At one point, Fopp had thirty bikes stored in his small Oslo apartment. We wanted to get to the bottom of his fascination.
The first time we met Fopp, or Phuc Tan Nguyen as his full name is, he told us that he and his team of road cyclists, FTT and fixed gear team Oslo Pista regularly meet at Supreme Roastworks, a small roastery on top of Grünerløkka, before and after rides and mashing, just to, you know, have coffee or a beer and chill. Therefore it was only natural that we should meet here in order to get to the bottom of his passion for bicycling.
- The teams is all about the cohesion. Everybody can ride a bike, and that what’s beautiful about it, he tells us over a cup of Brazilian coffee. Contrary to many others, Fopp actually does remember the first time he rode a bike. He was a young kid, probably still in kindergarten, and he borrowed his brothers yellow BMX. On his own bike the support wheels would stay on for quite some time, but from time to time he would borrow his brother’s bike without him knowing.
- I use the bike for everything, but first and foremost as a way of transportation. I grew up in a place with large distances and was one of the few who didn’t get my licence. Therefore it became natural for me to take my bike everywhere. And then, I just continued doing that, Fopp explains.
How it all started
Fopp tells us that he likes to restore old things:
-My facination started with old bikes and refurbishing them. Suddenly I ended up owning way too many bikes. “Way too many bikes” equals thirty bicycles, all stored in his small apartment. Thirteen was located out on the balcony, nine could be found in the kitchen and the rest in the living room. Needless to say, it was not very accessible way to live.
- At one point I realized that I couldn’t live like that, and I started giving away bikes to friends. I’m guessing that I now own somewhere between eight and twelve bikes. I have one for every occasion.
“Every occasion” includes, among others, three track bikes and two road bike. The track bikes, he explains, is a lifestyle: a way of meeting friends and feeling the cohesion between them. The road bike is used for longer rides and racing.
- The thing I like the most about Oslo is the ability to get out of the city. In fifteen minutes you can be surrounded by the woods or the sea. Downtown Oslo is not a bicycle friendly city as it is way too twisting.
From A to B
To Fopp bicycling is all about freedom: the possibility to get from A to B when he wants and as fast as he wants. The fascination with bikes he tells us “ is just something that’s there”. He has always been a fan of being able to move around, and walking, well that’s just boring compared to the thrill and excitement of riding a bike, right?
- As an industrial designer I’m interested in the bike as an object and the aesthetics of it. I’m fascinated with how little the bike has evolved over time, and I think it is extremely fascinating to see good craftsmanship. The bike is such a simple product, but at the same time a complex one.
His all time favourite bike that he has owned, is a steel frame from Bianchi, a 1993 in Celeste. According to Fopp, there is only one of them in Norway.
- I would like to own and try many more bikes. I’m not sure where I will end up. I like being in movement, and as long as I can do that you will find me on a bike.