When it comes to bikes and the bike business, I have nothing to lose. You see I already lost it all 18 years ago in 1993, when everyone decided the Mountain Bike was where it was at.
Bicycle dealers stopped selling road bikes and I was out of business. I felt like a deserted spouse whose wife had found a new lover; there was a lot of disappointment and anger at the time.
I wanted nothing more to do with bikes; I moved on to find a new love of my own, namely writing and songwriting. I found a good paying job to support my new love. I had a new circle of friends that were not cyclists, but other writers and songwriters. This is still the case today.
I disappeared from the bike scene for ten years, it was even rumored that I was dead. Then in 2003 my book was published and I put up a websiteto promote it; initially there was no mention on that site of my previous career as a framebuilder, although there was brief mention of it on the book jacket.
People who owned bikes that I had built found my website and contacted me. I learned I had a loyal following of people who owned bikes I had built. Many were original owners who still derived pleasure from my previous work.
They sent me pictures of their bikes which I then added to my website. In 2005 I started this blog; I felt I had a great deal of knowledge that I could share with others, because when I am gone the knowledge will be gone with me.
When I came back to bikes through this blog everything had changed in the ten or so years I had been away. Road bikes bore no resemblance to the bikes I built. There is still some residual anger towards the mountain bike; remember it was the MTB that stole my love. I could forgive, but I didn’t have to love my ex-spouse’s new beau.
I hated the way the mountain bike had influenced road bikes, with fat tubes, sloping top tubes and compact frames in S,M, L, tee-shirt sizing. I got over it, I could see the modern road bike had a certain form and style of its own; I even bought my wife a CF compact bike last year.
However, when I see a compact road bike with a long handlebar stem that shoots skyward at 45 degrees to somewhere above saddle height, only to then plunge downwards again in the form of dropped handlebars, the residual anger bubbles to the surface again. It looks plain stupid.
I said as much in my last post, and did that ever kick open a rotting carcass full of maggots. The set up does not even give the rider the best position, and I offered suggestion for an alternative. Remember, I used to build frames, I do know a little about the subject.
Some took it as a personal attack, or an attack on the homeless; because I dared to say that a bike set up in this manner looked like one a homeless person would ride. Another thought it was a direct attack on Grant Peterson. (Where the fuck did that come from?)
When the dust settled, a few others came to my defense, (Thank you.) and it turned into an interesting discussion. Another blogger even picked it up and ran with it, and gave an interesting perspective from the point of view of a bike store mechanic.
I cannot understand the hostility and nastiness; you can disagree with me, but please be civil. And if you disagree with what I say, then at least give a valid counter argument. If you hate me this much as a person, why do you even bother to visit this site?
Remember this: I have nothing to sell. I also have nothing to prove; I have achieved all I want to do as far as bikes are concerned.
I give out stuff that may or may not be useful; take what you can use and ignore the rest. I try to entertain, or sometimes act as Devil’s Advocate and promote discussion. I refuse to be a “Yes” man and write only that which is popular, or that I think cyclists want to hear.
One comment suggested I was the opposite of a cycling advocate and had become an automobile apologist. My readers are the cycling congregation, what is the point of preaching that all motorists are bastards, and all cyclists are saints? This is not the truth or the reality.
I often despair that I will never reach the few rotten apples that screw things up for the rest of us, but I have to try.
As far as the bike business is concerned, I have paid my dues and have nothing left to lose. If this blog went away it would free up an awful lot of time to do other things, including ride my own bike.
However, this blog now affords me the luxury of writing to please myself, and as I do so the readership just keeps on increasing; I can tell you it is extremely satisfying. As satisfying as any other creative endeavor I have undertaken