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Cyclery North Frame Jigs ID help

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Cyclery North Frame Jigs ID help

Old 01-03-22, 02:35 PM
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Cyclery North Frame Jigs ID help

These two jigs are what we used ay Cyclery North (Chicago, IL) for our framebuilding. One jig holds the TT, DT and HT. The other does the rear end after the front is brazed up. Neither has a name or manufacturer on them, both made of mostly all steel (over 50lbs each) and are for classic tube diameters (1” TT, 1.125” ST and DT and 1.25 HT). Both could be converted to more modern tube diameters with some creative changes to the tube holders.

I first used these jigs in 1985 when I put in a season at Cyclery North. I don’t remember who made the jigs, they were already looking old then. I suspected that they came from another shop or framebuilder in town. Eddy Weisler (the boss) and Tommy Winn (the other builder) never told me the jigs’ story. Fast forward to 2011 and I see an on line posting from Blue City Cycles an ad for a couple of jigs. I followed up and found that they were the very same jigs from Cyclery North. I decided to buy them to save from being separated or scrapped. They sat on my shelves since until recently when I pulled them out and checked them over with the idea to get them back in use.

For now I am hoping someone might offer more story or backround about these jigs. They show serious tool and die design and machining and could have been a one off or of a low volume production. If any one can help ID them please let me know.

My short term plan is to build a frame with them (mostly to relive that memory) then seek a new home with someone who will use them. If I had more of their story it would be pretty cool.

Cyclery North Jigs | Flickr gets you to my Flicker album with more photos and some text for each shot. Andy

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Old 01-03-22, 07:17 PM
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They look very similiar to the Eisentraut jigs that UBI used to offer for a short time. Also similiar to what Bruce Gordon used.

I wonder if they might've come from Al when he stopped doing the "Limited" production frames in the late 70's ?

But just different enough that perhaps a local tool and die guy made them based on some photos or drawings ?

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Old 01-03-22, 07:38 PM
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VC- In other forums a a well known builder suggested they were similar to the Witcomb jigs and another better known for teaching suggested an Eisentraut connection too. Thanks for the reply and contribution. Andy
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Old 01-03-22, 10:00 PM
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That's pretty neat.

None of us back then thought that tube sizes would change
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Old 01-03-22, 10:59 PM
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Andy what is your knowledge of how the framebuilding knowledge at Cyclery North got started? Over on CR I suggested the link to Eisentraut fixtures that everyone else recognizes. I'm suspicious that CN must have obviously had some interaction with Albert because otherwise they would have never come up with that fixture concept. Eisentraut got his start at Watsyn's in Chicago before he went to Oakland. I also remember he had some link to a Chicago store back in the early or mid 70's. I hesitate to mention names because I remember only vaguely and I'm too lazy to try and research to be sure. In other words when Albert was active teaching framebuilding classes around the US, it would have been natural for him to teach one in Chicago too. It is possible that those fixtures were made by a local Chicago machinist using Albert's original fixtures or maybe Albert had a bunch made and sold them to students? .
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Old 01-03-22, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Andy what is your knowledge of how the framebuilding knowledge at Cyclery North got started? Way too little. It was a weird scene with the staff and Eddy's head injury causing a stroke like result the year before I got there. Eddy raced some in his youth and from what I was told was a real doer type. The shop I know was a shadow of what I was told it was only a year before me. Over on CR I suggested the link to Eisentraut fixtures that everyone else recognizes. I'm suspicious that CN must have obviously had some interaction with Albert because otherwise they would have never come up with that fixture concept. I also wondered this. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some connection.that led to these jigs coming into Eddy's hands. Eisentraut got his start at Watsyn's in Chicago before he went to Oakland. I also remember he had some link to a Chicago store back in the early or mid 70's. I hesitate to mention names because I remember only vaguely and I'm too lazy to try and research to be sure. In other words when Albert was active teaching framebuilding classes around the US, it would have been natural for him to teach one in Chicago too. It is possible that those fixtures were made by a local Chicago machinist using Albert's original fixtures or maybe Albert had a bunch made and sold them to students? Wish I knew.. .
When I took Al's class in 1979 he mentioned that he designed/made (unsure where his hands left the metal) quite a few jigs based on various designs. When I first saw these jigs I did think of Al's design from 6 years prior. I wish now that I pressed Eddy or Tommy for more details but I was young, in love and in a strange place back then. Andy
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Old 01-03-22, 11:48 PM
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Your posts have exposed that a larger variety of people in the US used Eisentraut type of fixtures than i realized before. Of course after the bike boom (starting in 1971) there was no available fixtures to be bought in the US (that I know of). Like I mentioned over on CR, I had a set of them similar (or maybe exactly the same) that I bought with many other things when Melton went bankrupt in Delaware Ohio in the early 80's. He also had a wide variety of other kinds of homemade type of fixtures. It seems possible that Eisentraut saw a market and had some made. Or maybe he provided (or sold) plans for his fixtures. I'm curious how well they might work. I have always been suspicious if everything might end up correctly but I have no personal knowledge to judge them.
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Old 01-04-22, 05:11 AM
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I have nothing to add to the discussion, but will mention a possible current Eisentraut connection. When investigating the origins of my Turin Group Eisentraut Limited, I got in touch with Lee Katz. Apparenty he still talks with Al every few months. In the absence of any other direct connection, Lee might be able to pry loose some details.
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Old 01-04-22, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
I have nothing to add to the discussion, but will mention a possible current Eisentraut connection. When investigating the origins of my Turin Group Eisentraut Limited, I got in touch with Lee Katz. Apparenty he still talks with Al every few months. In the absence of any other direct connection, Lee might be able to pry loose some details.
Lee Katz and Turin when it was on Clark St is the shop and person I was trying to remember. I bet Lee could shed some light on Eisentraut giving a framebuilding class and what influence he had one the scene in Chicago. Marc Madot (spelling?) before he went to help Richard Schwinn at the very beginning of Waterford built frames in Chicago under the trade name Phydeux (I'm not sure how he spelled his brand name. It was a play on letters with the spelling in French but the pronunciation in English like fido a generic name for a pet dog). Also right now over in the Classic and vintage they had a picture of the workers at Turin in the early 70's and besides Lee among the group there Ron Boi - another Chicago based builder who retired a year or two ago. i didn't know he had any association with Turin. He got his start building in the early 70's before me. I remember asking him a very long time ago about his training and he said self taught.
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Old 01-04-22, 08:50 AM
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Cool mystery.
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Old 01-04-22, 09:45 AM
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Doug- Had you ever visited Ron B's shop (or as I remember Ron's brother's shop as I was told by Ron that it was his brother who did most of the frame work). The shop was in the basement of the bike shop, a big old house converted to a store. It was VERY cluttered with tools and scrap all over the place, really, stuff piled on top of other stuff. We at CN thought of Ron's shop and their customers were rather elitist and some standoffish. But that's a common feeling slower riders have of the faster one.

Skip- Do you have Lee's contact that you could share?

When I first moved to Chicago I started hunting for a shop to work at and tested Turin. Boy talk about elitist wrenches! Why would I care what spoke length a Nisi Sludi 24"x24* rim used with a Campy hub. That I didn't know it off the top of my head, and was thought of as a lesser wrench, was an insult to my eyes. The cool guy was Ted King, the manager, who raced in the Coors Classic a few times. It was after my Turin test that I started at CN it was about 300 walking steps from out apartment. Later in the Fall I tried working at The Pony Shop but also didn't fit there.

CN was considered the warranty contractor for Turin's frame work. We fixed and/or painted a few Basso and Rossin frames that summer. We used Lee's wholesale side (Lake Cycles?) as one sourse for our frame materials and the Campy parts we equipped our bikes with. We were always on a COD basis as CN had zero capital and was likely playing the $ game with sales, taxes and the float time of mailed checks. I was always paid in cash.

I've tried reaching out to Al via the Bicycle Ensemble but suspect that will be a dead end. Andy
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Old 01-04-22, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Lee Katz and Turin when it was on Clark St is the shop and person I was trying to remember. I bet Lee could shed some light on Eisentraut giving a framebuilding class and what influence he had one the scene in Chicago. Marc Madot (spelling?) before he went to help Richard Schwinn at the very beginning of Waterford built frames in Chicago under the trade name Phydeux (I'm not sure how he spelled his brand name. It was a play on letters with the spelling in French but the pronunciation in English like fido a generic name for a pet dog). Also right now over in the Classic and vintage they had a picture of the workers at Turin in the early 70's and besides Lee among the group there Ron Boi - another Chicago based builder who retired a year or two ago. i didn't know he had any association with Turin. He got his start building in the early 70's before me. I remember asking him a very long time ago about his training and he said self taught.
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Old 01-04-22, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Skip- Do you have Lee's contact that you could share?
Sent you an email...
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Old 01-05-22, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Doug- Had you ever visited Ron B's shop (or as I remember Ron's brother's shop as I was told by Ron that it was his brother who did most of the frame work). The shop was in the basement of the bike shop, a big old house converted to a store. It was VERY cluttered with tools and scrap all over the place, really, stuff piled on top of other stuff. We at CN thought of Ron's shop and their customers were rather elitist and some standoffish. But that's a common feeling slower riders have of the faster one. Andy
RRB cycles was located in the town just north of the city limits of Chicago. It is where you go to gawk at the very expensive houses and wonder how the owners got their inherited money. I've been to his shop a couple of times. Mostly I just chatted briefly with Ron. Cyclery North was certainly located in a more blue collar part of town although there couldn't have been too many miles between the two shops since you both were way north of down town? There was a young builder at Cyclery North that split from them and I painted a couple of his frames because he had broken off from CN. Do you have any idea who that might have been? This would have been in the early mid 80's. I remember he might have been in his early 20's and had a young wife and child.
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Old 01-05-22, 10:17 AM
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Skip- Thanks for the contact info. I've sent Lee an email about passing along my quarry to Al.

Doug- I think the young builder you speak of was Scott or his partner/buddy whose name escapes me. They worked at CN a couple of years before I got there. There was a big falling out, I only heard Eddy's side of the story and it wasn't a pleasant one. The split was so bad that when Eddy had his head injury (heavy box of ski stuff fell on his head) Scott and buddy came forward and told the Worker's Comp investigator that Eddy had been mugged thus no valid WC claim. It took over a year for WC to decide Eddy had been injured at work and release a payment. Eddy wasn't about to ever forget that Scott tried to scuttle the claim. I saw only one frame Scott and buddy had made after their leaving CN and that was because it had cracked at the seat stays contact with the seat tube (it was a Helenic style). Eddy was happy to point out the poor brazing and over heated joint to whoever was willing to listen. I stayed out of this situation as even being young I recognized a no win for me if I piped up no matter what I might have said.

RRB was about 12+ miles North of CN (and my apartment), along the shoreline. It sure had some fancy homes, golf courses and High end Euro car dealers. At one time the town (Wilmette or Winnetka?) had the highest per household income in the nation, or so I was told. Part of my surprise about the messy and disorganized frame shop basement was the contrast with the clean and over the top glitzy rest of the town.

When I first moved to Chicago it was late Jan early Feb and of course I brought a rideable bike (besides the bare frame that was my resume for the CN job) and looked forward to riding there. Very early on I found the riding to be flat and dull (late winter in Chicago has a lot of shades of grays with little else to look at) so when I hired on at CN I soon asked where they ride to get hills, and hopefully some green and browns. They told me of "the Ravines", said in somewhat hollowed tones. These were north on Sheridan, along the lake shore. On my next day off away I went North looking for these hills. I wasn't able to find them and again asked about where they were. The hollowed tones repeated the earlier location. Again I rode North and didn't find what I would have called "hollow toned hills". What I did find was about a 50' drop down to a creek that emptied into the lake, and the back up those 50'. In Chicago this was the big hill for many miles. My plans to woo my girlfriend away from Chicago began. Andy
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Old 01-12-22, 11:14 AM
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Here's a bit more data on how these jigs were made. I've decided to mod the tube holding design and removed the original DeStato clamps, the tube resting pads and "wall". Under them I found bluing still there and one can see the layout marks used to locate the various mounting holes.




Perhaps the more machinist savvy of us can provide some insight. I find it interesting that the bluing is still present and that the hole locating lay out lines are still visible. I believe it was during the 1970s that the movement to X-Y coordinate locating started in any volume. The use of lay out bluing and lines suggests an "old school" manor of fabrication. Just what I would expect of an older and experienced machinist to use if they were not wanting to duplicate the design.

I am starting a new thread covering what I change on these jigs. Andy
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Old 01-12-22, 02:03 PM
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Bluing is just a special paint, so since it was protected it doesn't surprise me it's still there. The marks are interesting, it really makes me wonder about how they made it. I am not sure I have ever used bluing on something I put in a mill, but I can see that some might.

I think there may be some layout fluid left over on some of my fixturing from the '70s. I had some parts machined, but not much of the work I did was even done in a drill press.

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Old 01-21-22, 05:31 PM
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Mark Muller used stickers that said Phydeaux. There were only a few frames. Mark was on good terms with Ed Schwinn long before he became Richard’s partner, so there were facilities available to use.

Scott at CN was Scott Padiak. Saw him just two years ago. He said a typical frame took 80 hours of shop time and nothing could ever be done until everyone else had finally gone home. I still think his builds were the best of Cyclery North. His guess for total number built, all builders, was under 100. He would not say a bad word about Eddy.

All guesses above about Eddy’s injury are wrong. Maybe another decade and it will be reasonable to tell the story.

The snobbery and elitism were endlessly annoying. Yes, it was there. One structural factor that fed that was there were never enough parts and never enough bikes. Never enough knowledgeable wenches to repair all the bikes that had been sold. Always racers hanging around the shop in need of everything and without enough money to pay. Ron used to quote simply crazy prices for custom RRBs, he would tell me later that was because it would never have been possible to build all the bikes people wanted. And nearly all of his customers would be served just as well by production bikes. Those who needed custom got the frames and the price was realistic. Astronomical quoted prices kept the masses at bay.

Who always had parts and bikes and frames back then were Othon Ochsner, Sr. and Oscar Wastyn. Who were from a different era. Kids wanted to buy from kids and hang with kids. Took a long time to figure that out. Othon you could find at the races or you could visit Al Stiller’s bike shop. Othon and Al were neighbors and in many ways partners. Othon always had every single Campagnolo part you could want. He had known Tullio forever. Of course the old guys wanted invoices paid promptly and would not substitute a hit from the pipe or a really good story for payment.
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Old 01-21-22, 06:23 PM
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Just looked up Scott by putting the name in the search bar. Plenty of public information. Give him a call. He is still a bike rider. Given that his work does include a lot of prototyping and fabrication those jigs might just be his.
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Old 01-21-22, 11:07 PM
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One thing about head injuries is that sometimes personality changes after. The Eddy I knew was a bit angry, frustrated and (likely for the first time in his life, Eddy was a dooer from all the stories I was told by others around him) dependent on others. While I have no doubt that some of what he said was spun to his advantage enough others confirmed what I related, so I am willing to believe in it.

63rickert- Why wait to tell your understanding? Are there people still alive who would be hurt by it, or take issue with you?

CN moved the late summer I was there, from Broadway to Clark Street. It was made possible financially because Eddy finally "won" his worker's comp case, after a couple of years and what I was told were ex employees claims of a non work incident. Did Eddy falsely claim a work injury or was he mugged? In the end I don't care much either way. What I do care about is the comaraderie I felt there, the craftsmanship of what we made and the learning experience I had.

I am very glad these jigs made there way back into my hands and I have a chance to both build one more frame on them as well as try to find a new home for them. Andy
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Old 01-22-22, 01:11 AM
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Yes, Eddy changed with the injury. Yes, there are living people who would rather not stir the pot again.

Took a look at some of your Flickr file. You knew Rudy Seno. I have been the painter/handyman at chez Seno since 1984 and have lots of memories of #19. Rudy is gone a long time now, Delores is still living in the same place at age 93.

To understand the ravine start with a ride to Wisconsin and back. The south ramp of the ravine is the steep side. First you must get through the hairpin at bottom in a tight pack. With no visibility around the corner on an open road you had better stay in lane and the lane is narrow. With sand and gravel in the turn more often than not. To remain in contact you have to top that 50 foot rise at 30mph. A quarter mile of flat, then down Tower hill, a giant 30 foot drop but it will send the pace above 40mph. Except when it was above 45. Now 1-1/2 miles dead flat to the sprint. Myself I was in contact at top maybe a dozen times, close enough to see the sprint exactly four times. Your bikes were there lots of times.

Have been off the back many times with visiting pros who were just stunned that tiny hill they had done without a thought going north could be so decisive. Stunned by the commitment of the pack leaning into the bottom turn on sand. And very very surprised that they could not chase back in over the final two miles.
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Old 01-22-22, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Mark Muller used stickers that said Phydeaux. There were only a few frames. Mark was on good terms with Ed Schwinn long before he became Richard’s partner, so there were facilities available to use.

Scott at CN was Scott Padiak. Saw him just two years ago. He said a typical frame took 80 hours of shop time and nothing could ever be done until everyone else had finally gone home. I still think his builds were the best of Cyclery North. His guess for total number built, all builders, was under 100. He would not say a bad word about Eddy.

All guesses above about Eddy’s injury are wrong. Maybe another decade and it will be reasonable to tell the story.

The snobbery and elitism were endlessly annoying. Yes, it was there. One structural factor that fed that was there were never enough parts and never enough bikes. Never enough knowledgeable wenches to repair all the bikes that had been sold. Always racers hanging around the shop in need of everything and without enough money to pay. Ron used to quote simply crazy prices for custom RRBs, he would tell me later that was because it would never have been possible to build all the bikes people wanted. And nearly all of his customers would be served just as well by production bikes. Those who needed custom got the frames and the price was realistic. Astronomical quoted prices kept the masses at bay.

Who always had parts and bikes and frames back then were Othon Ochsner, Sr. and Oscar Wastyn. Who were from a different era. Kids wanted to buy from kids and hang with kids. Took a long time to figure that out. Othon you could find at the races or you could visit Al Stiller’s bike shop. Othon and Al were neighbors and in many ways partners. Othon always had every single Campagnolo part you could want. He had known Tullio forever. Of course the old guys wanted invoices paid promptly and would not substitute a hit from the pipe or a really good story for payment.
Now that you remind me of Scott's last name, I remember that is who I painted some frames for when he 1st got married. He told some really wild stories about conflict while working at Cyclery North. There was some seriously bad blood between 2 parties there (whoever the 2 parties were) and there was talk of sabotage. That is why he drove around the lake to have me paint his frames and I got a chance to meet his wife and new kid. Our last names are similar phonetically even though the spellings are pretty different. I'll have to send Andy a private email about what I remember so the negative stuff isn't floating around on the web forever.

Andy is the blue frame of yours in the fixture one you helped me paint a few years ago? Good times!
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Old 01-22-22, 07:09 PM
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Doug- Yes that's the frame you did most of the paint work on. Today as I was cleaning up the shop and placing the CN jigs out of the way (for now, waiting on their next need) I was thinking how it was nice to have a frame just being available to test fit stuff/thoughts on. So the blue frame will hang around for a while more.

63ricket- I wonder if we met back in 1985. My memory of Rudy is faint. I didn't have any prefabricating involvement with the intended riders, Eddy did all that. Some customers did hang about the shop (I remember one who had been a Ranger type during WWII and had some stories. In his retirement he was driving for the coroner and offered to show us his "client" a few times) IIRC Rudy was a busy guy and didn't have much time to spend sitting still. Was he the guy who ran some local races? We had to store a lot of barricade and signage for someone who put on crits. If you ever wish to share your stories please feel free to include me. Andy
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Old 01-24-22, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post

To understand the ravine start with a ride to Wisconsin and back. The south ramp of the ravine is the steep side. First you must get through the hairpin at bottom in a tight pack. With no visibility around the corner on an open road you had better stay in lane and the lane is narrow. With sand and gravel in the turn more often than not.
As I'm sure John can relate, there is no longer sand at the bottom of the ravine (it was completely repaved a few years ago, including actual curbs), but you will sometimes encounter a cop waiting to write you a ticket (the ravine has has been closed to bikes for years).
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Old 01-24-22, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Doug- Yes that's the frame you did most of the paint work on. Today as I was cleaning up the shop and placing the CN jigs out of the way (for now, waiting on their next need) I was thinking how it was nice to have a frame just being available to test fit stuff/thoughts on. So the blue frame will hang around for a while more.

63ricket- I wonder if we met back in 1985. My memory of Rudy is faint. I didn't have any prefabricating involvement with the intended riders, Eddy did all that. Some customers did hang about the shop (I remember one who had been a Ranger type during WWII and had some stories. In his retirement he was driving for the coroner and offered to show us his "client" a few times) IIRC Rudy was a busy guy and didn't have much time to spend sitting still. Was he the guy who ran some local races? We had to store a lot of barricade and signage for someone who put on crits. If you ever wish to share your stories please feel free to include me. Andy
Unlikely we met. 1985 was a very busy year for me and my bike shop was RRB then.

Yes, the barricades were likely Rudy’s. He was a stalwart of Chicago racing from the 50s until 1999. Uncle Rudy to everyone. Yes, he was a race promoter. Just a bit too young to have been in WWII. Yes, he did not sit still. Possibly you remember the toupee? He had good toupees and ‘I need a haircut’ toupees, it was still obvious. How is it possible to race in a toupee? He did. He really liked that pink bike. Gone, crashed out.

Rudy was just a few blocks from CN at 6724 Glenwood. He was also the guy who taught Eddy to braze and encouraged him to build frames. Rudy was a metal sculptor, not a framebuilder. If you ever went down Glenwood you might have seen his 12 foot tall metal ice cream cone over the fence.

There is a simple explanation for all the last days of CN drama. A simple explanation that deletes all the heavies from the story. Everyone did the best they could. But then it got crazy. Call Scott and see if he built those jigs.
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