I kept seeing the abbreviation KOF on Classic Rendezvous Bike List. Not knowing what it meant I was puzzled when I saw it linked to my name.
So I had to email my friend Dale Brown, webmaster of the CR site and ask, WTF does KOF mean?
Dale emailed back with the answer “Keeper of the Flame.” Referring to those responsible for keeping alive the craft of building hand brazed bicycle frames.
As I retired from framebuilding in 1993 I fail to see how I can be referred to as KOF; my flame has gone out and there is not even a spark to light it.
However, I got to thinking maybe there is another meaning in my case. When I had my framebuilding business in California, I operated a strict no visitor policy.
The reason was simple. Framebuilding is a very labor-intensive business, and when people came to visit, they were not content with the two-cent tour and then leave; they wanted to hang out for most of the day. Result, no work was done that day.
Moreover, if I allowed one visitor I would have to allow everyone, which could amount to several each week. Customers would not be pleased if their order was delivered late and would hardly accept the excuse, “I had a lot of visitors this week, so your frame didn’t get finished.”
Building frames paid the bills; giving tours of my frameshop did not. It was hard to explain this to someone who showed up at my door, uninvited, especially if they had driven a great distance to see me.
I have received hate mail from at least one person who still holds a grudge after he was refused entry to my shop in the mid 1980s. Even though I have since tried to explain the situation and apologized for my rudeness.
So I guess in my case KOF should stand for Kranky Old Fart or maybe Kicker Out of Frameshop.