Howdy. Oh man, its been ages since I’ve posted. My apologies. A lot has been happening since my last post. I went on vacation in Oregon for a couple weeks in September. Prior to leaving, it was total madness in the workshop. For a variety of reasons, I had multiple projects all with the same deadline. Some were back logged projects, and some where new ones that people needed by a certain time.
I also wanted to knock everything out before I left so I could come back from holiday and have a clean slate. I set the bar pretty high with how much I could get done in the 5 weeks before leaving. I thought I could do it and put in a very strong effort, with no days off and 60 hour plus work weeks, literally working till my fingers were bleeding. But, the nature of the custom work I do, nothing is ever straightforward and every frame is completely unique in a variety of ways, which can, unfortunately, lead to possible set backs and completion dates hard to estimate.
As most of customers were local, they had been stopping by regularly to watch the process of their bikes being built and could see first hand and then help discuss some of the more difficult aspects of their builds. If anything, that is one of the perks of going custom and even going local. It might just be the customers that choose me have a clear idea of what they want, but every project I have done has always been a collaboration between myself and the cyclist.
Between overloading myself, the design constraints of a few of the projects and a few last minute hiccups, it meant that I ended up a lot of things very close to being done, and just one frame being sent off to the painter before I left. Between the exhaustion of working non stop for so long, and falling down on the finish line so to speak, I left for my trip extremely deflated, almost not wanting to go as I really wanted everything to be done and the trip to be a reward. But the trip was booked, a family reunion planned, and 2 friends even flying in to Oregon to go on vacation with me. I stopped working at midnight the night before I left, packed, slept for 3 hours and then caught a 6 a.m. flight!
It took a few days to regain some energy and get into holiday mode, but the sheer beauty of the scenery, hiking and swimming everyday, delicious beer and food, and all round laid back mentality of Oregon did wonders in restoring my spirits and give me a much needed break. Portland was home base, but I traveled all over, never spending more than 3 or 4 days in one place. Let’s just say, the people of Oregon are very lucky people for living in such a great place.
Oh yeah, by the end of the trip I had regained enough energy and strength to run the Pine to Palm 100 mile ultramarathon, with a finishing time of 26 hours and 50 seconds. But this is a bike blog, so y’all don’t really care about that kinda thing.
So, now that I am back in the shop I am starting to get caught up. With everything being almost done before I left, it means that over the next couple of weeks there will be a lot of new things done. First up is a set of racks for the vintage Campy bike. We had some issues dealing with the French spec components, but all of that is sorted out now and this beauty is going to paint by the end of the week.
The pair of racks are made from stainless and will remain raw. I call this style of rack the “Heath Cat” because I first made one for Curtis Heath on the green and blue city bike, and Curtis is a cool cat. I have made this style a few times now, each one a little different, depending on the project but the main characteristic of a “Heath Cat” is tri-section “butterfly” platform.
Here are some pics