Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jonny Cycles is......

....closing.

The economy?
Not attending the handmade bike show last year?
Too many other framebuilders to choose from (the list of new builders is huge)?
or ?

I blame most of it on the first, but I'm sure there were several contributing factors...in the end, who knows?

Like most other bicycle related businesses I usually see a big slow down from fall to early in the year (usually Feb). Typically I get 5 or 6 orders in the winter months and it picks up again in the spring. This winter I took in one order. Add to that several people dropping off the list (most due to loss of employment) and my waiting list has shrunk considerably. I'm a bit of a pessimist and I really don't trust the economy to rebound by this summer. My lease is up in April. The last place I want to be is dead in the water mid summer with no orders and no frames to build while incurring huge debt trying to pay all the bills. With the waiting list at its lowest point ever it seemed like the perfect time to opt out to me.

I'll be finishing the current batch of bikes, refunding the few remaining deposits, and ending Jonny Cycles.

I spent a hard 5 years working on establishing Jonny Cycles. In the end it was working ok and I built quite a few really great bikes that I'm very proud of. Sure I wasn't getting rich off of it and it was stressful, but it was rewarding. Surprisingly I don't feel that bad....its not like my lifelong dream was to become a framebuilder. I never planned on doing this, I just fell into it (if your curious read the articles here: http://jonnycycles.com/about.php).

What am I going to do? I've accepted a job at Cronometro which is a bike shop down the street from where I live. Its a great shop and I'm excited to be working as one of their mechanics. I'm also excited about the prospect of receiving a regular paycheck, health insurance, being much less stressed, and most importantly having some free time.

What about the shop? Ahren & Leah (Banjo Cycles) and Zack (ZR Cycles) are both hanging in there and are going to continue working out of the shop. I'm keeping all my equipment and a little corner in the shop. This will allow me to finish up any loose ends that may occur as well as work on some personal projects I've been wanting to do for awhile.

Am I going to start up again in the future? Never say never....but don't hold your breath or your deposits. Maybe when I retire to the north-woods homestead I've always fantasized about.....

If you're interested, stay tuned to the blog and my flickr site. I still have some great bikes being finished up and I have some fun personal projects planned which I'll continue to document.

If anyone needs to contact me for whatever reason I'll be keeping some version of the website up, maintaining my e-mail, and keeping the same phone number.

Jon

35 comments:

Sam Whittingham said...

I'm sad to hear you are closing. I know how tough this little business is though........

Brian said...

Jonny, I'll be tuned in to your blog to see those personal projects if they appear, and it's good of you to make a safe choice and one that lets you honor your customers' orders instead of being irresposible in some ways.
Health insurance and personal stability are worthy self-requirements in North American life.

Robert said...

Sorry to hear about this...hope this is not the end...

roscoe said...

Good luck in the future Jonny.

Danny G said...

Don't close! I lost my job last February and can't order one of your frames but I did buy a raffle ticket. Keep hope alive!Stick it out through the winter and see how things look in March.

El Duke said...

Your work really has stood out and I've enjoyed your Flickr set.

You've got the skills to start back up in the future if you ever decide to and the situation presents itself. Otherwise, survival and minimizing debt is most important.

Best,
El Duke/Nick

Julie said...

I'm really sorry to hear this Jon. I think you made a great frame that reflected your personal style and your enthusiasm for the craft.

nick said...

man, was looking forward to stopping by/job shadowing next year...i totally understand though. take it easy, and remember: the only certain thing in life is that your going to pay taxes.

out.

Anonymous said...

Jonny,
Quite sorry to hear the news, Big Pink and Super Skinny will forever be cherished, good luck with future endeavors.

Trevor

Jordan | Velo Champ said...

I am saddened to hear this. I can appreciate the circumstances (like most), and share a similar, clinical approach to these types of decision. There is no question in my mind there will be more to come in the future, as you will always "fall into" something new. I'll certainly stay tuned. All the best!

Arloted said...

hey slut, I finally look at your blog... and then it just tells me you are closing. I lost my job too! yay! i have a blog now too! extremitiesofdelight.blogspot.com
miss you.

Ortolan said...

— I'm sure we can all understand yer choice, or lack of perhaps... times are tough. Thanx for making such amazing frames! Best of luck at the new gig.

erik said...

you make wonderful frames, here's hoping for a turnaround.

cheers,

erik

Scram! said...

Oh my god, they killed Jonnny (Cycles) !!!
you bastards !!!

1 less car said...

jonny

i feel you. i haven't had an order, in weeks, thank god i got job repairing pedicabs. im not sure how much longer ill make it im going to shot for the summer. thanx for every thing


cole

www.1lesscar.com

Wallabee said...

So sad to hear. What do you think your next move will be?

Linwood Hines said...

Jon,
Geez, I can understand, and whew, what a decision to make. I do wish it would turn around, but yes, I years ago decieded on a steady paycheck, etc...so I do understand. Thank you for enriching MY life, and crafting the wonderful ride. I'll cherish it (tho' she likes riding hard!). I was hoping to order a road, but my economy too has suffered, so...

Keep in touch with us!

Linwood
Chesterfield, VA

Phil Barge said...

I remember coming to you for advice when i was struggling. This kind of takes the wind out of my sails a lil.

All I can say is whoever owns a bike from you is a very lucky person.

phil barge

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Man, it's a shame to see you closing the doors on your shop. Honestly, we're all holding our breaths in this industry hoping to weather the storm.

I sincerely wish you the best and will keep my fingers crossed that the doors open again some time in the future.

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

I am sorry to hear you are closing, but appreciated the letter. It shows great class on your part.

I loved looking atyour pictures of the builds: it was a satisfying way to stay connected to bikes when I could not be riding.

I hope the best for you in the future.

Johnny Sprocket said...

Sorry to hear this but best of luck with your next endeavor. Craftsmen like yourself are few and far between and those who have your frames should consider themselves lucky. I hope things turn around and we see you building them again in the future.
Good luck Jonny.

Anonymous said...

don't give up. you just need to re-tool your business. if there's one thing this economy will bring it's a lot more people riding bicycles. you need to sell the bikes as a life long investment and sell the idea that the bikes, are healthier, more environment friendly etc. etc. don't give up now.

fulloffaith said...

dealers have to sell treks with the "made in china" sticker right on the front for cryin out loud. just re-tool don't stop

Anonymous said...

Damn, I remember drooling over your work at the velo swap years ago, seeing your work in the first issue of Cog after having seen the bike in person, and being psyched to buy a few raffle tickets for Wheels North/Hystiocytosis in the hopes that the cards turn my way and I'll get a chance to own one for myself. Artisans never die as their works live on, and I trust after a few years of working on disposable carbon fiber rigs you'll get the itch & inkling to give 'er a go again. Best of luck, thanks for the inspired designs, and remember to ride with a light!

Glenn said...

I'm really sad to hear that you're closing up, but glad you're keeping your equipment. I've really enjoyed checking out your page, and enjoy even more the bike you modified for me. I get comments about it all of the time. Best wishes!
Glenn Jaecks,
Sacramento

Danny Munoz said...

Jonny...best of luck to whatever the future holds for you. I am still enjoying daily the frame you built for me last year. If you are ever in Texas make sure and visit Austin..the state capitol of cycling.

Anonymous said...

your work is beautiful. i'm sorry to hear this is it. don't disappear, i'm gonna want one of yours one day. -evan

Kirk said...

As a budding framebuilder you have always been one of my greatest inspirations. Your love of the craft and attention to detail will always be remembered. Best of luck!

brent steelman said...

Hi Jon.
I am truly sorry to hear you are closing. I really appreciate your honesty about the reality of how tough this business is. With your sense of integrity and style, you will succeed in whatever you choose to do. very best wishes
Brent Steelman

joaquin said...

all the best and bonne route from a fan in paris

Sean Chon said...

Wow, I'm really bummed. I saw your bikes at the NAHBS in San Jose a few years ago and I thought you stole the show. I hope that when the economy does turn around you'll have a second wind as an entrepreneur.

Peter said...

This sucks. Your frames are amoung the best Ive seen! One bad year should not determine your fate! Cmon back I know 2 people that will give deposits! You are way too good to not continue your craft!

steve garro said...

hey,man - i've been meaning to get over here sooner and give you a shout! good luck, and don't sell your torch.......luck will smile your way once again. Steve

swiggco world said...

Dang, another talented guy hanging it up. Hey, this job comes with pain and torture without even asking for it. Hope the re-entry into the bike shop is good.....sometimes it's good to get a wage instead of waiting for checks and balances. Cheers, Paul@ Rock Lobster

khai said...

Wow - I'm really sorry to hear this.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to own one of your bikes.

I hope things work out well for you at the new shop, and that you enjoy having some free time and fewer responsibilities.