It’s early morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As the sun crests over the ridge, the clouds in the valley slide up and over the surrounding mountains. Like lost spirits of past floods clocking out from their shifts haunting the city, the morning rush hour of weather is a wondrous sight to behold. It’s like watching a timelapse video in real-time. I told myself I wouldn’t talk about floods, or THE flood, when mentioning Johnstown, PA, but here we are. Here we are for Higher Ground.
I met Andrew years ago at a fat bike event we hosted here in Johnstown, PA. Playing polo and ripping around the parking lot on the big bouncy bikes looked like something fun to him. Until that moment, Andrew had visited several shops locally and always got the glance; you know the look if you’re outside of the “normal” scope of a cyclist, whether that’s your size, appearance, or, hell, I’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years and I still get the look. Those eyes and words can pierce through all the stoke you may have as a larger cyclist, and make you give up before you even get to start your love affair with bicycles.
If you’re not from Pennsylvania there’s a good chance you have at least heard of Johnstown. Maybe it was from the lyrics of a Bruce Springsteen song, or the pages of your history books. Sitting in the Conemaugh River Valley, Johnstown was the site of a devastating flood in 1889, and then again in 1936 and 1977. Given the city’s notoriety for flooding, the staging of this year’s Higher Ground Hundo event put on by the fine people of Hope Cyclery was mildly concerning.
Johnstown, Pennsylvania’s Center for Metal Arts is holding a framebuilding class, lead by Moth Attack‘s Megan Dean in October:
This course is designed to walk someone without metalworking experience through the process of fitting and brazing a bicycle frame together with an emphasis on hand tools. We will start at design and work our way through to a completed frame ready for paint. You will have the option to build a Track, Road, Gravel, Cyclocross, or a Mountain bike frame (you will want parts and tires in person for this option) and decide prior to the start of class. Lugged or fillet brazed construction is an option and will be design-dependent. This course will be a great start to picking up a torch and learning the basics of what it takes to build your own frame with something to ride when you’re done!
The course takes place October 18th-29th ( 9 AM – 5 PM ) and costs $3,275.00. You can apply now at Center for Metal Arts. Want to see more of this bike pictured here? Check out our Related archives below…
Somewhere along David‘s journey in 2019, where he spent weeks riding from New York through Pennsylvania and moving across the country from LA to Johnstown, something clicked and it was time to look for something a bit lighter to replace his long-loved Rocky Moutain Sherpa. That bike had seen a lot of miles over the years and the weight, well let’s just say it’s stout.
It’s a solution for cyclists who have a hardtail designed around a 120-130MM fork. Was it a problem worth tackling? Isn’t it stiff? Why not just get a steel fork? I thought about a lot of this when Ben from Whisky Parts Co was handing off a pre-production sample for me to ride, test and beat on. How’d it fare on some east coast haunts?
Read on to find out.