I want to share with you today about the RANS field trip Jerrell and I were privileged to take last week! The first stop was with the RANS dealers, Angle Tech, in Colorado Springs, CO. Angle Tech is skilled in adapting bikes/trikes for special-needs customers. Angle Tech’s crew, Kelvin, Kirk, and Josiah, together with Jerrell and I, traveled north and toured different points of interest in Denver. Our first stop that pertained to special needs was Aspen Seating Clinic. This clinic specializes in comfortable seating solutions for world class wheelchair athletes, down to the most discerning of wheelchair users. Here we were shown how the entire process happens. Each seat is custom fitted to each individuals. The customer sits on a bag of foam “beans” and once the customer has properly settled in, a vacuum is pulled on the bag, which locks the “beans” in place. The seat surface is then scanned, from which scan a 3 D image is made. This 3 D image I then sent to a CNC machine, and the seat is cut out of a block of foam. The foam then is used as the mold to create the plastic seat base, after which, a seat cushion is fabricated on the CNC using the same 3 D “pattern”. When completed, fabric is sewn around it that fits to precision! This is an amazing process!
After our visit to the Aspen Seating Clinic, we visited the world renowned Craig Hospital which specializes in neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord injury and brain injury. It was interesting to tag along with the Angle Tech crew and see a different world that is out there! We cannot deny the fact that these injuries do happen and that there is help as much as can be for each situation.
To finish out our busy day, we were able to stop in at the DaVinci frame shop, and made one final stop to visit John Morciglio, the carbon frame builders shop. It was very nice to see the good ole Bridgeport milling machine and the years old lathe that Todd used at DaVinci. Ideas were swapped and shared at both frame builders shops!
The next day found us flying the friendly skies to Portland, OR to visit Rose City Recumbent Cycles another RANS dealer. Jonathan and Robert received us graciously into their shop! Rose City is a highly rated bicycle shop and a must-see, if you are in the area or otherwise. Much discussion and idea swapping about the wonderful machines called bicycles was going on back and forth!
We visited Terra Cycle while in Portland as well. This shop manufactures idler wheels for recumbents, glide flex stems, mounting hardware, fairings, and much more! It was fascinating to watch the CNC milling machines turn out all the precision cut parts! The “arm” would choose the holder with the correct tool, install it into the spindle and BUZZ, the tool would cut material away from the aluminum piece and bingo, the “arm” would select the next tool holder with the correct bit. All this is done by computer programing. We also were privileged to watch the fairing blowing process. It is a critical process of heating the Lexan to the correct temperature for the proper length of time. Truly amazing! Out of a flat piece of material which was placed on a jig, arises a bubble called a fairing! Terra Cycle has a great crew of workers! We enjoyed our time there!
On our last day in Portland, Angle Tech and RANS toured a frame builder’s shop called, Breadwinner and then Chris Igleheart’s. All of these shops are in the business of building bikes! Chris is known for his fork building expertise. Very nice to visit with an old timer who knows the tricks of the trade! I found a milling machine in his shop that had the Nichols name on it! Just like our last name is spelled!
Portland is a beautiful city with lots of trees and lots of bikers! I loved to see the people out on bicycles! It didn’t look like it mattered what kind of weather it was outside. I still saw people biking! The leaves on the trees were yellow, red and orange. A lot had fallen to the street and were piled high in the gutters. We are glad to have had the chance to go and visit Portland!
Like Kelvin Clark says, we have come back home with our brains fatter!