Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I should be sleeping or packing, but I'm not. I'm trying hard to remember everything I'm afraid I'm gonna forget. Nonetheless, Owen's frame is ridable -- and also fun. The test ride to the pub to get a slice was a good time. I really want to convince Owen to ride short track on it as a 'niner. It'd be so fast. Anyway. That's done, and now it's vacation time. If you wanna come say hi at the mountainbike campout, fan me on the Facebook and checkout directions from the event page.

Monday, August 17, 2009

McKenzie River Mountainbike Campout

Vacation! Finally within my sights. I've been working my ass off seven days a week for the last month, and I'm right about to see the spoils of my work: Owen is going to be riding his pre-release bike (unpainted and in the form of a mountainbike), and I'll be getting to ride with some of my good friends in a completely relaxed environment. No phone, no computer, no work I could possibly do. When I get back, I'll have to start back up with the same ridiculous schedule through the end of September, so I'm going to do my best to get all the fun out in one go.
Today I put the finishing touches on Owen's frame: a seat stay bridge, brake bosses and cable stops. It's all brazing from here on out, which is somewhat relaxing to me. Much different, at least, than TIG welding, which puts me on edge knowing that whatever I do is pretty much final. Silver moves a little bit more slowly, and much more smoothly. There's not a lot of room for fixing little bobbles in a weld bead. And there's just something comforting about 'brushing' silver around with a cool blue flame. Very Bob Ross. Happy silver, happy fillets...
I'm not looking forward to packing, which I have to do Tuesday so that I can depart right after work on Wednesday -- after having gone home to pick up everything I will realize I forgot.

Monday, August 10, 2009


First Thursday at StepChange was incredible! I'd guess that over two hundred people made it through including Johnathan Maus who got some great pictures. Thanks to everybody who made it down. It was really nice to see so many of the friends I haven't had a chance to catch up with -- let alone show my work to -- in a while. Things worked out nicely.

My commuter bike is finally the color of purple I'd dreamed it'd be: shiny, sparkly purple that's super bright in the sunlight. Those gold and purple sparkles make the glint from the side so inviting. It does feel kinda' funny to be riding such a flashy daily driver, but I'm hopeful for the advertising effect... I hadn't originally intended to show it on Thursday, but knew that I had to build it up and put it on display as soon as I picked it up from paint.

Right now I've got my head buried in finishing Owen and Erik's 'cross rigs so that I can move on to my entry for the Oregon Manifest Constructor's Challenge/Race and then to my own 'cross racer. My seat mast construction is coming along nicely and, I think, should give me a unique edge at the Manifest and Oregon Handmade Bike shows. Look forward to pictures in the coming weeks!

Coming down to McKenzie River Mountainbike Camp? It's going to be great to be away from my shop, home, the pub, my phone, and the internets for a few days. I'd like to say it'll be nice to be away from responsibility, but I'm afraid that won't quite be the case. Ah, logistics. Though I won't really be responsible...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sorry to leave you hangin'

Yes, I took a little vacation – and for a bit, it was good for me to be away.
But there's all this stuff I should be sharing with you! ...and I know how important that's become for all of us.

In summary:

For the last month and change I've been racing a bit, training as much as I can, working a bunch and refocusing for the most important stretch of the year: short track mountain bike racing, show season and cyclocross.

I raced a few of the last Mt. Tabor Series road circuit races -- which were fun, but more importantly a powerful kickoff (and compliment) to Portland's Short Track XC Mountain Bike series. The series started about six weeks ago and will end this evening, 8/3. Right now I'm holding fifth in the series for the Single Speed category, which feels awesome. As demanding as it can be to get everything together week after week, I'm consistently rewarded with the company of some of my favorite racing peers and increasingly challenged to ride even faster this 'cross season. One more race. And if I'm lucky, I might just take fourth for the season, right behind everybody's favorite, Ryan Weaver. And let me take a second to give props to Peter Zlatnic and Jacob Furniss, who will take first and second, respectively, in both the weekly races and series points. Bravo guys! Keep making me faster.

I'm kicking off show season this (first) Thursday in the Pearl at StepChange: 500 NW 9th (and Glisan). The show runs from 6 to 9 pm. Join me for beers, a DJ (maybe some dancing?!) and bicycles by Belladonna, Cascadia, Courage, Metrofeits, Palmares and Sprout. More of my show season attention is going toward releasing Owen and Erik's 'cross bikes, as well as my entries to the Oregon Manifest Constructor's Challenge and Constructor's Race. Hopefully there'll be just enough time for a new 'cross bike for me, too!

THIS IS REALLY COOL! The Oregon Manifest has a whole new format this year which will feature a retail/gallery space near downtown to showcase builders and their work with front line exposure for winners of the Constructors Race. With any luck you'll be able to find a Sprout in that front window. Builders will unveil our entries on the night of Friday, October 2nd at the Manifest opening party and race them – or have them raced by a proxy rider – across a 77 mile epic on-off road race that ends in downtown Portland. The bike must be able to carry a bottled sixer, post race party outfit and some light party snacks but still be nimble.
Cyclocross! Soon! Mark your calenders for October 4th for the season opener at Alpenrose dairy. This is as close to a 'home court game' as I ever get and can be one of the most challenging (and fun) races of the Cross Crusade. In fact, just plan to make that a bike weekend...two parties and a cross race?!

I'm hoping also to show at the Oregon Handmade Bike Show, which happens four weeks after the Manifest, but am torn since it's the weekend of the Halloween Cross Crusade two day race. Terrible planning in my opinion. What I'm wondering is why anybody would decide to throw a bike show in Portland (the city with the most bike builders per capita) on the same weekend as arguably the biggest party of the biggest cyclocross series in North America. I'm thinking I need to be at the Halloween race in Astoria, which means I need to find friends to volunteer at my booth. With fingers crossed and blessings from friends I should be able to make that happen. Call me if you can help out!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

what's hot?

Cyclocross bikes with seat masts and riding road bikes you're too afraid lock up. Perhaps because they're not practical without a certain level of dedication...or maybe its just the sex appeal.

White bar tape is still hot! It's kinda impractical on a 'cross bike...but that makes it even better.

What drives us to this?

By now you're all probably thinking about cyclocross season. I certainly am. In fact, I'm feeling like it's creeping up a little too quickly. For the last two days I've been frantically trying to finalize my design for an integrated seat post (a.k.a. seat mast). While integration may not be practical for many riders, it finds some great applications on a race-specific 'cross or road bike. You might be familiar with production designs from the likes of Look and De Rosa, but custom builders have also been exploring some cool ideas, generally using less carbon. We've seen some notable designs from Portland builders, most recognizable, perhaps, on Vanilla's Speedvagens. Vertigo developed an integration with a very clean aesthetic that's been mimed by the guys at Signal (take a look at John Dorfer's 'cross rig). Jordan Hufnagel has even made a couple of great looking lugged frames with super extended seat tubes. Barring catastrophe, the 'cross frame I'm building for Erik will feature a design informed by a lot of what you've seen, but with a little twist. You're gonna have to wait to see it, 'cause I don't feel like leaking it until the frame is completed and I know it works. ...but now you're excited?

It's been over two months since I posted my intentions to go camping, and I've now finally made good. Jeremy was back in town, and we made it out to the woods with Chuck. We only did a short overnighter, but it was quite rejuvenating waking up to crisp mountain air and stunning views of Mt. Hood. I'd like to make more time for hiking, camping, and travel in the back-country, but the rhythm of my life lately hasn't been encouraging outdoor endeavors. I'll look forward to Mountain Bike Camp on the McKenzie River Trail (August 20th to 23rd) if to nothing before. If camping with friends, riding the MRT, warm spring soaking, and drinking beer sound good to you, I expect an email.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Yesterday I finally un-boxed and assembled my Anvil Journeyman2 frame fixture. Although I received it in the snow -- on New Year's Eve -- I hadn't unpacked it because I already had a frame in process and needed to use my time judiciously. So, this is very exciting. With some help from Bicycle Forest's BikeCAD Pro program -- once I figured it out -- I've been able to miter main triangle tubes with a confidence in their geometry at a much faster pace than I was able with my old Bringhelli frame fixture. One clear advantage of the Journeyman is its easy to read -- and relatively precise -- angle indicators (to half degrees) for head and seat tubes and chainstays.
On the flipside, learning BikeCAD was less than intuitive. It did make me sign up for FrameForum, which is an excellent resource for frame builders at all levels. There are also regular posts from framebuilding greats like Richard Sachs and Carl Strong. The program itself feels funny running on a Mac, and it's relatively tedious to navigate its series of oddly shaped windows dimension query boxes. In other words, for someone who has learned little new software in the last decade, it's been a process getting proficient with this program. But, It should be amazing for rear triangle design -- especially in terms of crank and tire clearances.

Today I finished some nice tight miters for the front triangle of Owen's cyclocross bike. I'm still deciding whether or not I'm going to exaggerate the bend in the chainstays. Doing so would mean having to wait til next week for a bender -- since I broke the one that I made -- but it might be worth it. Not that it needs to be done, but I was kinda thinking of really big swoopy curves. The stays that I have would lend themselves well to a big ess, and the extra clearance would allow Owen to run some smallish 29'r tires. I think he will enjoy being able to rip mountain bike trails before and after cross season, and it so happens that I have an extra steel fork. He can swap the carbon one out when not crossing in favor of the rigidity and tire clearance of the steel. Nifty factor!

a little shower

Weird, but I've been waiting for a little rain. It smells so nice now.

For the last two weeks it has felt like summer is here -- though I know it's not -- and I've been doing a good job of basking in it. Labor Day weekend I rode with a group of friends to Allie's birthday party in Brightwood. It was a fun group ride and just nice to be in the saddle for 40 miles under blue skies with a gentle breeze. Erik and I ran out of gears on the way down the hill to Alder Creek on HWY26. Hard charging!

Monday, we rode back on Marmot Road to avoid as much of 26 as possible without sacrificing convenience. That line afforded us some amazing climbs and descents on a ribbon of roadways tossed across ridge-lines, gullies, and pastureland. Again, some very fast descents.
After a short day of work on Tuesday I rode with Erik, Mike, and an Aussie named Jamie -- who sadly crushed his low spoke count wheel on a blistering descent down Cornell while on a portion of the de Ronde course. I think we'll be keeping this up on Tuesdays for a while if you wanna come join. Besides, it's cheaper, not flat, and more funner than PIR. Get in touch. We'd be happy to move the meeting spot around.