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Father/Daughter Project - Part 2

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Father/Daughter Project - Part 2

Tuesday, 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...

Here’s what we’re building.


For the Father (me, 34 years young):
700c x 35mm-ish Singlespeed Cruiser

For the Daughter (Mathilda, 3 years old):
16” x 1.75” Singlespeed Pedal Bike

Both bikes will feature fillet-brazed frames and (most likely) lugged forks. My bike might also get a fillet-brazed stem. Mathilda’s bike will likely not. Both bikes will get hand-operated V-brakes--number and locations to be determined.

My tentative plan is to build both bikes as quasi-mixtes, with curvy twin top-tubes that extend from the headtube to the rear dropouts (Retrotec inspired/shamelessly ripped off). This might change if I’m unable to execute them on the Daughter Bike for whatever reason. Clearances and such. We’ll find out. I’ve built one mixte previously, but it sucked... hard. It now hangs on my wall, unfinished, and mocks me daily. So this should be fun.

Neither bike will have fenders. No racks. Minimal braze-ons. Pretty simple, compared to my last couple projects. I may try my hand at internal-routing the rear brake cable on the Daughter Bike. I’m indifferent to internal cable routing in general, but in this case, it might be nice to keep the potential-flesh-wounders (braze-ons) to a minimum. A kid’s bike sounds challenging enough already, though, so we’ll see.

My goal is to have both bicycles ready for paint before the holidays. Fingers crossed. That should give Black Magic Paint enough time to get them painted by mid-February--Mathilda’s fourth birthday is on the 16th.

That’s the plan.

My first action when starting on a bicycle is to brainstorm a bit and visualize the bike as a whole. Do a little photo research. Make mental notes. So that’s what I did, for these bikes, last night. Ironically, this is the same way I begin a new professional project, too. I find photos of better work than I’m capable of, print them, and hang them on the wall. A target at which to aim, I suppose.

Tonight I’ll put together an actual design and a list of needed materials. I'm excited to get started and find out what I'm completely overlooking, this time.