Archive for April, 2011

 

Less exhaust fumes, more riding.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I headed down to San Diego with Sean and Steve last week for the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show.  We stopped in San Luis Obispo again to see Tim and do some riding.  View from a ridge above San Luis Obispo, you can make out three of the seven sisters in the background.  The seven sisters are cones that remain from the volcanoes that formed there in the landscape.

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The next day we headed further south, stopping in Carpinteria at a bike shop for some trail recommendations.  They suggested riding some trails above Ojai, so we hit the road.  A shop in Ojai was kind enough to let us lock up our show bikes, while we headed toward Gridley Trail.

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Gridley trail was a fourteen mile out and back that switch-backed its way up to a pass that connected to a larger trail network that you could easily spend days riding.  The seven mile climb was humbling and the views were spectacular.  Steve went to his happy place during the climb.

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The singletrack hugged the mountain side as we climbed.  It was cool in the shade even though it was in the 60’s all afternoon.  The views from summit were extraordinary and well worth the grinding climb.

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After the ride we headed to Los Angeles and spent the night at Sean’s cousin’s place.  I had a great Rueben sandwich at Canters in West Hollywood that night.  In the morning we turned south again for the final push into San Diego and the bike show.  We had the booth set up in short order.

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The randonneuse bicycle that I showcased can be seen in detail on my flickr page.  We met some interesting people at the show and saw some beautiful work.  The most inspiring for me was an understated bike made by Mark DiNucci.  Elegant lugs, impossibly thin, executed with grace and skill…

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The most interesting and creative person that I met was Jeff Tiedeken, the enigmatic fabricator behind Monkey Likes Shiny.  A death-defyingly tall penny farthing and a gravity bike with tubes bent to resemble a Gordian knot and built to take you as far out of your comfort zone on a screaming descent as you are willing to let it.

 

All in all, a remarkable week of riding topped off by seeing some old friends and some new bicycles.  Now, it’s back to the shop….

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Back in the saddle…..

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

In 2010 I took an unplanned sabbatical from bike building.  My father, Rudy, lost a nine year long battle with prostate cancer.  I spent several months on the East Coast with my family before and after my father passed away.  It has only been recently that I have been able to re-enter the shop and be motivated to work.  Seeing all of the old tools with “Rudy” engraved in them now brings a smile to my face and a flood of memories.  Using the old Bridgeport vertical mill that he helped me rebuild to cut my tubing and make fixtures, triggers a replay of the days and nights we spent carefully taking apart the head of that machine and laying out all of the parts as we cleaned, inspected and re-assembled them.  It is sometimes hard to describe and completely understand the effect that those close to us have on our lives.  We don’t always immediately grasp and appreciate what someone is sharing or trying to impart.  Today, as I use his old tools and that Bridgeport, I can see and feel the immense pleasure and satisfaction that we shared as I flipped the switch and the mill came back to life…

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