’re bringing to the show this year?
DARREL: This year I will be showing a gravel bike. As a builder from Missouri, there are hundreds of miles of fantastic unridden gravel. The Dirty Kanza is literally in my backyard so it only made sense to build a no-nonsense gravel machine.
BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give someone wanting to do what you do?
DARREL: Don’t let yourself get caught up in the idea and romanticism of building bikes because that will certainly perish after about three frames.