What We're About
Topanga Creek Outpost is a brand rooted in the spirit of adventure and creativity. We are committed to always seeking out a path that fulfills a love of exploring new experiences.
Topanga Creek Outpost
TCO was started in 1999 by Chris Kelly. In its early days, the shop was actually located on Hollywood Boulevard (called Hollywood Pro Bicycles at the time). Fast forward to 2008, and Chris was seeking a life change that would put him closer to nature and somewhere that allowed him to ride on dirt out of the front door.
This led to him buying a cabin in Topanga and rebranding as Topanga Creek Bicycles. This new environment stoked a series of exciting new developments, such as unpredicting your Wednesday, a weekly attempt to adventure in a new place.
Over the years, Topanga Creek Bicycles began to show signs of another evolution into something grander than just bikes and was rebranded as Topanga Creek Outpost - a creative and adventure driven brand that would allow us to explore new frontiers.
People often ask what makes Topanga such a special place. Topanga is a mountain community on the outskirts of Los Angeles and has also been deemed an artist enclave since the 1950's. It's been home to legendary musicians like Woodie Guthrie, Neil Young and Alice Cooper. In fact, the bicycle shop cabin was once the practice studio for Jim Morrison and the Eagles. The creative vibe is felt everywhere and it inspired our team to tear down the standard retail store slot walls and replace them with handmade display furniture, all crafted in-house. One day a friend of the shop Danny, a luthier by trade, dropped off a box of scrap and discarded guitar wood as fuel for the shop's potbelly stove. Fascinated by the interesting shapes of half-finished guitar necks, head stocks, and main bodies, the crew came up with the idea to craft tables out of them instead of burning them. The tables were so unique that they not only created an artisanal ambience, but also resonated the musical history of the shop.
To continue down the creative path, in 2015 TCO started working with leather and canvas for our own tool/work bags and aprons. The mechanics at the shop set up a full leather workbench. When Christmas came around they wanted to test the waters and made a batch of leather valet trays to sell as Christmas gifts, mainly to see if people were even interested in these time-consuming and handcrafted items in a world that's taken over by click-now-and-get-it-tomorrow reality. Turned out that people loved the valet trays and our other mechanic friends at bike shops around the US loved the aprons and bags.. Customers started to make requests for other leather goods. With that encouragement we have continued making gear and Rogue Journeymen is an operation of its own.
Rogue Journeymen was founded in late 2015 by the mechanics of Topanga Creek Outpost which is an outdoor adventure bicycle shop that's been operating since 1999. Rogue Journeymen's mantra The Spirit of Finding Your Own Way can be traced way back when Chris, the founder of Topanga Creek Outpost, felt restless in the original Hollywood location, escaped the urban sprawl by relocating the bike shop to Topanga Canyon in 2008. To further pursue everyone’s passion for adventure cycling and mountain biking, Chris and the rest of the mechanics decided to stop carrying the lucrative line of road bikes and urban bikes, and only focus on getting people out on adventures with bikepacking bikes, mountain bikes and touring gear. While being deeply immersed in Topanga's creative energy, the crew continued to find their way and ended up pursuing a new creative outlet outside the bike world.
In 2015, leatherworking was added to list of creative endeavors of TCO. While "Rogue Journeyman" was the original name of the leatherworking brand, we have now focus on Topanga Creek Outpost as a parent to all the different paths we have taken.
The Belt Brigade
Again, in 2021 Chris felt an urge to do something adventurous, creative, and new... so he bought a retired firetruck and turned it into a mobile leather working vehicle.