Park Tool Visit

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Yesterday we left Cable early to make an pre-noon appointment time to visit Park Tool and do a little interview, video thing with Calvin Jones, a longtime friend of mine.  Calvin was a mechanic for the Levis team and we go way back.

The Park Tool factory is pretty impressive.  They are making a ton more tools there than I had anticipated.  Lots of tables of guys assembling tool and checking tolerances.  Big machines milling new tools, popping them out every minute or so.  The were making Suntour freewheel removal tools yesterday. It is strange to think anyone stills buys those.

Calvin asked me to stop by to do a Tech Tuesday, a short video segment he does on social media, mainly Facebook, that goes over different aspects of the sport, mainly relating to equipment and such.  It was fun .

Calvin kind of ripped apart my MTB bike, but that was to be expected.  It is 9 speed with a mishmash of parts.  Old XTR, SLX front brake, etc.  I haven’t really been racing MTB much more than 2 or 3 times a year, so I really only keep my bike in race shape right around Chequamegon time.  And bike setup for Chequamegon isn’t the normal setup for a MTB bike that I’d been racing off-road full time.   The Eriksen frame, seatpost, King Headset, and Stan’s Wheels are all great.  The rest could use some attention.  And that is coming very soon.

After the Park visit, I made my way down to Eden Prairie to meet up with the promoter of the Lutsen 99er I did two weekends ago.   I didn’t have much time to talk at the race, both of us being pretty busy, so it was nice to get to know each other a little.  He is heading out to Leadville a couple weeks early and we plan to meet up for a ride before the race.

We got out of Minneapolis a little late.  Got caught up in the horrible MSP evening traffic.  We had to use surface roads to get back to I-35, then got moving faster.  There is a ton of construction going on everywhere I’ve been this year.  The slow downs weren’t so bad, since we were driving later at night.  We got back around 1 am.  I went for a little spin on my MTB bike, my legs were so stiff for sitting in the van for 500 miles.

I have a couple days to try to catch up with home stuff, then am going to race a couple criteriums in Nevada Missouri, then head out to Colorado to get used to thin air.    Like I said yesterday, the Tour de Steamboat is next weekend in Steamboat Springs.  Kent Eriksen is the presenting sponsor, so I’m going to get some good miles riding with the other 1000 riders.  If you’re going to be anywhere near, feel free to make your way over to ride.  The link is above.

Rain is going to be spotty here in Kansas the next two days.  Plus, the heat is going to be crazy in a couple days.  It is supposed to be close to 100 degrees on Sunday, for the race.  Might not be my cup of tea just now.  I’m going to try to ride in the heat of the day tomorrow, when it is in the 90’s.  I doubt I’ll acclimate much to the heat in one day, but I have to start somewhere.

The studio with Calvin and the Park media guys.

The studio with Calvin and the Park media guys.

A little of the Park Tool office.

A little of the Park Tool office.

Calvin introduced me to most all the guys working there.

Calvin introduced me to most all the guys working there.

We got on bikes to do a full tour.  They have a super big collection of vintage bikes.

We got on bikes to do a full tour. They have a super big collection of vintage bikes.

I picked up a couple visitor gifts for stopping by.  The tool on the right is a torx wrench and then the chain whip that is more like chain pliers.  It will be interesting to see if it works as well as a normal chain whip.

I picked up a couple visitor gifts for stopping by. The tool on the right is a torx wrench and then the chain whip that is more like chain pliers. It will be interesting to see if it works as well as a normal chain whip.

Best gift was one of Calvin's personalized Dickies work shirts.  Too too big on the USA Cycling logo on the other side, but I can overlook that easily.  I'm sure it will make it into the rotation of daily wearers.

Best gift was one of Calvin’s personalized Dickies work shirts. Too too big on the USA Cycling logo on the other side, but I can overlook that easily. I’m sure it will make it into the rotation of daily wearers.  Think I’ll start today.

 

8 thoughts on “Park Tool Visit

  1. old and slow

    Nice to know-I almost paid real money for a Suntour remover a few weekends ago. On the basis that I should probably pickup a spare one before they were all gone forever.

    It was the newer four prong version that they are still making, I suspect?

     
      1. old and slow

        Cool. Do the chain pliers lock up like a Vise Grip does? I can’t count on my wrist tendons for any serious amount of clamping force in my dotage.

        Now I have to wonder how long it’s been since they made a freewheel vise?

        There was an article twenty years ago (maybe longer) about a Park employee on a bike tour in Mainland China. Very early on, maybe in the first five or six years that westerners could go there unescorted at all. He took some of their products along with him and showed people “this is what I make for a living.” The locals always went bat$nit crazy over them!

        At the time in China you simply couldn’t buy tools that well designed and finished anywhere, not even to work on a brand new BMW or a nuclear reactor. The idea that an American company would make something this good for bicycles just blew everyone’s mind hat he showed hem to.

         
  2. Max

    Funny how your old/outdated 9spd bike just happen to cross the finish line first at the Lutsen99’er a week or two ago. That despite all of the 11 Speed/carbon fiber marketing BS.

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Max-My bike works great. Great ti frame, which I think is the perfect material for off-road riding. I have strong, light wheels and XTR shifting. Not the latest and greatest, but good enough to do what it was made for. Worked out fine.

       
  3. Pingback: Tilford (Tech) Tuesday on Wednesday | Steve Tilford

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