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Thread: Richard Sachs Cycles

  1. #1641
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Mr. Hurlow

    I learned early on that the answer to the question Why is often Because. Especially when it comes from someone with experience. This is a letter Bill Hurlow sent me in reply to some issues I wanted to resolve for the second (of three) frames he made for me. His advice, once offered, was always taken. No discussion. Never a follow up. And this was before my life took a turn and delivered me to London where Iíd have first hand interactions with those in the trade. And long before Iíd enter it myself, on my own terms, and with my name over a door.

    The respect for those whose steps come before mine is beyond important. Itís immeasurable. I have an inherent trust in the information some pass over to me. The trust isnít given freely. Or often. But for someone like Mr. Hurlow, it was easy. He speaks, I listen.

    I often lament that this sort of thing seems less common now. People want to grab what they can from whatever source it comes from, and often itís from a Google search. Or from someone whose skills are far from developed. The result dumbs down the very essence of what it is the person may be trying to learn in the first place. Yeah. Iím talking about my trade (again). Folks are in a mad rush to make a brand. Garbage in. Garbage out.



  2. #1642
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    Film Days

    Iíve met very few cameras I didnít like. But itís not as easy as just smiling, or standing naturally. For the studio days I usually worked the Gillette hard for a close shave. Made sure the shop apron was washed but still had a few small tears to suggest I work once in a while. I almost always did the black turtleneck and jeans thing, and almost always the Adilettes. Depending on the era, Iíd go to great (well, maybe goodÖ) lengths have the wristwatch visible. The bicycle was at the right stance to the lens. I didnít want to force the pose, or be too rigid. It was common for the shooter to run off hundreds of exposures just to capture several we might use. Some were handed off as four by fives. These are two and a quarter squares. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking through loupes over light boxes. None of this stuff was digital. None ever converted for web use. Iíve done it that way too. Iím comfortable letting it all get fixed in the machine because these are different times. But thereís also something memorable, almost organic, about film and how pictures were composed and taken, and that waiting period between when the lights get turned off and the transparencies come back from the lab. And then making so many decisions until the right one is made and an image is chosen.

    Living with anticipation Ė itís a feeling I could get used to again.



  3. #1643
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    The Red & White Thing

    I saw this on Facebook. Itís a team bicycle from the first year we dd them in red and white. That was 1983. The years before, they were all grey. Story goes, Le Coq Sportif was our kit supplier and they handed over a load of red and white skin suits during the off-season and I decided to paint the livery to match. The French company stayed with us another year and then moved on. And I kept painting the bicycles similarly since it was easier to incorporate the older, used ones without incurring refinishing costs. Before I could say PMS everything was red and white or some subtle variation thereof. It became us, became me. The shades and hues were never the same from year to year. I wonít even mention how many ink color changes there were in the decals. And the decal art, scale, and placement were also moving targets. So, there really isnít a definitive red and white scheme that defines the RS team bicycle look. PS Yes I know itís a shitty picture. Itís a screenshot of a photo that was taken when Reagan was President.



  4. #1644
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    One Rare Moment

    This is a print ad I took in Asphalt Magazine for the first few issues. maybe two. It was a new venture and I wanted to support it by taking some space. By 2000 (I think that was the year) I had already retreated from regularly appearing in print, opting to use my mailing list, generate some Dennison Labels with the word processor, and sending out cards and specials to the names already in the Rolodex. I didn’t have any mechanical art available, and no decent images to use for the space. I let them take my logo art and a few basic components and create the ad in SoCal. It’s a rare moment that I let go of control and direction, and this is one example of when I did. It was okay. It did the job. But in another place and time it would have had a different look and more personality.




  5. #1645
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    Drawing A Line

    This is all that remains of the mechanical art created for a late 1970s order form of mine. The schematic has been used and transferred to other pages since. The message here is that I work with linear distances and only need four basic measurements to make your frame. I never did get the angles thing but as a young American coming up in Bike Boom culture, I was inundated in tech-speak from trade scribes, many fresh from an AYH event or still recovering from a 20 mile A.B.L.A race they did a month earlier, writing about how a touring bicycle had 72 degrees and criterium bicycles had 74 degrees, and gag me huh. None of it made any sense according to my opinion. On the other hand, as a frame maker and racing cyclist who also had longstanding subscriptions to Bici Sport, Miroir du Cyclisme, and other periodicals from the continent, it was clear that folks there, folks with longstanding histories in the sport, and who understood the relationship between the morphology of a fit rider and the machine he was riding – these people expressed their results in millimeters and not degrees. It was about your position above and between the wheels rather than some obtuse interpretation that included what angle(s) made a bicycle responsive, or stiff, or (sic) disappeared beneath you.

    By 1979 I transitioned over to 1) saddle height, 2) setback, 3) reach, and 4) what color do you want. At the front end, it was as if I spoke some other language. Not everyone grasped it or understood the rationale. To this day, there are those who think you need a fitting, have to spend hours in front of a fitter while you’re sweating on a stationary bicycle in some fit studio, and do it all while listening to Olivia Newton John through the earbuds.

    I listen to other things.



  6. #1646
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    To this day, there are those who think you need a fitting, have to spend hours in front of a fitter while you’re sweating on a stationary bicycle in some fit studio, and do it all while listening to Olivia Newton John through the earbuds.

    I listen to other things.
    Hilarious
     

  7. #1647
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    82.5; road bike, you pick it; 58; i like the new orange. Tell me where to send the check (sorry, old fashioned and don't do pay pal).
    Hopefully you're listening to this,
    Bruce
     

  8. #1648
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    it was clear that folks there, folks with longstanding histories in the sport, and who understood the relationship between the morphology of a fit rider and the machine he was riding – these people expressed their results in millimeters and not degrees.
    That is fcuking profound.
     

  9. #1649
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    New Things

    Working full time is again a pleasure; the studio is inviting, well lit, and has good bones. Of all the stops Iíve made, this is the first one that began with a sheet of white paper. Nothing on it but a fantasy. The fantasy has become real.

    Each day at work I look at the sequences and even the tools, and wonder what should be part of 2017 and beyond, and what Iíll relegate to some past Iíll find when I look at back in a decade. After four months at the bench I find myself deconstructing more and more.

    This fixture, as an example. One of the few devices Iíve added to the mix in over fifteen years. Iím so all about process that I often drown in my own myopia. You get to a point when you canít see past what youíve been doing day in and day out for like forever. The tool arrived Monday and Iíve spent three, no Ė four days just looking at it, playing with its built in options, and feeling better about what I do simply by dint of it being here.

    Some four forks in less than two days have delivered me to place where Iím rethinking everything Iíve done since Y2K. If a thing can give you pleasure, I am pleasured. And need a cigarette.




  10. #1650
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    Blue Steel

    If looking back just to see if I’m still there tells me anything, it’s that I’ve been in front of a few cameras when the cats from makeup and wardrobe were on their union break. I mean, an opportunity to share my story in Winning, a widely read magazine in its day, and I show looking like it’s a casting call for Do The Right Thing?!

    The nineties were wide open in my end of the industry and stories about those still standing in it. To say the landscape was barren would be an understatement. Through the decade I found myself pushed further outside. I was in it for the long haul, but grew tired of the same questions asked in slightly different ways from the same few folks who were self-appointed beat reporters for the niche. The disinterested and bedraggled look was my way of saying I don’t care. It was about anti-caring. But it was a look. And it would evolve just as I would.

    My pal Alan Cotť wrote this superb article in 1994. I made him a bicycle, covered the bullet points, and waited for a photographer. Peter Brentlinger shot the images. He and I had a rapport from previous assignments. My memory has faded but I think our history together led to me asking him to shoot the glam shots for my really expensive, eight page if not more, four color brochure produced before the end of the century. By that time I surely realized that a portrait lives its own life and I should pay attention to the message I was sending.



  11. #1651
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    Cover Boy

    I walked into Bruno’s studio in the late 1990s, hoping to begin a relationship. He was a top tier studio photographer with an emphasis on classic cars, My pal Rick from Guilford put us in touch. Bruno also liked and rode bicycles so I felt comfortable that my needs for product shots could be easily understood. It’s no small task trying to convey your own vision for what you do to others whose task includes tapping their vision to make it work. There’s often that icky line where you have to accept that what you want will come out differently. The light hitting paint a certain way. The handlebars turned a degree from where you wanted them. The rotation of the cranks. Shit like that. Over time, I learned, no – I accepted – that these are collaborations and the image is almost more the shooter’s than mine. A successful join is when you like his versions even better than what you came in hoping for. With Bruno, I always did.

    But the point here is this – when I did walk in that first time, he says, “I know you.” Turns out Bruno shot this picture of me almost 20 years earlier for Union Trust. I had to be reminded it even existed, and that his capture made it onto the cover of the bank’s in house magazine.

    For the detail vampires, the location is the Giro de New London, a criterium that seemingly ran forever in Connecticut. I’m wearing Puma shoes, a pair of Moa 80/20 shorts, and that lovely Belgian track jersey I still had from when I lived in London in 1972. It was blue with slim red stripes. Brancale helmet, I think. Super Record Campagnolo. Cinelli VIP ‘bars, stem, and saddle. No index shifting. Back then, your hands and fingers were indexed and you knew intuitively how to shift, and when. Cool was about to end in the next few seasons.




  12. #1652
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Immersion Training

    TW3 (look it up).

    Some 14 days ago I got this tool, the newest in my quiver in a while, and wanted to immediately transition over. It’s simple, but not easy. All tools have their own life. They work with you, you work with them. Frame making isn’t Lego despite what’s shown at the craft fairs and on some blog sites. There’s a way, a developed way. And you have to think of every wrench you hold, and every clamp you clamp, and every block you place something in, and every single piece of material you want to someday be a bicycle, and you have to respect every single step. The tool doesn’t do the work. Often it doesn’t even make the work easier or even better. But for anyone who makes things, a new tool is a chance to get closer. If not closer, then at least a chance to feel better about the trying.

    Last week ending yesterday, Saturday at 2PM so I could finally get the fuck out of here and ride my bicycle again, last week I started and finished 14 forks. Well I didn’t finish them yet because I still have to turn down the crown races and mill the slot on the side of each crown. But I did make a pile of these with the sole intent of getting to know the new tool.

    Lemme tell you this, the old tool loves the new tool. And it made the ride that much better.

    That was the week that was.



  13. #1653
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Anyone wanting to know what it takes to learn how to be a frame builder, look no further than the master class. Repetition.
    Bill Fernance
    Bicycle Shop Owner
    Part Time Framebuilder
    Bicycle Tragic

  14. #1654
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    Accentuate

    This is a photograph of a 4 X 5 transparency shot in the late 1990s. I forget the year. Bruno Ratensperger from Connecticut took the picture.

    When it comes to detail, you want to accentuate the work you’d like appreciated. That means during the process you must over-accentuate some of it. Most of it actually. Bicycle frames come with a sculptural dimension that’s easily covered by paint. Worse yet, paint can bury it. In the steps leading up to finishing a joint, an assembly, or any part of the whole, one must look at the work and imagine it under a coating. Paint, especially wet paint, fills in areas where the craftsman agonizes over the file strokes, and the curves, and the edges. The maker thinks of shape whereas the painter thinks of smooth. Since it’s never finished until the paint dries, the goal is to work an area to the point of knowing what it will look like once someone sprays over it.

    I tend to use and overuse my small but aggressive barrette files to over-accentuate the work so that, when Joe Bell lays down the enamel, his contribution will more likely highlight the details rather than just turn everything another color and protect it from the elements.




  15. #1655
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Love the notch code.
     

  16. #1656
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    The Everyday Struggle

    On balance, I’m about the whole rather than the parts that comprise it. But when I struggle, and every start brings struggle, it comes from the part. I focus on it, obsess over it. And it becomes my demon, as if my life’s work, my legacy, will be connected to it, whatever the it is at a given time. Then miraculously, I continue on and barely remember what it was that so bothered me the next day. All struggles get replaced with others.

    The it can be many things. A process. How parts fit. Or if they measure correctly. The struggle can be with a tool that doesn’t want to work when you do. It can be about, or with, the client. Because sometimes the client doesn’t want to work when you do. No matter what becomes the struggle, it will own me.

    Sometimes I look at these smaller moments as part of the making of things, the organic charm that comes with the evolution of handwork. And from the maker’s time at the bench and any hand/eye skills that devolve from years of use and abuse. Not and never added for said charm, but allowed, or maybe accepted, as a way to speak to every man’s return to struggle, the very point at which it all begins.



  17. #1657
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Richard....I find the combination of your images and your written word to be very powerful and the effort is much appreciated.
    rw saunders
    everything is connected

  18. #1658
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    Transparencies R Us

    Continuing on yesterday’s theme, here’s a 4 X 5 from 1982 taken by Ken (sorry but I forgot the last name). Ken’s studio was on Union Square right above The Underground and almost directly across from Paragon Sporting Goods. This shoot was my first ever time under real lights and by a real shooter. It also was part of the launch for the then new RS logo and several other identity program changes that came at the same time. We did a couple of bicycles, a layout of three frames, and then did each frame on its own. I’ll post them here someday.

    The bicycle was stunning in its time. Columbus tubing, Nervex Ref 32 lugs, full Campagnolo Super Record, Cinelli VIP with my name pantographed in the stem. The good stuff. The tires look a little wonked on this image and I think we shot a test pattern when the unit was being held with some used wheels.

    This is a photograph that I took of the transparency by holding it up to the sky and pulling the trigger. Someday I may get a scanner. But this is cooler. More organic. Holistic. Elegant. And honest.




  19. #1659
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Kodak Moment

    I have a bunch like this from the Ray Perkins shoot in 1984 (I think it was). This may be Ray’s personal bicycle. He shot two red units for me, one a bicycle and another just the frame and fork. Lotsa’ 4 X 5 transparencies from that collaboration. This one’s a little curled, and I’m also holding it up to the clouds here and trying to take a picture without catching any rain drops, hence the distortion.

    In real life this negative yielded a beyond stunning image. Every edge, line, and smallest of detail was so perfectly in focus. And I love the angle too. Leaning away just enough to get the good stuff without being the ubiquitous mug shot – we have a few of those too.




  20. #1660
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Almost no one photographs like that these days.

    These photos make me smile!

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