Friday, December 7, 2012

A Visit with a Framebuilder

Where ever we travel we like to visit classic bike shops and framebuilders. I would like to share with you a few of our visits. Unfortunately, I did not photograph all but I'll post some of the shops in no order or preference.

There are classic retail shops and frame builders and, of course, the constructeurs who build not only the frame but most or many of the parts themselves.

Framebuilders are amazing people. They have gained the skill to take raw materials and coerce them into a marvelous machine. The process of building a frame has many steps and is an obsolete art in this day of mass production and robot factories. Thank God there are people who still have the passion to acquire the skills, the expensive tools and the space to produce bikes for us, even tho' many just scrape by for their efforts. Given the amount of work it is to build a frame, they should cost tens of thousands yet we complain at the cost as it is. We are so used to robot=built consumables that we have lost track of the true value of skilled labor. So remember, when you look for a custom frame that nobody is getting rich building these works of art.

Framebuilders come from many different backgrounds and get into the craft for different reasons. Some are experienced racers who take their experience and try to improve the performance of their steeds. Some come from a background of working in steel and move into bicycles. Lastly, there are those who are skilled at working with steel but who have the heart of an artist.

I think we are very lucky to have these people and that there are new people wanting to join the ranks.

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