The riding in and around Napa is spectacular. The road riding in the valley is really good and you can get as much climbing in as you want. Mountain biking is really good as well with Skyline Park here in town and at Annandale State Park and in Angwin, both within a 30 minute drive. The only thing Napa is missing for riding is good long fire roads to ride your cross bike on.
How long have you been building?
How did you get your start?
I got my start working for Bob Seals at Retrotec in 1993. He had started the company in 1992, before I started working there as the full-time frame builder.
Would you tell us about your experience with Retrotec and Sycip?
I started at Retrotec back in 1993 and took the company over a few years later when I moved to San Francisco. The Sycips and I shared a shop space when we lived in San Francisco, but I have never worked for them. The Sycips are really good friends of mine to this day.
When did you strike out on your own?
My first three years of building was at the ranch up in Chico, the next three years were in San Francisco sharing a shop with the Sycips and all the rest of the years have been in Napa, all by my lonesome.
Do you ever work in a material other than steel?
Not really. I have made a few bikes with some carbon in them but I prefer to make all steel bikes.
You build a lot of bikes other than just road bikes. Is there anything you won’t build?
Recumbents and unicycles. I am sure there are more things I need to add to that list, I just can’t think of any at the moment.
Who makes the tubing and lugs you like to use?
For the most part I like to use True Temper, Columbus and Dedacciai, for tubing. I prefer to mix and match between all the manufactures to produce the best bikes I can. I use Henry James and Pacenti lugs for the most part and most of the small bits, BB shells, dropouts and braze-ons are from Paragon Machine Works.
Tell us about the jig you use.
I have an Anvil frame fixture. It is a few years old now and still working really well. It is simple to set up for all sorts of different bikes.
What sort of cutting and shaping of lugs do you like to perform? Does it vary from bike to bike or are there stylistic elements people can find running through all your bikes?
The only shaping of lugs that I do is when I build a Retrotec lugged bike. On those bikes I have to do quite a bit of modifications to the seat tube lug to work with the curved top tube. Other than that I like to keep the lugs nice and simple. I am more known for making fillet brazed and TIG welded bike. Building with all three joining methods gives my daily building a bite of variety that I enjoy.