“Locals only” is a term made popular by surfers during the 60’s that still resonates today with some. When I was visiting Cycles d’Autremont in Burlington, Vermont, the phrase took on a different meaning. Modern day framebuilders suffer from the effects of the internet age. It’s easy to click “contact”, write a note to a builder, kick the proverbial tires, make silly requests and inevitably, waste everyone’s time.
Or perhaps the client does put down a deposit. Depending on the person, the next few months could go one of a few ways. Hopefully, everyone leaves happy and life goes on. Most builders rarely build for locals. Some send out fit documentation so the client can record his or her body measurements, or they get sent to a shop to record the data. For whatever the reason, your “local” builder might not be building all too many local frames.
That’s something Hubert d’Autremont dwells on frequently. It’s not easy finding the balance between steadily-building and incredibly-busy but one of the ways Hubert’s ensured a healthy and controlled queue is by only building locally. His clients have all been from Vermont and he’s met every one of them. In a way, his “locals only” mentality has kept his business in a controlled state of production. He’s happy, his clients are happy and best of all, he can still sneak in a ride.
My time at Cycles d’Autremont was limited, due to family obligations, but in the hour or so of chatting with Hubert, I really appreciated his approach to bicycle design and fabrication. He’s worked with some of the best builders on the east coast and is a favorite amongst many in the community. We already took a look at his own porteur, so now let’s take a in-depth look to his studio… Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!