Elliott McFadden is the builder behind the quality custom transportation bicycles of Violet Crown Cycles crafted in Austin, Texas. Elliott is passionate about cycling and passionate about using alternative transportation to help enhance one's quality of life. He is currently the Executive Director of Austin B-cycle, Austin's bike share program, founded Austin Carshare, Texas' first carsharing service, worked on the campaign to bring commuter rail to Austin, and was one of the editors of Austin On Two Wheels, the Online Magazine of Austin Cycling Culture.
Violet Crown Cycle (VCC) was the brainchild of Elliott and Marcus Sanford, the other editor of Austin on Two Wheels. When they saw the transportation bicycle market was being under-served in the U.S., we originally looked at importing bikes from Europe, however decided to build their own bikes to avoid the environmental implications of shipping bikes halfway around the world as well as the preference of offering bikes made in the U.S.A. During the planning process, Marcus realized his focus would be better made on Austin On Two Wheels, but Elliott continued exploring the feasibility of VCC.
In 2008, Elliott studied framebuilding using the lugged steel and fillet brazed methods under master framebuilder Doug Fattic. In early 2009, he put together the financing and workshop space for VCC with offerings to customers in April 2009.
Elliott's design philosophy is that specific purpose bikes should be designed from the outset to fulfill that purpose. This is an idea that has been embraced by the cycling industry when it comes to racing bikes, but largely ignored for transportation bikes. Instead, racing inspired bikes are equipped with a mishmash of components like fenders and racks and called utility, urban, or commuter. Often key pieces of transportation cycling like lights are completely left out. Not only does this produce an unattractive bike, it gives the rider a compromised, inferior riding experience.
It does not have to be that way. Bikes can be designed with transportation uses in mind and equipped to do that well. All the bikes at VCC are built to provide you with a bike that is both stylish and fully functional.
Austin is a jewel of a city, and many of its residents have given it nicknames like Waterloo (the original city name), Live Music Capital of the World, Capital City, and City of Ideas. City of the Violet Crown was a nickname given to Austin in the nineteenth century when the city was also known as the "Athens of the South." Athens was considered the cradle of civilization and was also referred to as the Violet Crown. This name showed how special residents then held our city. The author and one-time Austinite O. Henry would immortalize the name Violet Crown in his short story "Tictocq.
“The drawing-rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread. The occasion is the entrée into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown.”
Chapter 2, Tictocq by O. Henry