Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Do the Simple Things Well"

I recently read that one of the few surviving members of the Shaker sect died a few days ago in Maine. This got me to thinking a little bit about one of the sect's beliefs in quality of craftsmanship while maintaining a simple design.

Shaker-made furniture is a great example of this view: finding meaning and spiritual value in simple designs built by hand, with a high degree of craftsmanship.

This is a philosophy I have always tried to follow in working on and re-building bicycles, but one that I think deserves reiterating. Awhile back, I wrote about the plain design of vintage utility bicycles like the Raleigh Sports, Schwinn New World, and Hercules Model C. These are plain designs with a high degree of quality in manufacturing, a quality I tried to maintain in re-building them.

I urge everyone working with vintage bicycles to try this approach in 2017; that is, try a build where you focus on simplicity of design but maximum quality in executing that design. A three speed utility bicycle would be a great start to such a project.

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