Tag Archives: M-Gineering

Tubes and Coffee 2018

Sorry, somewhat late this time, but better late than never.


Last December Marten had his M-Gineeering Tube and Coffee open day again, very enjoyable as ever, friendly company,

nice tubes

and great coffee (and food) inside the warm workshop

on a very grey, cold and snowy day.

The highlights of the day as far as I was concerned were two Alex Singer bikes, a modern solo and an older tandem, of which here are a few details. Starting will the fully plated solo, which is only a few years old.

and then moving over to the tandem.

The attention to detail in those old Singers is quite high, but that goes without saying really.


As a great surprise Marten presented his first frame, a streamlined one in fashion of the day, but very nicely made.

The time passed much too quickly again, and soon we were heading home, but we hope there will be another Tubes and Coffee this year.



A New Bike! (2)

Back to cycles this month, to round off a story I started in 2017.

At last it was so far, on Marten Gerritsen´s Tubes and Coffee event last December I collected my racing frame. I had known from the start it would take some time for the frame to be done, so the waiting time was ok.

But before that, in August, I was invitited to have a look while the main triangle and the fork crown would be brazed, which I found very nice indeed of Marten. Watching craftsmen at work is something I find fascinating, but not all of them appreciate that.

I arrived with the tubes all mitred and laid out ready to be clamped into the jig, everthing well guarded by the fierce hound Marten keeps in his workshop.


Parts are treated with flux, and then the brazing as such begins.

Then a spectacle started which I found amazing. Brazing a frame produces very interesting colour effects.


But also after brazing some parts remain quite colourful.

After that, a thorough check on the alignment table.

And this is what has become of it. I do love it.

I have to apologize about the quality of the photos, but I don´t have much time for editing these days. Take them as a first view, I can (and will) edit them later. Or retake in better weather.

Now a quick look at the bits which I hope to hang from the frame soon. Wheels are going to be 650B, chainset Stronglight 100, b/b a Phil just like the hubs, derailleur will be old SunTour, brakes Weinmann Cantis. I can´t wait for spring to begin, honestly.

It has to be said that this complement of parts would not have been assembed as easily as it was if it hadn´t been for the CR list. The rear derailleur actually was a gift from a member for which I will always remain grateful, while the hubs and some other bits were bought from there. Of course some parts also came from my Box, and the tires were bought at Stalen Ros last year, overstock, great.

So, the next part of the series will be about assembly, and the finished bike, and soon, I hope. And with better photos.

A Bike with a USB Plug, a Car with a Bicycle Bell, and a Smoking Gun

All of that was to be found on or near Marten´s latest edition of Tubes and Coffee, which was really nice again despite taking place on a day on which there was a lot of black ice on the roads, and so sadly not too many people attended. We had our usual three people in the car

and it took us more than two hours to cover the 180 kms to Marten´s place. Suffice to say that the turbo engine wasn´t asked too much on the German Autobahn that morning.

However, once there, we were very well rewarded by Marten´s hospitality. His traditional apple crumble

looked like this minutes after our arrival:

And what was that simmering on the wood stove?

Indeed, the rightfully famous vegetarian groentesoep, vegetable soup.

But really we hadn´t come for neither cars not soup, but to marvel at more machines, in and outside the workshop. One is the Phil spoke machine, which cuts too long spokes and rolls new threads in them in one go. Marten says that its the single most expensive piece of machinery in his workshop, but well worth it. Here it is:

You insert the spoke into a little hole

crank the lever

and the machine cuts the spoke to the pre-set length and rolls a new thread in seconds.

But this marvel also contains the smoking gun: Who believes that Phil is US made?

Me no longer 🙂

And some more bits and pieces:

Like this candlestick cleverly made from wrecked SON parts:

Or other SON items like this demonstrator or special new equipment:

It´s all quite fascinating, but with Marten being the SON importer for the Netherlands, he´s just the chap to ask for viewing things like that.

More nice items, like this derailleur demonstrator use in sleutelcursussen, repair classes for members of a long distance cycling club. Marten made the demonstrator himself, and I just love it.

You can take the lever and the cable off in seconds, and everything is super well made and clear for beginners.

However, Marten is also involved in the history of great bicycles, and here we had the opportunity to scrutinize an early and famous titanium frameset:

Books – there were some quite exciting ones to be leafed through.

And of course visitors brought some rather nice bikes. The Copenhagen Pedersen is Marten´s, but the Koga was ridden from Groningen:

As M-Gineering also sell Airnimals, there was a very nice specimen on display too.

More examples of Marten´s raw materials and what he makes of them:

One last look at a really, really nice bike a customer brought, the one with the USB plug, actually,

and then we had to take our leave for another year, driving along the straight canal, drawn with a ruler into the flat landscape.

 On the way back we chanced upon this apparatus:

Here´s the car with the cycle bell. And: Does anyone have any idea what the flap in the bonnet is for?

So here we are, stuck with another year´s worth of waiting for the 2018 edition of Tubes and Coffee.

A New Bike!

Yes, after 8 years, I´m going to have another custom frame built. No photos of it yet, not British this time, but a few explanations to start off with.

What´s the background?

I´ve had custom frames made off and on for the last 30 years, and I´ve never rued any of those actions – financial, organisational, time wise a custom frame is a real action, but its advantages grow with each Centimetre of frame height, and I need between 65 and 67 of them.

I started with my Mercian, a tourer as nice as they come, and not much in use nowadays as I´ve moved away from loaded cycletouring. I was quite inexperience then, so dealing with the people in Derby was an eyeopener; see my blog post on the matter. Just enter “Mercian” in the search box top left, and there you go. Matter of fact, you can enter the names of all bikes I´m going to mention this way, if you like. I used the Mercian to go all over Europe.

Then, in 1991, I had Dave Miller build me a curly Hetchins track frame, which also was great. I did some track training at the time, and loved it, now the bike is a fixed with a three speed Sturmey. Luckily, Dave suggested at the time that I order mudguard clearance and some braze ons like a classic road/track layout. I´ve even used the Hetchins for century rides, actually, and it´s not bad at all.

After that, there was a 2nd hand custom frame – yes, something like that exists. Our dream at the time was a George Longstaff expedition tandem which we couldn´t afford new. One day in 1995, a small add showed up in the Tandem Club Journal, and off I went to the UK to pick up a bike which was absolutely our dream machine, down to the choice of colour. No mean feat if you consider that we need 65/51 frame size in a Tandem. The machine has given the family endless satisfaction, not least with our son as the stoker, progressing through all stages of kiddy cranks and so on. It actually got our son into cycling.

During my son´s and my century riding we met a rider from a place near Dortmund who was foolhardy enough to swap his wonderful custom made Rickert for a carbon framed machine – so another huge coincidence delivered a 2nd hand Rickert custom road bike to my doorstep, again perfect down to the colour. I must admit I have not used it much, but it belongs in the group of bikes which are my size and which I would have or actually did order according to my wishes.

Next, some years after my son and me had started century riding in earnest, my son going through a procession of machines which I built from all sorts of frames and parts, me riding an old bike which had changed roles so often I had lost track, my son´s growing came to a foreseeable end, and we ordered randonneuers from Ellis Briggs in Shipley because Doug Fattic had recommended them to us. I had spent the precending season (2007) taking notes after each ride and thinking about the machines, and Andy at EB got them just right. We have enjoyed them hugely ever since finishing them in 2009.

Why now?

Of course I´d be able to carry on with the bikes I´ve got. But, shortly after I had started riding the EB, Jan Heine´s influence had grown important enough to re-popularize 650B wheeled bicycles. (Which reminds me, BTW, that I have to take out another subscription of BQ.) At first it wasn´t clear if 650B was a fad or if it would last, but from the start it was clear that 23 mil wide tires are tougher to ride than 42 mil ones, and my back hasn´t been very kind to me, or vice versa, I don´t know, so this summer my decision grew that I had to have a 650B bike. I had played with the thought for some time, but now, due to my job situation and other things, I also felt I could do with a reward for some very hard work which had kept me out of the saddle for the whole season.

Also, there is this factor that my EB randonneur is not replaceable now. When Andy was still around, we could always send a damaged frame to Shipley (as we did twice) and we could count on the repair being perfect. Paul of course also is a great framebuilder as I have heard, but Andy has passed away, so I feel that I should give my EB a less hard time. I now treat it less than a bike but more as a monument to the marvellous craftsman who built it. That´s not just talk; after nearly 40 years of cycling I have recently for the first time crashed and damaged a frame. Nothing spectacular, but still.

What sort of bike?

I decided to get a 650B shod road bike, all the rage now in the US, it seems. The French would have called it a sportif in former times. No lights, no mudguards yet, but clearance for all eventualities, just a decaleur in front. The funny coincidence that triggered that decision was that an acquaintance of mine who does house clearances offered me an old beat Trek 2300 road bike dirt cheap, and I quite came to like it because it´s much livelier than the EB, more lightweight and far easier to transport in a car too. It is a bit small for me, but hols in France and Belgium using it were very enjoyable. So the bike that was used as a working basis to start from actually was alloy framed with a carbon fork and Shimano Ultegra parts. Who´d have thunk.

How far has it progressed?

Well, given the fact that a frame builder has been found, lots of decisions about the frame have been taken, and a number of spares have already found their ways to my box, I think the bike has progressed quite far, but of course there is nothing to view at the moment besides a few documents and said box.

Also I have decided to get a friction shifted bike once more, for that I found Suntour bar ends and a pair of threaded Phil hubs in my box. Also there´s a 27.2 Campag seat post, a Regina block of sprockets, and outside the box there are already a bar and a pair of wide non-Ergo Campag brake levers. In the plastic bag there is a set of very nice CLB cantis.

Also due to the great kindness of a fellow Classicrendezvous member a 1st gen Suntour GT rear derailleur and a Vx front have arrived, so that the Shimano in the box now will be replaced by something much more stylish and historical. Oh yes, some Stronglight 100 lx cranks are also somewhere outside the pic. Also I will not be able to withstand cracking an all but invisible joke: I hope to use a Phil bottom bracket bearing together with the hubs.

Who will be the frame builder?

That question actually didn´t really pose itself; I didn´t shop round or send off long enquiring emails to all corners of the world, I asked Marten Gerritsen because over the last few years my fascination with his work has grown and I found the thought of riding an M-Gineering frame intriguing.

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Marten, not only talking bike and filling in forms, measuring and taking decisons, but also being invited to dinner and going for a cycleride too, during which Marten watched my cycling habits, which to him, the former race team mechanic, will have looked very amateurish I´m sure. The whole experience was very enjoyable and I felt taken very serious. Also I hit the limits of my Dutch which I found a bit embarrassing.

Now dig this: My beloved EB randonneur frame on which I have spent more than 40.000 happy kilometers and which fits me like a glove was built by a man who, when asked what features he, from his own cycling experience, could recommend additionally, just answered in a Yorkshire accent “I don´t ride a bike”.

Marten has since emailed a very detailed and professional sheet on which all angles, lengths and other measurements are mentioned.


Further developments?

I´ll keep you posted.

Tubes and Coffee 2015

Today saw the third open day at Marten Gerritsen´s workshop, and, as always, it was an event worthwhile visiting even if it meant driving about 370 km.

So the four of us, two friends plus my son plus myself, climbed aboard the trusty Volvo (now showing roughly 427.500 kms) and set off. After leaving the motorway the extremely flat countryside provoked the age old jokes we love so well (see on Thursday who´ll be visiting on Saturday…). We carried on through Stadskanaal displaying its lintbebouwing, ribbon structure

TC3StadskanaalLintwith its monotony interrupted by a jeep.


Having arrived at M-Gineering, we found to our pleasure that Marten had again prepared his wonderfully tasty vegetable soup and apple crumble, which visitors tucked into without hesitation, but definitively with repetition.

tc3tableThere was the saucepan on the stove, filled with the soup, so

tc3stovetalks about bikes and cycling were well fuelled. They carried on the in “museum” part, where visitors were able to see among others a Barra alloy frame from Marten´s growing collection of classic bikes.

So we had lots of tubes to see, but he coffee wasn´t neglected, either.


Contrary to us, a number of guests had arrived on their bikes, some of them made by Marten. Kogas were also well represented in the herd that was assembling in Marten´s yard.


tc3orangeheadb tc3orangefull tc3orangefronthub tc3orangeforkcrInside the warm and cozy workshop people were able to marvel at wonderful bikes, old and new, and their components.

tc3rohlsilver tc3repair tc3kirkprectc3bluefullThe frame of a 29er single speed

tc3bluetoplug tc3bluereardo tc3bluechainstay tc3bluebridge tc3bilamnaked

Thank you, Marten, for a super day, and I´ll definitively try and be there next year, as anyone interested in handmade bikes should be.

I have taken a number of photos of some more great bikes, but, being hard pressed for time at the moment, I´ll post them later.


Williamson – Happy Ending thanks to m-gineering

Remember last year when I wrote the post on the seeming end of the way of the 1940s Williamson I had so looked forward to to riding?


Exciting news: Marten Gerritsen of m-gineering has actually managed to repair the frame.

This is what it looks like now:

WRfullBefore looking at the headbearings I had had the frame at another friend´s place to get a hole in the chainstay fixed which had been worn into it by a wobbly chainwheel:

WRholeI then discovered the catastrophe of the more than worn headset, see old post for pics.

So what Marten did was that he machined down the fork crown ever so slightly to get rid of the ridge worn into it by the loose race,

WRforkcrstrengthened the fork column by fitting a tube inside its lower end,

WRtubeand here we were, back again on the way to full recovery. I have since managed to fit a b/b bearing and the headset, but so many parts are missing or u/s that I think I´ll use my boxes for replacements. Or can anyone help out with, for instance, a 1930s BSA chainset? See.

Speaking of boxes: The rear hub which came with the bike is a three speed Cyclo, and I found a (hopefully) correct rear derailleur in my box. So things are looking up, it seems.

Stay tuned for more pics as work progresses, but first a huge thank you to Marten.

M-Gineering Tubes and Coffee II

Another year has passed, and here we are for the second time (first time here: https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/test/) in Marten Gerritsen´s workshop for another dose of apple crumble, vegetable soup and bike talk.TAppleforkleg

Having driven up from Germany together with two friends and my son (who actually did the driving, and who is shortly to publish a video of Marten´s open day on youtube), I enjoyed the get-together greatly, talked a lot to the many participants, stroked the cat

TKatand had a good helping or two of Marten´s delicious apple crumble.

TfoodfullAs before, the atmosphere was friendly, and an always helpful Marten was confronted with a number of questions by his customers, or perhaps visitors. One had brought the sorry remains of a BSA parabike, which took the idea of the folding bike to new heights.


This looks quite a normal parabike b/b, painted over, true.


And a beautiful wing nut is securing the two halves of the frame. Here´s the rear dropout,

TBSAreardoand here´s the horror:TBSABreak

TBSAFolderMarten´s comment was that he would see what he could do. Brave man. Obviously some bad welding had damaged the braze joint decades ago.


Not easy to ride with the cranks at this weird angle, and the shark fin teeth are witnesses for the hard life the bike must have had.


But of course there were much nicer bikes to be marvelled at. The BSA was a cheapo even when new (one bystander remarked that it was never meant to last, but to be shot at). This one, Marten´s show bike to be taken to trade fairs, is a completely different matter. Just look at the first rate fillets and the constructeur-like parts such as the rear dropouts.

TsilverdtransfTsilverfull  Tsilverseatcl TsilverS+Scouplers TsilverRohlcomm TsilverRofltwgrip Tsilverreardodet Tsilverreardo Tsilverrack  Tsilverftdo Tsilverforkcr TsilverFillet TsilverextTsilverVeloOsaddleThere was one frame, bilaminated for good measure, which had just been completed and could be contemplated before painting. This was a great opportunity to see what things in frame building should be like. If it were mine, I´d probably just have it clear coated with some durable, but transparent paint.

Tworksbarebb Tworksbareseatcl Tworksbarefillettophead TworksbarefilletlwrheadThen of course it was very nice to be able to delve into the secrets of a frame builder´s workshop, with all the small, but important bits and pieces spread before you.


Tworksforkcrns Tworksboxbits Tworksblockforkbl Tworksblock Tworksbits

M-Gineering are the Dutch importers for SON products, so we were able to regard some unusual demonstration objects.

TSONbunt TSONdemoint TSONdemoblau

By the time we had had a good look round the shop, some more specimens of Marten´s work had arrived outside.

TBluefull TBlueladreardo TBlueLadexc


Neither were other marques absent, just one example:

TSalsabucketfull TSalsaforktransf TSalsadttransfAnd what would Tubes and Coffee be without some choice veteran bikes, serving as eye candy as much as objects of comparison, expertly explained by Marten. Take this Graftek for example, with its carbon fibre tubes bonded into stainless lugs. Rare lightweight equipment completes the bike.


TGraftekbrake TGraftekseatl TGraftekrearder TGraftekpedal Tgraftekheadb TGraftekfrontend  TGraftekchainMarten isn´t forgetful about the Dutch cycle making history, either. Ko Zieleman was one of the more famous Dutch builders.


Tzielcrank TZielseatcl

The wrapover tips – accident or joke?

TZielReyn  TZielforkcrAnd this was what guided the way onto Marten´s yard:

TKopPedfull TKopPedheadbLastly, I just can´t resist to post a photo of the unusual village Marten lives in, and of the equally unusual vehicle one of the visitors arrived in.

TCanal TCXI just can´t wait for the next edition of Tubes and Coffee.

Framebuilder Interview – Marten Gerritsen

Reading the blog of someone the other day who has helped with finding my way to blogging, I saw that there was an interview of another blogger there. Then the idea entered my head that it might be interesting to see not only what other bloggers say, but also what the people on the other side of the blowtorch think about steel frames, maybe to find out a little bit of their histories and their build philosophies.

I then proceeded to write a questionnaire, sent it off to a few builders to begin with, and Doug Fattic was kind enough to develop the questionnaire further than I had been able to. Marten Gerritsen of M-Gineering was the first to return it (Thank you, Marten!) together with some photos, so here is what I hope to be the first of a long series of posts.

If any of my readers build frames, pro or amateur, and would like to be interviewed too, I will be happy to e-mail the questionnaire. Please contact me via the comment function of this post.


Your name and company name:

Marten Gerritsen, M-Gineering

Warmup: Finish these sentences, please:

A bicycle is…

a vehicle with two wheels by definition, but hopefully an extension of your body.

A steel framed bicycle is…

a bicycle, just like bicycles made of  aluminium, bamboo, carbon or the rest of the alphabet.  It just happens that I like steel and build with steel.

The best frame I ever rode is…

There isn’t  ‘A best frame’  (you’ll need lots of different ones 😉 ) But it starts with good fit and decent tyres.

 Some personal questions:

Who is your favourite steel frame builder?

To quote one of several: WCAMO

(Editor´s remark: I do, else I wouldn´t have asked :-))

Who are other framebuilders you would buy a frame from (if you didn’t make it yourself)?

If I need a bike to ride I might just as well make it myself.  Seems a bit silly to build a load of frames to have enough left over to pay somebody else to build a frame for me 😉

What for you is the best looking frame ever?

When I look at a frame I look at all the details, the good, the bad, what can inspire me etc.  I don’t bother with marking all the aspects to arrive at a ranking.

What type of frames do you build most?  Has this changed over the course of your career?

I do mostly touring frames, either randonneuring style or for heavy duty touring in fillet brazed construction.

I started out building bikes with front and rear suspension, and the occasional racing bike, but the market has changed.

What type of frame do you like best?

Anything which puts a smile on your face

Which is your favourite cycling book?

I could probably recommend half a dozen or more, all for different reasons. But is a cup of tea better than a sandwich?

(Another remark: Marten has written one himself, of course.)

Do you have any favorite cycling references in popular culture (like in movies, TV, or on youtube)?

Again, I’m no good in rankings.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a framebuilder?

Do your homework!

Your history:

What made you become a frame builder?


When did you start building?

Define start. I’ve been tinkering with bikes and scooters from very early age. Got a welding set when I was 18 or so.

Who taught you to build frames?  Were there others that helped or influenced you after you got started?

Taught myself basically, but a degree in Automotive Engineering and teaching machining classes (read drinking coffee with proper machinists)  helped.

What are some of your future goals?

Better paint, more reliable delivery dates

Your customers:

Which customer behaviour do you like best?

I like them to have done their homework first.  Being difficult to find in a small village up north helps in weeding out the less motivated 😉

Which customer behaviour do you dislike most?

I don’t let it worry me, if it gets too bad you can always fire them.

Do you fit your customers before building them a frame (find their bicycle contact points)?  If so, how do you do it?

Measure them, run the measurements through a fit programme, measure the current bike, observe the customer riding the bike, compare the findings and discuss their wants.

Describe how you deal with customers that can’t be measured or fitted in person.

Try to avoid it really,  it is much better for both parties and the end result to have met in person and to have talked bikes.

Your workshop:

Which of your tools would you least want to do without, save whatever you use for brazing?

If you have enough tools, you can always use an alternative.  But a framebuilder without a vice (or several vices) is unthinkable

What methods do you use to check frame alignment? What type/brand of fixture/jig/tooling do you use in it?

I’ve got a 1x1m cast iron surface plate, all other tooling and fixturing is of my own making.  I align the rear triangle to the headtube, the BB is secondary.

What equipment do you hope to get in the future?

A better Tig welder, and perhaps a decal cutter and an expresso machine

What would you get if you didn’t have budgeting restraints?

Tempted to say a CNC mill and a water jet cutter, but would i find the time to get them operational? And of course a bigger lathe, a horizontal mill, DRO’s all round, a bead blaster,  a heavier pillar drill…. (you get the picture, I like machines)

Production methods and materials:

What is your preferred way to join tubes?

Filled brazing

Which are your preferred lugs, if any?  Why did you choose them? What are your other favorite materials?

Don’t do much lugs apart from forkcrowns,  and usually use flat dropouts for slotted stays. Basically I use whatever does the job, and is affordable, I don’t have much call for the ueberfancy stuff. I like doing the occasional bilam though.


What differences do you see in tube brands? What brand(s) do you prefer?  What is your philosophy in choosing tubing brands, diameters and wall thicknesses?

I use a lot of Reynolds as they have gauges suitable for touring frames and are a reliable supplier. But a frame could easily have Reynolds frametubes, Deda stays, a Columbus steerer and some Mannesman cromo.

Do you expect/wish for any new developments in tubes or lugs?

With all the classical suppliers going to the wall (Like TCI who made most of the forged dropouts)  we’ll see the continuing trend to parts made with processes more suitable to small scale production.

Marten Reardo

What do you think the future will hold for steel frames?

They haven’t changed much over the last 125 years…

What process do you use to design your frames?

Determine the basic dimensions defining fit, the wheelsize , the loads and the desired look,  feed it into a computer program i’ve written and play with all the variables untill i’m happy. If things get complicated I’ll make a 2d drawing.

Do you paint your frames yourself?  If so, do you offer repainting services?


How important are the looks of your frames?  Describe any artistic aspects you incorportate into them (or can do if asked).

The frames I build are tools to do a job. Styling is secondary to function, but I’ll play with    dropouts, seatstay attachment, the shape of the bridges etc. But you’ll have to look for it, I try to keep it restrained.


Getting rid of frames:

How do you market your frames?

Website, word of mouth, occasional bikeshow

Where is your biggest market?

Netherlands and Belgium


Approximately how many frames have you made to date?

I’m not counting, maybe a dozen a year on average.

Would you disclose your frame numbering system, please?

6 digits:

first two build series , eg 01 = radical, 99 is a custom build

middle two: year of construction

last two : sequence number


Ask yourself an additional question, please.

What sort of riding do you do?

Started out touring , my first proper lightweight (after a horrid Peugeot) was a Champion Mondial. Rode to the Mediteranian and back at age 16. Did some racing at University but nobody had a clue (as I found out later when playing team mechanic) so wasn’t any good at it.  Did some HPV racing. Still trying to ride, but long tours don’t mix with running your own business, so have to steal the occasional weekend or week for some road or off-road touring

Any remarks?

Thank you for your interest

Photos courtesy of Marten Gerritsen/M-Gineering.

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.


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,


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.




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.





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.


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”.


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”.





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.