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Nov 28, 2023

Welcome to another episode of The Gravel Ride Podcast 🎙️. Today, our guest is Kyle Rancourt from Pinebury Clothing, a quality-focused, US-manufactured cycling 🚴‍♀️ apparel brand.

Kyle takes us through his journey into the cycling industry 🛠️ and Pinebury's specific focus on Merino wool for its inherent performance benefits. He walks us through his vision, design and the critical role manufacturing in the US plays in their brand's commitment to quality, and sustainability 🌎.

One thing is for sure after this conversation, Pinebury's Nuyarn performance wool isn't the wool of yester-year! Give a listen to learn more 🎧.

Pinebury Website

Episode sponsor: AG1 

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Join The Ridership 

Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

[00:00:28]Craig Dalton (host): This week on the show. I welcome Kyle rang court from pine Berry clothing. Onto the show. Kyle and I first got connected at the Maine bicycle show in Portland, Oregon, and I was super excited to talk to them about the new type of wool he's using in conducting this clothing line. And I was incredibly excited to learn that all of their manufacturing for pine Barre happens in the United States.

After this conversation, you'll learn a little bit more about his history and his family's history in manufacturing in the United States. So I hope you give them a Before I jump in. If you're a long time listener, you might know I've been drinking. One for over five years,

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Simply go to drink. Dot com slash the gravel ride. That's drink AIG gravel ride. To check it out today. Would that business behind us, let's jump right in to my conversation with Kyle.

Hey, Kyle, welcome to the show.

[00:02:41]Kyle Rancourt: Hey, thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

[00:02:44]Craig Dalton (host): I feel like this is the second week in the row where I have to say to the guests, like, sorry for the trials and tribulations of getting you on. We've had some fits and starts trying to record this, but we're finally getting it done.

[00:02:54]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, that's that's the important thing is we're here now. So glad to be here.

[00:02:59]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. I can't wait to, to sort of explore your story a little bit. We met at the maid bike show in Portland, Oregon, where you were there representing your brand Pineberry. Um, with jerseys and arm warmers and socks, but there's so much to the story as I got to know you a little bit in Portland, I'd love to just step back and just get to know you a little bit and sort of follow your journey into cycling first and then into manufacturing and creating this brand.

[00:03:28]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, actually it's funny you bring up the maid show I got an email today from the organizers of maid that they're it's on again for next year and They're already planning it and I reserved my booth. So Uh, hopefully i'll see you there again excited to to be part of it.

[00:03:45]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. It was such a. Just a great show. I mean, as someone who's been to like Interbike and CABDA and some of these old industry shows and then the North American Handmade Bike Show, this was just a nice amalgamation of them all. It was small and intimate. And I feel like around every single corner of that show, I was finding brands that I loved or wanted to talk to the founders.

So much fun. Highly recommend it. And hopefully I'll be back there again myself.

[00:04:12]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, I totally agree. It was a great experience

[00:04:15]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. So tell me about where did you grow up and how did you find the bike originally?

[00:04:20]Kyle Rancourt: I grew up in Lewiston, Maine, which is, um, about 30 miles north of Portland, Maine. Uh, we're, we're an interior city, an inland city, so we're not on the coast. Um, there's... Uh, really great ice hockey heritage here. Um, some, some great, you know, hockey players have come from this area. And, uh, so I grew up on skates.

Uh, that was, that's sort of my, was my, my first love as an athlete was, was skating and playing ice hockey. Um, and I think, you know, those experiences in Maine have definitely, uh, informed my, um, and my, my experiences as an athlete going forward.

[00:05:15]Craig Dalton (host): And did you, did you continue playing hockey through college?

[00:05:18]Kyle Rancourt: No, I played a little bit of club hockey in college. Um, but no, pretty much stopped after, after my senior year of high school or freshman year of college. Um, and you asked how I, I got into cycling. So. It was actually through triathlon. So, um, in college, I, you know, wanted to get back in shape. I started running and swimming, um, just for exercise.

And then after college, um, I continued and I had a coworker who was into triathlon and suggested I try one. He, are you familiar with the Xterra? Triathlon it's like the off road triathlon. So he was doing one of these. I think it was in New Hampshire it was one summer and He suggested I join him and I really I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid probably I was about I was maybe 24 or 25 at the time.

So it'd been a long time, you know I grew up obviously riding bikes in the neighborhood and in mountain biking with friends. I always had a mountain bike, but I think organized team sports took over in high school and, uh, stopped riding my bike. So I bought a used mountain bike from a friend and, uh, started riding with the local bike shop.

I went in to have it tuned up and they told me they had a group ride every Wednesday. And so I went to the It was a mountain bike group ride and I was just terrible. I was such a fish out of water. I remember we, we were riding up this trail, this single track, and there was a log down in, in, uh, over like across the trail and I got off my, I saw the other guys like hopping over it.

And I got off my bike and, and walked over it. And I, a guy next to me was like, Oh, this is all you have to do. Just ride up to it and, you know, lift up on the handlebars and then, you know, pick your feet up to kick your rear wheel over and that's it. And I was like, Oh my God. I was like, what did I get myself into?

He made it sound so easy, but in the moment it seemed impossible. Um, but I kept at it. And, uh, fell in love with the sport. I did some triathlons. I, uh, that XTERRA triathlon was the first one. And then I, um, I did a couple like sprint and Olympic distance road triathlons after that. And, and very quickly realized that I not only was better at cycling than I was at running and swimming, but I actually liked it a lot more as well.

And so I feel like this is a common story, but it wasn't, it wasn't very long before I dropped the running and swimming act and became a

[00:08:05]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah.

[00:08:06]Kyle Rancourt: full

[00:08:06]Craig Dalton (host): Certainly my experience as well. Much easier to drop running and swimming than it is cycling.

[00:08:11]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, exactly. So yeah, the rest is history. Um, I've been

[00:08:16]Craig Dalton (host): Were you back in Lewis, in Lewiston at that point?

[00:08:18]Kyle Rancourt: yeah, I moved back home, started to join the family business.

[00:08:23]Craig Dalton (host): Interesting. And I know we want to get into this. So what is that family business?

[00:08:28]Kyle Rancourt: Uh, we are footwear manufacturers. We make shoes here in Lewiston. We have, we have a factory that, that we've had here for over 50 years and we have our own brand we sell online. Um, we also sell to retail stores all around the world. And, um, we're a private label manufacturer, so we make footwear for other brands as well.

So, yeah, lots of big brands you've, you've definitely heard of, and, and if you've worn some of their Made in USA, uh, lines of shoes, it's... There's a good chance we made them. The Rancourt's of Lewiston, Maine made them.

[00:09:05]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. What, say, drop the name again of the brand?

[00:09:08]Kyle Rancourt: It's called Rancourt and Company.

[00:09:11]Craig Dalton (host): Okay. And are they making, um, like leather boots? Is that the type of

[00:09:16]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, leather, leather dress and casual shoes, you know, everything from loafers and boat shoes to, to boots. You know, we even make winter boots with shearling lining and, you know, rugged vibram soles. Um, but definitely in, in the lifestyle lane, not like work boots or anything like that.

[00:09:36]Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha. So interesting. So the facilities right there in Maine, how many people does it employ?

[00:09:42]Kyle Rancourt: Uh, we employ about 50 people. So there are approximately 40 shoemakers, um, in the factory making shoes every day.

[00:09:53]Craig Dalton (host): That's fascinating. And I'm imagining, so you've probably got a sort of a leather cut and sew kind of mechanism there. And then you've also got to make the sole. There's probably a bunch of components to that manufacturing process.

[00:10:06]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, there's like, there's over a hundred steps in the process. Making shoes is, uh, is more complicated than, than people think. But yeah, there's, there's a lot of different steps. So we do everything from, from start to finish right in that factory.

[00:10:21]Craig Dalton (host): It was super interesting. Um, I'll put a link to that brand in the show notes. I'm sure people will be interested to seeing what shoes come out of that factory. And now I'm scratching my head because I do have a couple of like American made boots and wondering if they came out of that factory.

[00:10:38]Kyle Rancourt: it's possible. It's a good chance.

[00:10:41]Craig Dalton (host): All right. Well, we're not here to talk about shoes. We're here to talk about. Your clothing brand. So why don't we talk about like, what was the journey like talk about the Pineberry brand? What led you to creating it? And then I've got a ton of questions about the product and the type of material you're using, et cetera.

[00:10:59]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah. Um, so like I said, I, about... 14 years ago, I is when I would identify as a cyclist. I began identifying as a cyclist and fell in love with the sport and became a huge part of my life. Um, I, I was racing on the road for many years and, you know, continue doing triathlons from here and there. And, but really, I would say, um, you know, When the pandemic started in 2020, um, it became a much bigger part of my life.

I, uh, was, I had dabbled in gravel cycling for a long time. You know, I raced, my first bike race I ever did other than a triathlon was a cyclocross race. So I had always been in that sort of off road space or culture. Um, and so, you know, we would, it was, I remember in 2013, 2014, like we didn't even have a word called gravel cycling.

We would just go ride dirt roads with our cyclocross bikes, you know? Um, and, but as the gravel thing, the gravel boom grew and the, with the pandemic, spending more time at home and kind of having more free time. Um, I started doing these really long gravel rides with friends and which led to, you know, signing up for.

Unbound 200. And you can imagine, I'm sure, you know, all the training that goes into trying to, trying to finish one of those. So cycling just became this huge part of my life. And I started thinking more and more about the apparel that I was wearing, you know, the gear that I was buying and wearing, um, and how it performed and, and where it was made and, you know, what.

what was ideal, I think, for, for me as a cyclist. And, um, that's where the, that's the seed was planted that I wanted to try something different and, and follow this passion into the cycling industry. And I had always loved, uh, Merino wool, the, the story, the feel of it, the performance, you know, the performance aspect of it.

Um, How, you know, it dries so quickly, and even though it's super light, it still can be extremely warm, the warmth to weight ratio is pretty much unmatched. Um, when it's wet, it continues to keep you warm, you know, there's, it's, it's really like this magical fiber.

[00:13:46]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, it really is. I think I got my first exposure to Merino outside of cycling. It was sort of Envogue for hiking and you know, REI or someone might have had Merino wool long underwear And I remember doing some hiking trips and thinking like oh, this is great but when I think about where I thought about at the time wool for cycling It was a hundred percent always in the retro Jersey.

I remember I had one from Pearl Izumi and one from a company that my wife worked for. And it was like an old school aesthetic, old wool Jersey. And it reminded me of like the Randonneur culture. And to your point, like it, it had these amazing attributes. But it never felt like me as a cyclist, like I might even wear it as more as a casual sweater than I ever did on the bike that the, those garments I was describing.

But I know now that wool has so many different attributes depending on how it's made. So I'm interjecting my own thoughts, but love to hear you continue your journey of like, okay, you've kind of stumbled upon wool as being this magic fabric, but how do you make it? Modern and and, you know, make the right aesthetic for gravel cyclists.

[00:15:01]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, like you, you know, to your point, I, I had only used it for like hiking and skiing, you know, uh, I didn't mention that earlier, but, um, you know, in addition to, to my, Winter, winter sport, hockey career. I also am an avid skier and have been my whole life whenever I wasn't, when I was growing up, whenever I wasn't playing hockey, I was skiing.

It was like, I was doing those two things. I was always on ice or snow. I, to this day, I absolutely love winter. I look forward to it. I love ice and snow and, and you know, the opportunities that it provides for, for outdoor activities. Um, so. You know, it was a part of my hockey and merino wool was a part of my hockey and skiing kit, you know, as base layers or long underwear, things like that.

So I was always aware of it. And then I started to see in the market, um, some cycling brands were making base layers or accessories out of merino wool and maybe a jersey or two, right? Like I bought a jersey. I bought a merino jersey from Bontrager years ago. I bought a couple from this Italian brand that I was into and I I thought two things.

One, I liked what they were doing, but I felt like I could do it better, and nobody was specializing in it. That was the key thing is that, um, there are merino specialty companies, but not in the cycling space. And so the brands that were making merino wool, um, pieces for their cycling lines, it always felt a little bit like an afterthought.

Or like you mentioned, it was sort of this like retro throwback. piece, you know, that, like that Bontrager jersey I bought years ago was very much in, in, you know, in that vein. It was, it was like this. Old school, you know, sort of heavy wool had, um, these retro elements to it. It didn't, it, it felt, yeah, it didn't feel like it was this, this core piece that they were, you know, trying to, trying to put out there.

Um, so when I, when I made, finally made a decision to do this, I started researching Marino wool, yarn, and fabric, and I very quickly came across. This company based in New Zealand, they're called, uh, TMC, the Merino company. And they have a patented technology, uh, called New Yarn. It's a patented yarn spinning technology.

And, um, essentially, they're able to spin Merino fibers without twisting them. Conventional merino, uh, core spun and ring spun merino. When, when those fibers get spun, they get twisted and the twisting, it creates a rope like structure. So it takes out, to put it in the most basic terms, it takes out the volume and the elasticity.

So you're inhibiting the natural benefits of merino wool. So with this new yarn technology, they're, they're able to create. A merino wool yarn and fabric that performs as closely to merino wool in nature as possible. So they're not inhibiting any of the benefits. And what you get in the end is a laundry list of, of benefits over conventional merino.

But the most important ones are, it's nine times more durable than conventional merino. It's um, has 85 percent more elasticity, which you can imagine for a cycling jersey is incredibly important. So we make a cycling jersey that's really comfortable in form fitting, and it has no Lycra in it whatsoever.

It's all, um, mechanical stretch from, from these Merino fibers. Um, and

[00:18:58]Craig Dalton (host): when I put it on, I mean, everybody's used to these Lycra jerseys that kind of stretch over your arms and body. Does it sort of have a semblance of that stretch and give?

[00:19:06]Kyle Rancourt: it does. Yeah, very much. So it, I think. most people wouldn't even notice the difference in terms of the fit. And, and the benefits are, um, Lycra tends to break down faster than other fibers, and it doesn't deal with moisture very well. So it doesn't dry very fast. It doesn't wick very well. So you take out You take lycra out of the equation and you get some performance benefits there.

So I fell in love with this, this new yarn merino and, um, decided to, to dedicate this, this new project to it. So, um, most of our pieces, all of our apparel and, uh, is made from new yarn, new yarn merino wool fabric now.

[00:19:52]Craig Dalton (host): So you found the yarn and the material. There's a big kind of process between that and actually having a finished garment and designing it. Did you have any experience in that realm? Or was it a lot of trial and error with the sewers to kind of get the fit you were looking for?

[00:20:09]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, so I have a lot of product development experience and design experience, but only in footwear. So that was, um, there was a sharp learning curve for me, for sure. I, I would say over somebody with no experience, I definitely had a huge advantage having the background that I do in shoes and footwear, um, in getting this thing off the ground.

But at the same time, uh, the apparel business and making apparel clear, you know, has its own intricacies and, uh, this knowledge that this deep knowledge that you, that you need to acquire, I think, to be able to do something like this. The one of the, after finding, yeah, go ahead.

[00:20:59]Craig Dalton (host): yeah, just to say, I think one of the wonderful things about sewing is you can, you know, work with a sewer to pattern, you can test things if they need to be adjusted. It's quite easy and fluid to have that conversation with a sewer to get the right fit and feel. And then once you have it patterned, obviously it can then be replicated.

[00:21:18]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah. Yeah. So it's in to add to that after find after finding this sort of Developing the idea, finding the fabric that I wanted to use. The next step was finding a manufacturing partner. Um, and I knew I wanted to do this here in the U S American manufacturing is super important to me. Obviously that's, um, my background and what, and my family business for as long as I can remember is, has been us manufacturing.

So I found a manufacturing partner and they connected me with, um, you know, Pattern maker and in product development people. And so that's that's where we got the ball rolling there.

[00:22:01]Craig Dalton (host): Nice. Understandably, you were interested in doing a U S manufacturing approach, as you said, given your family's history, do you want to talk about some of the trade offs there that, you know, in your mind is someone who's starting a brand, obviously there's cost trade offs, there's quality trade offs.

Where do you see it all kind of fitting together? And to add to that question, I know sustainability is an important part of the brand. So if you just kind of want to layer in that thought process and some of the net results of manufacturing in the United States.

[00:22:33]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, so the number one thing that I think Most people probably understand but but for those that don't is that manufacturing in the United States is extremely expensive you know and the reason is The, the craftspeople, you know, working in these factories, they are paid well, you know, they're paid living wages, and I, that's super important to me, that's like, the number one reason why I support manufacturing, and, you know, would never, Make things elsewhere just wouldn't be worth it to me is that reason that the Workers are not being exploited.

They're being treated fairly Um, they're being paid fairly and from for many of them, it's Um, it's a tradition You know what they're doing that is a lot of times it's a family tradition in our shoe factory. We have three, three generations of people, you know, who've, who've been shoemakers and continue to do so.

Um, so that's the number one thing, you know, a trade off there is, is, you know, domestic manufacturing is expensive for that reason, um, that, that the wages here are just higher, but at the same time, there are considerable cost savings in, in shipping and freight. You know, you're, you're not shipping everything, all your, um, all your materials, your finished goods, your samples, you know, everything you need in order to, uh, to make your goods, you're not shipping to Southeast Asia or to South America, wherever you're, you're manufacturing overseas.

So there's cost savings there and then, you know, the simplification of, of logistics. Um, and so, you know, that. That comes into play on the sustainability side too, you know, our our apparel is made in Massachusetts. We're in Maine. Like, that's a very short car ride. You know, I can drive to the factory. I can see my things being made and then the shipping, you know, shipping from Massachusetts to Maine is, is again, very uh, minimal.

It's, it's inexpensive. There's very low carbon emissions. Um, yeah, it's, I think that's one of the often overlooked. Benefits of US manufacturing, you know when you're an American brand who's selling mostly in the United States. Is that the transportation?

[00:25:07]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Yeah. I think when NUS, when we pick up garments on the rack at our local bike shop, it's, it's easy to forget what that product took to get there. And if you think about an offshore manufacturing setup, the designer probably is flying over to Asia, wherever it's being manufactured to work with the factory, try to get it right.

Maybe then they get, then go home, get a sample sent to them. The sample's got some minor thing wrong with it, so they have to fly back to Asia, work with the factory. Yeah. And then these factories don't operate well unless you have Significant volume. So maybe you have to take a hundred pieces of every size in order to get a run done with that factory.

And God forbid there's an error in any of those things that has been sent to you. So now you're sitting on a hundred garments of which you kind of have to sell, right? Because you've paid for that inventory and all of a sudden you have to make these really tough decisions as a brand to say, like. Okay. I really set out on this journey to have a super high quality level, but what has turned out in this factory experience is not really what I want to achieve as a brand.

And you either scrap it and lose all that money, or you sell it and your reputation takes a hit. And I think that's the trade off. I mean, obviously like you're able to make sure that those first five, 10 that came off the line are perfect. Cause you can go down to Massachusetts and make sure they're everything you as the product designer.

Wanted to express in that garment.

[00:26:35]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, those are all those are all great points Alright

[00:26:40]Craig Dalton (host): That's why I get paid the big bucks, Kyle.

[00:26:43]Kyle Rancourt: The though I I sort of noted or remarked, uh, to others, you know, noted internally or remarked to others many times that how invaluable it was that I could just drive an hour and a half and be at my factory whenever I needed to be. Um, you know, I, to be honest, it was I, I can't complain, but at the same time, I'm so used to having my factory in my backyard.

Like our family shoe business, the factory is two miles away, you know, so we, we live there basically. Um, so driving an hour and a half was a big change, but still, I'm, I'm, I was there, you know, frequently and during that first production run. And when we were. you know, developing the patterns, doing, doing fittings down there.

I was there multiple times to do that process as well. So, um, yeah, just invaluable having it so close.

[00:27:44]Craig Dalton (host): a hundred percent. I mean, to my backstory, I ran a manufacturing facility in San Francisco and went through that same journey. It was just so nice to work with the craftsmen and women. And if there was a problem, you can just kind of address it right there on the fly. If you get customer feedback, you know, it's not like you have thousands of these garments sitting around.

It can get be woven into the products very quickly because you're, I assume you're not sort of being forced to hold a ton of inventory at any one time.

[00:28:15]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, I think, I think in general, um, another benefit of domestic manufacturing is that the minimums will are lower, you know, that's not always the case. I've definitely encountered some U. S. apparel factories where the minimums are very high. Um, but in general, you can make smaller quantities of things.

And so, yeah, it leads to, you know, a business and an organization that's a lot more agile. You know, as you, as you said, you can, you can make changes on the fly, um, without, you know, without worrying about, uh, the thousands or tens of thousands of, of garments that you have in production or in inventory. So it's a, it's a great place.

Um, I think it's a great place to start. And for me, it's the place I'll continue to be. I wouldn't do this any other way. Um, but I, I have many friends who started apparel businesses and started in the US, um, because it's, there's easy, easy entry and then have moved some production overseas, you know, sometimes in Europe or, or in, in Asia, but it's a great starting place.

[00:29:32]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. I think, I mean, these are some of the trade offs that one gets as an entrepreneur and a founder, right? As you scale and then you start to see, Hey, well, maybe, maybe REI would sell this line, but the price point has to be different. And then you, I mean, then there's just a decision point there to say like, maybe part of the line is always made in the U S and maybe part works with, uh, an ethically sourced factory overseas, which is possible as well.

[00:29:59]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah. And it's, as you know, it's really common in the industry for that to happen. You know, there's many brands who are doing that.

[00:30:07]Craig Dalton (host): Let's, uh, transition and talk about the products in your collection. I'm interested just to hear you describe the aesthetic and then maybe just call out some of the garments that you have available at this point.

[00:30:19]Kyle Rancourt: Um, yeah, so the The collection is growing, uh, pretty rapidly, but right now what we're, what we have to offer is pretty tight assortment. Um, because I, I had Kind of two things that I really wanted to focus on when we got up and running. Uh, we just launched in, in April of, of 2023, April of this year. So we have, uh, cycling jerseys, short and long sleeve, you know, traditional full zip with three pockets in the back.

And then we have performance tees, short sleeve and long sleeve. And we also have a sock collection, um, that's made for us by Defeat, which is, you know, a very well known and well regarded manufacturer. Um, Sock Factory has been around over 30 years. They make all their own socks. And so they do essentially like a private label for us.

So it's our custom designs and specifications, but made by Defeat. And

[00:31:19]Craig Dalton (host): Are they also doing the arm warmers?

[00:31:21]Kyle Rancourt: they do the arm warmers. Yeah. They're a great partner.

[00:31:25]Craig Dalton (host): yeah, my eagle eye caught that one because I have to say that, that garment is awesome. But the, the wool arm warmers in San Francisco with the wet fog we have here, I can't tell you how invaluable they've been to my, my wardrobe for sure.

[00:31:39]Kyle Rancourt: I bet, and they're so versatile because, you know, you can, you can wear them under a t shirt if you're hiking or you're just on like a, you know, chill mountain bike ride or whatever. Um, but they, same with a cycling jersey, you know, you wear them under a short sleeve jersey and, and it just makes that both garments way more versatile.


[00:32:00]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah.

[00:32:01]Kyle Rancourt: so yeah,

[00:32:02]Craig Dalton (host): been using your, I've been using your short sleeve Jersey, not the Jersey, excuse me, the t shirt that I got in, uh, and at made at the made bike show. And it's been great. I mean, I, I do love, as you've said, it's it, you can sweat in it, but it'll dry. You don't smell, you know, there's all sorts of good attributes there.

[00:32:20]Kyle Rancourt: You don't have to wash it every time you wear it. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, so we, we, our first season, um, was a sort of light mid weight. merino that we used, which is great for sort of all, you know, year round wear. And again, we have the short sleeve and long sleeve jersey and the performance tees.

And then just recently we, we launched our fall winter collection, which is a heavier midweight merino. Um, I, which I absolutely love just that little extra weight adds, you know, a really luxurious feel to it. Um, but it's still extremely light, you know, we've had customers order the new jerseys and say and say Oh, this isn't as as heavy as I thought or isn't as thick as I thought um, but then after they wear it, you know, they realize that it doesn't need to be because that new yarn fabric is just It's so amazing.

There's such an excellent warmth to weight ratio.

[00:33:23]Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha. Interesting. Yeah, I'd be curious. That thicker one sounds perfect for this time of year around here. It's interesting as you like try different materials and different garments, how you have to rethink your layering strategy of what makes sense and adds up to the level of warmth that you need.

I've been playing around with a few garments lately and sometimes I'm a big winner and sometimes I'm a big loser that I've just got it all wrong and end up too cold or too hot.

[00:33:50]Kyle Rancourt: Oh, these, like, our long sleeve, the new fall long sleeve jersey, it's called the, um, the Grafton long sleeve jersey, is, uh, 180 grams per square meter. That's the weight of the fabric, which is on, like, the heavier end of a mid weight. And... You know, it's very cold in Maine right now. Today I went out for a ride.

It was about 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Um, and I wear that thing with no base layer. Usually, uh, uh, if it's, if it's in the thirties, I'll go the jersey and a vest of either like a light thermal vest or a wind vest and, and the jersey and that's it, and I'm, I'm plenty warm. And one of the things I. I always disliked about riding in the winter, was wearing bulky clothes on the bike.

I just found to be so uncomfortable. And so this transforms that experience because you can, you know, you put a light, even if you put a light base layer, one of our jerseys and then a vest, there's almost no bulk there and you're plenty warm in, you know, high twenties or even low thirties.

[00:35:01]Craig Dalton (host): Wow.

[00:35:02]Kyle Rancourt: Nice pair of gloves, some warm shoes, good to go.

[00:35:08]Craig Dalton (host): And your aesthetic is sort of very kind of clean and earthy. Is that the right way to describe

[00:35:14]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah, yeah, I would, uh, I've been a long time fan of minimalist design. So, um, we have this one signature, you know, design element, the double stripe on the sleeve, which, you know, has this, of course, like, retro feel. You know, racing stripes and across all all sports, right from auto racing to cycling and running the stripe, you know, the retro stripe look so we have that one design element.

And then other than that, they're just solid colors. And I focused really on picking colors, um, that that represent the brand and its heritage being in Maine. So, um, you know, the, the first season, it was like our granite gray, you know, for the, for the granite mountain, big old granite mountains here in Maine, um, pine green, for obvious reasons, Maine is the pine tree state and then Atlantic blue, you know, a nice dark, like Navy blue, um, to represent, you know, our, our Atlantic coast.

And then, The fall, uh, we added, we added black, um, and then sort of this, this rusty red color we're calling brick red, reddish brown color, which is really beautiful, and, uh, and moonbeam, which is this warm off white, um, that to me sort of symbolizes the shorter You know, the shorter days and that early moonrise of fall and winter.

So yeah, really simple design, minimalist design, and a focus on telling color stories, but in these like muted earth tones,

[00:37:00]Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha. Yeah. Everybody can take a look at pineberry. us, which is the website. Any advice you'd give someone who finds you online in terms of how to get the correct fit of the jersey?

[00:37:12]Kyle Rancourt: um, all of our garments are run true to size for us sizing. Um, but we do have a size chart on every product page, so you can match up your. Your chest measurements or your height and weight, um, and pick the best size for you. The The jerseys are meant to be more of a relaxed, like, club fit, so if you order your, your regular size, you can expect that.

It's not going to be like this really, they're not aero jerseys, you know, they're not meant to be really tight fitting. Um, but they are tailored and snug, like you'd expect from, you know, a performance road jersey.

[00:37:52]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Gotcha. Where's the best place for listeners to follow your story?

[00:37:58]Kyle Rancourt: Um, Probably on Instagram. Well, there's two actually. Um, that's a great question. Definitely Instagram. Always. We're very active. They're always posting, you know, our adventures, new products, um, uh, in our, on our stories and reels and posts. So lots of, lots of great content there. But then we also, I want to, I'm glad you brought this up.

I have this Pineberry Journal component to the website. And It's really about telling, it's about taking time to tell stories about outdoor. adventures or what inspires people about their environment. And, um, I'm, I'm trying to have a contributor every two or three weeks. I haven't been super successful at that.

So, you know, there'll be like two in a month and then I think I missed a month and, you know, we have like three lined up right now, three contributors. Um, but I'm bringing in, you know, a, a really wide variety of. So we've had, um, runners, cyclists, we had a gentleman from Maine who's a writer, who's an avid fly fisherman, and he wrote this, you know, really beautiful piece about, um, discovering your new home water, because he moved here from, from Washington, and when he moved to Maine, he, he had to discover his, his new home water.

So, and then we have a, like a champion, um, horseback rider and trainer who I went out and spent a day with and, and, uh, photographed her riding and training horses. And so, you know, we're telling these stories about these amazing things people are doing outdoors.

[00:39:43]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Awesome. I clicked through some of them. And, uh, yeah, it's always, I love seeing that. I think. It acknowledges that most of the people who are going to be visiting your site are probably multi sport athletes and outdoors people. So you've got the cycling specific garments, but you've also got t shirts and long sleeve t shirts out of the same performance wool that people can use for fly fishing or horseback riding or hiking or all of the

[00:40:10]Kyle Rancourt: Yeah. Yeah. And there's more coming, you know, we're gonna, we're focusing, uh, some time on, um, building out the hiking and running apparel line. And then we're going to, we're going to gear up for skiing as well. So we'll have a couple items this winter coming out for skiing and more in the future.

We'll always be a cycling focused and cycle and rooted in cycling. Um, but, uh, definitely wanting to serve, you know, other athletes or, or the cyclist like myself who loves doing other things as well.

[00:40:44]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Awesome. Well, Kyle, thanks for joining us. Thanks for telling this American made story. I love what you're doing over there at Pineberry and I hope many of our listeners will go over there and check you out.

[00:40:54]Kyle Rancourt: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Good. Spend some time with you today.

[00:40:57]Craig Dalton (host): That's going to do it for this week's edition of the growl ride podcast. Big, thanks to Kyle for joining us and telling us all about. The pine Berry story.

I love, love, love that they're manufacturing in the United States and I'm intrigued by this new wool story I've been using one of their performance teas for a while. And all the attributes Kyle mentioned are coming true. I'm excited to try one of their performance jerseys. They're particularly their new one.

They just launched the winter weight as it's getting cold here in mill valley. And I could use a way to warm up on those early Dawn patrol rides. Big, thanks to our friends at age. For supporting the show this week, remember head on over to drink ag one. gravel ride to get that free one year supply of vitamin D three K two and five free AIG. travel packs.

And if you, dear listener are looking for a way to support the show, there's a couple easy ways in which you can do it. Ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated in the podcast world. They really help in our discoverability and connecting with other gravel cyclists. Around the world, or if you're able to financially support the show, please visit buy me a gravel ride. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels.