refinement




i have been working on bicycles since 1994 and have been building bicycle frames since feburary 2005 but lately i feel like my work has reached a consistent level of style and atheistic. i have made about 60 bicycles in my shop by myself in three years and as i get more proficient with the torch and discover better ways to build, i have the desire to up my game. i want to build better bikes every time i pick up the files and hacksaw. the idea that it is a process is hard to explain sometimes. i build because i feel that bicycles are a way to make the world a better place and give every person that rides one the sense of self reliance that takes you through the world. the idea that you start something and envision yourself doing that job for the rest of your life changes your perspective on how you approach every day. i remember reading somewhere that richard sachs said he had no idea what he was doing for the first 5 years as a frame-builder. i don’t think that means that you shouldn’t be conscious of what you are doing but i think the way you learn how to make bicycles better and be a better frame-builder can only come from your specific perspective. i feel like i can build a great bicycle and run ira ryan cycles just fine but what i really want is to refine those things that i do every day to take my building to the next step. eventually, i would love to be able to construct bicycle frames using a tig welder. as i just spent $120 for 5 ounces of silver, the idea that i can build bikes using less precious metals is appealing to me. the idea of having a jig that is easier to use, thus faster to build is also high on my list of things to strive for. in the end though the general goal of doing what i do everyday only better is what is going to make me sustainable in the long term.

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3 Responses to “refinement”

  1. bikeiowa Says:

    Right on Ira!

  2. e-RICHIE Says:

    wrt the quote –

    what it meant was that, despite having worked for others and already built 100s of frames at witcomb usa, when i finally started by business i had no one left to be an underling to or for. it was all on my shoulders. and this was after at least 4 years in the frame building industry. when we on the forums talk (to the newbies) about “ya’ don’t know what ya’ don’t know…”, it’s all about having the humility to realize how very long it takes to nail all of this. personally, i knew i knew little to nothing, yet i had orders from day one. and like you ira, it was a bit frustrating because i wanted more than i was capable of even conceptualizing. and it stayed that way – for me – until at least the early to mid 90s. that’s how long it took for me to be comfortable in my own skin as a frame builder, despite having success and notoriety along the way. none of it mattered since it was all the outside looking in. and in was where i was. when i finally turned the corner, an entirely new set of needs and goals appeared. so it never ends atmo. just when you think you have it licked, you realize you’re only part way there.

    good luck, ira.

  3. Ari Says:

    Well said. We all strive to become better at what we do. It is important to not get frustrated and not to beat yourself up on your way there.
    Ari

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