Handmade Truing Stand

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I finally got around to putting that $15 spoke into the Shimano tubeless wheel. I’ve had a handmade truing stand since I was a junior. A local guy from Nebraska, Fred Galata, made it back in the late 70’s I guess. It is made of aluminum and machined to perfection.

I’d seen the stands before and finally told Fred that I’d take one. I don’t remember how much it was, but Fred brought it down to a race in Oklahoma, maybe Talimena, and the four of us from Kansas had to scrape every penny together we had to buy it. We were driving back North, up by Bartlesville, OK around midnight. I was driving, going pretty fast. I hadn’t seen another car for a while and of course, with my luck it was a cop. He did a U-turn and pulled us over.

He said that we had to pay him $30 on the spot or he was going to arrest me. I told him that we didn’t have any money at all. That we’d just bought a truing stand at a bike race and only had the tank of gas in the car to get back. He asked again if we didn’t have $30 between the 4 of us. I told him no. He then told me to step out or the car. He proceeded to hand cuff me. He said he’d give me one more chance to pay. I told him we would gladly pay him, but we didn’t have any money at all.

So, he put me into the front seat of his car and proceeded to drive the 20 miles back to Bartlesville at 100 mph. Kris and the other two guys I was with thought it was some kind of trick, so they didn’t follow us because he was going so fast.

We we got to the station and he handed me over to another officer. That guy took me back into the jail to lock me up. He unlocked the cell where there was a guy laying on the floor vomiting. He said something about the guy drinking Drano when he went to the bathroom. I told the officer that I didn’t want to get into the cell with him. That I had been speeding, but it didn’t seem like I should be thrown into jail with a guy that is puking. The officer that brought me in heard our whole conversation and told the other officer that I seemed like an okay kid and maybe he should just lock me to the bench in the waiting area. So that is what they did.

Within 15 minutes this guy comes into the station and they tell me he is a bail bondsman. I didn’t know what that was, but he explained that he could pay the police the money and they would release me. But, I had to pay him $100 for him to pay my $30. I told him that seemed unfair and that I could send him the money when I got home tomorrow. He pretty much said, take it or leave it. I took it. The whole thing took maybe an hour. By the time we were done, around 2 am, my guys had finally found where I was. They had driven around town for an hour trying to figure out where I was. The bail guy wanted one of our bikes as collateral for his bond. I told him that was ridiculous and asked him how were we supposed to get it back after we sent him the money. He probably recognized who we were, young, honest kids, because he didn’t really push it. We got home that night right when the sun was rising.

I sent the bail man the money the next day. I think I got it from my dad, because I wouldn’t of had it. He usually wouldn’t of had it either, but we came up with it somehow. I always think of that story whenever I’m using that truing stand.

The stand is mounted on a old Craftsman tool box covered with decals.

Pretty high tech for being 35 + years old.

I bought this stand on eBay a few years ago. I use it mainly for gluing tires.

The dream stand. I’m not sure why I don’t have a Park TS- 2.2 stand like this by now? Huh, Calvin?

15 thoughts on “Handmade Truing Stand

  1. Joe Saling

    I have that stand you say you use when gluing tires. It is cast iron and a real collectors item. It works as well as the modern ones. Actually has a very easy to use adjustment system. The L shaped brackets are spring loaded and snap over the axle holding the wheel in place.

  2. Kevo

    I have that cast iron truing stand as well. I’ve never seen another one like before reading this post. Do you guys know the history behind them? I inherited mine from a great uncle and know next to nothing about it.

  3. Calvin Jones

    The secret purpose of the TS-2di, and in fact all bicycle tools, are to keep you working on your bike, which by consequence means not riding it. Tubular glue would of course improve the function of any dial indicator. This way the dial never moves, hence, the wheel must be perfect.

  4. peter koskinen

    I recognise that tool box! It looks just like the first one I ever bought. I remember the deal, full of craftsmen wrenches, sockets, pliers and screw drivers for a whopping $44. I took the bus up to the store to buy it and it was the beginning of my mechanical carreer. On the trueing stand end of it I have 3 TS-1’s still in perfect working order. Park rebuilds them for me every couple of years.

  5. Jim

    I have the old heavy one too! Mine is orange and I don’t even recall where, or when, I got it.
    On another note, you had trouble with the “law” way back then too, huh?
    I wonder what the common denominator is here??

  6. Rad Renner

    Wow, Steve, what a shakedown that was. The amazing thing about this story to me, though, is that I know Fred Galata. He has been a teammate of mine, and he still rides with us from time to time. He’s still very fast, he places well at the Senior Games (US & World) and can still string out any training ride he shows up for. But I don’t think Fred actually made your stand. It was probably made by an Omaha machinist, (last name of Carter) who made similar looking stands for some Omaha area bike shops, including the one I worked for, Olympia Cycle, who sponsored the Husker Road Club that Fred rode for. Stranger still is that I just saw Carter’s daughter, Rene, riding by during my lunchtime walk not 10 minutes ago. Haven’t seen her in years, and now I see your story.Man, talk about synchronicity!

  7. Jim

    Rad, for more coincidence Olympia in Millard was the first “real” shop I’d been to, about 1976.

  8. Franz

    I have an old Olympia Cycle wool cycling jersey. Not sure who gave it to me. I have never heard anyone mention the shop until now.

  9. Curby

    A $15 spoke, and some of us have to ask, is the bike industry pricing itself out of the reach of the next generation of racers?

  10. tms

    I learned to true wheels on such a stand at Olympia (40th St.). It had the Park or Park-like dial on it, though, too. Thought that looked familiar.

  11. Rad Renner

    Olympia Cycle opened for business in 1971 at 40th & Hamilton Sts. They have two of the truing stands with the dial indicators built by Rene Carter’s father . I learned to true wheels there, too, and still true mine up there. I’m pretty sure Fred Galata rode for Olympia Cycle/Husker Road Club back when Steve knew him. Larry Thorsen, the owner, still tells stories about how fast Fred was. And he tells stories about Steve, too.


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