Interview with Quoc Pham Gus

July 31, 2014

We sat down with Quoc Pham’s Gus, the lead designer and developer of one of the most high quality cycling shoes in the market. Gus shares with us insights on cycling, as well his own personal style. 

"I like cycling to challenge myself." - Gus 

Gus at Quoc Pham Taiwan office

Outerboro: Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gus: I am Gus, the lead designer and lead developer of Quoc Pham cycling shoes for the past 2 years. For my position, I need to know the process of making these shoes and visualize the drawings for the shoe making process. I went to school in Shih Chien University for industrial design, and after graduating I took classes for shoe making. I have always been interested in making shoes and even more interested in cycling.

Outerboro: Why do you like cycling?

Gus: I really like the scenery we see while cycling, the speed at which we ride. I actually quite like weaving through traffic in the city, as well. Another thing is the suffering you have to go through when you ride tough routes, like the visual blackouts that you get, and once you are past that, it feels very rewarding. I like cycling to challenge myself.

Outerboro: What are your favorite bicycles? How many bikes do you have?

Gus: My favorite is a children bike. No I’m just kidding, haha. I like fixed gear and road bikes. However, every bike is different so it is hard to say which one I like the most. Currently I have 2.5 bikes, a fixed gear and road bike, the half a bike was one of mine that is broken from missing parts.

Gus with his cycling shoes

Outerboro: Do you commute to work?

Gus: My house to too close to work, so it is actually faster for me to walk since there are two 90 seconds red lights. If I really biked to work, I could get to work really fast in about 2 minutes. I would love to cycle to work more if it made sense.

Outerboro: That is a very short distance, then what was the most memorable cycling trip you have had?

Gus: One time when we went on a trip around Taiwan, I believe we were haunted by a ghost or a spirit. One night in the middle of our trip, when everyone went to sleep, I started feeling the atmosphere shift and change, and a coldness in the air right behind me. I could still move, but I knew something was up. The first thought I had was “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” A few moments later, the weird coldness passed and I could finally breathe normally. The next morning, I asked the friend sharing the room with me if he felt anything. He said no, but we then saw that our cycling clothes and accessories hanging in the closet all fell on the floor for no explained reason.

Outerboro: When you are cycling, what kind of clothes do you feel the most comfortable cycling in?

Gus: It kind of depends for me. If you know you are going to ride very hard and suffer, you wear spandex and cycling jerseys. The weather in Taiwan is very unpredictable, so I usually like to keep my clothing simple. For everyday riding, I would wear what I normally wear to go riding; I don’t want to change my clothes just to cycle. I still would like to bike in style, wear what I like, and what fits my style. Usually I put on lighter weight jeans and a plain t-shirt.

Gus' tools for crafting cycling shoes

Outerboro: Last time you tested our clothing while riding your bike around. We want to hear your take on our clothing, do you mind sharing with us?

Gus: It actually goes really well with riding, and the clothing stays in place, which means they don’t flap around everywhere. The pants have extremely comfortable stretch and is something I could easily wear and whenever I need to go out, look nice, but while commuting on a bike. However, that day it was really hot, so when I stopped riding when I hit a red light, I became so hot and sweaty that I think for a summer’s day I would still put a t-shirt on while riding.

Outerboro: What style of clothing do you wear to work?

Gus: I actually don’t have to dress up for work, but I would really like to dress nice. If I had more chances to dress up, I would definitely wear the Outerboro blazer and the Breeze pants to look good and still be able to cycle comfortably.

Outerboro: How important is it to wear the right shoes for cycling? What role does cycling shoes play in the activity?

Gus: I want to show you my first pair of Shimano cycling shoes. A lot of people think that cycling shoes are dangerous, but actually it is safer and provides more balance and control over the smallest movements. Once you get more experience to it, you’ll know it’s actually more secure than wearing regular shoes. It is pretty important to wear cycling shoes, as your legs power bikes, and your feet is the connector between your legs and the bike.

Gus showing his old Shimano's

Outerboro: Are Quoc Pham shoes weatherproof, as in is it water repellent?

Gus: If you ride in the rain, like I did last weekend in heavy rain, leather cycling shoes feels better than synthetic leather. Real leather shoes is like a second skin, so it makes the wearer feel more comfortable as it is breathable.

Outerboro: What role do you think bike shares, such as Ubike in Taiwan, and cycling play in Taiwan at the moment?

Gus: In Taipei, the awareness that cycling is convenient is slowly growing. Ubike is a really great bike share program. You could see that cycling is becoming more and more popular, and people are riding more often now, as you can see most Ubike stations are empty. I think besides the public buses and taxis in Taiwan, everyone else respects cyclists on the road here in Taiwan, making the city a relatively safe environment to bike in. Another city I have been in with cyclists was London, and cyclists shared the road with buses and other cars. From what I remembered, London isn’t a very cyclist friendly city in comparison to Taipei.

Outerboro: Last but not least, out of curiosity you mentioned you were in industrial design before, what was the biggest project you have done before? How long did it take?

Gus: I had made an exo-skeleton for my friend before; he is a performer who participated in a lot of events.

Gus at work

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