31 January, 2013

Moving Sale and Shipping Delays

A guest post by Annette

We all must suffer through a move; there's just no way to do it without stress, no matter the amount of planning, coordination, lead time, and promise of a new coffee system. At some point you just have to stop, unload the shelves, and pack the boxes. And while we're engrossed in physically moving and organizing 4100 square feet of stock and furnishings into 7000 feet of space, we can't be packing orders, and we won't be able to respond to emails as quickly as usual.

New couches in the design/meeting area
Our move is Wednesday, February 6. We pack for two days before, and we unpack for two days after.

So the cutoff for placing orders for shipping this week is Friday, noon EST, February 1. Orders placed after noon February 1 will not be shipped until Monday, February 11. 

Now this doesn't mean you can't place orders as usual; goodness no, our web store is untouched during our relocation. But you'll have to wait an inordinate amount of time before the orders are finally shipped. 

For this inconvenience, from to Midnight Saturday February 2 to Midnight Monday February 11 (EST), everything except frame build kits and complete bikes is 20 percent off to retail customers (frames are included in the sale, just not our already rock-bottom priced kits and builds). A screamin' moving deal, customer appreciation days, Ravens Won the Super Bowl Sale, call it what you'd like, it's 20 percent off for (most) retail orders placed during this period.

Thanks as usual for your business and support. We'll soon see you at:

1981 Moreland Parkway
Bldg. 3
Annapolis, MD 21401 USA

28 January, 2013

Cynthia's Paintings and Eric's Bikes

Peugeot mixte
Cynthia Meyer is a talented artist who paints lovely California scenes. Some of her paintings include bikes that my friend Eric has put together. I really like both the style and subject matter in Cynthia's work, even the paintings without bikes. More of her work can be found on her site.

Eric, Cynthia's husband, is an interesting guy. We met when he called me out of the blue, and said, "This is Eric. I used to have this company called Simple Shoes, but then it got complicated. So I sold it and now I mostly ride around on my bike." It turns out he uses lots of VO parts in his builds and I used to wear Simple Shoes.

I've visited Eric a couple of times in central California and found that he builds up some really neat bikes. He also restores cool old cars, rebuilds old houses, serves on the planning commission in San Luis Obispo, and is involved with a center for young entrepreneurs.
Sear's best, made in Austria
Flanders Bike Shop
Eric's orange Atala
A few  photos of Eric's bikes can be found here. You'll find lot's of VO parts, many powder coated. His blog, The Movement, is worth reading.

25 January, 2013

Don't Forget, VO Warehouse Sale is Tomorrow

Despite predictions of upwards of two inches of snow this afternoon, which will bring Washington DC traffic to a skidding halt, the VO yard sale will take place tomorrow. Those of us who have lived in snowy climes can't help but shake our heads when schools close, as those in Annapolis have just done, in anticipation of a dusting of the white stuff. In fairness, a huge segment of our local population is not from this area, having come for government related jobs. And many appear to have never driven or biked in snow.

In any case, we have lots of cool stuff for sale that's 50% or more off retail price. In addition everything, except build kits and complete bikes, is 20% off. That includes stuff on the specials page. So it's worth skiing or snowshoeing in.

Finally we'll have espresso and donuts so you can refuel after that snowy trek.

Here's the fine print again:

  • In-person only. No internet orders, sorry.
  • Cash or credit only
  • We won't hold anything or offer a list of what will be available. It's strictly first come...
  • 20% off the retail price of anything we have in-stock except build kits and complete bikes. Even items on the specials page are an extra 20% off.
  • 9AM - 12PM at 1819 George Ave. Annapolis, MD 21401

23 January, 2013

Customer bikes

In case you missed it on our Facebook, here is a small collection of beautiful bikes submitted by our customers. Enjoy!

Don't forget our warehouse sale this Saturday January 26th. More details and fine print here.
Stuart's Outlaw Mixte
Luke's Peugeot Porteur
Justin's Univega
Harry's custom touring bike
Darryl's Elkhide Wrap on TT bars
Kengo's award winning Fuji Porteur
Jo's LHT VO'd out

21 January, 2013


The blog has been a little quiet lately as we prepare for our move but we're still working on lots of new projects and considering a few others.

The Pass Hunter prototypes have been delayed a little because of the new year holidays in Taiwan. We'll get both red and blue prototypes and post photos for your input.

We're designing a 63cm version of the Campeur frame. It's been selling well and if that continues we'll expand the sizes available.

We hope to have a new Grand Cru pedal in a few months. It's a single sided pedal designed for folks who use toe clips, or half clips. Like the Sabot pedal it will have platform designed for street shoes. It will also have over-sized, bordering on huge, bearings for long life and no-worries touring duty.

Importing a very impressive new Dajia platform pedal is also under consideration. It's an off road pedal (like the VP001) but higher quality. I'm not sure that off-road oriented platform pedals will remain popular with touring or urban cyclists as more road-specific platforms become available, but they'll remain a good option for those who tour off-pavement.

We have a daily "morning staff meeting" were we discuss new products and design issues, among other things. Today we kicked around the idea of bringing back the old VO courier rack. It's smaller than a Pourteur rack and works well with handlebar bags, but the large platform makes it more versatile than a Constructeur front rack. Not sure about this one so we thought we'd run the idea up the flag pole and see who salutes, this blog being the flagpole. Anyone saluting?

In another news:

Gypsy by Trade shares his "Second Impressions of the Campeur"

Here are a few photos of a cool Campeur build. 

Don't forget that the biggest ever VO yard sale takes place this Saturday from 9 to 12.

11 January, 2013

The Most Important Thing About Moving

a guest post by Annette
We were handed the key to the new space today. We have to choose paint and carpet colors. We still must order warehouse shelving. The service order for Comcast is in, electric and gas will switch on Feb. 1, the storage container out back will be removed Feb. 8.

But the most worrisome of items to coordinate, the topic of hottest concern here is: should we get a new coffee maker, and if so, what style? 

While we have a Francis! Francis! espresso machine, she has only a single boiler, which is a pain and a wait for steamed milk or hot water for Americanos. Our current warehouse is located within quick driving and biking distance from three coffee outlets, so the blood-need for caffeine can be filled quickly. But the new space, although not far from here, means several lights and turns (especially nearly impossible left turns) to get anywhere; the coffee will be cold by the time we return to the shop. 

Here are the options:

The Keurig system. The pros are: it is clean (no grounds!) and quick, everyone can have his/her favorite flavor, and you could dispense hot water for tea if you bought a large enough unit. The cons are the K-cups are ridiculously expensive and the coffee is not hot enough, unless the machine is hard wired into the water supply. We could save on the coffee itself if we got a "refillable K-cup," but that would negate the whole "no grounds!" argument.

Good old Mr. Coffee and his offspring. Pros: it's inexpensive, and sometimes you can coax a good cup out of it with a brand as inexpensive as Folgers, and they're not just ugly white or black any more. Cons: grounds, the horrible smell of old coffee in the pot... and some staff members would quit if we went with that. 

Double boiler espresso machine. Pros: hot water on demand, no wait for steam build-up for frothing milk, and it looks cool as hell. Cons: Costly upfront cash outlay, too much maintenance what with backflushing, new gaskets, etc. And then there's the grounds, as it's my experience that no one except me empties the knockbox (though we do have a grassy area out back for a garden, and espresso grounds are supposedly great for the soil). 

French Press or Pour Over. Pros: nice individual coffee to your taste and simple to prepare. Cons: grounds, constant clean up in the bathroom sink, and the French Press system is fussy (boil, pour, stir, wait, press, or is it boil, pour, wait, stir, press?)

Short of some enterprising soul's opening a coffee shop in the warehouse district, none of these options is ideal. Maybe we can talk the banana-bread commercial bakery next door into opening a coffee bar. Your thoughts?

04 January, 2013

Warehouse Sale and Test Bikes for Sale

As you may know, we're moving to larger quarters next month. We'd like to get rid of as much stuff as we can prior to the move so we're holding our largest ever warehouse sale. It'll take place on Saturday, January 26th, from 9AM to 12PM. We'll have the usual assortment of returned items, demo components and accessories, prototypes, a few frames, a bunch of stuff we plan to discontinue, and more. Most items will be about half the retail price. We'll also offer a 20% discount on most regular items bought during the sale.

Here's the fine print:

  • In-person only. No internet orders, sorry.
  • Cash or credit only
  • We won't hold anything or offer a list of what will be available. It's strictly first come...
  • 20% off the retail price of anything we have in-stock except build kits and complete bikes. Even items on the specials page are an extra 20% off.
  • 9AM - 12PM  at 1819 George Ave. Annapolis, MD 21401
Speaking of stuff for sale, we have this 57cm Rando bike we've been using to test various new VO, and other, bits.  It's being replaced by a new Pass Hunter prototype so this one is for sale. It's got a Campy drivetrain, a prototype Ti saddle and Challenge tires among other neat stuff.
Another bike used for comparison purposes is my old orange 60cm Ebisu. Since I have several VO bikes  I'm selling the frame and fork (I don't like to keep things that I don't use.) A headset and seatpost are also included. Save for a few tiny paint chips the frame is in like-new condition. It's the All-Purpose model and. details about the model can be found here. Cost is $925 (half the new frame price). BTW, the name Velo-Orange was inspired by this bike. Update: It's sold.

01 January, 2013

Happy New Year...the Site is Up

Updating the VO store site has taken a bit longer than expected, but it's working now. Please email us if you find any glitches. 

We are sorry for the delay. Since you've been unable to browse over the holidays, we've extended the free shipping promotion for another week.