(Special thanks to Mike Schmidt)
Rob Roberson, a resident of California since 1966, is currently employed by Joe Bell Paint. His job includes paint prep, tube replacements, repairs, alignments, modifications and braze-ons. The 1969 “Earth Day” inspired Rob to ride a bicycle and at that time earned an AA degree in Art and Architecture at Southwestern College. After participating in a city sponsored bike race on a Schwinn Varsity, he met winner Bob Bergen, who directed him to Frank Appel, from whom he bought a Gitane Tour De France. This set the course for a life with bikes. He got into doing club rides and touring, and for a year and a half raced Cat. 4 and 3 in So. Cal. and the open races in Baja Cal. for several years. From 1971 to 1976 he worked with Frank Appel at Old Town Bike Shop in San Diego learning mechanics, wheel building, brazing and machining. He made his first frame for himself in 1975, and up until 1979 made 20 or so frames for friends and locals. From ’77 to ’79 he also worked at Wheels ‘n’ Things bike shop in El Cajon as a mechanic and doing BMX frame repairs. At about that time the Masi factory in Carlsbad was disbanded and moved to Rancho Santa Fe where Mario Confente would head operations. Confente passed away before things started and Ted Kirkbride asked Rob if he would give it a go. Between 1979 and 1980 he was responsible for 301 frames and about another 50 in ’81 at a new location in San Marcos. From ’81 to ’86 he built about 100 custom frames of all types, mainly through his association with Brian Maloney’s Adams Ave. Bicycles in San Diego. From 1986 to 1994 he did production work at Ibis Cycles in Sebastopol, Ca. where he was exposed to machining and welding techniques. From ’94 to ’97 he worked at Hooker Headers in Tijuana, Mexico; first building forks and later aluminum frames, and finally, after market exhaust pipes and mufflers for Harleys. Here he learned metal forming and bending techniques, machining, heat treating, welding, cutting and metal polishing. He joined Joe Bell in 1998 and resumed making frames on a limited basis. Rob can be contacted at Joe Bell Bicycle Refinishing 619-469-4312.