Open Day at M-Gineering

So we got in the car, in a place for which the word “provincial” is a compliment, but it´s where we live.  We drove through the Northern German Plains, for about 200 km, until they become the Northern Dutch Plains, and then we saw that where we had arrived there are still more open spaces (if that is possible), but the dogs are much cuter, too, as a consolation.

MNeighbdog

Actually, so are the cats.

MKatzeRahmenAnd, of course, the bicycles, and that´s what we´d come to Kiel-Windeweer for, after all.

Last Sunday Marten Gerritsen, owner of M-Gineering, maker of fine steel bicycle frames, and importer of SON lighting products for the Netherlands, treated everybody who happened to be in his shop to vegetable soup, appletart and other goodies, and to a brazing demo.

When the three of us (my son, a friend and myself) had found Kiel Windeweer, a small place near Groningen,

MZentrumKW

the other two thought we´d made it. However, as I had been before, I knew that this road to the rear of me

MDorpstrdoes lead to Marten´s place, but it´s quite a way along the long and straight canal. Suddenly we were there, though, and turned into a yard. You know that you´re right when you look into Marten´s shop window.

MShopwindowMarten´s whole place is pure understatement, at least from the outside. It´s not discernable that the simple farmhouse Marten lives and works in houses the knowledge and the machinery to make some of Europe´s finest bicycles.

This is where you can find the workshop.

MEntranceThese wide open spaces are what´s to the right:

MWidecountrAnd this is what´s inside:

MMaschinenHere we have a milling machine and a lathe, indespensable for any serious sort of metalwork.

MTischOn this bench there is a vise and (front) a wooden device for bending fork blades.

Mshop

MRafters

MBrazeapp

MAligningframeMarten built this aligning device himself, preferring to have the seat tube as the base which is at right angles with the aligning device and from which all the other tubes and angles emanate.

So after the tour of the shop we were treated to hot food, and soon about 40 visitors peopled the premises, all talking bikes, mostly Marten´s customers. They were shown the machinery and the parts necessary to produce steel bicycle frames while munching apple crumble, so I guess Marten´s workshop will have crumbs in all sorts of strange places.

MEssen

MForkcr

MHadenZettel

MRteile

MTeileMarten being the Dutch importer of SON, these products also feature prominently in his shop. There is an exploded view hub (the two white coils on the l/h side are the ingenious breathing tubes keeping moisture out of SON dynamos),

MSoninnena candlestick made from SON parts,

MKerzeEdeluxand a display pairing a SON, latest model, with a Shimano, cheapest model, which shows that the SON wheel keeps turning with the headlight switched on long after the Shimano wheel has stopped – with the headlight switched off.

This is much more impressive when shown in moving pictures, of course, and as soon as the film is ready and published on youtube, I´ll mention it in a post.

MDynamovergl

MBerryheadbAlso Marten´s collection of interesting examples from the history of the bicycle is growing, so of course a Johnny Berry frame, late model, has to be there, too, what with Berry being called the “framebuilders´ framebuilder”.

MTentoonst

Some visitors also had brought some of their nice bikes, adding to Marten´s herd, so a rather interesting exposition was assembled. It included, among others,  a High-E wheelset, a Barra alloy Mixte frame, a Marschall Randonneur, a ca. 1905 Columbia in an amazing condition, a late thirties Carpenter and a 1950 Thanet Silverlight.MTentoonstreOn the other side of the barn, leaning to a structure which housed Marten´s workshop until last year, there was a display of his own machines, among them the M-Gineering frame that Marten took to Doug Fattic´s to practise painting on. The paintwork bowls you over.

Next, Marten gave the brazing demonstration which everybody had been looking forward to. Two short lengths of tube were brazed together in the shape of a “T”.

MBrazing

MBrazeclose

 

MFenster

If you would like to get an impression of the Open Day in video form, here you go:

My son made this video.

Soon the very enjoyable afternoon came to an end, people got on their bikes and in their cars, and we all hope that there will be a similar event next winter. The combination of Marten´s apple crumble and his bikes would again prove irresistable, I´m sure.

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2 Comments

  1. Herman
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well that is a very nice report Toni. I must say I hadn’t the clue about the peculiarity of some of the frames until I read your weblog, which is indeed, very nice and informative. It is my dream to, amateur as I am, once build a bike my own and maybe this sunday was a sort of a start. Thank you for the nice reports en wish you and the yours all the best (biking) for 2014. Greetings from Sint Annaparochie, Herman

    • Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink | Reply

      Glad you like the post, Herman. Unless you´re talking about building your own frame, bicycles aren´t rocket science, and if I can build them, anyone can. It´s a good plan to get Marten´s bike book for starters, either used on the net, or new once the second edition will be out.

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