List of Bicycle Framebuilding Schools and Teachers

Here’s my list, which will evolve over time, of individual builders and schools that teach the craft of bicycle framebuilding. I’ll provide contact information and some general notes about each, but seeing as prices fluctuate, I will not include those here.

Individual Framebuilders

 NameLocationClass SizeJoining MethodsMaterialsNotes
usDoug FatticNiles, MI3Fillet-brazed, lugged.Steel.Herbie Helm co-teaches along with Doug.
usPaul WyganowskiPrinceton, MN1Fillet-brazed, lugged.Steel.Teaches the Paterek method.
usDave BohmTucson, AZ2Fillet-brazed, lugged, bonded.Steel, carbon.
usKoichi YamaguchiRifle, CO3Fillet-brazed, lugged.Steel.
usBREWBoone, NC5TIG.Steel.
usTiCyclesPortland, OR4Lugged, TIG.Steel.
usHot TubesShirley, MAUnknownTIG.Steel.
caPaul BrodieAbbotsford, BC4Fillet-brazed, lugged, TIG.Steel.
gbDownland CyclesCanterbury, Kent, England3Fillet-brazed, lugged.Steel.


 NameLocationClass SizeJoining MethodsMaterialsNotes
usUBIVarious locations in OR.LargeTIG, Fillet-brazed, lugged.Steel, titanium.
usMetalGuruHudson Valley, NY2TIG, Fillet-brazed.Steel.Offers courses in paint, advanced techniques.
usUniversity of IowaIowa City, IAUnknownUnknownSteel.
gbThe Bicycle AcademyFrome, Somerset, EnglandUnknownFillet-brazed, lugged.Steel.Offers a variety of courses.

Something Missing?

Am I missing a school or a builder who teaches? Drop me an email.

The image used in this post came from the Wikimedia Commons and is available for use under the Creative Commons.

Random Shit

  • I was hesitant to take on two personal projects at the same time, but thus far I am pretty happy with tackling both ANT+ Farm and the personal CX frame at the same time. For the moment, I have the time set aside for the CX frames on Saturday afternoons/early evening, and grab an hour or two here and there for ANT+ Farm.
  • I just downloaded a copy of the Almanzo route for this year. It’s the same as 2013. I think I may need to do some course recon in the near future. Logistically difficult to do this, however.
  • There’s nothing more ironic that your toddler losing your GPS-enabled Garmin. I finally found it last night. He put it in the drawer with all my other cycling stuff. Thanks, kid!
  • Been batting around the idea of taking Eddy to Rum River BMX (indoor) with his strider sometime in the near future. He’s obsessed with bikes as much as I am. This would be a blast.

Revisiting My Review: Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells

22566044So yeah, I read a lot of science fiction.  In any given year, it accounts for anywhere from 50% to 80% of what I read.  (Closer to the former the last few years.)  I’m a sucker for a first contact novel, and with a minor in Linguistics, if you make your lead character a linguist, I’m going to be interested.

While I read the book relatively quickly, I don’t know how long it’ll stick with me, and thus, can’t really decide how to rate it. It’s important to note that Fluency is the first book in a trilogy, and had I not had foreknowledge of this, I’d have been pretty disappointed with the conclusion.

The book has some positives — a strong female lead, solid writing, and great pacing. But it falls a little short in other places. In light of the fact that this is the opening in a trilogy, I am willing to overlook some of the parts I felt were a little cliché (the Roswell aliens of 1947, for example), in the hopes that in book two, we’ll see some interesting plot twists.

Upon further consideration, I’ve decided to come back to this review and re-grade it as four stars.  I’ve been thinking about how I feel about the book and while it’s not the super-deep brain candy that, say Watts’s Blindsight is, it’s still a fun romp around the inside of an alien spacecraft.  I enjoyed it more than I realized (note: stop writing book reviews after the kids have kept you up all night), and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Solid four stars.  Buy Fluency on Amazon.

CX/Gravel Bike Frame Build, Part 3

Posts in this series
  1. CX Frame Build, Part 1
  2. CX Frame Build, Part 2
  3. CX/Gravel Bike Frame Build, Part 3

Welcome to the third post about my ongoing process of building myself a new CX/gravel bike.  Things are underway.  The real fun started on Saturday afternoon after an unexpected delay (last week’s session getting cancelled), and in the time I had available, I managed to get some solid work done.  (Photo: roughed-in miter of the top tube where it meets the seat tube.)

Back to Basics

It would have been easiest to just do this up on the mill, but given my desire to hone my skills over the next couple of years and take another crack at framebuilding once my head is on straight, I’ve opted to go back to the old-school route of cutting my miters by hand.  I started with the seat tube/bottom bracket miter first, and it was slow going — a combination of rusty skills, hacking away at a .9mm wall thickness with hand files, and aiming for a level of perfection not generally achievable with hand files made it slow going.

After that was done to a satisfactory point, I moved on to getting the top tube done.  Based on my increasing confidence, and the thinner tube walls, this went a lot faster.  The miter where it meets the seat tube is complete, and the miter where it meets the head tube is largely complete.

Next Steps

  1. Miter down tube.
  2. Prep head tube and bottom bracket.
  3. Put bottle mounts into seat tube and down tube.

Typography and Graphics

Like you’d expect, I’ve changed the graphics/typography for the frame.  Because this is what I do.  Never satisfied.  Which is crazy because this frame is really just a test article that I’m going to beat to death.  I plan on a single-color powdercoat with cut vinyl decals atop it.  Anyway, I decided to use a Chank font for the main logotype and use Bank Gothic Medium for the supporting graphics.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.27.42 AM


So that’s where things are currently at.  I’ve also got a great design for a minimalist head badge, which I’ll probably spend the money on having made into an actual badge by Jen Green.

Five Books That Changed My Perspective

archerA good friend responded to my Feburary 28th post with five pretty legit ideas for posts, so I’m taking these cues and running with them.

1. Snow Crash
This book changed what I thought about the process of writing.  I had gone through a phase when I was younger of wanting to be a science fiction writer, but over time had given up on it.  This abandonment happened largely because so many of the books I was reading up to that point had been largely dry without any attitude or humor or edge (I had not discovered Philip K. Dick, and John Scalzi was decades away).  So when I read the first pages of Snow Crash in the Barnes and Noble in Mankato, I literally said, “Holy fucking shit.”  And then next day, I switched majors to Creative Writing.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
This was required reading in Georgia schools in 8th grade, and was likely the first of many books to really make me think about social issues.  I had grown up in whitebread Minnesota, and was now living in the Deep South, and while I was in a mostly-whitebread suburb of Atlanta, I was now exposed to real racism for the first time.  The story put forth by Lee was compelling, and led me to really look at the world.
3. The Green Mile
Changed my view on the death penalty.  While the story and its elements are hardly realistic, the message about the potential humanity, about reasonable doubt, and man’s inhumanity to man, are all there, boiling below the surface.  By the end, I realized that any acceptance of the death penalty was largely based upon emotion, and that in something as monumental as ending a human life, there is no justification when the decision can be colored by emotion.
4. …And the Band Played On
My first experience with reading about how a combination of governmental policy and scientific infighting cost us countless years and lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  I finished this book in a fit of anger.
5. A People’s History of the United States, 1492 to Present
Not your typical public school history book.  If you thought the U.S. was always the good guy, that you have rights, that somehow this is a government for the people and by the people, then man, you got another thing coming.  Read this.

Those Moments

Yesterday, I left the house for work at noon, with Sam sick, and Eddy in the midst of a full-blown tantrum — the type of tantrum only a three year-old can possibly throw: ridiculous subject matter (“no, I don’t want peaches with my lunch!”) and the kind of focus a sniper would envy. As I got in the car, I said, “Thank fuck I have to work today,” and I was relieved. Nay, I was damned relieved to not have to be there when Eddy was put down for his nap.

Situations like that are the ones I have loathed since becoming a parent. Having a child melting down for seemingly-trivial reasons is stressful enough, and it also brings out the differences in our parenting styles, something that can be a source of stress for both me and Kate.

As I drove to the office, though, I thought about all the happy little moments leading up to today. The endless hours in the NICU with Eddy, holding him and singing him U2 and Bob Marley songs. The quiet hours I spent with Sam just after he was born and while Kate was in surgery. Teaching Eddy to throw rocks into the lake at grandpa’s house. Sam’s fearless laugh as he initiates roughhousing with Eddy.

And I started to realize that all these things, all these moment of peace and joy and goofiness, none of it would be as amazing as it is without the counterpoint of the frustrations and moments of anger or sadness. Because even though there are the shitty moments of being a parent that no one ever really talks about, that can make you insane, make you bury your face in a pillow and scream, make you walk away before you really lose your temper while you question your ability to do the job, those moments are important. Those shitty times make the moments when your kid takes his first step, when he sneaks up and falls asleep next to you on the couch, when he dances in his high chair, when he hugs you tight around the neck at bedtime and won’t let go, all that much more special.

Yesterday I realized that embracing the suckiness is just as important as savoring the joy. It’s time to start taking deep breaths again, to stop raising my voice by default, to start looking for the silver linings, and to be a better dad, a better husband, and a better man.

Frank Sinatra, Playboy Interview, 1963

First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

Pretty much describes my brand of atheism right there.

The whole portion about religion is fucking awesome.

Weekend and Projects Update

This weekend was supposed to see some progress on both my major projects. One, I got some work done, the other stalled for reasons beyond my control.

ANT+ Farm isn’t where I’d like it to be. I found some great sample code and spent the evening trying to get the Arduino linked-up to the ANT+ breakout board, with no luck. Tonight, I’m going to re-check the solders on the breakaway headers and see if they’re okay.

As for the CX/gravel racer frame…well, I had arrangements to work with A-Train on Saturday afternoon, but he was out of steam about the same time I was going to leave to head over there. So we cancelled until next weekend. I suppose I did get some progress done. I started to mark-up the tubes and printed out mitering templates.

So I can’t complain. It was a pretty awesome weekend all the way around.

Friday, after riding to work, I scored a used Burley trailer on Craigslist for a lot less than it would to buy new. Based on the trail conditions, I didn’t want to haul it home, which was good, because the return trip was brutal. I was already tired, plus had to battle a stiff headwind most of the way home, and the trail surface was still soft enough where my tires sank in more than they gripped. I arrived home beat to shit, back hurting, and wiped out, but happy. I had planned on doing some work on the ANT+ Farm project this evening, but only managed to get the breakaway headers soldered to the ANT+ board. All my wire was too heavy a gauge to work with the headers.

IMG_2778Saturday, all sorts of insanity happened and I’m a little muddled on the order of things. Sam got introduced to music on the headphones, and sat and swayed and bounced in his highchair to Damien Rice, U2, and a few other bands, which was hiliariously entertaining. Later in the day, we all went down to the bike shop at the bottom of the hill and got Sam his first strider bike, and Eddy a new helmet. We took the boys to a nearby park and Eddy was all over the place, and even managed to start going down a pretty steep hill pretty fast before he endo’ed over the bars and into the grass. He whined for a few seconds and then got back on the horse — I was pretty proud of his resilience. Sam also puttered around a bit, too, which was fun to watch. After this, Kate and the boys went to her brother’s place for dinner, and knowing I’d have issues with the coconut in the curry, I opted to drive up to Micro Center for some geek tools to get back to work on ANT+ farm. I got everything wired up and called it a night at midnight, after being unable to get the board talking to my Garmin HRM strap. Some troubleshooting is in-order.

Sunday, Kate let me sleep in until a little after nine, which was decadent and amazing and left me feeling only slightly guilty. After I’d been up for a bit, Eddy and I drove to my office to pick up the Burley, and I snagged a few other things, too. Eddy was very excited about the LEGO® on my desk, and even went so far as to ask if that’s what I did all day. Alas, no, it is not. While leaving the parking ramp downtown, he observed, “We’re driving down in circles!” And fell promptly asleep. Rather than wake him up, I opted to drive around for awhile. Did some exploring of the southern reaches of Scott county around Jordan and found some great gravel roads (hilly) that I’m going to ride as part of an Almanzo prep. Went home, and then the family went down to the 50’s-style diner in old downtown and had a big lunch together. After lunch, I got geared-up, put Eddy in the Burley and set out for a ride together. It was short, it was windy on the return trip, and I wasn’t used to hauling the Burley/toddler combo, so I was slow. But he loved it (and cried when we were done), and I had a blast, too. We also counted out the money in his piggybank, some of which he took to Target with mom, and bought himself some Big Hero 6 stuff (Baymax action figure and fuzzy blanket). Once the kids were in bed, Kate and I settled in and watched some TV together.

A busy, but happy weekend.