It was late by the time I gathered up all my stuff and coffee so I got over to Zimmerman's at about 8:45 to pick up Cjell
for the 100 mile trip to Minneapolis.
Our first stop was the home and shop of Mark and Jane Stonich, Mr. and Mrs. Bikesmith
. Mark makes tools, 'bents, bikes and short crankarms. Jane makes homemade yogurt and tea among other things. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and pleasant, so we sat outside for a while talking smart and helping the cats soak up the sun. Later we went in to look at Mark's new baby, a silver vintage Holdsworth, a pretty and very well crafted bicycle. After I caught my breathe again, we went down into the shop where Cjell pumped Mark for everything he could about fillet brazing, listening intently about technique, brands and models of welding heads - taking copious notes in a little notebook. This must have taken more time than it seemed, because soon it was well into lunchtime, so we adjourned to a local Cuban cafe
. Good choice.
Then Cjell and I went on to the complex where a number of the local bike builder boys work. First stop, Chris Kvale Cycles
, for a little give and take with Chris before Vincent Dominguez
came down. Vincent is one of the reasons for our trip. He is going to make some small, light racks for my Blood and Ivory Kvale. Vincent has been checking in on Chris the past few days. Vincent who can build pretty much any bicycle he wants, instead has choosen to pay Chris full price for a Kvale built frame, and his name has finally come up in the queue.
I was asked to take a lot of pictures. I did take a camera, but people were talking, I was talking. I was listening. We were laughing. Hard to step aside with a camera, but here's a shot of Chris Kvale working on Vincent's frame.
Because Chris was busy on his frame Vincent led us through the labyrinth of hallways and stairwells to a shared workspace where we first met Matt Appleman
who was building a carbonfiber frame. Matt was the only person that Cjell didn't grill about welding. Vincent is reconfiguring his shop, but I still was able to get these shots of a couple of his personal frames, a rando that he had recently ridden in a bevet. He is a serious tourer, having ridden Paris-Brest-Paris, and is planning another run at it next time.
Vincent holding his single. This is not a hipster street bike. It has only been ridden at the Blaine velodrome
. Check out the trick seatpost binder and stem that picks up the same design look. Gypy's color choice is ..... just inexplicable. ;-)
Eventually Erik Noren
and his lady friend showed up. I introduced him to Cjell and got out of the way, Erik is passionate about everything, even welding techique, and when he got really wound up verbally, I retreated back to the relative peace of Vincent's shop. On the way out of Erik's area I shot this pic of a vintage Alex Singer. Just to jack people around, Erik is spreading a rumor that he is going to install disc brakes on it.
Winter biking in Minnesota is sometimes extreme. Behold, a truck and trailer.
It got to be 5:00 and we left becasue I had to fight the rush hour traffic and still get home by 7:00 before Lorna would be back from book club.