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

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

FRANCES in Baltimore (and Brooklyn)

Just heard from Boson in Baltimore that he finished building his Breakaway 650Tourist himself.  

 

And he says: "It seriously rides perfectly!  thank you so much.  It is such a joy."

650 tourist built up by owner

It is always good to hear a bike is well received.

 

ALSO on the East Coast, there an infant snuggled up in a Mixtehaul, cruising the streets of Brooklyn.

Mixtehaul in Brooklyn with the little Jatzke

-Josh

NAHBS and more

The North American Handbuilt Bike Show is coming back to Sacromento, CA for the 2016 show next March (a full year off).  Sacramento drew the largest crowds ever for the show in 2012 with over 8,000 attendees, so a repeat makes some sense. And there are a lot of builders here in California and on the West Coast

The preliminary layout.  Thanks to Sean and other MYM builders, we are so ahead of the game. Paragon Machine Works and White Industries are in there somewhere as well.

The preliminary layout.  Thanks to Sean and other MYM builders, we are so ahead of the game. Paragon Machine Works and White Industries are in there somewhere as well.

This time the MeetYourMaker group got organized and we have a large block of booths centrally located.  It will be fun set up together, pull-down the trade-show drapes, and put our best work on display.  In my immediate block, I will be hanging out with Matt Feeney of Pass&Stow, Mitch Pryor from Map Cycles (Awesome work) Paul and friends from Paul Components, and Paul Sadoff with Rock Lobster.

Should be great fun and hopefully good for business (building bikes).

Coming Soon:

Click-thru on photo delivers you to Flickr with a few more trailer photos.  A whole bunch of new tooling and a new jig are coming together to start cranking out the  Farfarrer trailer s.  They'll be up in the Frances web-store by mid-May if not sooner!

Click-thru on photo delivers you to Flickr with a few more trailer photos.  A whole bunch of new tooling and a new jig are coming together to start cranking out the Farfarrer trailers.  They'll be up in the Frances web-store by mid-May if not sooner!

Frances Store!?!- Yes, I launched the store quietly, with a few stems and a frameset.  More to come- I have some things collecting dust that need to find they're way out into the world.   I'll mention this again, but if you want to buy something, no need to click thru to the credit card sale (that costs me money)- You can call me up, we'll take care of it in person.

Josh

New Year

What does the new year hold for Frances Cycles?  There are always a few projects being chipped away at in the workshop, and 2015 brings plenty of opportunities for getting lots of work done (wish me luck).

At the end of this month, I start another class at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco: This semester, we'll be designing and building a tricycle rickshaw- It's ambitious for a class project, and I am hoping for a great vehicle at the end and a lot of learning throughout.  It's a great opportunity for me and my students to explore another design in depth.

Ann and I have received a grant to install a public art peice (yet to be created!) along the San Lorenzo River Walk near the Warrior's Arena as a part of the Ebb and Flow Arts Project.  We're excited to be a part of it and hope to contribute to our local landscape with some interesting and provoking art.

Jillian brazing the first Farfarer trailer out of the Jig in the Frances shop.

Jillian brazing the first Farfarer trailer out of the Jig in the Frances shop.

We are starting to build the Farfarer trailers designed by Quentin Lindh.  They are, in my opinion, the best one-wheeled trailer on the market and we're excited to start building them.  The process has been slow getting them going, and I am hoping that getting Jil in the shop consistently will help move things along here.  

Once we fill the mounting backorder for trailers, we'll have them for sale on the website - If you want to get on the list, send me an email.

Tourist front-end.   This one is headed for Baltimore, and is part of a break-away 650b frameset.

Tourist front-end.   This one is headed for Baltimore, and is part of a break-away 650b frameset.

Another Tourist is getting ready to head out the door along with another small batch of stems.  Plans are being made for the next run of Mixtehauls.  There is always much to do!

Greta Bell!

Greta Bell!

Greta is out-growing the seat, so I am working on a new bench seat with harness for the Mixtehaul.

Greta is out-growing the seat, so I am working on a new bench seat with harness for the Mixtehaul.

Lucky enough to get out on a Solstice ride and sleep out in the summit woods with some friends.

Lucky enough to get out on a Solstice ride and sleep out in the summit woods with some friends.

-Josh

Una Pizza Recap

Touble

The morning Ride took us out to Hunter's Point and Trouble Coffee, conveniently located across the street from Cameron Falconer's framebuilding shop.

Then we dug around Cam's shop for a while, admiring the tooling, asking questions, chatting (some of us actually just followed small children around and kept them from sharp metal ends, which was also fun).

Peggy and Steve Rex.  I have long been an admirer of Steve's bike and shop- they're great people too.

Peggy and Steve Rex.  I have long been an admirer of Steve's bike and shop- they're great people too.

This Cunningham was not in the show, but a note-able bike on the ride.  It is one of a small batch built just last year (or so).   Greta is checking out the SoulCraft.

This Cunningham was not in the show, but a note-able bike on the ride.  It is one of a small batch built just last year (or so).   Greta is checking out the SoulCraft.

The Pizza Parlor was packed with bike-chatting, pizza-eating friends.

It's always a pleasure to get together with folks doing the same work- see what they're building, hear what their doing.

David Smith captured the photo of below of Greta and and I.  (Thanks!)  Greta is riding Rick Hunter's bike, the Pump Track Gopher.  Sorry we missed the badge, Rick.

Greta Ride Rick's Gopher

The Pizza was, of course,  the best.

There were lots of choice bikes outside, including this Ahearne (below) which is I was told, the next version of his last Manifest project.  Accepts 3.0" tires. 

Ahearne

I recognize that I am leaving out photos of all the great builders at the show: Soulcraft, Steve Rex, Sycip, Blue Collar, Rock Lobster, Falconer, White, Paul, (F*#%ing) Bruce Gordon(!), Hunter, Black Cat, Clack Mountain, Caletti, Pass&Stow, Paragon Machine Works, Strawfoot, and more. . . It was, as always, crowded.

You can find (almost) all of these talented builders on the Meet Your Maker website.  MYM is a group of framebuilders that gets together to ride and show their bikes.

This is the bike I brought to the show(below).  A recent Tourist.

Thanks to Sean for the loan.  I got to ride it across town to and from the show, and it felt great, but   I   had to do it on my tip-toes because I didn't want to slide that shiny Paul post down any further for fear that I'd certainly leave some marks. 

Thanks to Sean for the loan.  I got to ride it across town to and from the show, and it felt great, but had to do it on my tip-toes because I didn't want to slide that shiny Paul post down any further for fear that I'd certainly leave some marks. 

Greta is asleep by the end of the morning ride.

Greta is asleep by the end of the morning ride.

Merry Cranksmas Alley Cat!

I know, blogging before hand would be better for promo, however. . . 

Greta and I made it out for a bit of the Santa Cruz Cranksmas Alley Cat put on by Jillian, Brandon and Clutch.  

Thanks for a good time!

Mass Start! Jill looks into the camera.

Mass Start! Jill looks into the camera.

My team mates, planning their race.  I was hanging out with Greta by the duck pond and really didn't do much towards winning.   

My team mates, planning their race.  I was hanging out with Greta by the duck pond and really didn't do much towards winning.

 

In Other News. . .

Bob's Dacordi is back ready for action, thanks to my new apprentice and team mate, Jil Browy.  

Here it is busted.  A broken left chainstay is less common.

Here it is busted.  A broken left chainstay is less common.

And here is is repaired, ready to ride.

And here is is repaired, ready to ride.


Sasha and August Blue Moon (pictured) of Citizen Chain Cyclery in SF built up their new Smallhaul!  They'll be at the Pizza show this Sunday.

August Blue Moon Rides!

August Blue Moon Rides!


AND, an oposum family has moved into my big box of True Temper tubes, which is no good.

oposum.jpg

Una Pizza -

Bike Show at Una Pizza Napolitana

210 11th Street, San Francisco

9am:  We'll meet up for a cruising/no-drop group ride headed for Hunter's point where we'll have coffee and toast at Trouble Coffee and take a brief tour of Camron Falconer's framebuilding shop.

12 noon: Bikes will be set out for display and Tony will fire up the pizza oven!

If you're in the market for a handbuilt frame or just curious about the craft, there will 19 framebuilders (did you know there were that many in Northern California?), machinists and Garret will be joining us from Strawfoot with his waxed canvas bags and more.

COME ON OUT!

 

Check out the flier on my previous post for more info (or send me an email!)

Hope to see you there

Josh

Una Pizza Bike Show

Coming up in San Francisco:

Anthony has invited the framebuilders over again, and the Meet Your Maker crew will be hosting a ride in the afternoon and showing Northern California's finest handmade bikes in the evening with pizza, beer and music.

You can see the line-up, there will be a lot of talented builders and a room full of bikes.

I'll post details when I hear about the ride.

 

Josh

New Site!

HEY,  I think I just put the site up live.  

I figure, instead of hem and haw staring at it I'll just put it out there and and see what needs to be finished and changed.  

That said: let's here it.  What's working out there? what's not?  

I sent  bike out today! 

Sasha picked it up and he'll be giving it a Sweet buildup at his shop in San Francisco- Citizen Chain.  He says he'll bring it to the Pizza Show!  (December 14th! Una Pizza Napolitana!)   

Sasha picked it up and he'll be giving it a Sweet buildup at his shop in San Francisco- Citizen Chain.  He says he'll bring it to the Pizza Show!  (December 14th! Una Pizza Napolitana!)

 

It has a matte clear powder coat, by Jeremy at Powder-coat-it

It has a matte clear powder coat, by Jeremy at Powder-coat-it

Josh