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Upstate New York bike shop-frame builder knowledge?

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Upstate New York bike shop-frame builder knowledge?

Old 12-03-15, 12:17 PM
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Upstate New York bike shop-frame builder knowledge?

So I've gotten mildly obsessed with figuring out the history of a custom touring bike I recently bought--original thread here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...-made-usa.html

And have additional info now. I've found out the bike was made custom sometime around 1994 though an lbs somewhere in or near Ballston Spa, NY by a person named Don Lucas?

Anyway, that info still didn't help yield internet results, so I'm hoping someone out there who knows the region and relative history of shops around there might have more info to help? Or maybe you've got a friend of a friend who might have some insights? This is in the serotta-building region so maybe there was a lot of frame building spin off around there back then?

Any leads much appreciated!
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Old 12-03-15, 01:38 PM
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I don't know, but maybe Carl Schlemowitz will know. He builds frames in New Paltz, not nearby, but ya nevah know. His company name is Viscious Cycles.
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Old 12-03-15, 01:53 PM
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Thanks! I'll check it out. Any lead is a good lead. I appreciate it.
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Old 12-03-15, 01:58 PM
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Ballston Spa is contiguous to Saratoga Springs, the former location for Serotta. You might check in with the Serotta crowd on I think Paceline.com. Also, maybe frankthewelder may have heard of him. The only other vintage shop that comes to mind in that region is Old Spokes Home in Burlington, VT.
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Old 12-03-15, 02:14 PM
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Thanks! A quick glance over there tells me, if nothing else, the paint on mine is perhaps at least serotta inspired. There are several pics in their 1993 catalogue showing a nearly identical red-to-black fade paint scheme. I guess fades like that were common schemes around then, but still surprising similarity given the proximity of origin. Thanks again.
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Old 12-03-15, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I don't know, but maybe Carl Schlemowitz will know. He builds frames in New Paltz, not nearby, but ya nevah know. His company name is Viscious Cycles.

Super fast response from him, but no luck--no knowledge of him. Thanks again. The hunt goes on...
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Old 12-04-15, 10:31 AM
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There's a little bike shop in Callicoon, NY, called 'Cosmic Wheel,' run by a guy called Tom Lasher or something like that. He's made a couple frames but, more to the point, he knew a lot of people in the 'industry' in the 80's. You might be able to contact him through facebook or something.
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Old 02-22-16, 05:51 PM
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I had a Lucas

I had a custom steel mountain frame made by Don Lucas. He had a shop in Schenectady NY in the early/mid 90's. IIRC the name of the shop was Freewheel Bicycle. It's been a long time so I may be wrong about that.

I believe my frame serial # was either 0049 or 0051 from around 1993. I don't think I have the frame anymore, but I think I still have the headtube (don't ask). Pretty sure I still have all the original paperwork for the design.
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Old 02-29-16, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SteelGrey
I had a custom steel mountain frame made by Don Lucas. He had a shop in Schenectady NY in the early/mid 90's. IIRC the name of the shop was Freewheel Bicycle. It's been a long time so I may be wrong about that.

I believe my frame serial # was either 0049 or 0051 from around 1993. I don't think I have the frame anymore, but I think I still have the headtube (don't ask). Pretty sure I still have all the original paperwork for the design.

I just saw this quote-- thanks for the update. I'd love to see anything and everything you have on it. In the long silence between my last post, I did get info from Larry Ruff who owns a shop in the albany area that the builder was actually named "Bill" lucas. I did a search on that name and did find references to someone with that name who was active with the wheelmen in that area back then, so I am guessing that's him, and he very likely built yours too.

so yeah, if you get a moment, any details or any info you have would be much appreciated! I'd be happy to send you my diet email address if that is easier or preferred. Thanks so much for responding. Cant wait to see what you have. thanks!
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Old 02-29-16, 10:56 AM
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I realize this is an old thread, but since it has been resurrected, I feel the need to comment.

"Upstate New York" is a horribly vague geographical reference. Having grown up in Rochester, NY, I still can't help but make a bit of a face when someone from "the city" or "da island" makes reference to "Upstate" meaning Westchester, or one of the contiguous counties - which is a heck of a long ways from the shores of the Great Lakes (which is also referred to as "upstate"). I probably should not have gotten started on this, since Ballston Spa was mentioned in the original post, but I'd like to propose that for purposes of defining locality in New York State, that "Upstate" is pretty near useless.

I think this would be much more helpful.

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Old 02-29-16, 03:20 PM
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@USAZorro, in Manhattan, uptown and downtown don't necessarily refer to places or areas. Rather, they refer to directions. Living near 11th St, I am uptown from Houston St (which is considered Zeroth St) and downtown from 23 St. Similarly, upstate New York can -- but doesn't need to -- mean north of where I am. When I'm in Manhattan, Westchester is upstate from me. When I'm in Ulster County, Westchester is not upstate.
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Old 02-29-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
@USAZorro, in Manhattan, uptown and downtown don't necessarily refer to places or areas. Rather, they refer to directions. Living near 11th St, I am uptown from Houston St (which is considered Zeroth St) and downtown from 23 St. Similarly, upstate New York can -- but doesn't need to -- mean north of where I am. When I'm in Manhattan, Westchester is upstate from me. When I'm in Ulster County, Westchester is not upstate.
That can be quite appropriate when holding a conversation with someone face-face, but this is the internet, and a post on a forum might be seen by anyone, anywhere.
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Old 02-29-16, 03:38 PM
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Yes, the appropriate level of accuracy is good but sometimes tricky. Sometimes context is still required.
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Old 02-29-16, 03:39 PM
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Perhaps contact Toby Stanton at Hot Tubes/Stanton Cycles.
He's in MA, but he's pretty knowledgeable about lots of other builders, etc.
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Old 03-02-16, 04:01 PM
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I went digging around and apparently I no longer have the design sheets, but I did find the original invoice. The Lucas that built my frame was definitely named Don- my mother worked with his wife, that's how I met him. The shop name was Freewheel Bicycle, 313 State St, Schenectady NY. He may have had a shop elsewhere before moving to that location. My serial # according to the invoice was 0052 and built around November 1994.

My bike had custom geometry and I am pretty sure it was built with Tange Prestige steel tubing. Frame was fillet brazed. The down tube was biaxial, the seat tube was ovalized at the BB and had an integrated clamp at the top. He used a thinner-walled top tube (i.e. "road" tube vs "mountain" tube). The rear end consisted of a wishbone style seatstays with canti brake bosses and a canti cable stop, the chainstays were ovalized significantly at the BB and there was no chainstay bridge. 1" head tube- I was given the option of going to 1-1/8" but he would have had to order the appropriate tooling, and the extra cost was more than I was interested in spending at the time. I had it painted solid red to match my Look S2R Moab clipless pedals. IIRC total bike weight was 25lbs with an Amp F2 aluminum suspension fork.

I had contacted him again around 1998 to get a quote to rebuild the frame after I managed to separate the head tube from the rest of the bike (don't ask), but I had just gotten a job in a Cannondale shop and the homeowner's policy covered about 80% of the value of the bike- I had aalll the receipts- so I picked up a Super V on employee pricing and have been riding full suspension ever since. I still have the headtube, but apparently I recycled the frame and tossed all the paperwork a couple years ago when I bought a house and moved.

I still have a photo of it, but the batteries in my camera died so I can't upload it right now.
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Old 03-02-16, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I realize this is an old thread, but ... "Upstate" is pretty near useless.
We know, but we tolerate it.
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Old 04-18-17, 10:53 PM
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Yet still, it lives.

I just came on this thread looking for something else, and have to express my complete surprise:
For one thing, I grew up just outside Schenectady, later raced and trained in the area for years, now live just outside in the countryside. I thought I knew all the bike shops especially during the 80's when I was more active, and I wanted to chip in that no one mentioned Bill Lewis across the Mohawk in Scotia, a locally renowned bike builder who's now retired. His shop was Adirondack Bicycles, a one man operation. Anyway, sounds similar...

And I have to say, I have never heard of a Freewheel Bicycles, nor a shop in the heart of downtown Schenectady, although if it was short-lived during the 90's, it could be I missed it. There was a period of time then I lived out of town.
Not saying I doubt you SteelGrey, your story sounds legit, but it's got me scratching my head and who doesn't love an internet thread that never seems to die!
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Old 04-18-17, 11:31 PM
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I always thought upstate New York started where the orange landmass in that map starts.
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Old 04-19-17, 05:27 AM
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It seems SO strange to see the name Schenectady mentioned so much in a thread. "The little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve". Brings back those BITD memories - Scotia, State Street, etc. Anyone remember the Schwinn dealer way out in Rexford? That's where I bought my Varsity. The POTUS must have been Grover Cleveland at the time. Can anyone spell Niskayuna?

Can't help regarding framebuilders. At that time "frame building" involved wood working and miter joints and paintings and nails pounded into the wall.
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Old 04-19-17, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ChuckD6421
...I wanted to chip in that no one mentioned Bill Lewis across the Mohawk in Scotia, a locally renowned bike builder who's now retired. His shop was Adirondack Bicycles, a one man operation. Anyway, sounds similar...
The possibility of it having been Bill Lucas was raised in post #9.
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Old 04-19-17, 08:42 AM
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We're talking Capital District here. Turning the hands of time further backwards: I lived in Albany from 1969-1975, then Schenectady in 76-78. I purchased my Zeus Pro in August 1973 at the Inside Edge Ski & Bike in Glens Falls and picked it up at their Schenectady location, long closed. One of the few shops that had pro gear back then.
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Old 04-19-17, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I realize this is an old thread, but since it has been resurrected, I feel the need to comment.

"Upstate New York" is a horribly vague geographical reference. Having grown up in Rochester, NY, I still can't help but make a bit of a face when someone from "the city" or "da island" makes reference to "Upstate" meaning Westchester, or one of the contiguous counties - which is a heck of a long ways from the shores of the Great Lakes (which is also referred to as "upstate"). I probably should not have gotten started on this, since Ballston Spa was mentioned in the original post, but I'd like to propose that for purposes of defining locality in New York State, that "Upstate" is pretty near useless.

I think this would be much more helpful.


As a hobby (for now) builder who grew up and still lives in Rottenchester (not that Rockchester that top 40 radio calls it) I really like this above post. The rest of NY state lives in the shadow of NYC. I always though the "Upstate" (note capital use) reference was wrong in referring to Rochester/Finger Lakes much like the US Mid West is found in the central East. Andy (who knows his compass from his ass)
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Old 04-19-17, 10:06 AM
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Pfft. "Upstate" is anything north of the city! Sorry upstaters!

But seriously, it's true, we can be frustratingly non specific when referring to "upstate".
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Old 07-01-17, 08:31 PM
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Follow up with image

OP asked for a pic of my bike, his provided email didn't work, so instead I am posting it here on the thread that won't die.

I apologize for the quality, it is a digi cam pic of an old polaroid, and compressed per bikeforums.net requirement. Original polaroid isn't much better, and I only have the one photo.

As I mentioned, it was built by Don Lucas when he (briefly) had a shop in Schenectady. I *think* he had a shop in either Balston Spa or Malta before that, or maybe he was just building frames out of his garage. I took a look at OP's other thread linked to in the first post and the Lucas font and positions are the same as mine; *I* have no doubt that he made that frame. Fade paint jobs were popular back then, at least around here due to Serotta influence.

Another poster mentioned the Inside Edge bike shop. Coincidentally, shortly before I wrecked my frame (don't ask) I got a job there working in the ski shop and ended up sticking around for a few years working on bikes too. I got a screaming deal on a Cannondale Super V that insurance paid for which is why I never rebuilt the Lucas.

I've never heard of the Schenectady location, I'll have to ask about that. Inside Edge was recently sold by the Jacobs family to a guy that worked for them a long time ago, the Prince of Norway. There was an article about it in the local paper The Post-Star. Also, one of their old-timer mechanics now manages Grey Ghost in Glens Falls.
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Old 09-07-23, 01:36 PM
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Hey there:
I posted in the other thread ... I knew Don (not all that well, to be fair), and I own and still ride a road frame he built for me in 1993.

No pics handy, and it's apart at the moment awaiting a new Tange Falcon headset.

Don built frames as part of his bike shop ... I've no idea how many he made. I grew up just north of Schenectady, and after I left I never visited his shop again. It's likely that he rolled the place up and moved on.

Upstate NY is not business friendly, is rustbelt, and consequently is challenging for anyone to sustain just about any business.

Best-
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