What attracted you to Eliel?
Style, comfort, and the people behind the brand.
What about bikes brings you joy?
Bicycles mentally take me to another place. Away from work, distractions, problems, the hustle and bustle. They take me on amazing adventures, let me meet interesting people, and can also cause pain from PR-ing the Strava segments...
How does riding make you a better person?
Riding allows me to be fit both physically and mentally. Two components that allow me to be happy, fun, and productive in everyday life.
Which rider inspires you the most?
I don't know if I can pinpoint one rider in one discipline. There are many that have influenced me throughout my life. BMX legend Bob Haro, the legend Eddie Merckx, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, DH MTB World Champ Aaron Gwin, World Champion Brian Lopes, local legends and friends Phil Tinstman/Victor Sheldon/MMX/Ryan Dahl, and my riding peers.
What are your goals for the future? On and off the bike...
The world is in a crazy state so my goal is to live life to its fullest every day! Enjoy family and friends with the pursuit of happiness!!
What is important to you?
This is a tough question. What has been important to me has changed throughout my life. As my wisdom progresses...work, status, financial, material items - they don't really matter. At the end of the day, the most important thing you have is your family and your friends. Everything else is replaceable.
Born and raised in San Diego, John Lee grew up deeply immersed in the SoCal lifestyle. As an action sports omnivore, surfing, BMX, MTB, skateboarding, MX, and snowboarding were staples of John’s diet. Interestingly, road riding was never part of that diet; John even admits to mocking his roadie friends who wore ‘mandex’ while he pushed the baggy MTB lifestyle. Motivated by his work in the sports industry and his experience in action sports, John was fearless on his MTB, maybe even a bit risky, shredding bike parks and famous trails, exhilarated less by the challenge of climbing and more for the reward of bombing the hills as fast as he could…pre-Strava.
But that all changed in February of 2013, when John suffered a bad freak accident at the bottom of a local trail. Washing out, he dislocated and fractured the humeral head on his right shoulder, damaging the auxiliary nerve and sending him straight into surgery. A metal plate and six titanium screws later, John emerged for a long road to recovery…
It was bad. He couldn’t lift his arm, let alone his baby daughter. He remembers thinking, “Doesn’t this only happen to pro athletes?” Johnlamented that his days of riding and surfing were over, but after a long year of sweat, tears, and constant physical therapy, John regained 90% use of his right arm.
Upon returning to the bike, the once fearless downhiller was wary of putting himself out there, especially on asphalt with skinny tires wearing minimally protective mandex. But John's good friend and Supercross legend Jimmy Button convinced him to get on a road bike. How could John say no to Jimmy, who had once broken his neck and suffered paralysis that only disappeared after months of rehab? That first spin with Jimmy was 15 miles, and during it John found the speed, exhilaration, the (lack of) fitness, and the ability to focus on the task at hand was the best escape from everyday life…he was hooked!
That was seven years ago and John loves riding today more than ever. He finds pure enjoyment hitting the hills, gravel sections, and yes, the downhills. He even enjoys the pain of the climbs, but what he enjoys the most is the camaraderie of the Eliel Factory Team and the cycling community as a whole. To top it off, he loves to wear mandex now. As John puts it, “There is nothing better than putting on a stylish, technical yet comfortable, #bestofthejest Eliel Cycling kit!” He right.