Sunrise in Seattle (or) Welding Plastic

Where to even begin, six months later everything is  completely different yet entirely the same.  Wherever you go, there you are I guess.   Despite frame building taking a hiatus while I establish my footing on the career track, I’ve re-upped the domain on Budd Bike Works  for another 5 years anyway.    As a gratitude to those who followed what i do here, and supported my work despite my griping, I thought I’d catch everyone (anyone) up on what I’ve been up to.  It turns out that I might actually be an engineer after all and the carpet walkers have taken me back into the fold and I’m risking glances askance when I walk in a little late to the desk this morning for haven taken this time to throw a line out into the ether.  What had been envisioned as a few months break from my east coast roots has been extended for the foreseeable having landed a job I’m finding so perfect for me that I’d have to have invented it if it didn’t exist.  Designing tools to make consumer goods is the place i’ve found for myself in the great product cycle in the sky, to whom we owe everything held dear.  It’s really enjoyable to immerse myself in new processes, and having the resources to communicate what you feel is the best course of action to get the line running.  No longer hamstrung by limitations in creative output dictated by working out of a converted mortuary basement, I’m excited again about making things, not the worlds perfect machine mind you, but good little trinkets to aid a persons outdoor pursuits under the broad banner of Cascade Designs, made with pride right here in occasionally sunny but always hilly Seattle.

Looking back on the last 4.5 years and my reality back in the greater Boston, I feel like I’d been engaged in some thing of a tournament with everything riding on my ability to do what was required of the day, whether it be relocating a collector of heavy objects from walk up to walk up or executing a new frame design armed with a file, winning was either cash tip or a joint worthy of  a weld laid on it.   I’d known this, actually I ripped the concept of the Tournament of Life thing from a synopsis of a chapter in Freakonomics I’d heard on Radio Lab, but it’d been something I’d worn it as a badge for years already, for me it was pride in doing things the hard way that took precedence over establishing anything like a clear victory.  Starting from the back row of a race after a week of manual labor, getting dealt an evicted hoarder and an insolent crew, or figuring out how to get 5 frames on my back to bike onto the bus then train  with a rush through NYC in between I was generally too enthralled with the challenge to care about the fact that I might not have any money coming in tomorrow, or that I didn’t crack the top 20 in the race, or that an inexpensive powdercoat job isn’t going to help you sell any more bikes; knowing damn well that I tried was enough.  Eventually though I was forced to take stock and realized I was in quick sand, and the harder I kicked to get out the further I was going to sink, so I calmly grabbed the vine of a one way ticket west extended by my  employer (thanks Gentle Giant Moving and Storage) and walked away from the game.   So here I am, all former foes made to look feeble with the shadow of the volcanoes, seas, and mountains on the horizon here in my new city, turns out everything leading up to now had just been training.  It might not have been grad school but it turns out fighting with one arm tied behind my back looked alright on the resume anyway.

Don’t know what will become of the one man brand that was Budd Bike Works, I still dream of the whole family being part of a great endeavor with it. I’ll try to be better about keeping posted here anyway, I’ve never been a great chronicler of my pursuits but I’d love to share some of the awe that I am finding in my day to day life lately.  The days are getting longer and they fill up fast with hills to ride, product launches to validate, and chickens to provide for with a whole new cast of characters in my life. Right now though I’d better get to work, pictures soon, and new endeavors for my torch maybe in the works. So to all my valued customers, yes, I am still alive, so your warranty still stands.  Would love it if all of you that avowed love of your BBW to post a picture of it for me here.

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2nd Post from the Left Coast.

Sometimes you’ve got to just go with what you got, and then turn around and come right back so you can make some money. Carried way more than necessary for a single overnight but had to test the load capabilities of the un-eyeletted race bike, it can definitely be done better, and I can definitely go farther. Fun first foray anyway, and, now I’ve got the map to the hotspring. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, thanks for all the great advice I got from the folks out on Bainbridge Island.

Yes, those are inner tubes and a toe strap holding my trashbag waterproofed clothing roll to the handlebars.. and no, I’m not particularly proud of that.

The local cyclocross season starts in a couple of days here in seattle.Thinking of loading up again to camp near the course, rip some of the single track I found near the venue in the morning and check out some afternoon races this weekend. Afraid I won’t have funding to enter this weekend, shouldn’t make riding the course any less fun Sunday though.

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2nd Post from the Left Coast.

Sometimes you’ve got to just go with what you got, and then turn around and come right back so you can make some money. Carried way more than necessary for a single overnight but had to test the load capabilities of the un-eyeletted race bike, it can definitely be done better, and I can definitely go farther. Fun first foray anyway, and, now I’ve got the map to the hotspring. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, thanks for all the great advice I got from the folks out on Bainbridge Island.

Yes, those are inner tubes and a toe strap holding my trashbag waterproofed clothing roll to the handlebars.. and no, I’m not particularly proud of that.

The local cyclocross season starts in a couple of days here in seattle.Thinking of loading up again to camp near the course, rip some of the single track I found near the venue in the morning and check out some afternoon races this weekend. Afraid I won’t have funding to enter this weekend, shouldn’t make riding the course any less fun Sunday though.

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First Post from the left Coast

Today’s brain storm is going to be figuring how best to lash my new tent to my old bike frame. Never toured before and most bikes that i’ve ever ridden or built were designed for free and flighty miles just cause of how much fun a fast bike is whether on road or trail. Being really far from home for a while has changed my perspective a bit though, and I want to be able to carry way more than would be comfortable on my back for a while. Never liked the idea of loading up the sides of the bike with racks and panniers, thinking maybe if I keep the load centered enough I can still rail corners whilst carrying a load. This thing is giving me surly envy for the first time in a long time. Would love to have Revelate make a bag to fit my trusty one off but I don’t think I can wait that long, the urge to ride trail to a farm over a few days is overwhelming all of a sudden for some reason.

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“The ship should not have been asked to demonstrate achievements when she had not had a chance to demonstrate her weaknesses.” (or) The Failings of Top Down Design

Quote at the beginning of Chapter 7 of “Engineering and the Mind’s Eye” by Eugene Fergusson.

Read this just before figuring out what the F’ had been going wrong with the belt drive and internal 8spd on the last Mortuary Made BBW by finally trying it with a single speed.

Never stop learning.  So glad to see this thing riding.

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Muscles not Motors (or) Old Timey Pants in VT

Got down and dirty on some demolition during the rain this memorial day and had the walls down in time to ride when the sun came back out. Great weekend up in VT. Thanks to my fellow Budd’s for the opportunity; to I-ride for the tune up time and ride tips;  Zach and Jason at Onion River outfitters for the hot dogs, beers, bike boxes, and company along the way home. Can’t wait to get back.
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Oh yeah, Old timey pants.

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Cicada for breakfast (or) Spring Greens

So, the mid atlantic’s ears and for the daring, stomach’s, are about to be in for a treat.  A massive protein source is about to fly briefly, god willing fuck, and then slowly die after 17 years residing beneath everyone’s feet.http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/pdf/cicada%20recipes.PDF,http://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/2306599217

http://video.wfyi.org/video/2306599217/,

http://www.cicadamania.com/where.html

Wild to think where the world was when this year’s hatchs’ parents saw the sun.  That’s enough media for me today, time to do the breakfast dishes and get down to the next bit of business.  Got to get a bike ready for the bolt bars in time for the crit,  do the dishes first

These bars are exemplary of ergonomics before efficient construction, so much cutting, so much welding, so comfortable to hammer on.

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This here bright garden flower is now residing in the concrete jungle of NYC, current set up is street utility but will make a fine disc brake cross monster when the time comes, will run single speed or fixed gear as well.

One more revision on the rack design before this one says it’s last goodbye.

 

 

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Billable Hours vs. Better Enough

Ever walk around an older city and come across the kind of architectural detail that you know could have only been executed with a near unfathomable investment of time by some one immensely skilled with their hands? I frequently work in homes built during America’s Guilded age, and have seen ceiling panels that in my lowest estimate would have taken 1,000 hours to carve. How much would it cost to do something like that today, assuming you could find a single artisan still in possession of a skill set that can only be the product of a life’s dedication from the time of an early apprenticeship to a master of your particular craft, be it stone, glass, metal, or woodworking? Maybe a dollar meant something so much different in the days of the gold standard that the same figure arrived at to account for a man’s livable wage is an apples to oranges comparison, maybe there were other factors at work that could keep someone to a task without consideration for wages, or perhaps the motivation for the craftsmen was an overwhelming desire to give his imagining form and the rest kind of took care of itself.  While I don’t proclaim to have achieved status as a master craftsmen in the tradition of work that brightens the corners of our harsh, made environment.  I do have reason to ruminate on this question on a thursday morning.  Another one off is on the way out the door and repeat customer is asking for a machine in the same vein and I need to consider what the heck to charge for it.   Introducing a design element that changes the familiar pattern I’ve learned over the years made for some special challenges with this last build,  and there are definitely some things I’d like to improve upon the design to make it a little less finicky to construct, question is whether it is better enough to be worth it and not whether or not it’ll provide me a roof.
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All that was old will be new again

Have some sleuth work to do. Moved the Newton Historical Society out of Storage and into their nicely re-vamped site on Waverly St. last week and got a second chance to photograph a really early, full on (as in I doubt there was an off the shelf part available at the dawn of cycling) hand built bike with some really familiar “innovations” that have only reappeared on high end bikes in the last 15 years. Wild to imagine what the state of cycling technology would be had the wave of innovation applied to the construction of the most efficient machine man has ever adapted not been stifled by the dual combustibles of world wars and engines that burned up the bright promise of true transportation freedom. The US patent office had its own department to process the wave of inventive solutions people had to take the nearly perfect form of transportation that much closer. Ball bearings, pneumatic tires, macadam roadways, assembly lines, and successful human flight there was nothing auto about the mobiles that inspired their creation.
Pics forthcoming, need a bite to eat than a bit more sun to process some much needed spring time vitamin D before I can stand another minute at the computer. The head badge is missing, but this bike is sporting straight pull spoked wheels, fat red cyclo cross treaded tubulars(destroyed, on wood rims) out board bearing cranksets, seamless gas welded frame and you wouldn’t believe how little this sweet fixie weighs, I’d estimate it at about 20lbs.
Wondering if anyone out there in the ether will be able to help me identify the make and origin of this bike? The ladies gently cracking the whip at us movers today were pretty excited when I professed knowledge of what was going on with it and are interested in finding out as much about it as it had just sat in the attic for decades. Not sure it is the best course but they also expressed interest in getting a working set of tires on it, the more I think about it I think it might be impossibe to find anything to fit the rims I measured at about 25 & 1/4″ (only a crude english measure tape at the job site). Thought I’d put it out there and ask if anyone knew a resource for period correct parts for this kind of bike? they want the bike displayed as they are pretty sure it’ll make a fascinating demonstration of this region’s history of technology and innovation, I say right on.

Lean back geometry is the only feature not since regurgitated.

Outboard bearing bottom bracket with oil port in the shell.

Sweet Minimalist dropouts with chain tensioner.

“Messenger” brand leather saddle with woven relief cut out for the pudendal artery

The machine shop that made these hubs to receive straight pull spokes may precede electric distribution, take that CNC.

100 years before viagra.

 

 

You’ll be able to see it for yourself here soon, at the Durant-Kenrick house and grounds. http://www.historicnewton.org/ Would love to help these guys make an engaging display for what amounts to so much more than just a bicycle. Even more interesting about the place than the bicycle is that it was the site of the orchard that first fostered most of the fruit grown in New England.

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Relocation engineering (or) Salesman are always in the black column.

Waylay ed from my ideal day by relocation engineering SNAFU caused by lack of due diligence of a sales associate, no respect, so bummed I missed the swap.

Budd Bike Works Clients who appreciate how hard you are pushing against adversity and tip, even just enough for lunch, can make this kind of day feel more worthwhile though. It’s kind of strange to me that the new cultural norm to give generous gratuity for the trust you put in someone to do something as rudimentary as meet your desire for a beverage is practiced by practically the whole populace while the percentage of folks who tip the crew that competently transports one’s entire life to a new location stands at about 65%. Not much to do about bikes this one.. Really need to get back to my resume edit after this next frame, being a professional beast has had its bright spots and I’ve met more interesting folks and seen a broader slice of the spectrum that lives in my logistics radius of greater Boston than I could have doing anything else. An interesting 4 years I’ve spent in these two hats working as a mover(relocation engineer) and building Budd Bike Works on the side, excited to see what shakes out once I get my leg up. Can’t afford to get nickled and dimed as a producer in the red column of a companies ledger again though, cause damn it, I’m an ideas man, and I should be the boss.
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