Creativity comes from interesting people but there’s nothing better than learning about the people behind good design. For the next spotlight I’m going to tell the story of Eric Bones, Ocean Infinite, and a little bit of tacos Tuesdays. Eric first stood out when he launched his first collection of cycling kits into in a sea of abundantly unremarkable and forgettable designs. His use of playful Pantones and Japanese inspired imagery is far from being another line of apparel design in MS Paint. That was last summer but what about now? Most recently Eric posted on Instagram that Ocean Infinite was going to be releasing new cycling caps and I messaged him to find out more. Turns out that Eric Bones, the guy behind Ocean Infinite, is based in Boston and it just so happened that I was going to be there the following week. On a snowy New England evening I made my way in the south end of the city to meet him in person. However there has a problem, Eric lost his keys and was locked out of his place. Thankfully it was taco Tuesdays at a spot around the corner and nobody says no to cheap tacos right? The burning question I wanted to ask was "who are Eric Bones and Ocean Infinite?"
Eric Bones is an artist and cycle courier living in Boston. If you've ever wanted to know what the day to day courier life is like, Eric is someone I'd recommend you follow. His day is probably more interesting than ours. As a bonus, you'll also get the earliest news on what's happening with his brand Ocean Infinite. If Eric's name sounds familiar it's probably because he is also the ink and paint behind the wickedly cool Bones Project which was a collaboration between him and another Boston namesake Firefly. This collaboration saw Eric hand painting and numbering an exclusive few Firefly frames in a black and white motif.
What's the story behind Ocean Infinite? Eric told me about how he grew up in New England, always near the coast line. The ocean has been an influence to his life and work and you can see that in the graphics and color palette that grace his first collection. And while the collection of cycling kit (more on that below), they also have a small team of racers competing in the WolfPack Hustle and RedHook Crit races. Eric is putting his Ocean Infinite name behind a ground up group of brakeless racers and if you've ever wondered what it's like to dip corners in a crit then head over to the videos section on his website.
Through a couple of hours of tacos Eric opened up about the background on his first, recent, and possible future releases. Here's the detail.
Eric was on the unfortunate end to my flurry of questions about just how the first collection release of kits came to be. While Eric confirmed that the first run had in fact truly been exclusive and limited, it was a bit odd to hear him reference the collection as 'under the radar.' That first release is the narwhal (unicorn of the seas) that got away. Why? It's that good. To put it in context, my collection will forever have a whole where that kit should hang.
The complete collection includes a jersey, bib, wind vest, t-shirts (logo & daggers), stickers, and is now rounded out with a beautiful cycling cap. The t-shirts are original designs printed on American Apparel blank tees. The jersey, bib, and wind vest were manufactured by Endo Customs in Los Angeles. (Click here for my review of Endo Customs kit quality and craftsmanship)
The most recent (and maybe final) release of the Ocean Infinite volume 1 collection was a 3 panel cycling cap. It's hand printed and sewn in the US by Rothera Cycling from Austin Texas. The graphics are a perfect match to the v1 kit jersey, bib, and vest while the quality and craftsmanship is absolute top shelf. It's no wonder that Rothera has also been doing custom collections for the likes of Rapha. Honestly I'm not the biggest cap guy but I wasn't going to let this narwhal get away. It's even better that if I had to put down all the things that I'd be looking for in a cap, this cap would hit every right note. It's a lightweight 27gram cotton cap. The 3 panel construction ensures it's a comfortable form fit with a really low profile under your helmet. The bring is just the right size. The graphic treatment that Eric has put on the cap means it's going to look good with the brim up, brim down, under a helmet, with the matching it or on its own. The colors on the cap are actually more black than I had expected which means it will match well to a lot of what you may already have. My favorite detail on the cap is the #3 printed on the brim and left side. I hadn't noticed this before but since it's my favorite number I'll just quietly appreciate the detail.
It didn't take long but the caps are all sold and shipped out. But if he puts out another cap, visit his web shop and don't hesitate to checkout your cart. Don't sleep and no regrets.
It was really cool to have the opportunity to sit down for tacos and tales with Eric Bones. In a couple of hours I got to learn a lot about him, couriering in New England winters, what he's doing with the Ocean Infinite brand. It's important to note that during the conversation Eric mentioned that he is currently thinking about and working on a volume 2 collection for late spring 2016. He didn't want to give much away about the next collection but his excitement is a promise of good things to come.
Let me leave you with 3 reasons why you should care and support Ocean Infinite.
1. Ocean Infinite is good people. Eric is friendly, down to earth, and admirably genuine. He's the kind of guy they are talking about when they are there are good people out there. Isn't it always better to support good people?
2. Ocean Infinite is run by a cyclist who cares about cyclists and puts back into the community by producing a quality kit while building a grassroots cycling team piece by piece.
3. Ocean Infinite is the creative result of an artist. Creativity is an undervalued and under appreciated skill. Artists do not get the due credit they deserve. Each piece in the Ocean Infinite collection is the expression of a creative artist and that means something.