Monday, August 29, 2011

Bicycle Envy is NOT a Deadly Sin

Lance Armstrong wrote the book "It's Not About the Bike".  Am I really supposed to believe one of the biggest dopers who to this day claims he's never doped?  I hate to break it to you but often times it IS about the bike.

Yes, there are a lot of people out there that just see bikes as a form of transportation or exercise...and I will give those folks a standing applause for making the world a better place.  For some of us though, the bike is so much more.  An art form, a way to connect with others (or not connect at all), a way to express his/her emotions on any given day and a way to be part of a specific culture.

I was talking with a friend the other day about how I see myself in the bike culture.  Amazingly enough I'm a one foot in/one foot out kinda girl.  I admit I'm a bit obsessed with bikes (and everything that comes along with them) but I just can't fully commit to one "style".  To be honest, I want it all.  I'm the type that sees a great looking bike go by (yes, I'm checking out the bike not the rider) and I have this Pavlovian response.  My heart rate quickens, I shut out everything else around me and a slight feeling of envy (or is it greed) washes over me.  Some may see this as a sickness.  I just remind them that we all have our vices and aside from good coffee, wine or beer, this is mine.  It could be worse.  So how deep does this envy cut into me?  Well, I have a running list of desires that only gets longer each year...a Chris Kvale road frame (he built my father's old race bike), a Richard Sachs cross bike (waiting list of 6 years), a Bruce Gordon touring frame (but I'd be thrilled to have a Chris Kvale touring frame), a Peacock Groove mountain bike and a Rivendell road frame (just because they are so damn pretty). 

But it gets worse.  This past weekend Madison was the host site for the Heartland Velo Hand Built Bike Show.  Walking around I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Many of the frame builders showing their art are now making it to my list.  I'm including pictures because words can do no justice.  Heck, pictures can do no justice!  Thanks to all of you craftspeople that showed up and made Madison a whole lot prettier last weekend.  I can only hope that you all get a ton of business and a 6 year waiting list!
I'll end with this quote from Grant Petersen:  "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world."
Chris Kvale, one of the best frame builders ever!

Look at his classic style!

Clockwork out of Tosa

Speedhound is out of Mpls.  Check out the fenders!

And look at these details...

Capricorn out of Mpls. but soon to be in Eugene, OR

The Waterford "Erica"

Lisa's All City...this is the road frame...I've got the Big Block

Bilenky out of Philly

Humble Frameworks out of Chicago

An old Schwinn Paramount (my dad used to use one of these for racing)


  1. Wow, great pictures, writing, and good thoughts. I didn't know your Dad was a bike person. We rode this morning, our few miles but beautiful.

  2. Chris Kvale bikes are really wonderful. His simple, elegant style will always be classic. Too beautiful, without flash or trash.

  3. You're absolutely right! I do believe Chris is one of the best builders out there. I'm hoping to own one soon.