We all know the story about David and Goliath.
craig atmo - i have been wondering about this a lot, especially lately...
with a full plate at the day job as well as having clients in the queue, how do you budget your time and/or transition from the work day to the, er - work day for filling orders? what does the routine look like for someone who makes frames at nights and on weekends? this must make free time very expensive. can you map it out so we have a better picture? others here also have careers that come before their frame making; i'll post to them too.
The above text speaks to my daily time management, but the real question revolves around framebuilding as a second career. And this is related to long term time management, as in years. The journey to become proficient in both building, and business isn't easy. It's a slow process, and it needs to be addressed as such. I think there was a time when builders jumped right in and started selling with their second, fifth, or tenth frame. Some of those builders now have a decade or more of experience behind them and are well established as professionals. Times change, and the modern buyer has evolved into a well educated consumer who wants something special from someone with experience. It's difficult for any builder to get experience without cutting a lot of tubes over a long period of time. For a builder to make the leap from a "new guy" to "established pro" takes a perfect storm of time, money, skill, patience, vision, and marketing. Oh, and a heck of a significant other. My long term time management plans are to keep teaching for at least three more years. I'm proud of the years I've put into my career as an educator, and I'm proud of the years I've put into developing my skills as a framebuilder. I'm not hard pressed to get work done, and am in many ways grateful I am not looking at a huge build list. Right now I can promise delivery in a few weeks, which makes me comfortable. I guess the question I would have for any builder getting started would be: Can you weather the storm for 3-5 years, tooling up, and getting your skills together by cutting up 20 or 30 frames? These are the time management issues I see looking out my shop window.
I read it, too. Those are the same thoughts that are going through my mind. When, if ever, will it be time to change focus?
Last edited by datas_brother; 05-24-2011 at 08:21 AM.
Thanks for noticing and asking! While I like the socketed seat stay lug design a lot, I seem to prefer the inverted hollow cap style. I made a conscious decision to move away from the socket style, brought about by drop-out design. At a point in time I got it in my head I didn't want to do socket style drop-outs anymore. It just didn't seem to jive with my vision of the "whole." I think the socket style seat stay works best with socket drop-outs, not tabbed, so as I moved away from the drop-out the seat lug treatment followed. A strange progression, especially since I really don't have anything against socketed drop-outs, in some ways they are superior. It was purely an aesthetic decision based on how I wanted my bicycles to look. Don't be surprised if you see me using the socketed seat lug again in the future. As I refine my style I may build with them more often.
Hey, I've totally rebuilt my web site. It's pretty small, but I think it suits me better now.
Have a look here:
or click the link below.
So in reading your post, are you selling frames to clients or are you cutting them up or what?
Not needling you, but I just gotta wonder. Best - Garro.
I just joined the forum and happened to run across this thread. I have been riding with Craig at the Potter's Bridge Training ride in Noblesville on Tuesday and Thursday evenings since July of 2006. The first couple of years I was the slowest rider there and ended up riding by myself after only a few miles. As I got better I came up with the idea to organize the slower riders, the third group, into a rotating paceline and as a result got to ride with more people and get to know them. Craig was one of them and we now ride together regularly. This year, he and I along with the PBTR leader rode the Hilly Hundred together.
I can attest that Craig rides what he builds. I remember the first frame that he rode was totally in the raw, absolutely no paint at all, and he rode it for quite awhile. I have seen him ride a steady progression of frames and the recent frames have been very nicely painted and to me look perfectly good to sell as have previous other frames. Then he started displaying at NAHBS which astounded me. I knew he was serious about being a craftsman but had no idea he would be able to progress so quickly while holding down a full time job and riding quite a bit as well. It is very nice to see him getting recognition and help from the framebuilding community as I can attest that it is well placed.
The last couple of years Craig has hosted the end of Summer training ride party and we have gotten to see the progression of his Shop and spend a couple of hours taking a tour and asking an endless steam of questions. I don't know enough even to be dangerous but find it fascinating. About ten of us helped him move the heavy table in his Shop from his garage to the Shop. He had it so well planned that he had purchased enough pairs of heavy gloves for us so that we would not cut or otherwise injure our hands!
I would like to see him paint his frames in schemes like John Slawta at Landshark because I know he has the talent. I have migrated to bare titanium because I got tired of painted and chipped paint. Framebuilders that do there own painting is extremely rare and having one within driving distance of my house might even make me consider a painted steel frame again.
Those are pretty nice words, and I appreciate it. I've come to realize a large component of the riding life is companionship. Getting out with like minded people and making a positive experience. Riding the Hilly with you and Bob made for a great weekend! I've heard Bob comment more than once how you are the greatest success story of the PBTR rides history. Let's keep it going!
As for building, this whole gig started building in my bones around 40 years ago. Serendipity just took me toward teaching art. And of course I wouldn't change a thing.
Being Smoked Out here is a funny thing. Back when Richard proposed it, I jumped right in and was second in line to Mike. Now years have gone by since this all started, and I've got to admit I've had conflicting thoughts about it. At times I've wished I'd never gotten involved, but I've never been able to quantify why. I've also wondered why more builders haven't taken advantage of the opportunity. There's risk involved, and that's why. There are those out there, some very famous, who won't tread here, but that's they're issue, and I understand. I've realized I was being held back by my own feelings of risk. Hah! I don't have risk doing this. What's to be afraid of? That I'm just in my 5th year doing this? That I'm not a full-time builder? That I have another career? That the bikes I build weigh 18lbs. instead of 16lbs.? That I don't have a backlog measured in months? That I don't have doodads?
Well screw all that! I'm a full time high school art teacher who spends at least 40 hours a week making and painting frames.
I've been consumed with this process, and it's become a large part of how I define myself.
I've been to NAHBS twice as a New Builder, and in the last 5 years I've seen lots of folks come and go, during the worst economy we've seen in a long time.
My name is Craig Forest Ryan, I build Foresta's, and I keep it simple. I build a road bike, a good road bike. I don't build with cheap ass tubes, and I build them straight. Buy a Foresta from me and you'll get incredible personal service and value.
Failure in this venture means nothing to me. Pulling out the RS quote on this one...
clip "throw yourself out there, develop whatever filters you need to fen off detractors, and let the
moons line up the way they will regardless. as i told my good pal the other day, according to my opinion, success is
not caring where you end up atom." And to tell you the truth, I just want to make frames.
Well said sir, your passion for building shines through loud and clear.....when I am in Indy this year for the Brickyard 400 I just might arrange a visit. Racing for a living doesn't allow enough time for cycling but I still love it and put in miles whenever I can. Fat and Old with lots of bikes and little time but I guess there's always room for more. Keep up the good work!
Will you be in Sacramento this year?
Chauncey, you know.
-There are some who for personal reasons will have nothing to do with the internet. I respect that. Wouldn't it be cool if Roland checked in.
-There are some who market the internet, but think there may be more to lose than gain with a SO. Why would they want to talk about their humble beginnings if they were only a decade ago? I believe this is a misconception in their own mind. Embrace your position, not all of us started building in the 70's.
-There are some who can't get their head around the fact this (VS) is not their party. I believe this is a also a misconception in their own mind.
Any of us framebuilders could make a huge list of those who could and should be here. I just don't get this one. All we can do is leave the door open. Same could be said for FNL.
This stuff's been bugging me for a long time.