For today's installment of the FBQ on LFoaB I'm very pleased to announce we have Curt Goodrich. Besides the notable point of interest on his resume being that of principal (read-only) builder of Rivendell Customs he also builds privately under his own name.
Working alone in a 750 square foot shop in Minnesota he consistently turns out one-of-a-kind works of triangulated mobile art. Curt is a master of his craft and this is what he had to say...
1. How old are you?
2. Where were you born?
Blue Earth, MN
3. What's your earliest memory of a bicycle or something bicycle related?
My earliest bike memory is of my mom taking me for rides on her bike. My bike seat was positioned on the top tube and my feet rested on top of the fork crown. Pretty safe huh?
4. What was your first cycle?
My first bicycle was a used Hiawatha (I think) with a movable top tube. The bike could be converted to a boy's or girl's bike. It was red.
5. How about first "high-end" cycle?
My first "real" bike was a Gazelle AA Champion (I think that was the model name). It had chainstays so short that the seat tube was grooved to make room for the rear tire.
6. Did (does) your family (parents, siblings, etc) ride also?
One of my brothers, Kim, was a cyclist.
7. Did you like to tinker with bikes back then?
Yes. Probably too much.
8. Did you ever work in a Bike Shop... if so, where/how long?
I have worked at several bike shops in Seattle and Minneapolis/St. Paul. I don't remember exactly how long at each shop but I'd guess a total of five years working in bike shops.
9. Have you ever done any organized racing?
Yes, I used to race. I really loved it and was quite average at it. I don't now because I don't have the time to train. This has taken a lot of pressure off my riding. I enjoy and cherish every opportunity I ride.
10. How about cyclo-touring?
I have done some touring. The longest was from Chicago to New Hampshire.
11. What job(s) did you have before frame building and also-do you have any other job currently besides frame building?
I've had a lot of other jobs before frame building. Too many to list but I was a chef for awhile. I don't have any other jobs than frame building.
12. When did you start building?
I started in 1994.
13. Who would you say is your greatest influence in designing & frame building?
Tim Isaac has had the greatest influence on my frame building. I learned a ton from him while working at Match bicycle company. I really found myself as a builder there.
14. Did you apprentice... if so, with who?
I did apprentice. First I worked for Dan Wynn. Second I worked for R&E Cycles. Third I worked for Tim at match. Now I'm self employed so I guess my apprenticeship is over.
15. What's your idea of the "perfect cycle" regardless if you built it or not?
I'm still looking for it. It always seems to be the next one.
16. Shooting a guess... how many frames would you say you've built?
17. Any cycles out there that you secretly wished, "Darn, I wish I'd built that!"?
I don't know maybe Toei's rando bikes.
18. Your idea of the perfect client?
A perfect client is one that can articulate their desires and leave the rest to me.
19. What defines a nightmare client in your experience?
A nightmare client would be one that can't articulate their desires.
20. Any words of advice to up & coming frame builders?
Practice, practice, practice. Watch or better yet work with an experienced builder for a while. Build the type of frames that make you happy even if this doesn't seem market savvy.
21. What do you find most funny or peculiar (in a kind way-not brutal) about the cycle-buying public... what don't they get or aren't they seeing?
The current fad of carbon forks. They are light but not terrible well aligned or accurate.
22. What do you think of mass-produced bikes (without naming names)?
For the most part, they're pretty well made but are slanted too much towards racing even if they're not race worthy. Don't take this as a black and white thing. I dig ALL bikes not just racing or touring or mtb. I just think the general public would be better served with fewer "racing" bike choices and more choices of bikes that are comfortable and versatile.
23. What cycle don't you have anymore that you wished you did?
I can't think of any. I'm not sentimental about those sort of things.
24. What cycle do you currently ride most, even if it wasn't built by you?
I've lately been putting most of my miles on my Rivendell with 650b wheels.
25. When did you last ride your bike and for how far?
This morning for 10 miles. That's my commute in to work.
26. What's your idea of the perfect ride?
To me almost every ride is a perfect ride. I just love to ride. With that said, one of my fondest riding memories is riding out on Mt. Diablo with the Rivendell gang.
27. Could you ever see yourself being Car Free... just using mass-transportation and your bike to get around?
I don't think so. I use a car very little but I like having one for road trips or carrying big heavy things.
28. Why do you think so many folks have romanticized bicycles & bicycling?
I think it's because almost everyone has some experience with bikes and bicycling. The sense of motion and freedom is almost universally loved.
29. Any (other) passions or hobbies in your life?
Backpacking, cooking, baking, playing with my kids and dogs.
30. If you could say one thing to Lance Armstrong what would it be?
Say "Hi" to Sheryl.
31. In a pinch... McDonald's or Burger King?
32. What kind of shampoo did you last use?
I don't know what it is. We buy it in the bulk section at the local food co-op.
33. Favorite libation: wine, beer or fire water?
Beer. Summit IPA to be exact.
34. Even though there seems to be a real tradition to it-what do you think of folks who spend more time setting up their cycle with just the right color saddle, bar tape, bags, hoods, etc than actually riding or at least commenting on the ride?
I don't care what they do to their bikes as long as they ride them. If agonizing over every detail leads to their riding, I'm fine by that.
35. Did you go to college... if so, what was your major?
I did go to college. I was a political science major but I didn't finish my degree.
36. Your favorite music while working (if any)?
I listen to public radio. Sometimes it's talk. Sometimes it's classical. Sometimes it's indy rock. I just can't stand commercials.
37. If you had it to do all over again... would you be building cycles?
38. What's your favorite lunch food during a work day in the shop?
California sushi rolls. My shop's next door neighbor makes prepackaged sushi and it's good.
39. When it's all said & done-what kind of legacy will you hope to have left behind?
I guess I hope that I'm remembered as a guy that his family was proud of.
40. How can folks get in touch with you to order a custom cycle?
Curt Goodrich Bicycles
2010 E. Hennepin Ave. #04-023
Minneapolis, MN 55413