Patrick Seabase is a very, very cool guy (and he didn’t pay me to say it — annoyingly). He just is. We first met last year at SIHH at the IWC booth (the one with the giant fighter jet in the roof… remember?).

We instantly hit it off (in a bromance kind of way).  But beyond his tattoos, his all black getup and laid back demeanor, I could tell he harbored a steely determination. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on how.

In truth, I really didn’t have a clue what the hell the guy did until I got home from the show. Turns out he’s a mad man. If you had to, I guess, you could describe him as a professional lifestyle cyclist. And when he was in London recently we met up at the IWC boutique to have a chat. But first, a bit of a background:

The Tour de France is brutal. Of that there is no doubt. Even for guys with a full set of gears. But Patrick has fought and conquered the mighty 300km Pyrenean stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Bayonne, taking in five mountain passes, including the formidable Col du Tourmalet (original 1910 circuit)  — which was seen in this year’s Tour. I will tell you this, I’m not built to be on a bike but this man sure is.

To put it in perspective, what the top cyclists in the world had to call on every ounce of heart and soul to complete, was what Patrick did with a single gear…and with no breaks.

He completed the ride in just 15 hours 52 minutes and 52 seconds with an average speed of over 24km/h and maxing out at 78 km/h. When you have no other way of slowing down on the mountains than simply stopping pedaling, you can imagine it got a bit hairy on the descents. Either way, that is just one of his achievements and beyond his obvious physical proves, he’s a just a decent and deeply fascinating chap.

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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.

Why?

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.

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What was the first IWC you bought yourself?

The first IWC I bought was a Mark XVIII. Damn great watch — super versatile. Since then I’ve also got an AMG Ingenieur and then a ceramic Top Gun Big Pilot, which I worn on the bike and must have clocked over 10,000 kilometers wearing — and it still looks new.

What’s next in the collection?

It’s definitely the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands”. I love it — so solid — such a great daily beater. And I love black watches.

What are you up to here in London?

I’m here for the Assos cycling store opening. They are a great Swiss clothing manufacturer that I have a partnership with. They were the first company to use Lycra in cycling clothing. This store is their first mono brand store outside of Switzerland.

Patrick, when are you at your happiest?

When everything I can control is under control.

What are those things?

Physical and mental things. I need to feel healthy. That’s fundamental. I also like to consider how I present myself.  I love the mornings when you wake up naturally, without an alarm, and have that overwhelming sense of possibility.

I love being able to plan my day. This has to be the ultimate luxury in life today: To be able to plan your day. I love the freedom of being able to go cycling, go to the gym or maybe meet someone, this is living.

If you could ride just one stretch of road again, which would it be and why?

The climb in Gran Canaria Maspalomas to San Bartolomé, because it’s absolutely beautiful and you always have tail wind on you — which you don’t have in Switzerland.

For more shots from Phil Gale his instagram is @1_in_the_gutter. And don’t forget to check out the Red Bull TV video “Seabase 1910,” below.

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