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Category Archives: Articles

67 Framebuilding Steps with Paul Brodie

May 17th, 2013

Want to be able to build a frame like Paul Brodie? Follow this handout Paul has devised for his framebuilding 101 course and it’ll give you a start. Better still of course attend one of his courses :D

The PROCESS:

1. design frame
2. full scale drawing
3. select tubing
4. mark DT for butting (more…)

3 Peaks Cyclocross 2012 AKA The Life Aquatic with Ed Zissou

October 2nd, 2012

I blame Pervy Bob. Or his dad. Or possibly even his beautiful, unobtainable, older sister (she was two years older which meant that at the time she was pretty much Mrs. Robinson. Oh, and she spoke fluent French which only added to the unobtainable mystique). Actually, most of all I blame Pervy Bob, and not only for the effect the following had on me.

Back in 1986 I was at college and Pervy Bob invited me for a weekend in Nelson; despite his name this was in no way sinister. Having enjoyed a pleasantly boozy Saturday night I was a bit put out to be raised from my slumber in the attic at some unearthly hour the next morning to go and watch Pervy Bob’s dad perform unspeakable acts in public. I must admit that I was a little unnerved to be standing on a desolate and godforsaken hillside with no idea what to come – and then men appeared racing down the grass on bikes. Very fragile looking bikes heading at top speed down a gradient that would have given me pause for thought about walking down. Occassionally one rider would decide to leave his bike behind while performming acrobatic feats rarely seen outside of Billy Smart’s Big Top – I swear to this day that one bearded fellow exited over the bars, performed a perfect forward roll to standing and proceeded to run down the hill (no mean acomplishment when the bike was fitted with toeclips and straps pulled tight and he was wearing studded Walsh fell running shoes), although the effect was slightly spoiled when he had to return up the slope to retrieve his bike. Memory may be betraying me (again) but the fact that it was a grassy slope indicates that I was spectating on the descent off Ingleborough near Cold Cotes but I was awestruck by what I was seeing – this was well before the days that mountainbikes were ubiquitous and I wasn’t one of those kids who went scrambling around the local woods on a hopped up Raleigh Arena – and there was no way that I would ever achieve the levels of fitness never mind skill to match these wiry men of iron. But I was intrigued and an itch started that wouldn’t even be mentioned, let alone scratched, until 21 years later in 2007.

Click here to read the full article.

Ed and My Mate Dave vs the Italian Alps

September 24th, 2012

6 years ago I was on the cusp of 40 and in time honoured fashion wanted to celebrate in a suitable manner (no, not that way, hookers appear chronologically much later in this tale). My Mate Dave had always talked about his Raid Pyrenean adventure, so, with his able logistical support, I decided to take on the major climbs in the Pyrennes, the Tormalet, Aspin, Aubisque etc. I was pretty fit from running and thought that would see me through. After 96 miles in 38C on the first days it was clear that this approach was fundamentally flawed. Over the next week climbs followed, descents were avoided (what’s the point in a hire car unless you’re prepared to use it?) and My Mate Dave’s smiling face, as he leaned out of the window to offer what he maintains to this day were ‘words of encouragement’, was seared into my mind.

Moving on three years, the expensive counseling had stitched my fragile psyche back together and I was ready for the French Alps, Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Croix de Fer and the rest. But this time My Mate Dave was riding – payback time! An enjoyable week was had cycling squares up Alpe d’Huez while looking down (metaphorically, literally and in every other way) on My Mate Dave several hairpins below. Somehow, despite sneering and gloating on my part (for which I am still proud), our friendship endured.

Fast forward to early 2012 (fast forward into the past? Does that scan?), and My Mate Dave mooted a trip to the Italian Alps to take on some of the legendary Giro climbs – the likes of the Stelvio, Gavia and the reportedly fearsome Mortirolo. I wasn’t really going to say no, was I?

Being both steeped in cycling folk lore and undeniably pretentions, I knew that the key to the whole trip was le metier. Having booked the trip 6 months previously I had plenty of time to organise equipment, body, mind. I thus timed it like a space mission as those never go wrong (apart from Apollo 13 and then Tom Hanks saved the day. Or was it Kevin Bacon?) and before I knew what had happened I emerged from a space/time vortex and was looking down the barrel of T -60 hours with a bike in pieces, skinned knuckles and a barked shin…..

Click here to read the whole article

Retrobike Beer!

June 7th, 2012

Church End Brewery in North Warwickshire UK have brewed up this fine ale which is available now and for the next three weeks from selected pubs in the region and from the brewery direct. Brewers Karl and Spencer who are Retrobike regulars organised a road ride from the brewery over the weekend, click here for the aftermath, the retrobike beer was of course sampled mid and apres ride. In the name of journalistic integrity your correspondent sampled numerous pints of the ale over the long weekend (here in the UK at least) and is pleased to report the Retrobike ale not only has a fine taste but also has the desired and expected effects. If you can’t get hold of any from the brewery you’ll have a chance to sample some Retrobike beer at Mountain Mayhem :D

Bespoked Bristol 2012 Report

March 26th, 2012

Just 9 months after the first ever UK Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol, the 2012 edition was upon us. There was a new venue, the pre-show publicity looked like it was going to be bigger, much bigger. John, armed with his ‘My First Canon’, and I went to find out. What follows is very much a personal perspective.

The UK Handmade Bicycle Show 2012 www.bespokedbristol.co.uk was based at Brunel’s Old Station, basically part of the Templemeads complex. Waiting for The Guvnor to negotiate the one way system (he was within 10m a good quarter of an hour before he actually pulled up), I lounged outside on a wall in the sun, people watching. It was a battle between pretty girls with their floaty dresses and summer legs and bicycles. Steel bicycles. Although they were only Surly (frames not girls), the bikes won out. I’m not sure if that is necessarily a good thing to admit. Anyway, before I got the fury at a fixed conversion of a Corsa Extra, John arrived.

As we made to enter the venue we were stopped by a pleasant security guard – “have you got tickets?”. I was affronted – didn’t he know who I was? Clearly not, as he would have realised that I don’t need anything as grubby as a ticket to gain entrance. Thankfully John said “our names are on the list” and we were whisked inside.

First impressions? Bigger than 2011. Much, much bigger. Click to read the full Bespoked Bristol report.

Brodie’s 1888 Whippet – Part X – People’s Choice at NAHBS 2012

March 22nd, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a some pictures of the finished 1888 Whippet as shown at NAHBS 2012. To make the work more worthwhile Paul took the People’s Choice award at NAHBS 2012 for his whippet build – congrats :D Click more for full set of pics (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part IX – Cranks

March 16th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

I have quite a few photos of the Whippet sitting in the Ottawa Museum of Science and Technology. It’s under plastic, sitting up in a mezzanine, and not on display. I do not, however, have one photo that shows an entire crank arm. So, here is the lower section, held to the BB axle with a tapered cotter pin >
(more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part VIII – Bottom Bracket

March 15th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

The Whippet bottom bracket is not so simple. It holds the lower spring mount, and also incorporates the swing arm pivot. On the far right is the “spoon” brake, used against the rear tire. The Whippet has no front brake. Good Luck if you’re going downhill in the rain… (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part VII – Rear Hub

March 12th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

The Whippet rear hub was made of bronze on this original bike, and also had radial spoking, which I did not expect at all >
(more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part VI – Chainring

March 9th, 2012

Following on from his previous article on the Whippet seatpost Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

The Whippet Chainring was my next project. This is a 17 tooth chainring, but I made mine 18 teeth because it was so much easier to hold in a 3 jaw chuck. The chain is a 3/8″ block chain. It was hard to find; I finally located one in England. Notice the 2 “stops” on either side of the crank arm.. (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part V – Seatpost

March 8th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

I didn’t have a lot to go on for the Whippet seat post. The Whippet drawing shows a straight seat post, so why does this one have a kink? If the factory wanted a bend, it would have been a smooth bend. I chose to ignore the kink, but I did like the shape of the top clamp > (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part IV – Seat Collar

March 6th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

Building the seat collar was a fun job. Pretty simple, and only one days work. (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part III – Brake Lever

February 29th, 2012

Following on from his previous articles Paul Brodie kindly sent us a further article detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

Hi. Paul Brodie here. NAHBS is coming up FAST, and I still have a LOT to do on the Whippet! I have never made so many parts for just one bike. In this tour of my shop, I’ll show you how the brake lever was created by copying the original in the photo below. In all, it took about 2 days > (more…)

Paul Brodie – Building the Whippet Part II

February 21st, 2012

Following on from his previous article Paul Brodie kindly sent us a second article further detailing the rebuild of the 1888 Whippet at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

Hi. Paul Brodie here. This is the 2nd installment in a series detailing how the 1888 Whippet came together. This bike will be shown at NAHBS March 2-4, 2012. It falls a bit outside of “regular framebuilding” because so many of the components have to be created from basically nothing. (more…)

Who is Paul Brodie, and what does he do in his shop?

January 12th, 2012

Paul Brodie kindly sent us this article regarding one of his current projects at Flashback Fabrications. Enjoy :D

Who is Paul Brodie, and what does he do in his shop? This is a good question. On Velocipede Salon I read recently that I’m a “framebuilder who made some pretty good frames in the 80′s and early 90′s.” Not much has been heard from me (bicycle wise..) for about a decade, so maybe I’m a “has-been”, a washout…

Here’s the truth: back in those days I had a dozen employees at the high point, and I was frantically running around trying to manage (in no particular order..) employees, payroll, lawsuits, lawyers, magazines, ads, distributors, WCB, PST, GST, fire code regulations, landlords, shop leases, accountants, book-keepers, new products, trade shows, race team, frame production, R&D, brochures, Test of Metal race, warranties, marketing, customers, sales reps, tubing orders, and more. I wore too many hats, and don’t think I did any of the above particularly well. I spent little time on the shop floor actually “making things”… (more…)

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