Some days Denine calls me "Mr. Lucky" because of all the good stuff that has come my way over the years. The way the other day went down this holds truth for sure. While in China my friend, Ivan, mentioned that he knows a guy that owns a carbon bike factory and perhaps we could pay a visit while we were in the area. I was kind of thinking the guy likely makes cheap knock-off bikes, but was interested is seeing what he does so we went by towards the end of the day. What a good call.
What I observed knocked my socks off. This guy, who set up shop in some regular town in China, makes custom carbon bike frames for a number of industry heavyweights including Bianchi, Garnaeu, Elite, Merckx, Cinelli, and more. Troy gave us a complete tour of the production line where few people are given access. It was a complete access pass to high end carbon bike goodness. Tasty, tasty bike goodness that only a avid rider understands.
Then Troy gave us an invitation to ride a few sample bikes on the grounds. I grabbed a sample bike that had the Shimano Di2 Electronic drive train and took off across the compound. I weaved through shift workers as they looked at "The Crazy American". I accelerated, bobbed, weaved, braked and turned a precision machine through its paces. It was hard to not giggle like a little school kid. Awesome.
After the multiple test rides Troy agreed to go on to with us to dinner. Over great chow we chatted about life, culture, and of course bike design. What an experience to find Troy as a new found friend. Yes, it is hard to disagree that I am indeed "Mr. Lucky". Good times with old and new friends.