A few months ago I was out riding with a friend. We were both riding vintage bikes. Bikes with toe straps and in my case gear levers mounted on the down tube. My friend had an early set of Campagnolo Egopower. At one time as I moved my hand down to change gears he remarked that it was a deliberate action. I rode home after 100kms thinking about how this statement applied to other areas of my life. While I don’t like to think of myself as a retro grouch I must admit to a fascination for things that require physical interaction. I have a couple of manual wind watches from the 50’s and 60’s. I like wearing them with the knowledge that if I don’t wind them ,they wont go. I enjoy using my turntable but not because vinyl has made a comeback. I enjoy placing the record on the platter and lifting the tonearm over and onto the record. I like the idea I have to pay attention to when it comes to the end, and not decide to leave the room and do something else beforehand like I would with a CD. It keeps me engaged.
I build frames the same way. I treat each frame as something different. I draw up a full sized drawing of each one. I file the tubes individually before brazing them up. I like the idea that each step is one of those deliberate actions and have no desire to automate the process. I like to be engaged. Having said that I am not opposed to modern stuff. I haven’t succumbed to electronic shifting yet but do enjoy modern integrated gears and clip-less pedals.As I mentioned last month I am even in the process of building a frame with disc brakes and a tapered head tube and as long as its possible to build a frame that will accommodate these things and still be made the same way then I am here