Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A year has gone and a year has come.

Welcome to 2011.  Its really an arbitrary number but I like new years and I like the fresh start that I feel it brings.  As well as the reflection and the opportunity to improve things...yes I'm talking about resolutions.  No, I'm not going to blabber on about mine either, at least not here.  I don't always have them, I just like them.  I am going to reflect a little bit though.  2010.  6 frames and 7 forks (you could probably count the truss fork as some combination of the two).  I definitely learned something new in doing each one.  I'm still honing my process in this experiment, but with each bike or fork I feel like I spend less time at each step and have a better "feeling" as to what will work and what won't.  I developed new ideas, techniques, and methods by pushing through projects that I would never have known if I hadn't just gone for it and as a result built some of the coolest things, bikes, whatever, that I've ever created.  To me what makes this worth it though is the interactions I get to have with the people who commission me.  In the waning hours of 2010 I found myself in a conversation with Elder Heinsius, whose frame I finished only an hour before. He's somewhat new to riding bikes, but not at all unfamiliar with them.  He's been getting increasingly excited about his build and was always stoked to check out his work in progress.  What he told me that I think in the end was that over the many conversations we had in conceptualizing his bike, we didn't talk about bikes all that much.  I mean we did the measurements and the jargon and whatnot, but we really talked about guitars, music, movement, how the Elder gets into things, what fuels his passions.  And through those conversations I really got into his bike.  I think I cranked it out in a week even being laid out two days with a cold.  Not to toot my own horn, this is just what makes it worth it for me.  Getting to know someone in ways that I otherwise wouldn't through building him or her a bike.  Translating conversation and abstract ideas into functional art that I hope represents that person's personality.  I think I can say that of every frame I built this year--it represents its rider's personality.

horseshoe chainstay brace, clearance for 26x2.5s, mud, and a triple.

That being this point I have a hard time with the idea of expanding on what I'm doing.  I kind of like it just where it is.  I already spend entirely too much time in the garage and am at the point where the other things I want to do take a back seat.  I give myself cabin fever here in the winter.  I get kind of freaked at the idea of filling 10 or 20 orders, even knowing what that means.  Right now I have one bike in que and I'm so OK with that.  I need to do something else, have another job, figure things out, go outside more, whatever.  Right now everything in my life comes in very intense waves and then I sort of freak out and have to get out.  I wonder what part of it is my personality and what part of it has to do with spending the four intense summers fighting fires and completely throwing off my balance.  Anybody have any thoughts?

Happy New Year.


  1. Hey there Rich... really enjoyed your stay here and wished there was more time to spend with ya'll. There is no way I can give you advice on what you should do, I have some paraphrased words to share with you though. Reminder, this is paraphrased.
    "If your hand causes evil or disreguards the true path in life, one must have the courage to cut it off. The study of cutting is the study of greater spirtual fufillment. It is knowing to cut along the fine line between good and evil. One should study to be at a level where you can discriminate the path of true justice." I guess what I'm getting at here is find spiritual fufillment in whatever one does. There are many paths and I look forward to discussing this with you further.

  2. Happy New year! Ive enjoyed looking at your build pics and reading your posts. Its funny how we all come to milestones in our life... mine lately has been the realization that death is coming and it could be tomorrow and I have always known it but lately I feel compelled by it. I feel lucky to be at home with my kids it gives me a different outlook on life than I had before. In my opinion you are doing it... following your passion and finding your way. You live life in a way that makes me want to look at your blog.. cause Im thinking " I wonder what cool shit Richard is up to ?" Keep it up, build some bikes, ride 'em, and get crazy... man most of all down stop playin the Thud Staff!

  3. Thanks for the thoughts y'all. Brian, I don't think I'll be cutting my hand off any time soon, but I see what you're getting at. BTB...What is the Thud Staff?!?

  4. Thats what Mike Watt refers to as a bass guitar.... Man Ive been meaning to ask you to elaborate on stays in general when you get a chance. I like the looks of the cs's in the pics above. Are you using straight tubes and flattening/bending from scratch. They look cool. Also have you ever ovalized the bb (too much heat on the edge I guess) and if so how does it pan out when prepping the shell (ie chase/face). Getting over the flu hoping to get back into my morning routine and get back out in the shop. Eli in Athens is hooking me up with some reamers and bb tools (facer and taps) hoping to pick them up soon and wrap my frame up.

  5. I'm glad to hear those taps are going to be put to use. I remember on APE06 going over to his place after he attacked the morning boozers and we made him drink wild turkey for that move. He was hooked after that. Didn't he have those things with the idea of making frames? Anyway, when I get that last bike back from the powder coater I'll try to take some finished pictures and elaborate on stays more. The chainstays I've been using are mostly true temper HSBENDCS1 units, sometimes their 12 degree bend oval stays. For a road bike I would probably use 22.2 tapered stays and bend in the tire clearance or chainring clearance as necessary. I've done two bikes with 7/8" x .035" straight guage. This rides really well and is fun to bend into stays, but you have to get creative when it comes to matching it up to dropouts. It'll mate up to most hooded drops with a little squish but would require mucho creativity to use with slotted drops.