Two very different and interesting pieces of my past work recently surfaced and were brought to my attention.
The first is a tandem built in England in 1975 recently showed up in Scotland when it was offered on eBay.
It was bought by Ewen Docherty, who sent me pictures, it has two sets of twin lateral tubes front and rear.
Probably one of the simplest and most sturdy of the various tandem frame configurations I built over the years.
Ewen is in the process of stripping down and re-building the bike. He sent these pictures after he had cleaned up the original paint on the frame. Not bad for 39 years old.
I nicknamed tandems “Tantrums.” I would invariably have one while building a tandem frame. The problem was a tandem frame was more than twice the amount of work of two single frames, however, it sold for less than the price of two singles, so I was screwed before I even started.
Just physically handling the frame while working on it was a pain. Every time you move it in the vise, you have to hold the frame in one hand as you tighten the vise with the other. This is no problem with a single frame, but with the size and the weight of a tandem frame it is a whole different story.
Often I could not turn away work, and people would pester me to build one for them, so I agreed. When I first came to the US I built a few tandems at Paris Sport.
But, when I started my own business again in Southern California, I vowed I would never build another tandem frame. I always said there was not enough money that anyone could offer the get me to build one more. No one ever tested me by offering a lot of money, so no more were ever built.
Having said all that, finishing a tandem frame did give more than twice the satisfaction of two singles, and that still goes for today when I see one.
The second bike to show up just this week is a Recherché, owned by Stephen Bryne from Ventura, California. When Stephen first emailed me he threw me a curve. When he described the decals and gave me the frame number 001A, it didn’t jibe with the Recherché frames I built and I feared he had a bootleg version.
However, when he sent photos I could see it was the genuine article, the scalloped treatment of the tube ends at the front and rear drop-outs was one clue. (See right.)
This was also a rare find and was a part of the history of the Recherché brand. Here is the story that I have told before but bears repeating.
In 1985 two young brothers Kent and Kyle Radford owned a bike store in Rancho Benardo, CA, just north of San Diego.
They wanted their own brand of bike they could sell in their store, and also market around Southern Calafornia. They had a name, Recherché, and a decal design, I agreed to build the frames.
Kent and Kyle were both avid bike riders, so it was natural that the first Recherché frames I built would be for them. Kent got a 53cm. frame number 001, and the last I heard he still owns it today.
The frame I built for the younger brother Kyle was a 56cm. and I stamped it 001A. That way both got a number one frame.
This is that very same frame. It has been repainted, hence the different decals.