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Colorado – bad food beautiful state and the Yamaguchi Frame Building School

So I recently went to Colorado and paid to learn how to do manual labour for two weeks. They were two of the best weeks of my life as the manual labour was learning how to braze and build a frame from one of the last great steel framebuilders alive – Koichi Yamaguchi. If you like bikes all I can say is the Yamaguchi Frame Building School is a must.

Yamaguchi Frame Building School

Colorado is also kick ass beautiful. It has the kind of scenery that just makes Europeans feel a bit pathetic about what we have got back home. This scenery is dotted with rich little chi chi towns and healthy looking Americans. This isn’t the rest of middle America where you are either ultra fat or ultra thin. Colorado and its main towns – Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Vail etc. – are occupied by that different kind of American. The ones who weigh their camping gear on kitchen scales trying to carve off grams. Outdoor sport is a religion here.

Colorado (Aspen, Carbondale and mountains)

So there is just one problem for a food blog. The food sucks. This isn’t a question of money or lack of interest in it. Colorado is the kind of place where people park a Lear jet in their driveway and Aspen had one of the cutest looking food markets I’ve seen for a while. It is quite hard to identify the simple reason for this but the problem was everywhere. I mean we went from dive burger bars, to restaurants selected by Esquire magazine as one of America’s top new restaurants – the Pullman in Glenwood Springs – and localvore places like Six89 in Carbondale and they were all profoundly disappointing.

Rifle Colorado in all its glory
For when you want a steak with a chaser of Thai and sushi

I think it is because, you know when you were a kid and you thought, “I like x, you know what will make y better, more of x“. This concept is embedded deep in the American pysche. So it is “hey trucks are cool, why not make trucks so big they could eat a European car for a snack?“. Or “I like Pepsi, let’s have 2 gallons of it“. Whilst this attitude sometimes suits a country with behmouth proprotions it is a pollution to the food.

Colorado (Aspen, Carbondale and mountains)

The answer is to make good pizza, not to serve 40 inch ones. The way to make a good beer is not to dowse it in hops or malt so that it tastes like an alcoholic room freshener. Truffle oil should not be a bath. Olive oil should not be an ocean. Every place we went to was caught by this problem….

La Taqueria in San Francisco (SF)

Of course apart from the Mexican food. The food only got good when desperate I went up to two Mexicans in Wallmart is and said “you are Mexican, do you know where the best Mexican restaurants are“. Thankfully they didn’t think an idiot Londoner with floppy hair was some Homeland Security/ Republican nutjob and told me. Halleljuah. Praise be to immigration.

Finally here is a little video put together by one of my friends who went with me who is a talented designer and decided to have his first go with a Canon 5D mkII. Pretty impressive I thought. He does design and web work in China and Hong Kong here.


  1. Seems you had great fun during the workshop, and must have been quite an experience. I was wonderging with the final frame, did any of you take it back home? that´s a `special one, made by your own hands.

    • Yup, the frame is currently being painted in England and will then be flying out to South Korea to give the roads here some harsh lessons 🙂

  2. sunfug

    Nice video and an awesome thing to do. I’ve got a custom Audax built by Dave Yates in the UK and have been hankering to do one of his frame-building courses. You may have tipped me over the edge ; ) Pity Northeast England isn’t as picturesque as Colorado. Looking forward to SK food posts. BTW your friend’s link goes to your site rather than his.

    • Thanks for the tip sunfung. I randomly bought a second hand Yates for very cheap the other day. Can’t get it into Korea due to customs so waiting to go back. I am super excited to use it.

      Anyway, I would perhaps suggest the Yama course as I think the Yates is just 1 week. Having spent 2 weeks working like a dog and barely finishing I fear that 1 week may not be enough. That said if it is 2 weeks – ignore me. I may even go on the Yates one oneday hopefully. Still trying to pay back the debts from this one thou.

      Finally thanks for the tip on the link. Fixed!

  3. allenfhubbard

    Hey – incredible video! It really made me feel a little part of the journey that went into your class.

    Do you think that after the class you could design and construct another frame / fork on your own given the proper tools? Where did you stay while there?

    I am sooo interested please send me an email or reply with any info!

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