Cyclist, fashion icon, mentor, actor and startender at the best bicycle bar in America, Mike Wozniak is many things to many people. We consider him a dear friend of the salon and always an interesting human being. This month we sat dawn and discussed Emerson Bike Club, Cry Baby Hill, and what a little bar can become.
The First Ward - Why bikes?
Mike Wozniak - I have always loved bikes! The story is my car broke down about 15 years and I decided to get a new bike instead of a car. I began riding to work everyday and started this great relationship with my bicycle. I have grown to love and respect the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle and its power. The compliment of circles and triangles made quite the invention! There are so many positive health benefits and visceral experiences that I have gained from riding a bike.
TFW - We seriously admire your involvement with the community, from working with the city on cycling, to starting the Bike Club at Emerson Elementary. Is your focus on health, or something else?
MW - Emerson and the Soundpony are in the same neighborhood. It was a great opportunity for our business to build a community relationship with Tulsa Public Schools. I believe health is one of the main focuses of our club, but being a partner in the community and building relationships is our main goal. Bikes were the connection.
TFW - The Soundpony recently celebrated her 10th birthday. Whoa! Your bar has made a real impact on the culture of downtown Tulsa. What's next?
MW - Thank you for the sweet compliment! It is amazing to look back on the past 9+ years of the Soundpony. We have also have owned a building at Archer and Quanah for around 5 years. The building is nestled between Crosby Heights and Owen Park. We have been resistant to develop it due to city zoning. They would most likely require us to construct a parking lot. If we had our choice, we would rather not do that. However, it looks like the zoning will be changed around the first of the year and we can begin the process of building a new business. Our vision is to bring something to support the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Soundpony continually works hard to build our brand. I have really enjoyed the marketing aspect of the business, it has been a pleasant surprise!
TFW - Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember you and friends starting the first Cry Baby Hill at Tulsa Tough. We think a lot of people would agree this is one of the best parties of the year. What is one thing you love about that day and what is one thing you would change?
MW - Tulsa Tough has become the heart of U.S. cycling all because of one special weekend in June. The sport of cycling is growing in our country as well as racing. People from all over the country come to Tulsa that weekend to race, ride, and party! Promoters come from all over to experience Cry Baby Hill for themselves. The worst part of the Hill is people not respecting the racers and the course. I never want the organic nature of Cry Baby Hill to change, it is what makes it special.
TFW - Who are we?
MW - Duh! Soundpony!