[All photos by BUILD LLC]
Today’s blog post isn’t directly about architecture, but it pertains to everything we value about good design and making things thoughtfully. Regardless of the end product, we believe that all good design stems from a similar process of thinking, designing and making.
We’re proud proponents of life balance, and that fitness is an important ingredient in our lifestyles. Many in our tribe have found fulfillment in cycling, and along with this interest comes an appreciation for the bicycle as its own object. Within the last several years, many of us have commissioned a custom, hand-built road bike from a local bike shop, R+E Cycles, just a few doors up from the BUILD World Headquarters.
On a recent purchase, the team at R+E allowed BUILD access to the shop to document the process of hand crafting a classic, steel frame road bike. As architects and builders committed to timeless, effective design, we grabbed the camera and jumped at the chance. The images in today’s post record many of the important steps of building this particular bike and others like it.
As with any well-designed object, a road bike is everything it needs to be and nothing more. With a steel frame design, a cyclist relies on approximately 20 pounds of carefully engineered steel, metals, and related parts for a wide range of physical tasks. Whether it’s speeding down a descent or crunching through a steep climb, the geometry of the frame is critical, each weld is relied upon, and every connection matters.
There’s an important reassurance in personally knowing the people who built the object literally supporting you as you’re flying down the road on two wheels. In an assembly line society of distant manufacturers and impersonal suppliers, it matters to us that talented individuals, who have spent the bulk of their lives in the bike business, thoughtfully designed and built the bike underneath us. It’s something we can relate to. That these individuals take pride in their product and stand behind their work is a rare and valuable quality.
Supporting local businesses and promoting the urban fabric around us is also an important aspect of having these bikes made. We’d much rather contribute to the livelihood of people in our own community than send our dollars outside of our own ecosystem. Supporting the local bike shop brings more people to the neighborhood, which supports the coffee shop, which keeps the sidewalks bustling, which keeps the pedals of our little neighborhood cranking. It’s all interconnected.
Last, but certainly not least, is the aspect of consistency. Running a small design-build firm, we rely on clients who understand the value of having a small team thoughtfully design a building to perform exceptionally well and stand the test of time. That’s an extraordinary amount of trust and we like to put our money where our mouth is. Whenever possible, we spend our time and money with the same mindset as expected of the people that rely on us.
A big thanks to the team over at R+E Cycles which includes Dan Towle, Scott Rock, Teresa McNutt, Dan P, John Lehman, Todd Bertram, Smiley, Beau Hart, Dana Kulp, and Logan Piepmeier. For a peek at their finished cycles click here.
Cheers from Team BUILD and Happy Cycling.