I’ve returned from Thailand and Korea and back to working full-speed. I’ve got several bikes nearly finished and done with powder-coat. I’m working every day until October. In the meantime I’ve paused all rack production to focus solely on bikes. I’m busier than ever while still emotionally high from Thailand.
I suppose an update is in store. I still haven’t uploaded all the great photos I took while traveling. My shop internet connection is very slow, so I’m limited to uploading only a few at a time. I’m almost never home to do it.
If you’re waiting for a bike, rest assured it’s coming soon. I’ve sent emails to those in the queue. Three bikes to Germany, Oslo, Vermont, Philly, Berkeley, and Austin all coming! Yes! MANY more after that—I’m working as fast as I can.
As I mentioned, all CETMA Rack production is now paused for the next few months. I might make small batches now and then, but it’s complicated to make bikes and racks simultaneously since each operation requires different jigs and fixtures and tools which take time and space to set up. For those pending rack orders, a final batch is now being powder-coated and should be ready to ship this week.
Don’t tell anyone, but it’s crossed my mind to relocate CETMA to Thailand. I’ve been weighing the pros and cons and it’s beginning to tilt in one direction. Well-paid crew, exports, dealers, shorter wait-times…sweet spots.
Thailand was nice but L.A. has its own benefits.
UPDATE: I’m back from Thailand, the land of smiles and sanuk. I stayed away a little longer than originally planned, but I’m now in full swing and catching up with emails and work.
I’ve got a lot to share, including some great photos and videos of South Korea and Chiang Mai, the city I visited with my wife, Cara. Stay tuned.
Cara and I are in Thailand. We’re here during what’s called the Songkran Festival. I feel like a teenager again. It’s heavy.
I could move here. I don’t know what to do. Our friends will live in Vietnam for six months, why not us? Everybody moves. God, it’s so cheap! If Cara dared me, I’d consider it. Rice for a nickel. Water and sun and spices and hot peppers. Everything dies.
Everyone smiles here. These people are gentle and youthful, even the old people with mahogany skin and crooked bodies—they all laugh. I don’t know any Thai language, but I smile and they smile back. Personal freedom and acceptance and content people. Cultural homogeneity and happiness. Buddhism. No fear. No rigidity anywhere. Monks walk and smile. There are more than one hundred Buddhist temples here—gold trim and curves. The buildings are constructed by space-people. Rules don’t count. The law is: don’t hurt. Cara and I ride our scooter through the ancient alleys late at night. Do what you want. These city walls have been here for six hundred years. There is a moat. The city transforms at night into a market. Eat crickets and mangoes late. There’s a level of personal freedom that I’ve never experienced at home. I forgot. People are in charge. We’re going to the same place. Be happy.
Sleek Thai babes in unbelievable shorts are everywhere and it’s nearly a hundred degrees and we’re expecting thunderstorms during this water festival where the entire city shuts down to soak everyone and everything in water over and over again. Go outside and laughing friends shower you completely with water from buckets and super-soakers and hoses. Endless lines of trucks and scooters and tuk-tuks parade by at snail’s pace to deliver drive-by soakings. Entire families camp by the roadside with garbage cans of water to soak everyone in sight and laugh. Massive multi-level stages have been erected and sound-systems are pumping ear-shattering Thai dance music. Thai girls dance. Everyone is completely soaked. You can not avoid water.
I’m sitting in an internet cafe. It’s okay to drink beer here—why not? All of the above is happening outside this window right now. I’m going out there.
In nine hours, my wife and I will board an airplane and fly to South Korea. Seriously.
Provided North Korea hasn’t incinerated the capital at that time, we’ll stay in Seoul for a sixteen-hour layover before flying to Thailand. We’re attending a very important wedding which is scheduled to commence in Chiang Mai, about 450 miles north of Bangkok.
Cara and I will be in Thailand for nine days. At that time I’ll do my best to relax and enjoy the vacation, although I can assure you my brain will be frozen in work mode for the entire trip. I’ve never been so busy and unwilling to leave my work.
My phone will be out of commission but I’ll do my best to stay online while I’m in Thailand. If I decide to relocate CETMA to Bangkok, you’ll be the first to know.
There’s a lot going on right now and I feel somewhat guilty about leaving my post. I’ve got pressing deadlines and plenty to do before walking away. Please know this isn’t a voluntary vacation but I’ll do my best to pretend.
New “Stretch” Margo with NuVinci hub.
This bike now belongs to a family of 8 here in Los Angeles. I delivered it on Sunday and from what I can tell, they’re very happy with it. Most of their children will be riding in this mighty machine once dad makes a box.
The platform measures 39” total, 31” between the diagonal V members, and 19” at its widest spot. The total wheelbase is a few inches longer than 7 feet.
This machine handles beautifully. The trail/flop ratio is just right. It rides no-handed easily unloaded at medium speed.
I imagine we’ll be seeing more of this bike in the near future. I’ll forward photos when they’re available.
Last weekend Keds Shoes rented one of my cargo bikes as a prop for a photo shoot campaign featuring “a picnic” and “Taylor Swift”. Consider that a signal that cargo bikes are making their way into the mainstream.
The representative couldn’t furnish details of the shoot, but said he’d forward whatever photos he could. The gist I got was that the content was fairly unsharable until the campaign was unveiled or whatever. A van came to my shop on Friday and scooped up my Margo. I continued welding my bikes.
My wife pointed out that Taylor had just begun a US tour last week starting in the mid-west and wouldn’t likely be “on set” for the shoot (jealous). I countered that Taylor’s concert dates left the weekend open and she’d probably fly out for it.
My bike has been returned. No word yet about the shoot. Stay tuned…
Caller: “Hi, Lane, I’m from Keds Shoes. I love the bikes you make. I would like to use one of your bikes in a photo shoot this weekend. It’s a beach/picnic scene. Models will do their thing with your bike in the background as a prop. I’ll pay you.”
Caller: “Great! Oh, it’s for Taylor Swift.”
Guy paid me and this morning three scrawny dudes came to my shop and loaded my Margo into a van. They’ll return it Monday.
CETMA in Mexico City.
Why not, right? This is how my wife and I do laundry. The laundromat is only a few blocks away, so it doesn’t make sense to load the car and drive there (especially in 77 degree Los Angeles, where we live). This cargo bike is our short errand vehicle. We also get groceries and run other errands this way. It’s fast, efficient, and fun.
From Cara in Venice, CA