Santa Cruz Bicycles

Staying True - The JT Barse Story

January 24 — 2019 | Santa Cruz, CA

You may have noticed a Boy George lookalike lurking around the Santa Cruz HQ recently. Despite the makeup, bleached blonde hair, and fabulous costume, that’s actually none other than Santa Cruz's own JT Barse.

JT’s been a fan of two wheels since the late 90s where he started working in bike shops in the Washington, DC area.  Despite his recent appearance in the carbon Chameleon video and newfound fame, he actually works here in the Santa Cruz Factory. When he’s not moonlighting as a B-movie actor, JT can be found running the Santa Cruz wheel department. His team of 20 employees builds hundreds of wheels a day—27.5, 29, 27+, aluminum and Reserve—for riders all over the world.

JT was previously a house-flipper and property manager to the stars (ok maybe mostly college kids) in Ohio before he decided to pack up his wardrobe and head west. A fan of the brand and grassroots rider for Santa Cruz, the company was an easy target when JT decided to make bikes the main priority in his life again. With zero leads, and only a mythical knowledge of our local trails, JT got in the van and made the 2500-mile drive across the country to California. Worst case? Really expensive vacation.


Santa Cruz Image
Mike Thomas

He spent a few days riding hoping to meet some people from Santa Cruz Bicycles and get a foot in the door, literally and figuratively. That golden California sunshine smiled on him, and he ran into Alli, our HR manager, in the woods above Santa Cruz. Through that connection JT landed himself an interview and subsequent job on our production floor in installing tires, rotors, and cassettes. His love of bikes, attention to detail, and fun-loving attitude endeared him to just about everyone he met, and he quickly moved into the wheel department.

JT makes sure every bike we build has wheels on it that are every bit as solid as the frame, and even though he fully embraced this role for the video, we hope he doesn’t quit his day job anytime soon...


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