Sculpting by hand

Thomas Callahan never went to school to learn how to build bikes and believes you can learn just about anything if you put in enough time and effort. “I worked on my first bike for a year, when I could have taken a two week class, but the time I invested is so much more valuable as you learn by making mistakes.” Thomas recalls.

With a background in sculpting on a conceptual level, Thomas Callahan slowly transitioned into building products and eventually hand-made bikes.

As of today, Horse Brand Co carries a variety of products reflecting Thomas’ interest; the outdoors. Handmade knives, axes, apparel and accessories are all a part of the brands’ nature and allows Thomas to incorporate the aspects he’s obsessed with. In a visual sense, Thomas thinks sculpting and building bikes are very different from each other. However, in a design perspective in terms of color, logo and materials it’s quite similar. Not to mention his experience working with his hands.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, the root of the brand started when Thomas was in need of a new ride. He had an idea of creating exactly what he was looking for with his own hands. After he finished his first bike, people started requesting them. “The work I was doing with the bikes was very accessible to others.

I responded to the interaction with people and from there it just grew.” Thomas adds. It was a very special experience when he built his own bike, specialized for his kind of riding and purposes. The whole experience was simply more rewarding.

Making hand-made bikes is a rewarding business for Thomas, being able to observe the amount of joy it brings people. The costumer respond to being able to see the process of how the bikes are built and connecting with the people who make it. “We usually sit down with a costumer for an hour, talk about their riding style and injury history. We do measurements and apply everything into a 3D-drawing, then build the bike specifically with materials and tubing based on that conversation.” explains Thomas. He has his hand on every aspect of the process, which is unique. All paint jobs are done by his friend Ben, allowing costumers to work closely with him, either if it’s for a new or vintage bike.

The name was created with an idea of an old world mode of transportation, the horse, which is a reflection of the fact that Thomas responds to history, cowboys and the west. Thomas clarifies, “It is a new world appropriation of an old world mode of transportation, so to see that relationship one would have to use a horse and use it as a symbol in the new world. It is a similar freedom of movement and connection to that freedom. This helps personify and give the bikes a bit more life and meaning.”

When Thomas isn’t riding for commuting, he enjoys mountain biking and trail riding on a cross bike. He describes, “Riding your bike is the best way to experience the city and neighborhoods. It allows you to see people and be outdoors instead of underground.

However, I’m working all the time and it’s not the easiest living, but it’s rewarding.” Thomas is a passionate person and believes it is worth striving for success in a competitive industry. He describes the label “Made in Brooklyn” as a hub for people who create interesting things by hand, who push the envelope in terms of quality. Thomas concludes, “It’s kind of ridiculous, trying to live and manufacture in one of the most expensive places in the country.

We’re very lucky to do it.”