Monday, February 3, 2014

Expectantly planning for the unknown

I look at things sometimes and wonder why I love to over complicate things...?

Other times I wonder why I make things so simple it almost lacks beauty....

Some days its a test of my brain and hands....

Some days its me being lazy or procrastinating....

Either way for some reason it seems to work and I don't ask why....

I needed a vacation because I have been hammering non stop on projects this would be my first vacation since the week before at Autodesk University ! ha really its all work but I love my work....

For my break over Christmas and New Years I decided to help a friend on his newest project.. My buddy Greg Minnaar ( known as the fastest dude on a downhill Mountain bike with a stack of world champs to prove it) has 2 bikes shops now in his home town of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

One of the shop locations a existing bike shop business his parents have run for 20 plus years and the other shop dealing with high end stuff being brand new that just opened up about 4 months ago near the base of the mountain bike world cup track ( perfect location for high end riders)

First class style... AKA using up miles...
I went to London for a day to party then off to South Africa 

The project Greg had me come to South Africa was to add some new style to the new high end shop and make those expensive mountain bikes look fancy and well displayed without making it a pain to access them or causing a risk of them falling over.
Arriving for my first cup of coffee at the new shop... as you can see in the background it was a bit bland
It was opened in a flash because of World Cup races so little was done on displays because it almost didn't even get opened during the race weekend.

The trip was almost a month exactly from mid Decemeber until Mid January and having never seen the shop it was kind of a freestyle mission of what I was going to come up with. I had a slight idea what I wanted to build but it was far from being locked in.

Christmas was cool in South Africa, just like the good old USA they eat a ton of food and wait for the fat dude to slide down the smoke stack and dump presents under some sort of tree.... I didn't feel out of place at the Minnaar family party as well, between the crazy aunt telling stories and everyone drinking beers it wasn't far off from my family.

New Years was really cool and we traveled up the coast towards the north eastern part of South Africa on the boarder of Swaziland, where we stayed for a week on a Rhino Reserve and game park called Hluhluwe. The place blows your mind and seeing how hard it is to protect the animals from poachers and just the day to day life is pretty crazy.

Either heart racing and almost scary to extremely dull.... but nothing really in the middle !
This place the game rangers had built up for themselves and others was so cool...
Perfect place to go hide and just think

Even had a visitor on New Years day!
Good luck !
I can't say I was not enjoying it but 
when you want to get your hand dirty and your far from the shop, 
you start to get a little crazy...

 I hadn't really spent any time at the shop looking at what I was going to build, I had some ideas in my head but I just needed to get back to really get rolling on it. 

People always ask me if I just sit around and dream up ideas.... I wish... I am a person that really needs to have something in front of me and sometimes a problem, if its not there in front of me or I am not dealing with an issue or on a mission my brain thinks theres nothing wrong, anything to do or change

I wish I had that ability to sit and look out in the horizon and dream up things that have never been even thought of with nothing to base them off of... that person is truly a special person and if they have the ability to make those things in their head a reality they are truly a unique creature that is extremely lucky.

Once we returned to the shop after all the holiday fun, it was time to work
about a week left in my trip..
I had some sort of idea to do something using all the fallen trees in the back yard of the shop
So, I just started cutting, my Minnesota heritage came out with my grace on the chainsaw.
I can't say I carved any bears or eagles but I handled doing the cutting.
I started thinking about the style of water pipes because its kinda like welding doing all the fit up and connections but without all the tools that I required, 

This was one of my early prototypes to show Greg's world Champ Santa Cruz bikes.

Some true mountain biking history sitting on those finely chainsawed logs... 
With that idea it was back on the scooter down to the water pipe store called Valverite in Pietermaritzburg and the man John behind the counter... 

If he reads this he will remember the long lost faces I made as I mentally cut and tread the pipes in my head and assembled the in my brain and then as if possessed by demented plummer I yell---

quantity 12 of 240mm threaded both ends 25mm..
quantity 54 threaded 75 mm nipples 
quantity 11 of 2000 threaded both end 32 mm pipe
and on and on as his pen runs out of ink...
Sorry John... we did it but it sucked...

These were the next displays I designed and built
The little aluminum rocker wheel holders I made in the USA and flew with them but didn't know how I was going to use them or where I would use them... I designed the geometry of that rocker for another company to use and found that it works really well so I just made a whole bunch of them at my shop in Oakland before leaving. 
This was using the 32mm water pipe and logs I cut down in the back yard 
The main thing with these displays was to keep the bikes neat and in order but also not to tight that you couldn't really see the high end bikes...
With the main focus on expensive bikes being in the back, the other plus is that the most expensive bike don't get messed with and adding to the risk of damage. 

I did a bunch of displays in different sizes and really focused on the racks and displays for products using the water pipes and flanges with wood. 
Really simple really neat looking...
I can't wait to see once all the other stuff on the walls is all adjusted for the new layout what the shop will look like. 
Over all it went super quick like under a few days to hammer out everything...
Put my first MLS stamp on it that says....

Met some really cool people in South Africa and even got met at the Johannesburg airport during one of my layovers on my return back home, one of them was a dude named Dylan - 4 year MLS blog follower/master mind RC airplane builder/R&D wild man and we burned away some hours drinking beers at the airport and chattin about building. Perfect way to get back on the plane...
 Hammered and lighter due to the unloading of MLS t-shirts on Dylan for himself and his buddies. 

 Greg took this picture because he wanted to make fun of me for taking back scrap from Waynes Scrap metal in South Africa.... "Dude thats a perfectly good cast hand wheel... You don't get it..." 
I not only told him that a few times but also airport security all the way across the world... 

Remember you don't always need to weld to build neat stuff...
You can do it with water pipe !
I can't believe I said that..
I take that back ... ok its pretty neat maybe half credit

 Back to the good old RED WHITE AND BLUE  USA ...


  1. was that cup of coffee made with the wonder-espresso maker? still waiting to see that copper goodness in action!

    1. I wish... it will be a while before shes running... I can't stop adding stuff to it.... I will be doing a update on it here soon, I don't think anyone will be let down until we try to make good coffee... Thanks again