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UBI grad looks to start framebuilder club

Posted by on May 4th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Roland Couture wants to start the Portland
Framebuilder Club as a resource for
new and existing builders.
(Photo courtesy Roland Couture)

A local graduate of United Bicycle Institute’s frame building school plans to start a club that will help builders pool resources and have a better chance at success.

Roland Couture is a 41 year-old, self-described “…tinkerer, lifetime cyclist, and musician smart enough to have an engineering degree, but with a persistent and nagging desire to actually make things by hand.”

Couture’s vision for the Portland Framebuilder Club (he’s bought the domain name but is still working on the site) is a to create an informal network where builders could come together, learn from each other, and more.

Couture hopes to someday collect dues and pool finances so that fledgling builders could afford expensive tools, share shop space (a “club shop” he calls it) where members could schedule work time, get volume discounts on materials, and host professional development seminars and clinics.

Nine builders have already expressed interested in becoming members and Couture says he hopes to add more names to his list the coming weeks. Couture is aware of the existing Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association — a non-profit organization that has builders from throughout the state and puts on a major annual bike show — but says the scope of his club would be “more local and more hands-on.” He also points out that established builders would also be welcome to join. “It should be pretty awesome for lots of folks whether framebuilding is ‘just a hobby’ or a professional aspiration.”

For more information, contact Roland Couture at rjc2[at]hevanet[dot]com.

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  • Anonymous May 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Might it be called a coop?

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  • Mark Allyn May 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    He might be interested in hooking up with the Watershed, which is a group of artists on Millwalkie ave, about 1 mile south of Powell.

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  • Alex Wetmore May 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    We have one on Seattle for readers who live that far north. It is more of a club and less of a co-op, but there has been some informal tool sharing.


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  • Johnnie O. May 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Sounds Awesome!!!

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  • Paul Tay May 5, 2010 at 3:02 am

    “an informal network where builders could come together, learn from each other, and more.”

    Brothaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, kin ya spare a torch?

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  • Roland May 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    P.S. There will be beer.

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  • KWW May 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

    There might be more interest for amateur frame builders, ie, short classes in conjunction with UBI, group buys on tools, etc

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  • Bill Stites May 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    This sounds like a great idea, and seems very inclusive for all levels of builder.

    Helping folks get even more creative in the bike world … excellent!

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  • Roland May 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    KWW: Funny you should mention that, I originally conceived it as the “Portland Amateur Framebuilder Club” but dropped the word amateur because I didn’t want to exclude the “pro” builders. (There’s even more potential for knowledge-sharing that way.)

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  • KWW May 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Yeah, I feel that the pro’s are a discreet bunch, and may not be interested in this because there are several professional otulets for them already.

    Personally, I would love to learn to how to braze lugs for stems, maybe a whole bike frame someday, but I will never, ever make a living at it. I just feel that one can appreciate it more if you do it yourself.

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  • Roland May 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Agreed. Well, send me an email and we’ll get you on the list!

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  • David Jenson December 10, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Anyone interested in starting a club like this in Southern California?I live in Colton.

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  • Alex Wetmore December 10, 2010 at 8:31 am

    The Seattle club has some pros and some amateurs. It is a good mix. We also have a couple of ex-pros who have decades of experience, but who do other jobs now.

    We are having a meeting in mid-Jan if anyone from Portland happens to be up here and wants to come.

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