I, too, am amazed and put off by the gripes about the NAHBS. It is an incred ible venue for ideas, art, and of course, craft.
A suitable quote from a master, Pablo Picasso:
"Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and t he brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we donâ t start measuring her limbs."
Please, you gripers. Understand that the art of cycling is just as important as the craft. Who among us can deny the inherent art and beauty of a well-c rafted frame, or the aesthetic appeal of a particularly well-designed compon ent?
For my own part, I find it relatively easy to restore a bicycle. After all, I am following a pattern set down by a builder before me. I may have to fabr icate or scrounge to achieve that builders aim, but there is always that pat tern set forth by the original artist/craftsperson/builder.
However, when I set forth to build a machine to my own design, I get to foll ow my own aesthetic, wherever it may lead me. Are all my ideas successful? N o, they are not. But I have no fear of failure. I learn from that experience , as do the artists who were displaying their work @ NAHBS. They've been at it a while, they are following their own ideas, and are not afraid to show t hem to one and all. Time may tell which are successful and which are not, bu t let us not squelch their creativity.
After all, where would we be without people like them?
Well, we'd probably be like the majority of Chinese riders, commuting on our indistinguishable Flying Pigeons, looking for all the world like clones of Chairman Mao.
Not for me, my friends.
Vive le Art!
in San Diego, CA
-----Original Message----- From: Morgan Fletcher <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Classic Rendezvous <email@example.com> Sent: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 12:25 pm Subject: Re: [CR]Fwd: NAHBS
Tom Dalton wrote:Â
> Sorry, but those pics just drove home for me that steel is nearly dead as a material for serious bicycles. Â
I disagree. For the mass market, yes, steel is dead. But for hand-built bikes I think steel is very much alive. A new generation has picked up torches and the NAHBS seems to be a big show-off, sort of like metal shop class getting taken over by the art kids. But if you look close you'll see some beautiful work being done with steel, and the reality is that the real orders aren't for the show-off stuff, they're for bikes that get ridden. It is really encouraging to see _young_ people very excited about hand-built bikes.Â Â
My wife and I purchased three custom frames from Paul Sadoff at Rock Lobster last year. Two were scandium and one was steel. My wife won a custom Sycip frame at this year's big local cyclocross series, and it will probably be steel. I have an order in with Curtis Inglis of Retrotec, and the frame will be steel. These are all local frame builders (to us) building custom frames with steel (and other materials) and whose livelihood is completely within my own economy. (Just to hit on a point not yet raised.)Â Â
Did you notice Ed Litton's from-the-lugs-up hand-built cambio corsa frame? The beautiful Vanilla road, cross and track frames? JP Weigle's jaw dropping randonneur bikes? Pereira's camping bike? Bilenky's bikes? I could go on. They're all steel, purpose-built.Â Â
Showing off has its place, it gets attention. That's what this show is about. These builders are NOT out to win the marketplace, as was possible during the pre-1983 era for builders of handmade steel bikes. The marketplace is won, by Taiwan, Trek and Shimano. What's left is for the niche builders, and the advertising and marketing for their niche is very different.Â Â
And just to bring this full-circle; drillium was showing off, yet it has the glow of reverence here. Resurrecting Rene Herse is pandering to nostalgia. Heck, collecting old bikes and not riding them is silly too. There's a place for silliness in bike worship.Â Â
A little surprised by the NAHBS gripes,Â Â