by Chandler Snyder
It’s been a few weeks since wrapping up a rain, wind, snow and ice-soaked week in Louisville at Cyclocross Masters Worlds. The conditions there were something else, and I needed to have all of my tools/gear taken care of, since they had to survive a night of tornadoes and thunderstorms. Luckily, I had a new “tool” in my arsenal to help me out: my Pro Mechanics Tool Roll from Soulrun.
Soulrun was started by Laura Papas and Joe McManus three years ago. They both hail from the East Coast and the company had origins in both Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, before they moved West and set up shop in Nederland, Colorado.
Papas has a Masters degree in Fashion from Colorado State University and decided to start making items she needed for her outdoor lifestyle. The progression of time and word of mouth has led them where they are today: growing their business while making a great product and getting it in the hands of the people who put it through real world tests every day. I’m talking about Professional Bicycle Mechanics.
The Pro Mechanics Roll is what I would consider to be their flagship product. Papas custom-made mine, as she does for anyone who orders any of their products. Every little detail has been thought about, and there have been some revisions as Soulrun learned lessons and took input given from the unofficial “Field Testers,” but the basics have been solid. They use top quality materials, with top quality workmanship, pay attention to the details, and listen to their customers.
The tool roll she made for me to take to Nationals and Worlds was awesome. It held almost every single tool I use on a daily basis, outside of bigger frame tools, and took up so little room I could fit it inside my backpack that I carried to and from the course every day. The snaps and grommets used are top shelf, Marine grade, so they won’t rust and won’t unsnap out of the blue like cheaper versions. The waterproof canvas is pliable and rolls up nicely, and when it’s unrolled the whole way, you have a nice makeshift work space.
The best part/thing I loved about it from my perspective/job role, was taking it in the pits at Worlds. When you unroll it, you can drape it over the fencing inside the pits and the pockets are built in such a way that everything stays nice and neat and easily accessible. It was nice to have almost every tool at my disposal while away from my “bench” inside the team compound.
Soulrun does not use any other third party to make and/or distribute their products; it’s a small company with absolute attention to detail. Depending on the size of the roll you purchase, it can take tens of “Laura Hours” to make, since each one is made to order. That said, every once in a while Papas will make a small run of limited edition rolls or wallets, and when she does, an announcement goes out via their Facebook and Twitter feeds.
If you want some more testimonials from Pro Mechanics who use them you can hit up Chris Bondus and Brian Dallas of the WD-40 wrench team, Matt Roy, Tom Hopper, Mike Heenan of Rapha and pro racer Adam Myerson, all of whom are in possession of a custom-made Tool Roll from Soulrun.
So if you’re a pro mechanic, a full-time racer or even a weekend-loving warrior, check out all of their products and see if anything rings your proverbial bike bell. The “Jersey Pocket Wallet” is a must have, in my opinion.