Patrick, what does an average week look like for you?
Riding bikes and answering emails. I often think it’s like I have a hamster in my brain. I spend a lot of time thinking; coming up with crazy new ideas. I also find inspiration all over the place. I’m always being inspired by stuff, although, never by cycling.
I don’t associate much with the cycling community. My inspiration comes from art and alternative lifestyles. Cycling is simply a remedy for the mind. An opportunity to push yourself, physically. I cycle for that very reason. I also ride a bike with only one gear and no brakes because I love how raw it is. How deep your connection has to be with the bike. I have a deep appreciation for the simplicity of it.
You started as a skateboarder right?
I did. From the age of 8; I quit when I was 20.
My girlfriend. I think she kinda of thought ‘when is he going to be a grown up?’ I loved it, but I always found myself, hurting myself. And maybe I needed to grow up too.
Looking back that period between 10 and 20 marks you as an individual. I was into the culture. I had many good years — I don’t look back in anger.
And you’ve done some mad things on a bike. But why take on the mighty 300km Pyrenean stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Bayonne?
It being a personal challenge for sure, but also I wanted to know what those athletes went through during the first mountain stage of the Tour de France; riding over rough roads through the wilderness of the Pyrenees.
So did you go straight in with the fixed gear and no brakes?
Yup. Ten years ago now — straight in — boom; no gears and no brakes. I put the bike together with a friend who has a cycling store. We built it, we then went out and climbed on. It was love at first.
I know that sounds superficial, but I just loved the design of the thing. It spoke to me. I then found as I dug deeper and spent more time with the bike, I discovered more and more. I look at guys who use hand rails to slide down on skateboards and see it an art form and I guess I saw taking this bike and doing exactly what it wasn’t designed to do and climbing very steep mountains on it.
You are clearly in love with the form and simplicity of a fixed gear bike, but that was the last thing you fell in love with?
It’s always music. I find with music, I fall in love over and over again. It’s a continuous relationship of love. Aside from music, you know sometimes I fall in love with a girl, very superficially, would see her and have this head cinema going on. Thinking about it, I actually fell in love with a girl’s face as I passed her in Zurich yesterday.
Did you tell her?
[Laughs]…no man! I couldn’t. I like to restrain a little. When you look at different cultures, when it comes to behavior, the Japanese like to operate at two and the Europeans like to keep it on 5. I try to find a place in the middle. I don’t like to force stuff. But if I was to, I’d go for it full gas. It’s like in many areas of my life, it’s all or nothing. I like that.
Do you have a role model or someone who inspires you?
I’ve not actively thought about it. But I do have this friend who is a doctor, he is 68 years old, and he works for the Red Cross. He was in Sudan for 2 years alone! The only doctor in the area where many people were losing their lives.
He has this incredibly pragmatic view on life. He has some great stories. I love it when you get to know someone deeply and they leave this tag on you. Generally, I look back on moments as opposed to people. I take those learnings and add them to my armory.
What’s your relationship with IWC and their watches?
There is both a personal and a professional relationship. The personal relationship begun when I got my first ‘proper’ watch. I was almost 18 years old. I was still skateboarding and my mission was to get to San Diego. Basically because I had some old friends I wanted to join out there.
So I was given this IWC Ingenieur from the 70’s by my father. A killer watch — but the sadness was I sold it for a couple grand to pursue my skateboarding. With the money I had my friend book my ticket to San Diago as I didn’t even have a card. And that was it. It was a great time. We filmed a lot of video and I got taste of the professional skate lifestyle.
I’ve got a deep passion and respect for craftsmanship. For example, if you tell me it’s a pair of jeans spun by traditional weaving by a guy in Japan with one eye and one arm — I’m in! I will always look to support the little guy, the craftsman.
I like objects with a story and soul. And that’s why I came to IWC. Now, IWC are a big brand. You can’t deny that. But they sort of fly under the radar.
The brand has attention but it may not be the first watch you think of when buying a watch — which I love. Whereas Rolex is like Coca Cola or Harley Davidson, IWC is a far more interesting choice. The more you begin to understand their history, the more you love what they do.