Hello! Another week has gone by and it's time for another blog. You really realise how quickly the days pass when you have to sit down to write another outpouring, especially when it only feels like yesterday that the last one went live. So...what's been happening?
We've started the first proper week back with a big workshop tidy. It's not very exciting I know, but if you've ever had the misfortune to visit during a messy phase, you'll know that the 'shop gets overrun with tools, materials and my own stress at not being able to move. I've never been a 'tidy worker' and my workshop isn't a pristine show piece. I know plenty of people manage to clean at the end of the day, but they also probably pull on a clean pair of jeans the next day if they get a grease splodge on the previous pair. I wear the same dungarees until my wife has to forcibly remove them. It's not as sexy as it might sound.
It's funny actually. We'll never forget when someone came to visit us before we had finished building the workshop as it is now. We managed to build some beautiful bikes in an old double garage, surrounded by the new workshop and with a leaking roof. Instead of seeing the workmanship etc, our 'esteemed guest' simply laughed, enjoyed our hospitality at the village pub and then fucked off, never to publish anything about us as promised. Good times. But it did teach us not to bother with 'writers' anymore (my wife is actually a professional in this area and can sniff out a bullshitter a mile away now) and that a fancy clean workshop doesn't mean shit apart from fawning reviews from people who like fancy photos for their blog. I actually do have a bit of a fancy workshop now and nobody gets invited. Sorry guys, but one arsehat always ruins it for everyone else.
I know that I need to add more storage, sort my shadow boards etc etc, but when I can see the floor, it's a good sign that I'm about to get down to some serious productivity. With two frames to finish in the next couple of weeks, some smaller projects to get moving and lots of wheels in the order book, the timing couldn't be better.
For once, we worked on one of our own bikes this week. A while back, we got hold of some of the new Larry vs Harry thru-axle dropouts and installed them on our non-electric Bullitt. Since then, it's bothered us that we have had a mix of thru-axle and quick release, especially during an OCD flare-up recently. We converted the front end with some in-house machined stainless steel custom parts, added some brazing and tig welding into the mix and now we have a matching set. While we were at it, we finally got an aluminium bracket machined, which slips inside the steerer tube, to mount our custom 20" Gilles Berthoud front fender. This was gifted to us by the lovely Sebastien over at Brevet Cycles. We finally have it fitted dude! The bracket is held in place by the front light mount and is slotted to allow routing for the dynamo wiring.
The fork is currently rattle-canned white, to counter the powdercoat damage done during welding. It's good looking from afar but far from good looking, but we are toying with the idea of a new and silly paint or powder scheme. The bracket will go off for anodising at the same time. Just got to make the time...
As we reminisced our previous visitor, we digressed to talking about some of the other amazing exposure opportunities that never delivered even an iota of what they promised or we hoped (and led to us intentionally removing ourselves from the 'community' and industry), we couldn't help but have a chuckle about those Vulpine bikes.
We remain so proud of them. Especially the ladies mixte. We had an unreasonable timeframe, not even remotely enough money and a lot of shitty behaviour to deal with during the project but the resulting gravel and ladies bicycles were, we think, pretty special. Aside from driving to York, from Norfolk, to get them to paint (and collecting them too), we also hossed to Cambridge to roll the tubing for the mixte, courtesy of Toby over at Toad Custom Cycles. There was a lot of time and personal capital invested into the frames, only for them to get overshadowed by the subsequent scandals at the former incarnation of Vulpine. Such a shame. They were also heavily inflated price-wise, without our say so and apparently we were offering a run of them too. News to us! What could have been a lovely collaboration turned into a nightmare and even worse, a friend was brought onboard to do some photography for the company and was never paid. We were, but only because Mrs August is something of a stern force to be reckoned with and insisted on payment in full, prior to delivery, despite intense efforts to avoid transferring the money. To this day we feel for everyone negatively impacted by the collapse of Vulpine as it was. But...it's time to move on from the disappointments of the past. they do make for funny blogs though.
We don't do shows, we don't tend to be anyone's first choice to be invited to events etc and that is how we like things. We dipped our toes into playing the game and found the water tepid and smelly. It's not us being negative, just protective of the positive and happy circle we have come to be a part of and are increasingly grateful for. And on that note.
We don't want to talk about people without their approval, but this week has seen a fellow framebuilder reach out to us to talk about mental health, relationships, pressure and the never-ending hell of self-imposed expectations. Never in a million years did we think that this particular person, known for their amazing builds, would become a trusted friend, confidante and collaborative mind. It's blown our minds a tiny bit to learn that they consider us a talented peer too. If only they could have seen that dingy old double garage...
Right. Drum roll for SHITHEAD OF THE WEEK. Congratulations to the fucker on eBay that got in touch to "make a cheeky offer" on some carbon rims, as long as we would also "throw in the spokes". Yes chap. Of course we'll take less than the price of one rim for the pair AND chuck you almost £70 worth of spokes too. Our pleasure. Hahaha. You don't ask, you don't get. Though in this case you DID ask and still didn't get, so bugger off back to Chain Reaction.
Also, there was more movement on this...