Dave Moulton

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« Louison Bobet: First three time TDF winner | Main | Childhood memories on this Memorial Day »
Monday
Jun032019

Little snippets from a past life as a framebuilder 

1.) In the early 1960s I worked as a milkman. I would arrive at the dairy at 6:00 a.m. and load up my battery powered electric milk truck. It had a top speed of about 15 mph. 

After driving to the start of my round, I would park the truck and carry the bottles of milk by hand to nearby houses, before moving the truck down the road and repeating the process.

The great thing about this job, I was paid for an eight-hour day, but was encouraged to finish earlier. I would memorize the milk order for every house so I didn’t need to look at my order book, and I ran the entire round which covered about ten miles.

I would be finished each day by 10:00 a.m. This gave me the rest of the day to ride my bike, and build the occasional bike frame. The only day I worked later was Friday when I had to collect the money and take orders for the following week. 

I bought rubber sole “Doc Martin” work boots that were guaranteed for six months, and would wear them out in three, take them back and get a free pair.


2.) When I had my framebuilding business in Worcester, England in the 1970s, a young boy from the neighborhood, aged about eight or nine years old would often stop by on his way home from school, and watch me build frames.

One day he brought his older brother, aged about fourteen, to look at my frames. After studying some finished frames, I had hanging in the shop, the older boy remarked, “They are very good, as good as the ones you can buy at the bike store.


3.) While working in the 
Masi shop in California, in the early 1980s I was doing a frame repair. I was replacing the right chainstay on a Masi frame. I had removed the damaged stay and was preparing the frame to receive the new one.

I stabbed my arm on the sharp point on the bottom bracket shell, and hit a main artery. Blood spurted out in a two-foot jet, pulsating to the rhythm of my heartbeat.

I stuck my thumb over the wound and applied pressure, while I was driven to the hospital. On arrival, I was placed in a wheelchair and taken to the emergency room. 

I sat there, waited, and waited my thumb still pressed tightly against my arm, afraid to let go, or I would surely bleed to death.

When I finally did see a doctor, I took my thumb away, there was no blood, and I could barely see a puncture wound. The doctor stuck a band-aid on it and charged me fifty bucks. A lot of money back then.


4.) In 1983 I opened my own frameshop in San Marcos, California. It was all work back then trying to get the business off the ground. 

The bane of my life was people soliciting and selling all manner of stuff I didn’t need. It got so bad that I would lock the door to the front office.

One day a guy walked in selling Kermit the Frog glove puppets. He had a puppet on each hand, with little red tongues that shot in and out, and immediately when into his sales pitch.

I shouted, “Who the fuck left the front door unlocked.” I walked towards the guy to show him the way out and lock the door behind him.

He must have thought I was about to attack him and he turned to run. The problem was the door had closed behind him, and he couldn’t turn the door knob because he had a Kermit the Frog puppet on each hand.

As I got closer, and closer, he kept glancing back over his shoulder with a look of sheer terror like an animal in the slaughter house. 

Just as I reached him, he got the door open and was through the front office and out the front door in a flash. I locked the door behind him and went back to work.

I wonder about this guy. Did he realize he was not really cut out to be a Kermit the Frog puppet salesman, and get a real job? 

Maybe after this incident he at least left one hand free to open the door for a quick getaway.


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Reader Comments (6)

I love these stories!

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterED

Interesting reading Dave.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

Some of the pieces that make up who we are.
1. regrettably jobs like that don't exist any more, in these days where stuff is cheep and labor expensive service has become a luxury.
2. How many people know where stuff comes from or how it is made?
I'll grant that this may be getting worse, but it has always been with us.

4. ????WTF???

June 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commentered

:-)

June 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMircea Andrei Ghinea

Good one Dave. Kind of reminds me, of when our son Paul was in high school he use to deliver the papers by hand to every one in the area we lived, enev in the winter in snow rain winds you name it.

June 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Dave, I see you use the word " FUCK" a lot. I in all seriousness can NOT ever remember using the word "FUCK" at all when a youngster in England in the late 1940's early 1950's. I also sometimes, watch Peaky Blinders and that word is in almost in every sentence, they use??? Google says the work goes back generations?

June 6, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

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