Ritchey bicycle components have been raced to victory in some of the biggest cycling competitions in the world including the UCI World Championships, the Tour de France and the Olympics and it all began in a simple garage in Palo Alto, California with Tom Ritchey.
Tom’s love for bicycle began at age 11, when his father taught Tom Jr. to build his own wheels and repair tubular tires. Ritchey used these skills to start a small business repairing tubulars as a means to earn money to buy his first road bike, a Raleigh Super Corsa. When he was 14, Ritchey joined the Belmont Bicycle Club (BBC) and began racing. Shortly after this, he upgraded his bike to a frame he repaired himself, a broken Cinelli “B.” Around this time his father taught him how to braze, and he started repairing bicycle frames for local racers.
By learning to repair/replace other builders’ damaged tubes, Ritchey developed the confidence and skills needed to build his first racing frame. He decided to build his own frame out of a necessity for an affordable, lighter, faster bike. He bought the tubeset and lugs from local builder Hugh Enox at the time for $21, and in 1972 built his first frame, which he raced on that year. On this very frame he won many junior races and titles. Eventually on future bikes he built, Tom won the Senior Prestige Road trophy and the BAR (Best All-Around Rider) in 1973 and 1974 as a Junior. These feats lead to Ritchey being known as the ‘Senior Slayer’, having beaten top Californians (many of whom considered to be some of the best riders in the USA at the time) and former Olympians.