Filed In: Process


Friday, October 4, 2019   |   Chris Blandford

It’s been over a year since I’ve written anything for this spot. Not sure why, really. I’m still as enthusiastic about these bicycles, photos, and words as I’ve ever been. It’s not a case of writer’s block (or builder’s block) either; I have a million bikes to build and photos to take and stories to tell.

Might be my general apathy. Possibly my perfectionist paralysis. Maybe a combination of both, which is a frightening thought. Not sure.

There’s something about fall, however, that screams building bicycles and holing up in my little workshop to write and to edit photos. The leaves falling seem to induce motivation. And so here I am, back to not make promises I likely wouldn’t keep anyway. I’m going to try something new. Fewer long-form essays and stories and more regular posts and updates. I’ve updated my website to reflect that desire to keep a regular journal. Hopefully function follows form on that front. The completed bikes are now on their own, in galleries; the stories and posts will go in this spot here for as long as I can muster.

On that note, I’ve been getting a few questions through Instagram about process (both bike-related and photo-related), and so I may put together some task-oriented posts as well. How-to type stuff. I’m not a professional anything, but I can certainly describe how I go about things in my limited space, and with my underseasoned experience.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. No promises.

Now then, let’s catch up.

Earlier in the summer, I completed the touring bike I started last fall. The thing took forever. I probably bit off more than I could chew at the time, but I wanted that bike and I (eventually) made it happen. In the end, I’m quite happy with it. I’ve been riding it nearly every day around town; it’s basically replaced the blue-ish porteur I was previously riding day-to-day. A (sorta) complete photo set and description is now in the gallery.

Meanwhile and more to-the-point, while the tourer was out for paint, I decided to build a quick and dirty cycle-truck. I’d never ridden one, but was intrigued by the design.

I’m sold. Cycle-truck. I like it. I'll write more about these style of bikes down the road. But having built and ridden this little hobbyist prototype, I was hungry to see how nice a cycle truck I could make.

And so a few weeks ago, I started in on another one. Tweaked things a bit. Slapped an electric assist motor on the thing. Tried out a different style rack. A few other things. This one ll I’ll have painted. This one I’ll put some nice parts on and keep “forever”. As it stands, it’s about ninety-percent done. I’ll wait to share more photos until next week, once it’s free of flux and my perfectionist grasp.

Finally, here’s a little story that I shared via Instagram yesterday.

We’re lying in her bed one night, and I ask Mathilda what she wants to be when she grows up. Our three-year-old answers, “a ballerina” but then quickly corrects herself, “no... actually… a teacher”. Then she asks me back. “What do you want to be when you grow up, Poppa?” I tell her that I’m not sure--which is only half-false--and I ask her what she’d suggest. She poses, “maybe a bike builder?”. While I tickle her back I respond, “Yah, maybe a bike builder.” And then Mathilda sighs, rolls away from me, picks a booger from her nose, wipes it on the wall next to her bed, closes her eyes, and says “I love you, Poppa.”

The long stories take time, and my apathetic perfectionism often gets in the way. These little short things, though--I can do those. I should try and do more of those.

That’s it for now. Here are this week’s workshop photos, posted to Instagram but copied here because I don’t trust that place.