What is it about a certain bend or curve?
Of a bicycle lug or along the flanks of your lover? Why do we sigh at the gracefulness of a glance, a purse of the lips, the sway of those hips?
To be sure, I didn't need lugs. One could argue that yes, theoretically a tube could be replaced on a lugged bicycle, but that's just not the answer. Choosing lugs was a flourish that cries out: we need beauty--of curves, of a cut-out piece of elegant fruit, of a glint of chrome--in our lives. For while bicycles are near the epitome of practicality in their workhorse, straight-line propulsion, they are also a canvas on which to display our dreams.
It's also true that grace is an indulgence. I am blessed to be able to indulge my curvaceous desires, and I know it. My rationale is I haven't bought a new bicycle for 35 years, so my pent up demand is honestly come by.
And what of the builder, Tony Pereira? Poor Tony is stuck with matching my desire for curves while satisfying my demand for randonneuring practicality. I have fairly badgered him about this dimension or that application.
And Tony is doing it. Even while fussing with 650B tire clearance, he is bringing to reality those curves, those sways.
This is why I went for a custom bicycle. Tony is brazing together proper fit (he is very knowledgable in this, I've never had it, and I'm a bit of an unusual build), randonneuring specs, and artistic sensibilities. And Tony is also a cyclist's builder. He rides hard and clearly loves the act of cycling even as he's got a tinkerer's mind.
Simply put, Tony's job is the alchemy of transforming my persnicketyness into function formed from often conflicting notions.
I took my first lesson on bicycle maintenance this week (all to be told in a future post), and each in our class is working on clunky, mass-produced, plastic-rimmed, tassled children's bikes. And yes these fat-tired, funky-saddled, little bicycles are beautiful too! Every bicycle is a beauty for all that it represents and does.
But hand craftmanship is too rare today. Thanks, Tony.
For more photos of the actual lugged frame, see Custom Frame Build, More Photos.
For my visit to Tony's shop for fitting and such, see My Randonneuring Bicycle, Part 4, Let the Build Begin!.
For Tony's Flickr site, go here.
For more posts about this buildup, choose the "custom bicycle" topic in the right sidebar.
Keep it curvaceous,