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Paul's Covid Update
How’s everyone doing? I hope you are staying healthy and sticking with the rules. Things are opening up but please don’t rush back to how it was. This thing isn’t kicked yet, that’ll take a lot longer. We’ve been running a skeleton crew up until now taking orders, shipping and running some machines and keeping a wide social distance from each other. But, it seems everybody has discovered bicycles again and demand is out stripping our capacity with the current crew at the factory. Of course you and I have always known how special bicycles are, but still, we are slammed for product. This is, of course, a great problem but it presents another problem. How do we have a couple more people in the shop and still observe tight controls on virus contamination? In a nut shell: Porta Potty’s and extra sinks. We’re dividing the shop into zones, with each it’s own sink and toilet. One for each person. We’ve also come up with a strict protocol for behavior at work. And everyone is getting infrared thermometers to monitor temperature at home. The biggest bummer? The fridge is unplugged because we don’t need it to be a germ catch all. Cold beer after work is now an issue but we’ll manage.
 
Do we really need these drastic measures? Well, I’ve decided to take no chances and just go all out. In fact we are following the lead of White Industry’s who talked us through their system last week. COVID is way less of a problem up here in the rural north state but I want to be on the right side of history with this one. Please join us and keep your distance. 
 
Thanks again for your continued support. Now go do a sweet solo ride!
 
-Paul
7 Questions with Tyler of BTCHN' Bikes
Paul: Why don't I ever get invited to any of your parties?
Uhh... Paul, now everyone knows... that... you weren't invited. And not to mention, we only drink Sierra Nevada and I know you're not into that kinda thing.

How old were you when you first started thinking about making frames and what were any events leading up to that?
Ya know, I was just recently reminded by one of my bike buddies from high school that I used to talk about building bike frames back then. I think building frames/chassis was always something that was a possibility and an eventuality. My first go kart was a scaled down race kart that my dad had built for me when I was 3. It had such good handling characteristics. He had also built countless other Outlaw Kart chassis' and some Flat Track moto frames over the years, so frame building was not a foreign concept nor was it seen as something over the top or unusual to do. It wasn't until about 5 years ago when I had a home shop to myself and a handy neighbor by the name of Mitch Pryor that I decided to jump in and start building steel bike frames.

You're born and raised in Chico. So many people move to our fair city who aren't from here (myself included), should we welcome them or try to sound discouraging?
Chico? Chico is terrible. i would not recommend.
...yeahhh, that's a hard one for a local boy. I love this community so so much. I am all for sharing this amazing town with transplants, just so long as they are positive additions to a whole and healthy community.
You build a lot of custom bikes to fit your individual customers. What's your overall philosophy for that?
I think an important part of my job is to be able to accurately read a person and their vibe. Describing how a bike handles is a seriously abstract task. A lot of my questions involve extracting information about what really turns you on about riding. Is it when you leap off a fucked up rocky drop into a chute of baby heads? Or maybe an 8hr grind on some beautiful back roads where you won't see another soul all day? Aside from rider habits and preferences, understanding local terrain is pretty important as well. For example, Upper Bidwell park has rocks every-fucking-where. Because of this, a proper Bidwell bike needs to have a higher BB than what's ideal for, say, a manicured flow trail.
I think of myself as a relatively amicable and agreeable person and am open to input on certain aspects of my builds.. but for the most part, I have pretty strong opinions on things like cable routing, caliper mounting standards, BB standards etc, that I'm not going to give folks much wiggle room on. I have worked on enough bikes with shitty execution of internal routing and dealt with enough endlessly creaking BB's to never use anything but a proper threaded BB on any of my bikes. I straight up refuse to use a press fit.  

You've gone basically full time with the bike building gig. You still put any time in at Campus Bicycles? Had the transition been totally nerve-racking?
I've been hanging out at Campus Bicycles literally my whole life. I used to walk downtown during half days in middle school and shoot the shit and spend every last dollar there on bike parts. It's really hard for me to just leave the shop entirely, so I am still on the schedule 1 day a week. The transition to that point was indeed scary as hell. I kinda made the move preemptively (because I like a good stress induced rush), which forced me to haul ass and build some damn frames. Things are smoothing out a little bit now, and I'm getting into the flow of frame building life.
What is your ideal day of bike riding?
I'm kinda all over the place with riding preference. Undoubtedly, I crave riding nasty, rocky, techy chunk. I'm usually bored when I travel to ride bikes elsewhere unless I go to a place that's equally terrifying to ride as Bidwell. I'd say that the one thing that really gets me off the most though is riding a new trail, blind, as fast as possible with at least a few sketchy moments where I almost slide off into the canyon.
When I'm not on my MTB getting ridiculous, I usually end up going on some epic 5 plus hour dirt road/singletrack grinds on my SS gravel bike which I can access from my front door. God I love the Sierra Nevadas.

Tell us everything you know about our friend Jade... Just kidding. Sorta. You a two stroke or four stroke motorcycle person?
Holy smokes Paul... are we really going there right now? Okay, so her sign is...
That's a good question (the one about the motorcycle, not Jade), I'd have to say I'm a four stroke guy coming from a flat tracking family. BUT, my most favorite bike to race in the world was a 2 smoke, my Honda RS125 GP bike. 50hp in a 160lb package and can carry the highest mid corner speed of any motorcycle on the planet.. yeah they're the shit. Our RS250 was pretty cool too. Twin cylinder 2 stroke 250cc, 90hp and 220lbs. It was faster in a straight line than most 600cc sport bikes and could out corner everything except for the 125.

Learn more about Tyler's bikes at www.btchnbikes.com or on Instagram at @btchn.bikes
Motolite Brakes, what the heck are ya doing?
We've seen a really big spike in Motolite Brake sales lately... What gives? Are people pulling their dusty old 26" mountain bikes out of the corner of the garage and reviving them to battle Covid related boredom? Is it because of the MotoLite's ability to help bikes adapt to different wheel sizes? Tag us in a photo of your install, we'd like to see what ya'll are doing with these!
We miss Downieville too!

If you know us at all, you know that Downieville is our HAPPY PLACE, for waaay too many reasons to list. It’s a bummer that two of our favorite events to support with aid stations (and party at) have been cancelled for this year, but more than that, it’s super heartbreaking to hear how the town itself is struggling without recreational visitors coming through supporting their economy. That being said, we ABSOLUTELY respect Downieville’s request that we all STAY AWAY: a small intimate community with a high number of elderly and no local hospital would be DEVASTATED if Covid was introduced by a careless visitor. So what can we do to be supportive of our favorite place on earth right now?     

  1. Stay away until they give the all clear and respect their boundaries.
  2. If you registered for an event that’s been canceled please be understanding about your forfeited entry fees. Consider it your donation to keeping Sierra Buttes and the local community they employ afloat so you can enjoy these trails when they re-open.
  3. If you didn’t register for any events but normally enjoy riding in the area, find a way to donate a little tax deductible money. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship can point you in the right direction. 
  4. When the coast is clear, let’s get up there and ride and hire shuttles and eat at the restaurants and do everything we can to support these folks, this isn’t just a playground, it’s a community and as guests we owe it to them.   
Paul's New Falconer
Paul got himself a new Falconer frame, and built it up pretty dang sweet! Find out what he means by the bike version of "wearing a belt and suspenders" in our latest video:
Copyright © 2020 Paul Component Engineering, All rights reserved.


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