Thursday, June 26, 2008
There is a connection between us and them, more than us merely taking their craft and utilizing it as a precision tool to conduct our business of riding. It is more like a relationship, one of cultivating understanding, learning the little details of each other in order to create something greater then sum of the consumer and the artisan.
Builders aren’t a white-collar marketing guy coming up with target audiences and market segments, nor are they some 30-something hipster-duface with a goatie and a mouth full of insider slang, trying to make you feel less of a rider than he. They are the working class, honest day’s work for sometimes less that an honest day’s wage. They have tiny slivers of jagged-edged metal burs buried in their fingers, a yet are always smiling, and have great stories to tell.
Frame builders are great about reading between the lines, and peeling the onion to get down to what really matters to you in a frame. It is part science, part art and a dash of experience that turns out great rides. The beauty is in the details, and the great ones have the patience to massage the best out the materials they use.
Sometimes burning the midnight oil, they go the extra mile for their customers, and the biggest reward for them is seeing the end product under the joyous control of their new owner. Most good frame builders have a following, sometimes even clubs. They are celebrated in inner-circles like a messiah or rock star. But most shun the attention, and remain humble, eager to pass on lessons learned and to share their passion for the bicycle.
Do you know who built your frame?