Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

After four months in Central Europe, I'm back in Canada, and absolutely dying to get on with all sorts of bike things. Let us look to the future, and make some plans!

#1. Finally have a randonneur.
This has been mostly out of my hands to this point, but not any longer. I ordered a Mariposa in 2007, and they stopped building frames. I ordered a Velo Orange in 2007, it was supposed to be ready in summer 2008, and in winter 2009 I was told they'd discontinued the semi-custom randonneur program. Now, after considerable waiting, I have a frame. I went to see it before Christmas. There are a few changes I want to make before it's painted, but it certainly is serviceable. There is a tremendous amount of "construction" (prononcé en français) still to be done: wiring to set up, fenders to mount, racks to make level, perhaps even a derailleur to build. But I hereby resolve: I will have my randonneur ready for spring rides!

In that spirit, today I built up my new generator hub into my old front wheel. (That's the new wheel up there, in front a Greg Curnoe poster and postcard.) One of the sure signs that you've been waiting too long for your custom frame is that the parts become obsolete. When I ordered the Velo Orange in 2008, I bought and built up a SON28 hub into Mavic MA rims. Since then, the SON 20R has appeared, and it made too much sense not to use. So I bought one, and yesterday unlaced the SON28 from the wheel, and today rebuilt the wheel with the SON20R. (See the two hubs side-by-side below.) The SON20R an incredibly cool hub. It's very nice-looking, it's light, and the upside of its narrow flange spacing is that it's probably more aerodynamic. I think, by the way, that the flange spacing is more or less identical to that on my Phil Wood "Riv" rear hub. Matching—always important to me!

#2. Build more frames. If there is one thing that my experience as a customer has taught me, it is that there is room for improvement in the "business" of custom bikes. My experience as a student in Doug Fattic's class taught me that—a surprise to myself!—I possess the mechanical aptitude to braze, file, and otherwise build bicycle frames. The fact that I am still writing this blog, over a year after the fact, has proven that my passion for handmade bicycles has not lessened. And the frustrations outlined above have taught me a lot about running a custom bicycle business.

Of course, I have a lot of work to do before I can start thinking about starting a business. The first thing is of course to get more experience building frames and racks. This will, hopefully, begin soon. This will be the main point of interest in the blog in the coming year. I'm planning on building two bikes at least: one designed for riding in snowy Toronto winter conditions, and an all-season city bike. These are more or less designed in my head, I've started getting parts ready, and hopefully construction will start soon.

#3. Ride more. Mostly because I didn't have a proper bike, I didn't ride as much as I normally do this year. 2010 will be different! I'll try to ride at least a 200, 300, and 400 with the Randonneurs—maybe even complete a Series. Paris-Brest-Paris is next year, and I intend to be there!

#4. Sell things I don't need. This will finance points 1-3, and make room for the frames I'm going to build! I'll post the more interesting things here.

I am always surprised at how many comments I get on my posts on this blog. In 2010, I will try to provide lots of interesting posts to comment on!


RMHampel said...

All excellent resolutions.
I'll second your choice on the SON20R. I had a new wheel built with one recently and I love it. With a modern LED light (B&M IQ Cyo) it puts out so much more light than my old SON28/Schmidt E6 combination at all speeds and it's lighter.

See the set up here:

Happy New Year,

AH said...

Looks very nice! Yes, the 20R and especially the new light are instances of undeniable "progress." I'm going to use my SON28 in the "city bike" I've planned, but I'm not sure I'll use the E6 at all.