Betsy took me to San Francisco last week :)
Betsy had been selected to go to a conference for the software she works with at her school. I always tag along for Betsy’s conferences, so we can be together and have a little vacation.
I had been to San Francisco a few times, but never got to see anything [like the Golden Gate bridge etc…just in and out very quick. This trip we had several days to ride around and see the sights.
We made time to go out to Alcatraz Island, ride to the top of Coit Tower and Lombardi street, rode the cable cars and cable car museum and go to Japan town. Peets coffee is based in San Francisco, so that was nice too ;)
Betsy’s conferences allow us to stay at places we would never be able to afford, so these trips are a lifetime trip for us. There was only one hotel that was not full, that was close to the conference center, so we stayed at the Palace Hotel. A pretty nice place I guess ;) This is the spot where Michael Douglass fell through the roof in the movie the “Game”.
Betsy and I really liked being able to walk and ride our bikes around town, missing the city life we used to have in Boston. San Francisco was pretty clean and lots of people riding bicycles to get around town.
I visited with my friend Anand that moved to SF and now makes custom furniture at his shop called Gravy. Anand was in the middle of a job, building furniture for a restaurant that was to open in a few days! I also visited with a customer of mine and tried to visit two others, but could not get my scheduling right :(
On one of the days that Betsy was in session all day I went for a big bike ride around SF, out to Haight street and American Cyclery and got a tour from Bradley and Daniel. This is a very cool shop and has an extensive collection of classic bicycles. Then I rode through Golden Gate park and around the coast line, up some major climbs and up to the Golden Gate bridge, through the Presidio and then along the water front back to town.
When the conference was over we rented a car and drove up to Napa to stay with our friends Mitzy and Curtis Inglis. Curtis & Mitzy grew up in Napa and gave us a grand tour of the area. Curtis is one of my favorite bicycle builders [Inglis & Retrotech]and they are both great people. Curtis has been building for a long time and has honed his craft and makes the best curved tube bikes you could ever have. They have two cute dogs [April & Max] that we had fun with and it is hard to not go anywhere without Max.
Curtis took us on a big tour out to Petaluma & Santa Rosa to visit Sean at Soulcraft. Sean has paid his dues in the bike building world and has a very well equipped shop, building bicycles of great quality with a non-nonsense style that is very appealing to me…and he has some chickens out in the yard too!
Then we headed over to Santa Rosa to visit Jeremy at Sycip Cycles. Jeremy is a very nice guy and has also been building nice bicycles for a long time. Sycip’s shop is also very well equipped and had a very nice professional display area. After knowing Jeremy for so long it very nice to be able to finally visit his shop.
That night we went over to Lucy and Chris’s house to eat dinner. Lucy and our friend Andrew made us a fantastic dinner🙂 Lucy also has a side business making hats and bags called Luce Goods. I am going to have Lucy make some cycling caps for us, so stay tuned for that.
The next day we drove to Sacramento to visit Betsy’s friend Mary and get a grand tour of the town, including Old Sac [Fun Tourist antique part of town].
While in Sacramento we also gave a quick visit to another good California builder Steve Rex. Steve has a very nice shop and has also been building for a long time and is a fit rider. And he had an ANT in his shop! One of my customers from Kansas was there getting some work done. It was a surprise visit [I did not know Steve was in Sacramento and got his address from Curtis].
The next day we were taken on a big bike tour of wine country!
Andrew is a wine maker for Bouchaine winery and also an ANT rider. We got a great tour from Andrew. It was very cool to get a personal tour and also a truck tour around the fields.
After the Bouchaine tour, went rode to a nice spot for lunch, then rode some more back to Curtis’s home…then to another winery! We drove to this one [and it is on top of a huge hill!]. Hess is a pretty fantastic place, that has a very extensive art museum on the grounds as well as a beautiful winery.
After Hess, we cleaned up and we all rode our bikes into town [Napa] and had dinner at a restaurant that Curtis and Mitzy were friends with owners [and Inglis riders]. Napa had a lively downtown area and was very clean…a very easy place to like.
The next day it was time to pack up and leave and get back to Boston. We had a great time and would like to go back someday to see our friends again.
Needless to say no work was happening while I was gone, but I am as refreshed as can be [other than feeling a little fat from eating and drinking] and have come back to some beautiful spring weather here in Boston. I was really burned and stressed out after the last several months of moving my shop, going to NAHBS and making and delivering the MAD Exhibit bikes.
I now feel fantastic and ready to get back to building your bike🙂