W/C 15.03.21 Workshop Update: Misogynists, mini velos and magnificent pipes

Hello everyone. Well. What a mixed bag this week has been. In the workshop, things have gone well and we've gotten some fun projects buttoned up and ready to send out. But out in the real world it's been somewhat disappointing.


Let's start with the fact that I honestly don't recognise cycling anymore. Back in the day, my pops taught me that you always acknowledge other cyclists and you sure as hell aren't rude. Oh how times have changed. Billy Big Balls' on the bikes they've tried out in LBS's and then ordered online and 'Chads' are killing it for everyone. We used to be taught that on a club run, you ride to the slowest person but now? We hear horror stories all the time about newbies being blown out the back so they don't bother coming back. It's not so much that I care about being blanked by people in lycra when I'm riding a commuter bike but what about people who are just starting out on two wheels? Acting like you're better than them because you have the money to spend on an expensive bike? That's exclusionary and honestly, we can spot you in an email. There are some choice phrases you use when enquiring about something custom and you all always ghost after getting a tentative cost.


The other dick move of the week, as I'm sure any of you that follow us on Instagram know, was Amy being bad-mouthed. Now then. To the huge (and I do mean huge!) number of people that got in touch with us to say that talking with Amy in email was one of the highlights of the whole experience of working with us, thank you. It was interesting to see that a couple of you had been on the receiving end of 'sharp' messages too, but still had nothing but kind words to say. Amy runs most of the office side of things for me. She deals with initial enquiries, talks to you about design, organises your paint and gets your parts ordered. I literally wouldn't have a business without her. She's also my wife, so on a basic level, if you have a problem with her, you have one with me too. Most of you won't be privy to how selfless Amy is. How she'll stay up through all time zones to talk with people, go above and beyond to remember important dates and the fact that she always haggles to get the best prices on everything for our customers. You also probably don't appreciate her class when it comes to calling people out, because I really want to name this week's arsehole (as well as where he works).


It's worth knowing a factor two about this chap, not least that he is part of the cycling industry. He has dealt with Amy three times. During the first, he wanted a set of climbing wheels for a trip to France. We aren't friends but have mutual acquaintances. He asked to take a custom wheel set and then pay when he returned from his holiday. Amy said no, because who does that? (As it happens, this seems to have been the right decision as he has a reputation for always borrowing but never returning). The second instalment came a year later, when he asked about the same wheels and was outraged that they had gone up. Explaining inflation and supplier increases was not well received. He then bought a set of Hope Hoops and asked us to true them to hand built standard. We explained why we don't do that and perhaps the ego was a bit dented from there. Finally, he fancied a coffee tamper, but we were a little rich for his blood. All this resulted in an unsolicited option about my wife 'giving people a mouthful', years later. But apparently I'm "OK". No idea how he knows this. He has never ordered anything from us, so presumably he is just offering an expert opinion based on nothing. We had a bit of an argument in our house, it has to be said. I really wanted to call this guy out by name but Amy asked me not to. She reminded me that you never know what people are dealing with or their own mental health, so he might be lashing out for some other reason. Shame he couldn't be so gracious in his thinking, or extend an apology. We know he knows we have seen the message and he is just ignoring it.


So here's the short lesson: If you get a rude email from Amy, you will have definitely been rude first. If you get a 'no thank you' email from Amy, it's because we don't have capacity for/interest in your project. And if you are so insecure that you won't respond to my wife if she messages you and want to come straight to me, you will be disappointed. There is no place for misogyny here and your shitty token posts on International Women's Day and Mother's Day don't excuse you from the way you treat other people's wives and mothers. We have a responsibility to do better, as men and humans. Especially in this industry.


Right. Onto something more positive and fun. MINI VELO TIME! We never really pictured ourselves building a mini velo, let alone one with a removable back end, but here we are! That being said, we have helped with the construction of another rather well-known award-winning model. When we first talked with our customer, we were going to be making a gravel frame, but you all know how things change and develop and in the end, it was a splittable travel bike or nothing.


It's a Columbus tubing extravaganza with T45 seat stays and wishbone, Paragon Machine Works polydrops and a PF30 bottom bracket shell, so it can be run with gears or an eccentric BB to be single speed. We made a little uncrown fork for it, with one-off drop-outs made entirely in-house and our kind of signature style post mounts. The frame has a flush seat tube binder and signature custom head tube rings.


The rear end detaches via a split in the wishbone. This was inspired by English Cycles' Folding Travel Concept but rather than using a sleeve/pinch bolt arrangement like Rob, we've used a male-female cone system and the fixing goes up into the bottom of the wishbone to secure everything in place while keeping the bolt hidden. In the chainstay area we went with a simple plate-and-bolts set up. All the fixings are regular M8 x 125 stainless cap heads that can be found in a local hardware store as we wanted to avoid the hassle of proprietary hardware for the customer. The polydrops are two pieces and split as well, meaning that the whole rear triangle disassembles. This also makes the bike belt-drive compatible, if that's required. Currently, the drop-out inserts are our workshop mules, but new ones are being supplied for the customer.


Our customer was really keen on a slack head tube with a very short rear end, so we've designed exactly that, with clearance for 2.4 tyres. We believe it will be getting a cerokote finish, which will make a nice change from utilitarian powdercoat! It will be leaving the workshop raw as our customer is in the industry and has some brilliant contacts. We can't wait to see it built and looking amazing! What's that? Pictures please? Well ok then...

We also made something we can't talk about. For someone brilliant. It's all very HUSH hush. Basically, certain leisure time activities are legal in parts of America, where our benefactor lives. They aren't here in the UK, though Europe seems to be a little more accommodating. We don't partake personally but hear that certain herbal remedies can be quite lovely, especially during a ride with chums. That's why we decided to make something suitably FANCY for our favourite one-hitter. The diamond head is manually machined from brass and the stem is stainless steel. The optimum bowl size was dictated by a real connoisseur.


It was a fun little project and something done for giggles. Despite the suggestion, we aren't going to change our name to August Pipecycles, but if you need anything similarly exotic, get in touch. No judgement or mouthfuls from Amy. Guaranteed.

And that's about it for this week apart from lots of uninteresting parts-chasing and admin going on, as well as some mods on a vintage Specialized. As always, thanks to everyone who has been in touch this week, placed orders and asked when we are making our stem racks. They are in progress, so make sure you have your deposits in or email us if you want to order one.


Rad Peeps of the Week:

  • Mark E, for always giving us great coffee

  • Everyone that bought us a coffee this week, once again!

  • Nick K for a lovely email

  • Scott B. Just because he is a perpetual sweetheart

  • Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds, for being our spirit animal

See you next time and remember, if you can't say anything nice, just shut the fuck up.