Monday, August 26, 2013

The state or the union - please read & pass it on / build queue / if you have a bike on order read this!

 Howdy, all & thanks for reading this. This is going to be long, but stick with me, as I have news and changes to report.
 First, I'm getting old - sure, I know we all are, but I'm getting old really quick. It's no secret to most that I'm in a wheelchair, but just how jacked up I am most people don't know - it's not something I do not wear on my shoulder, and i'm not a complainer, so if this is news I both apoligise and am glad I am able to appear as a normal person. Awesome - I try to.
As most of you also may or may not know, I quit taking orders back in April to catch up on the standing orders I already have - I felt that rather then flirt with potential clients, it was a better plan to service the ones I already have - many builders have gotten in over their heads by bringing in too much at the front, while not making bikes come out the other end - I'm not going to be that guy.
 And, today I'm doing paperwork - goods in, taxes out, shipping, corespodence, posting pics online for clients, ordering parts, building supplies - I may even get a shower! Yesterday, all I could do was lay on the couch. Here's why:
 I'm really jacked up. I don't have a properly working limb right now.
 I'm healing, and work daily in very substantial pain - I'm used to it. But, this is exceptional.
I've got a bursitis on my right shoulder - it hurts.
I have (I think) a pinched nerve somewhere in my neck/left shoulder - I turn my head to the left, and my whole left arm goes to sleep - somewhat worrysome! Then, two days ago my left wrist popped, it's all taped up right now. It hurts!
 This is on top of a plate in my neck, and rods in my spine, and all the paing from sitting in my wheelchair all day.
I'm a pretty frequent flyer at the hospital - two cortisone shots in my joints this year plus two family reunions & a good dose of the flu.
 So, I've fallen behind - maybe four months or so - Sorry, very sorry.
But, I'm still building away, and I'm not going to stop. I'm just slowing down, and my work has been better & better every bicycle. I just want everyone to be on the same page. I believe in transparency.
I've just been hammering down harder then is sustainable, and I need to take care of myself. We all do. I have not been kind to my body, and as fun as it all was, I'm paying for it.
 It does not help that I fillet braze, which is the most labour intensive way to build a bicycle (but, the most beautiful, along with fine lugwork, IMO) I love it - it's my passion.
 You'll get your bike, I promise, it will be amazing work. It's just going to take me a little longer.
Nothing makes me as stoked as pictures of my creations being ridden all over the world, this is all I know how to do, I just want you all, my friends & peers, to know what's up. Fair?

 I *will* take a few orders in Jan/2014 - not many, but some.
Pricing will be different, with a couple finish options with different prices - my old painter sold his buisiness, and the new guys are not into letting people pick any color at all unless I buy a whole jar of the color - this is very, very price prohibitive, and effective immediately I'll pick 10 to 12 "stock" colors with three topcoat options, and five sticker colors - anything else is custom, and will be sent to Spectrum Powder Works or to Ceramikote for your own special artistic vision, and you deal with them, get exactly what you want, and pay them, and then the frame comes to me for prep and assembly. This will also streamline the procedure for all - the number of colors people want actually falls into a pretty small slot - not many hot pinks or lavenders, but many of the same oranges, blues, and greens.
 The products shall remain the same, using the best parts availible for assembly, like the ones above - see that? That pile is over $600.00. Yep.

 Also, as time goes by, projects grow in terms of complexity - diamond frames become cruisers, hand built forks are added, custom built wheels are added (most builds go out with them) and frames become full bikes. This is great for all, but adds time.
 It is what it is, and results in a finer product, but takes more time, and it all adds up.

 Bikes keep getting better & better. Well over a full decade of framebuilding under my belt, and closing in quick on 1/4 a century of working on bikes professionally.
 Pretty wild when you step back & look at it. A real career..........with no pension, retirement, any of that - I have to keep working, just slower, and to a finer degree of refinement - the bikes are just beautiful, I'm immensely proud of them, and I'm able to build frames magnitudes of quality higher then I ever thought I ever would - I sincerely feel like I am building some of the finest bikes ever, anything else would be a waste of everyone's time.

 Beautiful add-on, glad to do it, but it takes more time.
The end product justifies the means.

 Finish work like this really is a time sucker. Stunning, and it makes it worth it to both the client & myself - my legacy if I am to have one, and a cherished companion for life.
 This is not off-the-hook walk down to the local bike shop stuff - it's handmade and unique and as much as everyone want me to hurry on all the bikes up to theirs & then really take my time on yours, not going to happen. Every bike  gets the same excruciating attention to detail. It's the only way I know.

 Nothing but the best, some assembly required........

 Also, I have an orchard and second house in the desert, We have almost paid off our Flagstaff house, the shop and all that, this is where I will go to be old & putter around where there is no ice to fall on, and I can wheel around.
I got to take myself out to lunch for the first time in seven years a while ago as in Flag I am isolated and just work, but down in Camp Verde I can interact with the communtity - pretty good for your well being.
 More time, but I need to think about when I'm old. We all should be - it's closer every second.
 More bills as well, so fear not, I'm not quitting building anytime soon - I can't.

 This is how I mountain bike now - it's hard on my body, really hard.
But what would life be without it? Hardly worthwhile in my book. I know you all feel the same.
I take it from every side as per bodily abuse.
I just can't go full throttle anymore, and to continue to not only build bikes, but lead a life worth living, I have to find a balance, a substainable one.

 We are leaving for three weeks to Baja mid November - I hope (know) this will allow me to heal up - myself and my shoulders need this quite badly (and my soul)
I'm getting old quick, and have some things I need to do with my wife while I can. I hope you understand. Get out there folks, the clock is ticking.

I'll get you your version of this as soon as I can - I take the ordewr on top, build it, and do the next one.
To be clear, nobody is complaining, it's mostly my in my head, and as your reputation is the only thing you truly own, I try to maintain it. Thank You Everyone.
And lastly (please feel free to e-mail me with ANY questions, coconinocycles@yahoo
Current build queue, PLEASE contact me if you are in the top five, por favor!
Bryce B, Michael G, David M, Brad A, K-Bar, E-Mark, Steve C, Tom F, Teresa H, Deb L, Matt P, Pollard, Jim G, Kevin D, Christie D, Scott K, Scott Z3, Serge, Mike V, Shilo P, Keri P, Andrea, Steve H, Steve K (x2), Rob B, Christian L, John C, John L, Bill S, Stabo, Mike B, Lee A.

Coconino Mountain Cruiser done deal.

 I'll let the pictures speak for themselves........

Thanks for reading!
- Steve.

Friday, August 23, 2013

T. McK's Coconino Mountain Cruiser

 Wow! Build ready!
Mountain Cruiser, 1-speed or geared, 2.4" - 3.0" tires, custom paint by Spectrum Powder Works.
 Excellent flow.
 Tramp Stamp - nice touch!
 They just do most excellent work.
 Double panels.
 Much toil & smoothness.
 Building it up tomorrow.
 Headbadge - 'natch.
All I had hoped!
- Steve.

Monday, August 12, 2013

And into August, building away among other things.

 I have allot of pokers in the fire right now, and have a few bikes at paint, and am building along in my some what slow, methodical manner - fillet brazed bikes with lots of curves take time, and thanks for the patience, all.
This is why I quit taking orders for awhile, to concentrate on getting people the bikes they ordered, rather then flirt with others, and living off deposits. this is a bad thing to do, and leads to a builder's eventual demise.
If I want to get paid in any form, bikes must be finished. this is good.
Also, sorry for not posting as often here on the blog, I figure I will save you from daily updates on my mood, opinions, cooking photos, ect. For what it's worth, the Coconino Cycles FB page is VERY active.......I know, I know....."I hate Facebook" you say........well, I still have a landline, listen to CD's, and read actual books - the only constant is change, and if you want more action (like, daily pictures) check that out. If you like outdated analog, stick here, and you will get the condensed version, the good stuff, really. thanks for sticking with the blog, all ten of you! I've put allot for work into it for going on seven years.
 Anyway, Barin's bike came out absolutely gorgeous.

 650B, graceful curves & flow, ready for anything.
More pics when it's orange, and the cruiser will return from fancy paint soon as well.

Alignment. I am a picky bastard.

 Damn near water tight fit.
 Hot & fluxy.
 Soaked - a damn nice braze, there.

 "Fun Stays"
 Kyle O's frame set off to the races!
 Very cleanly silver brazed.
 Cleaned up, and ready for canti spigots.
 We have a small orchard, and are flooded with peaches, I am drying boatloads of them, and on top of D's family reunion in WI we also had family out here for a week, so I have been a mighty busy camper!
That's it for now, building  bikes from the top of the stack so I can get to yours - the bikes just keep getting better & better - Steve.