there are untold numbers of people involved in the bicycle industry plying various trades to keep the rest of us satisfied on the weekend ride. and all the cycley bits in between. i'm sure there are even more than those of which i'm aware, but it's probably enough for now to be going on with. and an untold number of those are just like you and i, except with a bit more talent in directions that we wish our own talents lay. not for them the strange and contrived acronyms that decorate many a carbon seatstay, proclaiming features that we don't understand, and to be honest, probably don't actually need. at the industrial end of the market there is a growing need to differentiate, and if that means inventing new technical features that only pretend to exist, then so be it. marketing will do that to you.
but returning to those who inhabit the same level of humanity as the rest of us, the art of conversation is not yet deceased. if the daily travail imposes a lengthy degree of flying solo, the opportunity to converse with consumers, would-be consumers, or simply the passingly interested, might be just the opportunity needed to lighten that load, or spread the infectious enthusiasm. this all sounds plain and simple, but unless those eager conversants happen to drop by the shop, words may be slightly stilted or even non-existent.
as aspects of cycling, such as wheelbuilding and framebuilding, return to their roots and inhabit the place of the so-called cottage industry, it may well be the case that any spare cash is being ploughed into buying more spokes, rims, tubes or brass. or whatever. there may be little capital abounding that would allow the necessary proselytising of one's honed skills. thus, alternatives need to be sought, even if there is no time available for soughting. of course, not all framebuilders are created equal, and some are possessed of a greater degree of altruism and fatherly concern than others, engendering free access to the very conversations already discussed above. it should perhaps be no surprise to the faithful that mr richard sachs has the fortitude and perspicacity to foster such progress.
i have, over the period of my own conversations and contact with richard, been referred often to questions and answers that have appeared on velocipede salon, a forum that concerns itself with the art of the framebuilder, and those with a vested interest in the intricacies thereof. as is probably the case with many a forum, whether concerned with cycling or not, there is likely a great deal of useful information and important discussions taking place within its pixels, but as i'm sure we're all aware, there is also a lot of dross and vitriol too. forums are generally not on my horizon for subject matter of any particular incarnation, and i have to admit that i cannot claim velocipedesalon to be one with which i have a suitable amount of experience with to comment one way or the other. i'm not a signed up member of the forum, so while i can read the various posts, i do not have the permissions to reply, or originate a topic. this situation generally suits me well, because i know that my technical knowledge of framebuilding, or lack of, would merely cause ripples of humour, rather than progress the dialectic taking place.
however, a recent innovation by mr sachs on the boards (so to speak) may just have given me cause to revise my sign-up policy. named smoked out, this section of the forum offers framebuilders of varying art and experience to state their raison d'etre at the outset, then sit back and eagerly, or apprehensively, wait for the questions to roll in.
conversation and dialogue.
let me allow mr sachs to explain in his own inimitable style; "we have over 120 folks registered at velocipede salon who are framebuilders, be they career pro or hobbyist.
i decided it would be wonderful for each and every one of them to tell his story. not all of it. but some of it, enough so readers would get a sense of the cat, his beginnings, muses, experiences, and even favorite colors if they exist. the board created is called 'smoked out' because that's the intention. the way it works is this: all 120+ folks were told of the project, and on a first come, first served basis, the builder gets to start a thread about himself and hold court. threads will be added once or twice a week. the newest framebuilder's thread will always be stuck at the top of the board and once it's replaced by the next in line, it goes into the mix of all prior threads. these older threads are kept alive by new traffic, or older viewers who come back and ask more questions, or even when the framebuilder has some news to report and uses his own thread to broadcast it."
with more and more of us re-discovering steel through the frames of those who never saw it go away, it is, i feel, incumbent on every one of us who fits that description, to avail ourselves of this opportunity. many of the majors who have their carbon monocoques assembled in far off places, can be all but uncontactable, often only through their authorised dealers. that can often lead to purchases based entirely on somebody's race results or an anodyne advertisement in the monthlies. i'm not suggesting that there are any unforeseen pitfalls in so doing; two such machines reside in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed, but the third has become resident through unprecedented dialogue with its progenitors (chris king cielo). that dialogue was very satisfying, hopefully for them as well as for me.
to name everyone on the list would take several thousand more pixels, though if you're really intrigued, e-mail me and i'd be happy to return the list as i have it at present. on the boards as of today are jonathan greene cycles, zanconato custom cycles, nash cycles-baltimore bicycle works, foresta frames and signal cycles, conversations with whom extend to several pages. even if, at present, you have little or no intention of availing yourself of a new custom built frame, there's no harm in storing a little or a lot of pertinent information, or asking a few questions.
didn't i tell you richard sachs was the best friend we've never met? his latest word on the project; "the list is growing almost daily, atmo"
posted wednesday 5 may 2010..........................................................................................................................................................................................................