Swanee Ravonison’s Patinated Aluminum Pariah
I make steel bicycles under the moniker Pariah and I convert old bicycles (from the 80s, 90s mainly) made up of new and used parts, to create mainly fixed or single speed gear machines. I do this in my bicycle shop slash grocery store, Fée du Vélo.
Looks wise I stripped ‘him’ of his flashy dress to make him more discreet, more subtle, more raw, sober, more radical like the Pariah bikes I build. The raw side is my hallmark. It means a bike ages and skates naturally. The traces of time which give any object a certain aesthetic and reinforce their sentimental value. But the more I work and think about natural patinas, the more the result reminds me of my brown body and my scarred skin. Imperfections, natural tattoos, indelible marks, memories of all my falls.
Using Hematite to age the frame is for me the opposite of a lacquer and varnish paint finish. The diluted stone is applied with a brush and the effect is not immediate. It can be stopped by water, and suddenly the result is revealed after drying. The warmer finish brings the frame to life and the tubes disappear. I like to linger to grasp the subtleties, to guess the hand of the craftsman. It’s impossible to get the same result twice. Sobriety never goes out of fashion and the details of the treatment are so subtle that it cannot be covered at a glance.
I kept big-volume tires for a cushioned feeling and installed a rigid carbon fork with mounting points to save some weight and carry bags for long bikepacking adventures. A lower bar helps for pedaling while keeping comfortable. I opted for cable disc brakes so that I could put the suspension fork and a wider cockpit back on without having to bleed. This is a solid enduro hardtail ready for rough and technical terrain.
As soon as the bike was ready I climbed a steep hill, jumped off the sidewalks and did a long sprint as a dancer. Soon I’ll go further afield on it. The Morvan region is my favorite playground because it is accessible to me. First day out would be more cross-country, a loop around Saint Brisson. It would pass through the lakes of Saint Agnan and Settons, around a hundred kilometres. The second day, pure enduro, with technical climbs and descents, barely over 50km and still in Saint Brisson in the Breuil forest.
The destination matters of course, but what I always remember is the quality of the paths, especially if these are small technical and fun trails that require a little commitment. The difficulty of a climb and the adrenaline of a descent makes an outing unforgettable!