Who and What is Muse Cycles?
Muse Cycles is owner, designer, fabricator, and rider – Lyle Harlow. Lyle designs and build custom bicycles one at a time. This allows Lyle to talk with every customer and build one of a kind bicycles aligned specifically to the customers needs and desires.
Lyle’s investigations into mechanical objects started in early childhood and that is where his infatuation with bicycles began. Lyle spent his formative years growing up in the rural ranch / farm land of the southern Cascades of Southern Oregon and Northern California, and by the time he reached his teenage years – his interests drifted away from bicycles and towards automobiles and other motorized machinery. In his early teens, Lyle was formally involved in all levels of automotive and heavy equipment repair and fabrication. This is where Lyle was formally introduced to welding, brazing, and to a small extent machining.
Bicycles moved back heavily into Lyle’s life while pursuing a degree in engineering in Tucson AZ. Bicycling was a daily form of transportation to and from the university and a good way to escape the demands of his studies with long rides in the desert. While at university, Lyle was formally introduced to machining, and spent many hours fabricating parts in the machine shop.
After graduating with a degree in engineering, Lyle worked as a electrical engineer for a small company designing and building custom single board computers. Although the work was very challenging, and very engaging – after about five years Lyle came to realize that electrical engineering wasn’t his life’s passion, so he began to look into other opportunities.
Seeking a complete change in lifestyle – Lyle and his wife Danielle joined the Peace Corps, where they taught middle school and high school students in Tanzania East Africa. Bicycles were a very basic and reliable form of transportation for the people in Tanzania. Lyle and Danielle utilized bicycles as a form of everyday transportation while in Tanzania.
After returning home, Lyle and Danielle moved to Boulder Colorado, where Lyle resumed his work in the classroom – as an industrial arts teacher. Topics included robotics, CAD, wood and metal working, and basically any manner of technology that interested and engaged middle school students.
Lyle found the bicycling opportunities in Boulder simply amazing. So many opportunities existed for bicycling including mountain, road, touring and commuting. Lyle’s infatuation with bicycles reached new levels, and Lyle became a determined all season bicycle commuter. Having ridden bicycles his entire life – bicycling took on a whole new dimension for him when Lyle was first introduced to mountain bicycling, in the mountains of the Front Range.
It was while in Boulder that Lyle was first introduced to the small culture of custom hand built bicycles. A opportunity to become a Assistant Professor at UCSB for Lyle’s wife Danielle, prompted relocation to Santa Barbara, and facilitated yet another career change for Lyle.
By the time Lyle had reached his mid thirties, he realized that he wanted to devote more of his working life to building things. So Lyle began to take stock in his skills, interests and passions, and decided to utilize his design and fabrication skills to begin building custom bicycles. Muse Cycles was born. Lyle’s primary focus is on bicycles as a means to getting somewhere. Sometimes the bicycle is a means of escape from the busy world around him, sometimes the bicycle is a way to explore the world around him, sometimes the bicycle is simply the most pleasurable way to get from point a to point b.
Lyle encourages visitors to come and see the Muse Cycles workshop and see the small scale bicycle building process up close. If you are in the area and would like a tour of the Muse Cycles workshop, or if you are in the area and want some recommendations for a good place to ride – give Lyle a call.