Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 3

November 22, 2019   |   Chris Blandford

Time to play connect the dots.

To this point, I’ve been designing my bicycles based--largely--on the published geometry charts of brands and builders that I respect. I don’t have the riding experience to have justifiable opinions about much of anything. So, I build to match models that look interesting to me, adjusting here-or-there for fit and whatnot.

Given that a kid's bike has all sorts of odd things going on (and given that nobody publishes dimensions for these little bikes) I decided that--for the Daughter Bike--I’d just go ahead and pick up a stock model to have on hand. (Sorry if that’s cheating.) On Wednesday I purchased a 16” Cleary Hedgehog from Clever Cycles here in Portland. This would’ve been the model I’d bought if I wasn’t planning to build Mathilda a bike. Yesterday I stripped the frame (see Nerdnote A) and took measurements, plugging them into BikeCAD as I went along.


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Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 2

November 19, 2019   |   Chris Blandford

Before I dive in, a couple notes:

I took the UBI framebuilding course in the summer of 2015, and then again--because I’m a terrible student--in the spring of 2017. Tony Pereira (of Breadwinner) and Dan Harrison (now of Vanilla) were the instructors the first time around. Ron Sutphin and Rich Bernouli taught the second course. So hey, if I show something here that indicates bad habits, blame the four of them! Ha. (Anything of apparent quality, though, is completely my doing. Obviously.)

I currently build my bicycles in a small studio that sits above our home's detached garage. I also actual-work from that same space, and try to steal an hour or two each afternoon for the bicycle stuff. At the very least I’m down in my “shop” most evenings, after the dog has been fed and Mathilda is asleep. Sports talk radio during the day, music at night. Picture painted, I hope.

My space is mostly machine-less. I own a drill press, belt sander, and a cordless drill. That’s about it. For fixtures, I have an Anvil frame jig and an Anvil fork jig. A Sputnik braze-on kit. Some other little things. Various bending... devices. We’ll get to all of that stuff, I’m sure.

Finally, I have no supervised fabrication/metalworking experience (outside of my time at UBI), nor do I have any real bicycle experience. (I’ve certainly never worked in a bike shop. Or raced. Or even ridden with a group, actually.) A perfect recipe for bicycle-making success, yes? I’m just a lifelong commuter/get-arounder/tinkerer/self-maintenance-er. Feel free to judge accordingly. Given my experience and intentions, I’m quite unoffendable in this realm.

Anyway, that's the context. I thought it was important.

Phew. Now then...


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Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 1

November 15, 2019   |   Chris Blandford

I am about to start on a new project, and thought I would try something a little different.

To date, I’ve built five or six keeper-bicycles. Three or six garbage-bicycles. The numbers depend on who’s counting. In any case, I feel like I’m at a point in my hobby-ism where I’ve established a beginner’s routine. The last couple bikes I built went (oddly) according to plan, which was not the case for the first four-or-eight that I built. At the least, I’m no longer (grossly) intimidated by the idea of building a simple bicycle. Learning-curve progress, I think.

And so, I figured it was time for a little reflection; I think I need to really check-in on my budding processes.

I’m going to document a project. Start to finish. With photos and explanations. To this point I’ve taken photos and made notes as I’ve gone along, but not in a real, comprehensive way. I think it’ll be interesting to get it all down in one spot.


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