The bicycle industry has lots of levels. Retail, racing, commuting, suppliers and of course manufacturing. I love the bicycle industry and also have made some genuine friends over the years. There are a few people I have gained incredible respect for.
Three people really stand out and I would like to pay homage to them and give a little prop for each one.
First is Jamie Swan. He is kind of like my second older brother. My older brother and I have a great time together but we are somewhat different when it comes to our likes and dislikes. Jamie is a great guy and the two of us have always helped each other push the limits on something we might be working on. He has definitely helped me advance in life and I think I have equally helped him improve (he might not agree:).
Second is Mark Norstad (owner of Paragon Machine Works). I think Mark is an amazing person and what he does for the framebuilding community is so grand I can not find the words to describe. He has always listened to me and we have developed a great relationship over the years. I wish that more people gave him credit for his work. I will be the first to admit that my bikes are better because I use Paragon Machine Works and Mark deserves all the credit. So thanks for that Mark!
Third is Jeff Buchholz (Sputnik Tool). People think I am some kind of tool junkie or machine junkie. I am not so much that as I am on a mission to make the best bicycle I can. Jeff has made thousands of bikes (one of the founders of Independent Fabrication) and from that and his years at Fat City Cycles he has witnessed the good and the bad of how to make a bike. His tools are incredibly well made and thought out. It is another one of those situations where I can say with confidence that my bikes are better than they would be without the use of all my Sputnik tools. Jeff and I are very similar people and have also established a great relationship over the years. I have lots of admiration for Jeff since I question what my true desire is for making bikes. As much as I like making them there is an incredible reward for making a tool that assists you in your process. I hope he feels as rewarded as I do when I make a tool. That would make getting up in the morning really easy (that and he is super dad!). Anyway Jeff is another one of the unsung heroes of the framebuilding community.
I have left out the links in my post so it does not appear as spam but please use google and look them up.
If you made it this far I appreciate your reading my post and feel free to comments add anything I forgot.