By Kevin Rouse
I’m mid-conversation with frame builder Renold Yip of Yipsan Cycles when suddenly I reach a sobering thought.
I don’t know which is worse—the fact that I can be so completely consumed by a collection of steel tubes, components and some the best craftsmanship I’ve ever witnessed, or, the fact that they’re so far out of my reach.
While an admitted materialist, I’d always liked to think of my affliction as mild at worst—but that was before ever attending my first Handmade show.
I’ve been known to clamor over bikes, gear, and plentiful other “stuff” as much, or more, than the next, but never before had my desire to own, no, make that an unyeilding need to possess, been so great as during my yearly pilgrimage to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
What could possibly incite such desire? Such endless lust?
I suppose it’s a personal question, one with endlessly varied answers—and one that can’t just, but I ask Yip for his reasoning. Being the creator of so many stunning examples of these shrines to material desire, I’m curious to hear his take.
“We’re attracted to the story”
Of course, he’s right. The magic mixer in the NAHBS cocktail of desire isn’t simply the beauty of a perfectly executed, flat-crowned lugged fork, well, it is, but it’s the human story behind such a pureness of form that truly resonates and grabs hold of one’s lustful emotions.
What these bikes represent is much more than their finished composition. Every weld, in each unique design, represents the human quest for perfection, in all of its endless forms.
But, at the end of the day, regardless of the reason, I still find myself falling prey to the familiar twinge of material lust—in a bad way. And it happens with nearly every single bike I lay eyes upon.
Nobody ever said NAHBS wasn’t dangerous. Hide your checkbooks.
And now, with this lesson in mind, take a look at some of our other coverage from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show: