In 1970, I was working for the Upland/Ontario (California) Boy's Club. I had befriended another young man named John Bianchi. John worked at Bumstead's Sporting Goods in Ontario. In the back of their shop, they had a small bicycle shop. John was the bike shop guy. He had told me about some new hubs that he had been hearing about. Wood hubs, he told me, were being made by some guy in California. They were supposed to be really great hubs. I had asked how wood hubs would work. You see, the guy's name was Wood, Phil Wood. Oh.
Within a few months I had a set of those hubs. I built my first pair of wheels on them. I still have them. Eventually, I met Phil Wood. No movie star could hold a higher place in my esteem than Phil Wood. He was a regular guy. He reminded me of the guys I had worked with in my first job, which was new kid at a machine shop. He was so great because he made clean sheet parts for bicycles. If he'd been some cocky braggart, I'd have been crushed. He was the opposite of that. I was the opposite of crushed to have met him.
Over the years, I've bought and sold Phil Wood parts with pride and confidence. Some years ago, Phil retired and sold the business to the employees. The new owners are cool in the same way as Phil was. The parts remain as good as they were when Phil was there. It takes a strong leader to set a culture that changes little when the business changes hands. I'm glad for that culture. Not everybody gets a pair of Phil hubs or a BB, but if you need it, it is there.
I read tonight that Phil Wood had died. I am saddened by knowing he isn't in this world any longer. I wish his family the best and I wish him Godspeed. And I am glad to have met him and to ride the hubs he designed. 'Bye Phil.