Editor’s note: A little while back we had the pleasure of riding with Cameron Falconer and visiting his workshop in Quincy, California. It was a real pleasure all around and we are happy to share a little bit of Cameron’s story here with you. If you would like to see more about what is going on in Quincy, CA be sure to keep an eye out for issue 213, which will be launching in the coming weeks.
Growing up in California’s Bay Area, Cameron Falconer enjoyed bikes as most kids do, wheeling around with friends, jumping curbs and doing sweet skids. As he entered his teen years, bikes became more than just an accessory of his childhood. Falconer started competing in cyclocross in the booming Bay Area scene when he was 15 years old; by 17, he was racing bikes for frame builder Rick Hunter. It was with Hunter Cycles that Falconer got his first taste of custom bikes. By the end of high school, his interest in frame building led him to seek out other local builders.
One of Falconer’s first mentors was Ed Litton. Litton was a master craftsman, intricately filing lugs and creating one-of-a-kind frames. Falconer’s time with Litton was formidable: Not only did he begin to learn the craft and skills of frame making, but he also was learning the business. “I saw how hard Ed was working on each frame,” said Falconer, “but I also saw his struggles financially.”
In the following years, Falconer would go on to work at an architectural metal shop. It was there that he learned how to tig weld, and his love for the bike once again found him pursuing frame building. While Falconer has great admiration for the way builders like Litton craft frames, he also knew that he would have to go about building his own frames differently.
For the last eight years, Falconer has been building and selling bicycles under the name Falconer Cycles. What began in the Bay Area continues on the outskirts of the quiet town of Quincy, California. In a garage large enough for three vehicles, Falconer has an array of machines to assist in the building process. A raw frame sits in a frame jig, waiting to be welded, while others hang on hooks, waiting to be shipped to customers. A large cardboard cutout of the late, great Bruce Gordon’s head hangs above a workbench surrounded by photographs of Falconer’s days in the Bay Area.
“I came to Quincy for the first Grinduro event,” Falconer remarked when asked how he ended up living in Quincy. Falconer and his wife, Sarah, grew tired of the congestion and stress of the Bay, so they packed up and headed for the mountains. It’s been three years since he’s relocated, and Falconer admits that “one guy in a garage in a county of only 25,000 people in the middle of nowhere” might not be the best business model, but it’s working.
With the help of the internet and friends like John Watson (the Radavist) photographing and sharing his work, Falconer continues to stay busy and take new orders. “I admittedly have an aversion to things like Instagram,” says Falconer, though he goes by the handle @coffeeandeggs. “Social media is a triple-edged sword,” he laughs; he wants to focus more on the task at hand than on sharing his daily routine with the world.
Having taken part in the most recent ENVE Builder Summit as well as showing bikes at this year’s Grinduro Event, Falconer and his work are popping up all over the place. “I like building simple and functional bikes,” he remarked. While today’s builders look for a way to set themselves apart from the herd, Falconer focuses on building straightforward bikes that work well. Anything from rim-brake road bikes to slacked-out big-mountain hardtails, Falconer delivers what the customers want.