Thank you VS for giving me the opportunity to contribute.
Hey Yíall, Alexis Dold here. I own Villin Cycle Works and live in Gainesville Florida (hence the Vill in Villin) I built my first frame in February of 2001.
Here is a little list of things you may or may not know about me -
I love and live for my wife Robin and my two daughters Ava 6yrs and Beatrix 4yrs.
I am the VP of the PTA at my oldest daughtersí school.
I do the dishes and the laundry at my house. All of them every day.
Iím an Ice Beer drinkin,
My auto biography will be titled Alcohol and Power Tools.
Iíve seen Sasquach.
Iíll sleep on the floor and never complain about it.
I once produced anti matter after a long night of doing fun stuff.
OK maybe a few times.
Iím an awful typist and an even worse speller.
I have trouble being my self but seem to be getting better at it with age..
And around my small group of close friends, Iím usually completely full of shit. In the most deliberate and irreverent sense possible.
My friends and our rides -
When I was a kid my friends and I would ride from Port Orange to Ormond Beach on our BMX bikes to hang at a music store. We hit all the grocery stores on the way for free samples. We also packed old sk8 decks we modified with foot straps and the wheels removed. Ya see, there were these two huge piles of dirt in Ormond that were the result of dredge projects. The dredging dug rite into the water table that was only four feet or so below the surface and rite next to the piles. Instructions for afternoon fun; Climb hill, dawn board tail up front, stand up, lean forward, tumble down hill several times until you got the hang of sliding. I canít remember feeling water more refreshing than the first few splash downs. Most of my close buddies have been riding BMX since they were kids like me and throw a leg over for work, groceries, and what ever else they can find an excuse for. I get to hang with them on Tuesday and Thursday nights. We have an ongoing night time trail ride that started in 97. The local trail system in Gainesville was still in its infancy clocking in at around 30 miles back then. Today, including the West side of town there are well over 150 miles and counting of frequently used mostly illegal, heavily wooded single track. Most of our rides are 2ish hours and end up at a pub for the usual liquids, rib poking, and good tipping but twice a year we get to ride all day. #1 The tour De Gainesville, Held on the east side of town, no entry fee, 100k last year, 72 riders. This year will be the tenth year in a row and it keeps getting bigger. And the Catch 22 held on the west side of town, in its fourth year and usually rite around 50 mi. Oh and there is also the Tour De Falasco, look it up. I used to ride all day every day. What happened? Oh yeah, adulthood.
Work 'n stuff -
By the time I was 28 I still had worked more jobs than I was years old. Steve Garro may be my only competition in this area (love the way you write Steve). My parentsí divorced when I was 10 and I started working shortly after that. Iv been a paper boy, buss boy, grocery bagger, line cook, Ocean Life guard, Iv worked at the Gap, Burdines, the YMCA and was a Physical therapist assistant and aquatics director at north Florida regional rehab and specialty care center. This was a cool job. I assisted with aggressive wound care. And designed and implemented patient specific aquatic rehab programs for stroke victims, knee and hip replacement patients and patients with debilitating genetic disorders among other things. I was fascinated by it. Iíve worked at a movie theater and a cannery in Keni Alaska, was a professional and regionally successful DJ from 96-2000 and still moon lite as a DJ on growradio.org with an all vinyl show I call The Selector. I lived in San Francisco from 98-2000 and worked at a hardware store called Fredricksons, I am a wood worker, and Iíve worked on bikes in tons of shops for ever. Won my first race when I was 6, purchased a bike shop called Bikes and more that I was managing in 01, started another bike shop called Mr Good Bike in 03, and sold all that to build frames full time in October 2007 among other things.
Ever get an idea stuck in your head and think about it so much that it starts to affect every thing you do and even partially paralyzes you (mentally) Well, I never do that. Yeah rite. I have figured out how to get them outa my head though and, in that killing two birds with one stonerish way it has lead to every peace of art and every new frame thing Iv produced. I just make what is gumming up the works, real. Then when I see it in front of me it leaves my mind. Forever. Total freedom. Well not exactly, something else always finds its way into the free space again but its nice for a while. Currently and if youíve been around the salon for long enough youíll know Iv been learning how to forge my own steel for bike parts with the intention of making my own Forge welded (wood grain looking steel) lugs. To say its taken longer than I thought would be a gross under statement but Im getting there. On the way I was introduced to a jewelry making technique referred to as Mokume Gane. Itís Japanese for wood grain. Long story short, different process similar results only with non ferric material. No rust =no clear coat over the wood grain = texture and depth that you cannot only see but feel. That in combination with a pre braised joint = form and function and an empty brain. Yesterday I was one for three lugs and becoming more comfortable with the material every day. Innovate or die rite.
I canít imagine it. Retirement is for people that want to do something other than what there doing now. Though I do have my days, I think iv found what I want to die doing and feel lucky to wake up every morning knowing that.
At the moment -
I no longer take custom requests from my customers relative to geometry or aesthetics. A little while ago I realized that I know allot more about bikes than even most experienced riders. That doesnít mean I turn a deaf ear by any means, in fact I listen more closely now than ever. It just means Iím supremely confidant in my ability to interpret the info they give me when we begin our dialog and use that info to make the best world class bike I can. Which aint so bad. My only concern about this whole thing is that to keep my wait times any wear near reasonable Iíve had to price myself way out of many of the people that I would like to see on my bikes range and I donít know what to do about it. Building more bikes is no longer an option that I entertain and bringing it another partner is also out of the question now. I guess it will work its self out like it always dose. For now Ill just have to be content having never felt more passionate about anything! And knowing that although pollution makes the sunset pink itís beautiful anyway.