“A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars… A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.” — Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socio-economic unfairness
I build frames, I also repair bikes in the bikeshop.
Some of the bikes that come in are very good, some are decent.
Some were good, some will be good.
Some are terrible. Unrepairable.
I send each one out the door only when they are safe enough to be used, sometimes the bill goes up, often I prefer to give away labour to make the bike fit for purpose.
Some bikes will never be good bikes,
some bikes were good bikes but have slipped down into bad bikes.
Most of my clients are great, and really do understand that we’re both working to the same goal;
get them cycling and improving that experience.
Like most things in life, there is a minimum investment in time and money to have a well fitting bicycle that works.
This often only seems expensive before, not after the Goal has been reached.
I can draw on my own experience.
I’ve had terrible bikes, good bikes and excellent bikes.
I’ve also had excellent, good and bad service from bike shops in three countries in these twenty five years cycling.
The best bike shops were those few that made me feel like my bike was as important to them as it was to me.
That’s what I do.
Because it is.
Because I know how much you need your bike, it’s not an indulgence, even when it is.
You, I need it, either to commute, so you can go to school or work.
Or to have a bit of time and space to yourself.
Cycling got me through some pretty hard times, it’s also given me wonderful memories and great friends.
Bikes can be more or less expensive, money, well, I can relate.
By making good choices you can have an excellent bicycle that will do what you ask of it for a long time with minimal maintenance.
Steel is particularly good for that, but it’s the project as a whole that’s important.
Material alone is no substitute for thought. Neither is Money.
A good bike is not an accessory, it’s part of you and your life.
A sacrifice, often, but worth it in the long run like most sacrifices.
As my friend Mario used to say:
‘la bicicletta e’ una cosa seria’
He was right. a bicycle is damned important.