FRANCES

SMALL-TIME BICYCLE DESIGN & MANUFACTURE

FRAMEBUILDER & CONSTRUCTEUR

Road, cross, cargo, randonneur, brevet, tour, adventure and everyday bicycles

Now building and selling the FARFARER TRAILER!

Design, fabrication & assembly of fully integrated bicycles with an emphasis on fit, performance, utility and beauty.

STEEL FRAME REPAIR  AND MODIFICATION SERVICES AVAILABLE

Alignment - Tube and dropout replacement - Brazons

Staf Magazine

Staf Magizine is published out of Spain and concerned with arts, craftspeople, people doing stuff, or as they put it:

"STAF is an Do It Yourself Idealist and Creative House focus on independent cultura, arts & (sub)cultures. A declaration of Independence. Based in Perchel Sur, Europe"

You can find Staf Magazine at these internet locations:


www.facebook.com/stafmagazine
www.twitter.com/stafmagazine  (I don't actually use twitter myself)
www.instagram.com/stafmagazine   

 

A while back they sent me a bunch of interview questions and I responded as best I could.  Brian Vernor came by and took some shop photos.  You can find the interview HERE

 

AND I am on Instagram at www.instagram.com/francescycles/

NAHBS Recap and Recovery

It takes a lot to get to the show (beyond the extravagant booth fee).  I am lucky to have a good group backing (propping) me up.  We brought some bikes (more photos coming of the bikes, which are of course still for sale).   It was superfun, exhausting, inspiring . . . 

In our California MeetYourMakerTour block (that's our industry group) I was pleased to be near good friends.  Mitch Pryor was to my right with MAP Bicycles.  He does excellent work and makes bikes I'd love to ride.   This could be said of a number of builders, but Mitch's work exemplifies the French randoneur style.  Matt Feeney shared a back wall with me which we pulled down.  I love Matt and his Pass and Stow racks (PassandStow.com)

The photos I took have the edge of the voyeur with an old 135mm e-series lens under distant LED convention center lighting.  They are of the framebuilders and their cohort, trying to sell their machines.  I didn't photograph any bikes- professionals were there to take care of that, although I'm not sure they did their job. 

Portraits from NAHBS 2016

Below is our booth from instagram (mydestroyedsweater).

Cargo bikes by @francescycles. #nahbs2016 #bike #bicycle #handmadebike #cargobike #francescycles #nahbs

A photo posted by Rose, NY ✈️CA (@mydestroyedsweater) on

The in-house media circus gave me an oportunity to stand in front of a camera and feel inarticulate.

The in-house media circus gave me an oportunity to stand in front of a camera and feel inarticulate.

Below is the latest from Vince Waring on the current smallhaul project.  

Test-fitting for a @francescycles SmallHaul cargo bicycle before the grommets are set.

A photo posted by Vince Waring (@wearingwaring) on

Frances and Velo Orange

The fine folks of Velo Orange just sent over some photos of the Frances frameset they are taking to NAHBS to showcase their parts.  I am proud to have a bike in their booth!

The bike will be for sale, as will some other bikes in my booth, so come see!

Frances tourist dressed by Velo Orange
Frances Frameset built up by Velo Orange

Check out the good offering of Velo Orange at their site and at the NAHBS booth #440.  They offer a quality line of components and parts for great classic bike build-ups.

New Year, hey I'm blogging. . .

There is so much going on in the Frances workshop!  

Photo: Brian Vernor

Photo: Brian Vernor

The batch of 10 cargo bikes is nearing completion with the first 3 headed off to paint this week, kickstands and all.  Behind schedule, but awesome.  I am turning up my work time, getting support from Ann, my Mom and friends with Greta child care and doing my best to get ready for NAHBS end of Februaury: trailers, bikes, cargo bikes.  I will even have a bike in the Velo Orange booth modeling a VO build-up!

In sad news, we lost our long-time shop and yard duck, Piglet.  I once read that the leading cause of death for ducks was ingesting hardware etc- This made me worry for Piglet being someone who produces a lot of small sharp metal.  But she made it well over a decade (her age is in dispute) and was a wonderful companion.  In the end I was home just 30 minutes after dusk and she was no-where to be found- I searched high and low. No trail of feathers, nothing.  We loved her so much.

Find more Piglet photos HERE

I have been making 3/8 tubing benders out of high-density plastic (bath room stall material from Neptune's Kingdom)  (link to video)

Josh

Cosmic First Friday!

We're all invited to Cosmic for First Friday!

In addition to Tacos from the Back Porch (It's what I eat for breakfast at the West Side Market whilst selling vegetables for Route One on Saturday mornings) and beer from Corralitos Brewing, some great local entrepreneurs and builders will be showing their wares and exposing some of the process that goes into their craft.

Since they're serving food, thay want to know how many are coming- sign up at eventbright - it's free.

Cosmic is Downtown at the Corner of Front and Cooper.

John Calletti builds what I think are some of the hottest titanium racing bikes I have ever seen.  His skill are reflected in his beautiful and seemingly perfectly executed bicycles. Caletti Cycles 

Lauren Junker takes cycling's worn-out cast-offs and repurposes supple road tires and inner-tubes into a line of bags, wallets and crafts.  Totally Tubular!

Garrett Kautz designs and works with  waxed canvas and leather to create a wide array of bags and crafts.  His work is top-notch and I love him.  Great socks too!  I appreciate his commitment to custom bag work for cargo bikes as I know it's time-consuming. . . Strawfoot Handmade

I'll be there!  I'll have the latest drawings for the Mixtehauls (which are close to heading to paint!), some parts in process and a selection of tools as well as a couple frames and my warm personality.  

Wildcats, a cargo bike show, Novembers First friday. . .

Frances is Steppin' out with some events coming up.  

Thanks to Alex at the Box Bike Collective, I'll be showing at the San Jose Cargo Bike Festival next Sunday at the Armory from 10am to 2pm!

The Wild Critter! 

The third Wildcat Race of the season is coming to us on the  8th of November.  Check out the details on the Wild Critter Facebook page.

And further on into November here is one that you should not miss if you lurk in the Santa cruz Downtown Basin (Flood-plain).

The Cosmic Design Studio is hosting a November first Friday event featuring John Caletti of Caletti Cycles, Lauren Junker of Totally Tubular, Garret Kautz with Strawfoot, and myself with Frances.  We'll be showing off the latest efforts coming out of our shops and trying to look beautiful.

But let's not be confused: The food will be served by Austin and friends at the  Back Porch and the drinks are supplied by  Corralitos Brewing. These folks are Artisans too and we can marvel at and appreciate their wares as well.

Cosmic is downtown at 115 Cooper Street (corner of Cooper & Front Streets) from 5-9pm.  And since they are hoping to feed a bunch of folks they like to hear how many might show up, so visit their EventBrite page and register (it's free and pretty easy).

Otherwise, shop-time is full of cargo bike and trailer fabrication with more trailers rolling out (holler if you want one!) and a rash of frame-repairs and modifications.  Here's a photo Daniel sent from near Point Arena.

Pounding the Flukes

This bike is # 7 of a run of 9 Mixtehauls and #9 is in the jig ready to be tacked.  Lately I have been wondering: Why did I choose to make 9?  Well, it's so there can be 9 more of these fine fun and useful machines out rolling around in the world!

Here is how I shape the flukes, every one is different!

In other news, the Farfarer Trailers are selling as fast -- a little faster than we can build them and apparently faster than I can photograph.  I'll work on the documentation.   If you want one, send me a request and get on the list!  Surf racks are also available for the trailer.

River Sculptures are coming down! (early)

After our project being approved by multiple agencies to stay up for a while longer, someone at the City realized that they had forgotten to get the appropriate permits from The Army Corps, as it is their levee after all.

So it's coming down.  The Bear has been claimed, but the other plates are likely looking for homes should you want to own a piece.

Also, If you want to hang out on the levee and lift heavy stuff (or hang out with a toddler), give a holler and come join us.

down river


Josh

Class is out; I'm back in the shop!

CCA Summer session wrapped up with 6 frames and even a fork.  The bikes are all different sorts: 26", 700C, 650B and all with different style dropouts (hoods, slots, plugs, sleeves, rockers, sliders. . .), lugged frames, fillet-brazed frames. . . Here we are at about 10:30pm wrapping up our last session:

CCA summer 2015

There are a bunch more photos of the students and their bikes and photos of the process HERE.

I'm back in the shop and the 1/2 of the True Temper tubes that I ordered 10 months ago finally arrived

True Temper makes great steel tubing and they're the only ones doing it in the US (as far as I can tell), but the organization is a mess to deal with.  Straight gauge orders can be made, but you will never receive a quote or ship-date.  I ordered tubes last year to be ready for classes and cargo bike-building- I ordered tubes that were in stock so that it would ship quickly.  I ordered about 500' and received only 200'.  Fortunately, it's enough to keep me going, but the situation leaves us builders wondering, is there a better way?

The tubes I had been waiting on are 1 1/8" x .035, and here is some of that shipment assembled as Mixtehaul floors- the next batch is well underway!

cargo bike floors

or more process photos of those floors coming together, check out my flick stream HERE. (which of course also incled photos of Greta the kiddo and everything else I am motivated to photograph.)

-Josh

River Ghosts

Ann Altstatt conceptualized and designed the art installation along the San Lorenzo River ("The mighty San Lorenzo!" as we like to say).  I was the enabler (made some calculations, cut and welded some metal).  Alan Ziegler ran the plasma CNC cutter (which he built himself).

The Trees are inspired by an old wind-row that protected the one of the many orchards in the flood plain.  this is before the levees that came after the '55 flood when shore lines were extensions of yards and orchards.  The spectators are from a Venitian Water Carnival of the past.  

The installation is temporary although we don't have any idea for how long.  When it comes time to dig them up, we're hoping to sell them to good homes to recoup our costs.  If you want one, please get in touch.  

Click here for more images on flick.

Canoe

For now, they're out on the Levee so go check them out!  The San Lorenzo River is a treasure and likely the reason for the Town.  I live in the flood plain and its water once ran over this spot (and not just in the '55 flood, but for years on end when the river could choose it's own path and high tides and shoals created broad sloughs throughout the south of laurel (SOL) neighborhoods and Flats.

If we'd gotten to placing text at the installation it might have said:

"Once there were tall trees and bears in the river"

Row bost

 There is change a foot with regard to how our town percieves the river.  We're starting to see a few boats on the water again.

In addition, the Powers that be ( I think in this case that's State Fish and Wildlife) are apparently finally regulating the Seaside company's ability to to breach the river mouth in the middle of the night whenever they feel the need.  This really just means that the breaching now is controlled and river water is kept at a "reasonable" shoaled level that protects the diesel generators  etc in the Boardwalk basement.   Maybe some time before we see bears, but the San Lo is our town's wildlife corridor and there is a vibrant ecology out there.

As far as how this relates to bikes, you will see in the collection of photos on flickr that we managed to move everything (a lot of 1/4 plate steel, steel poles, 15 60lb sacks of concrete (900 lbs) and a bunch of tools etc.) on a couple tricycles.  The new Trishaw built at CCA got most of it when Ann and Kyle fetched the concrete (they did say it was a bit much).

Ann and Kyle return with burritos and cement.

Very many thanks to Ann for the inspiration and all the hard work!

CCA Spring Semester is Over! Introducing the Trishaw-

I am lucky to be able to build a design I have been thinking about for a bit with a class of students at CCA.  Our Spring semester, which consisted of 15 fridays, yielded a fine Trike:

Oblique View Trishaw
Side View Trishaw

After a brief final critique, discussion and a Class photo (below)

UM Spring 2015

A small group of us, 4 in the front and one driving (we took turns) went out looking for a few last minute parts from neighborhood bikeshops.  We were complimented, honked at, yelled at and generally made a scene on the road and our trike got us out and about.  Taking a new machine out is always exciting.

The handling is reasonable- challenging and takes a moment to learn.  To me it felt familiar and fine, but not quite as awesome as my sunny disposition (with regards to steering fantasies)  liked to dream it might be.

You can find the Trishaw this coming weekend at the Maker Faire!  After that, it's coming to Santa Cruz for final finishing before going back to CCA to be put into service this Fall.

Here is a poster produced by the Class:

San Francisco Trishaw

Summer Framebuilding Classes at CCA - Enrollment is open to the public

Mathew Feeney (Pass&Stow) and I will each be teaching a 6-week intensive framebuilding course at the California College of the Arts this Summer.  Every student designs and builds a bike frame for themselves to ride.

I will teach the first session:

June 2nd to July 8th; meets Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 10pm and Saturday from 10am to 6pm. 

Mathew Feeney will instruct the second session: 

July 5th to August 15th; meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 10pm and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. 

It going to be an awesome class!

~Find out more on CCA's website~

 

-Josh