My first contact with Ridge Supply was through a glorious fluorescent rainbow of socks laid out beautifully on a table in Cycle Closet. I immediately bought a pair in fluoro orange. The next week I bought another in fluoro pink. Then bottles, two t-shirts, more socks, and a winter jacket that looks like someone painted a solar flare on an acid trip. At that point I became curious. Where does this psychedelic cyclewear come from?
Words - James Raison Images - credited
ABOUT RIDGE SUPPLY
The beautiful Ridge Supply colour palette belies the near-death event that set the company in motion.
Ridge Supply founder Matt Hawkins was riding on the shoulder of a wide, straight road in the middle of the day when he was clipped by the wing mirror of a truck. The driver briefly stopped before leaving abandoning Matt lying on the side of the road. Luckily he was found and taken to hospital where x-rays showed a broken pelvis. Matt’s wife kept a steady flow of fluorescent socks on his feet as a reminder not to put weight on his healing left leg during his recovery.
Matt unsurprisingly spent a lot of time thinking about his accident. It was clear to him that the driver didn’t see him. So he analysed what he could have done to prevent it and came to the conclusion that bright, moving colour was the answer. Soon after, his insurance money for the kit ruined in the accident and he invested that money on the first run of Skyline socks. Ridge Supply was born in a blaze of fluorescent glory in July 2015. More socks would come, then full kits, jackets, t-shirts, and even bottles. All totally unmistakably Ridge Supply.
Ridge Supply’s availability in Adelaide, across the other side of the world, so soon after the company began shows the popularity of the style. Matt has been “blown away by the reach in such a short amount of time…. [that growth] has exceeded every expectation, and continues to amaze as it grows globally.”
Matt has been quite experimental so far, trying out lines of gear that fledgling makers might not try. My solar flare (it’s actually called the Cutaway) jacket is a perfect example. By his own admission Matt’s trying to “build brand identity in all my products. When you see a Ridge Supply product, you will know what it is visually without having to see a logo or text.”
He isn’t wrong. It’s an all-too-rare treat to find bright fluorescent colours on cycling apparel that have been designed with care. Finally fluoro doesn’t have to look like you walked off a building site.
BUYING INTO A BRAND
One of the best parts of buying from a small boutique brand is feeling like you are buying from people rather than a corporation. It’s also about wanting a style that isn’t available anywhere else. Boutique makers are often the boldest and most daring in the industry. I was totally caught up in that when I started purchasing Ridge Supply. That only increased when I researched Matt and exchanged some emails with him.
I asked Matt how he felt knowing people around the world were wearing his kit:
“It is really humbling. I'm still a dad of two young kids, I ride whenever I can, and Ridge Supply is still just me. Every product, every picture, every shipment, it has my heart and soul in it... so it is special that folks around the world have embraced it.”
Keep that in mind next time you’re buying a new kit from a small maker. A guy like Matt could be behind it. Wear their kits proudly knowing you’re supporting a small business because they take great pride in the fact that you’re wearing it too.