We met Niki at the beginning of her work day, 6 p.m., at the alley entrance to the old brick building within which her Mobius Cycle studio lives. We followed our gracious host several floors up a winding, dusty staircase—photographer Daniel looking at the beautiful light coming through the old windows and fashion-challenged me admiring her dreadlocks—all the way up to the wide and open door of the floor she works on. The floor holds many work spaces, she explained, including Mobius Cycle. Where her work space ended and the others’ work spaces began wasn’t entirely clear. We would eventually come to understand this as simply an extension of Niki herself…
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Fisher and Sean (called the amazingly-energetic-20-something duo, or AE20D, by my collective name-giving brain) told me that we should talk to Martina of Swift Industries, because she and her husband Jason have created a soul-satisfying work space for themselves designing and making bike bags and accessories in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
A few days later, Daniel and I pulled up in front of a deep gray (concrete?) old warehouse building that was kind of ugly and not very inviting from a distance. But we’ve learned that it’s pointless to judge a space by its cover, like people, and, well, books. And as we walked up toward the building, we began to see interesting architectural details emerge—the building’s lovely features doing a pretty good job at overcoming their painfully uniform and gray paint job for those close enough to notice.
We weren’t exactly sure where to enter the building at first, and then–after we found the door–whether to knock or just go in. But we were fresh off our time with Haulin’ Colin, and I wasn’t feeling at all worried this time. Colin had taught us a new truth: makers rock, especially creative-every-day, bikes and bike-related accessories, makers. Thanks to Colin, we’d fallen a little in love with Martina before we’d even met, and I couldn’t wait to meet her. I bounced up the gray steps with a big grin on my face. A little initial awkwardness would not stop Daniel and I—the amazingly-energetic-for-40-somethings duo.