What’s to say? There is generally a well trodden path to your destination and then there is the narrow and rutted path at your left that veers around a switchback too quickly for you to even be sure it is going in the right general direction. I deliver designs informed by my experience living life on the two wheels I’ve steered into a lot of dead ends and thickets on the path to the left. I didn’t feel legitimately like an engineer when I got my degree in 2001 given that the trips in the van with the cycling team and sneaking off for singletrack loops in the fells or a trip to Lynne Woods were the most memorable experiences of college life so I’d spend the next 3 boston winters slogging packages as a bike messenger with the salt of the earth types whose inability to work indoors I took to be a deep wisdom.
I broke many bikes and nearly my body living meagerly and scraping up enough money to buy secondhand cyclocross bikes and trips to race venues and in 2004 my first trip to the Northwest to attend the United Bicycle Institute Tig Welded frame building course. I knew exactly the bike I wanted to build….the last bike I would ever need, with an eccentric bottom bracket, disc brakes, and the ability to run either a 26″ x 2.5″ or 700 x 44cm tire (650b was just a glimmer in Kirk Pacenti’s eye in ’04), it very well could have been the last bike I ever needed were it not stolen working mess again in Manhattan.
It was too late for it to be the last bike frame I’d build at that point…I was humbled by how far my end result with big globby welds was from the smooth perfection of the master instructing so I sought out more guidance and found it in a lot of the old heads I’d met around Boston who’d worked there way through the venerable Fat Chance, Independent Fabrications, and Merlin frame building tradition and rented shop space as soon as I could to turn out frames for friends and family in 2006, producing a dozen or so frames over a few months out of a fully equipped fabrication space in Brooklyn.
Opportunities at career path corrections present themselves at odd intervals, and I enjoy working in other fields where it always seems that the simplest solution possible ethos of cycle mechanics served as inspiration for design and execution of engineering problems, but the default mode continues to be setting up shop wherever I can and scratching the itch I had for trying out new ideas that kept popping up for producing bike frames. When I found myself struggling to find wok after the economy contracted in 2008 I spent the settlement money I’d had from a collision with a car that ran a red light buying a Tig welder and the minimal tooling I would need to make one off creations out of the basement of the old mortuary I lived in while working as a mover for five years to pay the bills. Without the milling machine that would make mitering tubes a simple batch process that is repeated on millions of frames a year I was freed to try new ideas, even if the hourly rate I was making went negligible it was a worthwhile experience to build a few dozen bikes with a hand file.
Here I find myself again, a trip to Seattle to work as a mover on a lark led to 4 years as a manufacturing engineer for Cascade Designs and now with that job dried up I am sitting in the most well equipped shop I could imagine with a support network of other craftsmen and women at the Big Building with some new ideas to execute,. I’m prototyping the best frames I’ve ever built and pushing along some other fun product ideas that I’ve been testing the last decade or so. Get at me to get on board, the best bikes I’ve built just might be the last you’ll want to ride.