But what I saw Wednesday was different. It struck to the very core of what Chris is as a person and a rider. He asked if I would like to see his new bicycle. Well yes! When an artisan wants to share a special project, of course you want to see it. At first glance it was what I expected, a lean spare machine, looking fast just sitting on the stand. Then it registered in my mind - carbon Campagnolo components! A ten-speed rear hub, INDEXED downtube shifters! I was stunned. The world as I knew it had shifted. "Ya, it came in just under 19 pounds. Of course it could have been lighter with lighter tubeset." Chris Kvale, my ultimate arbitrator on all things bicycle, in his older years had become a weight weenie! - a weight weenie with an automatic transmission. He has gone over to the Dark Side.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The World Shifts...and the Shifting is Indexed!
Two days ago I stopped by the shop of Chris Kvale, a custom bicycle builder. I came away from the experience, frankly shaken. What I knew to be true is now false, what was evil is now good, what was frivolous is necessary. Chris is older, my age, and a person of moderation in all things, slow to change, and slow to embrace the present, say nothing of the future. Much like an Indian, he takes only from the White culture that which makes sense in his world. He once described himself as an analog man living in a digital world. Of course there were rumblings in the distance, hints of the coming change. First, he started using a cell phone...only because his wife gave it to him as a gift, he said. Then a friend set up a website for him. Chris' wife showed him how to use her old computer. The man who didn't know how to turn a computer on, started answering e-mails sent to the address posted on his own website.