In the interests of honesty, most of the week has been spent building a gargantuan amount of wheels. We're sorry that's a bit dull, but it's been good for us an all-consuming for a couple of weeks now. We have, however, been thinking about some new ideas and helping a customer to make a meaningful apology. So let's talk about about these things.
First off, we've had a few messages from people telling us they love what we do, but a custom bike is not within their budget right now so is there any other way to support us and own a little piece of August. We know that what we do is nothing short of an indulgence. From stems and racks to forks and full bikes, we know anything custom necessarily carries a weightier price tag and that, in itself, marginalises a big contingent of enthusiasts. With that in mind, we are talking with a few independent artists and other makers that we love and respect, to see if we can come up with a few soft goods that won't break the bank. One item is close to having the design finished and we can't wait to show you all, but in the meantime, please know that we are thinking of those of you that want something small.
We won't name names (we save that for dickheads), but we had a former peer reach out to us this week. It was an absolute bolt from the blue and we never expected to get such an open and honest message. It was from someone we really liked and maybe got very drunk with at Bespoked one year and the thing that stood out the most was the courage it must have taken to open up about mental health issues and the negative side of this industry. From the outside, it can look like such an idyllic place to be. Beavering away in our trendy workshops, filing fillets to cool music and drinking coffee all day, just luxuriating in our own craft and feeling very at one with all the steel. Blah blah. Well, it's not like that at all. I'm pretty sure I was a little rose tinted before it became my full-time career (six years ago!) too, but the reality is admin, no parts and more and more hobbyists charging cost price because they make bikes for fun around a well paid day job. Oh, and more admin. We have it far better than a lot of builders in that we don't really have any overheads, other than insurance, accounting fees and gas rentals, so we don't need to compete for builds, but please know that this is not the creative dream that it might appear to be. This was reiterated to us while reading the words of our (formerly) lost friend who seems much happier to be out of it.
One of the fun things we've been doing this week, around killing our hands on spokes, is building up a beautiful bike for an existing customer. He needed us to source a lot of the vintage-looking traditional components, but the really cool part about this build is the back story. Having borrowed his brother's bike to go to the pub on, our customer left it outside and promptly enjoyed a few jars. Being a little worse for wear, he forgot about the bike and it was never to be seen again and now, 40-ish years later, he is replacing it. We know some of you will roll your eyes and not believe us when we say that these are the kinds of projects that we enjoy the most, but honestly, they are. A fun back story, good people (we are still crying that those doughnuts you kindly brought us weren't vegan!) and the chance to facilitate something meaningful. That's the stuff that keeps the soul alive and optimistic.
Talking about good people, one of our bicycles sent us a Father's Day card, no doubt assisted by its owner. Just when we think we are grateful enough for the contingent of August owners that we have fun building for, one of them does this. We think you might be quite a unique bunch of riders and that's another reason why we are so careful to pick and choose our projects: to keep our community likeminded and wholesome. If we ever get around to planning a group ride, we know you'll all get on really well and that warms the old cockles.
Right. We have forest school to get ready for, hay-fever meds to take and a million other daily chores to attend to before we can get going on some work, so we best go. Have a great week everyone, don't forget that we are always here if you need or want a chat and we promise to try and make some interesting stuff to get snaps of for next week's blog!
Rad peeps of the week:
John Elkin. Not because you were generous to a fault and bought us a lot of coffees, but for the message you left on our page. Thank you so much and guys, if you want a little early morning inspo, go take a look on our Buy Me A Coffee page.
Stevie D for being easy and amazing to work with. We love all your Homage Cycling Art pics but what you're doing for us is incredible!
The bloke Mrs A got to come and take all our house rubble away. Our house and workshop looks a lot less Steptoe now!
The director of Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Easily one of the worst films ever made, but perfect background noise when you're building a million wheels and don't want to be distracted by something good.
See you next time!