My name is Tim To - and I make Granville Bicycles.
First a big Thank You to all for making this a place for inspiration and learning and to the MODS for the encouragement to post.
The Journey's Start
I have a varied cycling back ground - I've commuted year round through Canadian winters, I've done poorly at racing :), enjoyed the local rando scene, spent miles doing unsupported touring and have even completed the multi day Transrockies MTB race.
My true love is the road bike followed closely by all the glorious/whacky forms of city bikes rolling and serving people in their daily needs.
I simply wanted more from my relationship / obsession with the bike and I decided to enroll in Doug Fattic's class and that excellent start gave me confidence to carry on in my home workshop.
It is an amazing thing to hold a beautiful frame in your hands knowing YOU DID THAT!! That 'high' has been worth the toil, expense, repetition, failure, overcoming, doubt, and self-loathing that were features of my early efforts.
Early on there were nuggets of advice that spoke to me - culled from hours spent on frame builder forums. Some of the standouts; don't hang out a shingle till you have something to offer, start with the basics, repeat, ask questions, know your craft, bikes are vehicles, learn from failures, K.I.S.S., don't go broke, have integrity, know thyself. There is more than a little Sachs/Garro wisdom in there.
I am not an artisan. I prefer basic, utilitarian outcomes that remain aesthetically clean and become beautiful in their simplicity. Smooth fillets, crisp shorelines and design purpose and balance get me excited. I had a friend ask me to carve their initials in some lugs. I respectfully declined.
I started with a vice and files and a straight edge...honed my process over time and am at a place where the Anvil I have now is a 'nice' but not essential. My most used tools remain my intuition, experience, hands, eyes, the vice and files. I love working with the metal and fire. I'm excited to continually improve.
As I close in on the 30 frame mark - things 'click'. Bikes take shape smoothly; I can make what I envision, with quality I'm proud of. I am grateful to the continued guidance and advice from the masters on this very forum. I have been able to ask questions, get advice, apply it and repeat. My journey has been slow, but the learning has been invaluable. I wouldn't trade “My Way" for any other.
I have a very nice work/life balance with frame building being a hobby. I live in an expensive town and I am a family man with various responsibilities. Many days I'd rather hike at Light House Park with my kids and wife and see bald eagles than pound out miles. My day job enables me both family time and bike time.
The dream of going 'live' may one day happen. When the circumstances are 'right' for all aspects of my life - I'll know it. Till then I remain grateful for this venue that allows me to share.
This name is inspired by my amazing home town of Vancouver and specifically a place called Granville Island. It’s a unique gem - a public market, an art and design college, a wharf, artist studios and industrial fabricators all mashed up into one glorious place. It is the most precious place in the whole city for my family. We ride there on our long tail and play at the water park and eat fresh bagels. There is an ethos of handmade, local and fun that is inspiring to me. I hope to build bikes that live up to that spirit.
Thank you for reading.