Get to Know Us: Obed's Ruth Sayger
Fourth of July means a lot to Americans: summer fun, fireworks, a cold beverage, maybe a long ride.
For Obed staff bike builder Ruth Sayger, this past fourth was all that, plus…a haircut. Specifically: a mullet. Yep, the Tennessee Top Hat. The Wisconsin Waterfall. The business-up-front, party-in-back hairstyle that is indicative of someone who, well, does what they want.
“I think it might be a boater thing,” the ardent outdoors-woman said. “The whitewater community is a small group, and we always put something out there. This year someone said, 'I’m getting a mullet!' And the rest of us said 'me, too!'”
Yeah, there were some that backed out. Not Sayger. “I had my friend do it—he’s a hair school dropout. Eventually I had a pro do it, clean it up a bit, but I was done and was like ‘I like it, I think I’m gonna keep it!’”
The 32-year-old Sayger is one of Obed’s builders, taking freshly-painted Boundarys, Secluds and Baselines, and building them ground-up, passing them off to tuners to get dialed for riding. “I’ve always worked in bike shops, and this seemed like a lot of fun. I started in the decal team and sought to do something more challenging. Working on clean, new bikes is awesome, and it’s super detailed.”
And it works out well that she’s just an avid outdoors-woman, and as soulful about it as it gets. When she’s not running the nearby Tennessee whitewater rivers and creeks, she’s riding. The ride is never about the race, never about a Strava segment. The ride is always a vehicle to fun—to work, to the bar, to a concert—or represents the fun in and of itself. Sayger simply loves to play.
“I did—and still do—ride for fun and to get places,” she says. “If I don’t have to drive, I’d rather not. I’ve never been a racer; I’ve always ridden for fun.”
Sayger grew up in Louisiana and moved to Arkansas at age 13. And while we all today know the bounties that Arkansas provides to mountain bikers, the young Sayger was savaging those bounties as a young rider, enamored by anything on two wheels; mountain biking, cyclo-cross. “The trails, they’re pretty great,” she says. “I haven’t been on all the new trails they’ve built in the last few years, but even before everyone found Arkansas for riding, it was pretty rad."
"I even did alley cat races back in college,” she adds,“ From the shop I worked at, we'd do these checkpoint races, and while some of the checkpoints were at bars and we ended up having to do a shot, I still did win one of ‘em!”
She was even into the most random riding—like bike polo. Yep, think Polo, but substitute horses with bikes.
“I had a fun bike polo group that I was into,” she says. “I had a fixed-gear with narrow handlebars—you don’t want your bars getting up in anyone else’s business. You basically want a beater bike.”
These days, if she’s not navigating the whitewater rapids, she’s on her Obed Seclud trail bike, exploring Southeast Tennessee trails with friends. And of course, her best friend, her hound dog, Roxy.
“I love after-work mountain bike rides, and this fall, I expect to do more of it now that it’s not going to be so hot. And it depends on what I’ve got going on, but I’ll usually swing by and grab Roxy. It’s the only way I can possibly run her so she can get some energy out! She’s good for a couple hours, but if she’s tired from going off chasing deer, she’ll just run back to the car, drink some of the water we leave for her, and wait for me there.”
And as the mullet? The Camaro cut is staying—for now. “I think I might do the lower layer purple or blue. I gotta say, cutting it down, it definitely helps airflow when riding—it’s a lot cooler."