Friday, April 27, 2007

A Visit to World Headquarters...Barcroft.


Who are those guys?

Hi all,
As you may have noticed, we went on a trip! Yes, a short vacation to see friends in Virginia, see some of the sights in Washington DC, and then to Chicago to visit Paul and Christina. A nice trip; you may recall the hot cross buns we made in Virginia. It is my hope as I write future posts to share some photographs and fun facts we learned along the way.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip was a visit to the World Headquarters of Barcroft Bicycles. As the Utah representative to the company (I have the only Barcroft in Utah!) I have always felt compelled to visit the HQ. So, on a lovely Tuesday, Kathy and I made the trek from Delaplane to Falls Church to meet with Bill Cook; owner, proprietor, designer, assembly tech, shipping clerk, business manager, and flunky of Barcroft Bicycles.

The Boss evaluating a tandem frame.

Bill was a most gracious host, taking time from his busy life to let me see all of his bikes, fiddle with this and that, and generally be in the way. After a sumptuous lunch at the BEST Chinese restaurant in the DC area, we adjourned back at HQ for some test riding of bikes. We even got Kathy into the act, riding stoker on the Columbia tandem bike. I got to ride the Ti Virginia which was a very stiff, tight ride. I don’t have enough experience to formulate a technical opinion, but I enjoyed the bike, and wished for a longer experiment. I only rode it a few minutes as the thought of riding someone’s $3,000 dollar bike made me nervous. Plus, if I dented it before it got shipped to Mr. Ball of Bentrideronline, there would be great stress and consternation as it is truly a one of a kind bike. Seriously, it is the only Ti Virginia!

Bill said the fifth Ti frame is reserved for me!

Bill and I also rode the tandem with Bill in the lead and myself onboard as stoker. What an experience; my first time on a tandem, on unfamiliar roads, with a noted cross-country cyclist, riding one big fast bike. With some quick instruction, we made a good team. Bill was kind enough to mentor along the way, showing me all the coordination needed between stoker and captain. It was a fun 10 minutes as we sped around the block.

I would keep an eye on these two...
One other welcome part of this visit was to check out all the lovely bikes in the garage and discuss nuances of design of each bike. Bill allowed me to sit on every bike, and talk about the subtle differences in each of them. As I am in search of more ergonomically useful hand positions, we had a nice chat about the configuration of Bill’s trans-continental Dakota bike. (My hands are not in pain or uncomfortable, I just tend to keep them up on the brake handles) In the end, I was given the gift of a new riser that won’t work loose as I ride, and will keep my bike much more stable at high speed. I am also beta-testing a Terra Cycle light mount on the front of the bike. So far it has been a great improvement over previous mounts. Thanks!

Frames anyone?

Now, it is two weeks after my great visit, I have fond memories of a grand afternoon. Bill is a fascinating gentleman, who has brought “low, fast, comfortable, and elegant” bikes to the recumbent world. We had a great time getting to know Bill, and to get to learn a bit more about his world. Now I need to figure out how to retire and be his garage flunky.

I would work for free!

Jim

1 comment:

PoiterH said...

Where are the photos of this elusive person you refer to as "Kathy"?
Jim, Jim, Jim....