Shared lunch today with my fellow work and riding pal, Brian Willett. We hit the Mexican place located on the stairs between Pike Place Market and the waterfront - that I never remember the name of. Killer food - really good. Mental block of the name - sorry. Helpful, ain't I?
As with our usual routine, when we occasionally hit this place for lunch - stopped by Elliot Bay Bicycles on the way back. It's a small shop that's also the home of Davidson - as in Bill Davidson frames. In addition, they carry Bianchi, Orbea and Rivendell and have a cool collection of vintage road bikes on display to gawk at. On top of this, a few rows of interesting used frames for sale on the ceiling.
During today's visit, got to talking to one of the employees and he invited us to check out the frame shop. Even though I've been there a few times, have never seen the frame shop - which is located behind the retail section. Guy gave us a little tour and we checked out the frame building fixtures, welding gear, and some frames under construction. Nice little unexpected surprise that made my day.
Small frame building shops like this echo the history of bicycle manufacturing and offer something mass produced bikes do not - perceived or otherwise. You can get measured to fit, talk to the builders, and get something made that reflects your riding style and intent - right down to the paint color. In this day and age, a rare and very cool thing indeed.
I hope small shops like this continue to survive and make great bikes. I've been fortunate to own some nice bikes over the last 25+ years, but never went the full custom route. If and when I dig up enough dough for the next road bike - will march down to Davidson or somewhere similar and actually talk to the person making my frame.
Man, I look forward to that day. It may be awhile.....