I'd say wave of the future is a bit of an exaggeration but certainly
there's more interest in this design. Brian, welcome to the party. I'v e
been doing this type of work for a while. I'd add Sacha White (Vanilla)
has been doing this type of work too. One nitpick- Brian, we all know y ou
do lovely work as do plenty of others but the hitch is the rest of us do n't
swagger around Dale's living room spouting off about our next
accomplishment. Perhaps that's not your intentions but it sure reads th at
way. How about more walk and less talk?
Curt Goodrich Minneapolis, MN
Curt, my buddy! You've got me pegged all wrong. I'm doing all this for Y OU, baby! We're getting our signals crossed; let me explain so it's perf ectly clear. Might as well spill the beans. I think I get from your nitp ick that you percieve what I'm writing about is some sort of advertising campagin. In fact it is; but not for me, but indirectly for you and all of the other framebuilders who need to make a living and support a fami ly and live a "normal" life. I do this also for the little known and oft en unrecognized but dedicated and talented hobbiest or part timer who pu ts their heart and soul into making something special for their customer s and something they can say they are proud to have built. What I'm adve rtizing is the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. The show isn't for or about me any more than anyone else who is wise enough to attend. I be lieve the NAHBS is the best thing that has ever happened to handmade fra mebuilding and framebuilders AND MORE IMPORTANTLY to the consumers who a re considering buying such a product. Why is this? The reason, young Cur t, is because this is the best and probably only way to mass educate the interested parties as to the qualities and characteristics that make a bike frame what it is and what seperates one from another from a number of different perspectives. I believe 100% that education and knowledge i s power. My deffinition of education is not teaching people WHAT to thin k (which is what most promotion and advertising is aimed towards), but t eaching people HOW to think for themselves. In the modern consumer age I believe it is VERY important for people to seek out reliable and factua l information about major purchases; of which a constructeur bicycle is deffinitely one. By far the best way to learn a lot in a very short time is to be at the show, talk to EVERYONE you want to, SEE everything with your own eyes in the flesh, and absorb as much as you possibly can abou t what handmade frames are all about and how individual each framebuilde r really is. I believe one will leave the show much wiser, not to mentio n stunned and amazed. So my teaseing and going on has nothing to do with me selling bikes. I've already taken or talked with the few people from whom I am taking orders from for 2006 and I won't be taking on any more until probably show time 2007, and then 6 will be chosen. I'm not here to sell bikes, except for others who will have openings to build bikes p erhaps simular to what I will have to offer. There won't be any secrets after the show. Everyone will be able to see what is going on and any on e who wants to can do their own thing. I'm sure most or nearly all of wh at I have planned has been done before by other earlier constructeurs; b ut each builder can interpert the part in a different way, perhaps even make it a one off to match the bike in some way. For example, the custom chainguard, once hand formed in pieces from sheet aluminium and soldere d together, could have a design cut out of it in a tasteful way which wo uld follow the theme of the lug cutouts or some other distinctive featur e on the frame. So now you not only have a custom handmade chainguard, b ut it's a one off that is specific to that bike. An intact bike loaded w ith features like that down the road 100 years is going to be a very pri zed piece of work, just as it would be now. Sure, all this has been done before; but by the same token there have been significant advances in s hifting systems over the years. None of the vintage stuff I ride has ind ex shifting, but I plan on 7 speed indexing (I still like 126mm spacing) on this bike for ease of shifting. All of this takes planning to an ext reme. Like Brandon says, the goal is an integrated holostic bike. The mo dern is inspired by the classics but will have the American flair instea d of the French flair and will be based on current needs and trends. Sam e thing but different, as they say.
The other thing I'm trying to do by writing about a bike that will for a ll intents and purposes not be available; is to inspire other framebuild ers to bring their "A" game to the show. I know some of the guys have al ready gotten the signal loud and clear, and I would assume they are resp onding. I'm trying to whip the guys into a frenzy so that the people who attend get what they are expecting and come away more interested and mu ch wiser than when they came in. I want them to see the best of what Ame rican framebuilding has to offer. I want them to leave the show with a g reater respect for the craft and those who participate in it, from the f irst timer to the seasoned pro. I truely believe the bicycle is one of t he greastet inventions of all time, and for sure the most sublime mixtur e of man and machine on the planet. I consider it an honor to build bicy cle frames and I have respect for everyone who does it, no matter at wha t level or for what reason, and I would like the world to have a higher respect for the bicycle. Unfortunately, ugly bikes will not get anyone's attention; therefore it is wiser to make them beautiful to look at so p eople will more easily accept what a marvelous and facinating machine it is. I don't think you are on the players list for the show. I'm sure yo u have your reasons; but if you do not need customers, like several othe rs of us, you can still be part of the party. The sense of community at these events is priceless. Yeah, sure there may be one or two people aro und that you don't like (like me for example), but spend time with those you like and be part of the show and do some walking yourself. You're o ne of the best builders out there, you have plenty of contributions to m ake, and your fans would really probably like to meet you in person. How about it, buddy?
Regarding the comment about swaggering around Dales living room and spou ting off about my latest accomplishments; I'm sorry if my excitement abo ut building these bikes and attending the show is a little over the top. Honestly, I'm not selling bikes, I'm selling the concept of these bikes , from which YOU can benifit. I am having an absolute blast doing this a nd I simply can not curb my entheusiasm for it. I've been messing with b ikes nearly 7 days a week for the past 30 years. It would be VERY easy t o have burned out and given up many years ago, or have lost interest or motivation in doing the kind of work I really enjoy doing. But having fi nally grasped the comcept of the "holistic bicycle" and it's potential; I literally feel like a kid again. Interest and entheusiasm is the fuel that makes these things happen. One must have the circumstances also to be able to indulge in such foolishness. By foolishness I mean this, for example. I will be making a stem for this bike, in a specific way and fo r a specific purpose and to have various custom features. By the time th e stem is complete I will have the same amount of time into it as the ty pical top quality handmade lugged frame takes to build (let's say 20 hou rs). You know damn well the stem isn't going to cost the same as one of these frames, less the difference in materials cost. It just isn't going to happen. It is financial siciside to do such a thing, and yet I can j ustify it. There is no question that a full constructeur bike of the hig hest caliber could easily top $10,000, but you will have to settle for l ow wages to earn that money. It's a framebuilding fact. This kind of fra mebuilding is not for the purpose of making money or any kind of real li ving. It's almost all for the purpose of self satisfaction and for getti ng some bikes out there. That's all. It's sort of like doing paintings t hat will be appreciated by later generations as exceptional works.
Insofar as me talking and not walking; not sure what you require from me as proof that I'm not just trying to blow smoke up your backside. Perha ps I can give away a few things just to convince the skeptics I'm planni ng on walking the walk. Only an idiot would shoot off his mouth like I h ave (for you guys, not me mind you!) without being able to back it up. I 've stuck my neck out pretty damn far. Any one of you guys could easily crush my adams apple with your boot considering the risks I'm taking. I' m not planning on letting anyone down who makes an effort to attend the show, be you framebuilder or consumer. I'm going to do my part and I don 't plan on making a fool of myself (in case I haven't already). Ever mad e a set of custom dropouts for a frame, completely by hand and specific for that frame only? I've just done my first, and it was a total blast. I think they will add a little something to both the function and the st yle of the bike. I really like them and the experince has opened up a bu nch of new possibilities. Again, by the time they are done the set will have taken as much time as making another standard high quality lugged f rame. Just to design, make templates, cut, and fit to stays. Do you enjo y doing leather work? I do. It's facinating in itself and I've made a bu nch of knife sheaths in the past, so I have some basic knowledge of how it works. I am hand making my own leather saddle for the bike, designed in the style of the bike as well. Picked the brain of the local saddle m aker and got some tips on how to carve the wood mould to stretch the lea ther over. In the process of designing the adjustable undercarriage (in titanium) and arrangeing to have a friend help fabricate the prototype. The end result will be a custom handmade leather saddle specifically for that bike and that bike alone. Of course, I will be able to make about 75 to 100 saddles off the form before it will be worn out, so I will mak e more saddles like it in the future; but since each one will also be ha nd tooled and shaped, each one will be slightly to drastically different from the others. Each one will have a number. Not sure if I'm classifie d as walking the walk yet. Designing, hand carving the form, hand making each saddle; is that in deep enough? Not to worry, there's PLENTY more where that came from. I guess you will just have to come to the show to see what I'm talking about. Gonna be there?
So Curt, I do respect you and everyone else and wouldn't dream of taking advantage of the CR list for my own selfish purposes. I do it all for y ou guys. I have what I need and I'm set for life with work to do. All I have to do is produce it. I'm sorry if my giddy entheusiasm and anxiousn ess to share my glee with my friends rubs you the wrong way. From this minute forward I'm walking the walk and slamming the door on paint and restoration work. I've got at least 9 months of paintwork in the shop no w. I'll never be able to keep up and it's getting on my nerves. Building 6 constructeur bikes per year is my goal along with catching up on my f rame backlog from now on. Any leftover time will be spent painting a few things, which I will neccessarily have to be quite selective about. The re you go Curt, more time to walk. You guys all know who to blame now fo r not having me to kick around as your painter anymore (that's a joke Cu rt, ;-). I'm serious though. The time is right for these bikes and I don 't think that's an exaggeration relative to the market for handmade lugg ed steel frames. I find the possibilities and potential of constructeur bikes to be almost limitless. It's like having a fresh canvas on which t o begin the painting of a masterpiece.
One last thing. Perhaps you took offence to a comment I made about Riv s etups to be clumsey at times. Nothing personal about that at all and has nothing to do with the frame really. I simply agreed with someone else about the large bag I saw strapped behind someones bike in a photo somew here. There was a beautifully crafted bike built by you and expertly pai nted by Joe Bell with this huge bag strapped sideways under the saddle. I'm not judgemental, and if that works for that person and they like it then it's good for them. When I saw it my reaction was "that's not exact ly aerodynamic, probably doesn't work THAT well, and certainly there is a better more tidy and practical way to accomplish the same goal". A bic ycle is still all about effeciency AND beauty even as a tourer or commut er or whatever. I like to see graceful steeds, and practical and well de signed bikes. Like Brandon says, the holistic bike would not be set up a nything like that, according to my breeding. Different tastes perhaps? B ut that's the whole point of the AeroTour. It is my concept of what a co nstructeur bike should be like. Others may disagree.
La Mesa, CA
Holy crap! It's 2am. Not going to reread this or try to correct spelling
and whatnot. I'm sending it off.