If you will indulge me on this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to give reasons I have to be thankful.
For my good health, that enables me to still ride a bike and enjoy it probably more than I have ever done.
The reason? There is no pressure. I do not have to train for anything, just stay at a level of fitness that I can ride in a manner that gives me pleasure. I have nothing to prove, to myself or anyone else.
For my creative abilities that have got me this far in life and continue to give me the feeling that my best work is yet to come.
The driving force behind any creative person or artist is a desire to affect the lives of others in a positive way; without it, there would be no artists. No actors and movies, no songwriters and music, no authors and books to read.
To explain; a person works at a minimum wage job, or maybe even two minimum wage jobs, and still lives on the poverty line. In addition to being poor, their lives are not always happy because although the work they do is an essential part of our society, no one thanks them or gives them validation.
Another person, like me for example, decided to build bicycle frames, and for many years I worked long hours for maybe less than minimum wage, but the difference was there were a few people willing to pay money for my frames and were extremely happy with what they bought. I had affected their lives in a positive way, and my work was validated.
Eventually I had enough customers that I could make a decent living. Some artists become celebrities and make a lot of money, but that is not the driving force. The money is only a validation of that persons work.
Unfortunately, corporations are taking over the work of individual craftsmen. They give us cellular phones, SUVs, and flat screen TVs. Things that can improve the quality of our lives, but sometimes lead to a path of wanting more and more, and being satisfied less and less.
Corporations are now in the bicycle business, producing carbon fiber wonders that cost a lot of money; but do they bring any more satisfaction? I give thanks that there are still individual craftsmen who can make a hand built product. I just hope there will always be enough people who can validate their work by buying what they make.
I am blessed with a following of people who own bikes that I built, many are original owners and will not part with them They don’t care that they are riding something that some would consider outdated; at least it was made by a real person.
Although I will never make another penny from any bike I sold in the 1980s or one someone else sells on eBay; I still have the extreme satisfaction that my creation is still affecting someone’s life in a positive way.
I have been blessed with a gift that keeps on giving and like the Master Card ad is "Priceless," and for that, I give thanks.