First off, a big thank you to Josh and Richard for allowing me the honor and privilege to kick things off here.
I suppose I can trace my desire to build bicycle frames back to the 1993 Philadelphia Interbike show. I was a senior in high school and the bike shop I had grown up in and spent every dime of paper route money at invited me to attend with them. I had been riding a sweet 1981 Benotto that was handed down to me from my cousin in 1990, but walking into the hall and seeing all of the glitz and gleam was too much. Cliff, the shop owner and my teacher of all things cycling-tradition, directed me to the Carrera booth. He knew Claudio was my hero and the bikes were what he considered everything I would want and need. He was right. I ordered a Cassiopeia at the show. I loved that bike. I scrutinized every aspect of it, trying to figure out why Podium did what they did when making it. What I didn’t know at the time was that bike would become my muse years later.
Like every other high school senior, I had my path in life all figured out. I would get my bachelors in chemical engineering, work in industry for two years, go back for my PhD in polymer science, go back into industry for five more years and then finish my career as a professor. Life intervened and things started chipping away at that plan. Two important things happened in January 1998 during my first senior year; I met my wife to be and I bought my first set of tubes and lugs. The only things that really prompted me to buy them were I wanted a cyclocross bike and I wanted to figure out how bikes were put together (in classic engineer style, right?). My dad and I, with a little help and a borrowed jig from a local guy who made some frames in the mid-80s, built the frame that summer and it still hangs in my dad’s shop.
Fast forward a bit. I married Rebecca. I never went to grad school in polymer science. I steadily moved up the ranks at GE Plastics, moving more and more away from technical roles and into business roles. I threw an 18 month stint at Seven Cycles in there for good measure before going back to GE as a field marketing manager. My last role in the plastics biz was as a regional account manager for PolyOne. All the while, I was building frames and really honing my style, which prompted me to write this about the Carrera. The order book for the frames was growing, but I was also working towards going back to school. In 2008, I had a choice. I could go back to school or go full time with the bikes. With Rebecca’s support, I chose the bikes. She rocks.
I get the “why do you do this?” question a lot. It’s pretty simple really.
I like the people. Throughout my career, all of my jobs have been about relationships, especially this one. Cyclists are a passionate and inquisitive bunch, which leads me to…
I like to teach.
I like to work with my hands. My time at the bench is sacred.
I like to figure out ways to makes things more elegant.
I like running my own business. It’s as much a creative endeavor as the frame building itself.
I’m pretty open about everything. I enjoy debunking the junk. I’m happy to talk about anything that’s on your mind, from the craft to the business strategies and tactics. Don't hold back. The hard questions are usually the most fun. Fire away.