It’s a devil’s bargain, really. When you look at John Young, you notice his stature. He is a little person, born 50 years ago with dwarfism. This is, of course, only a very small part of who he is. A local teacher, and an avid triathlete, John came to the conclusion at some point that he would and could do bigger things with his life than anyone’s first glance at him might have suggested were possible. To us, the main thrust of John’s work and message is that he is an athlete first, a guy pushing his own boundaries before he thinks about inspiring other people to push theirs.
But that’s what he does. He has a lot of fans, both within the LP community and outside of it. This is the devil’s bargain part, wanting to move past people’s preconceived notions of himself to become just another athlete, and also recognize, that in doing so, he can be an inspiration for other little people.
How do you shake off one narrow definition of yourself and also allow that definition to stand, as an example for others?
The answer we get from observing John is that you just go about the work. You train. You prepare. You race. You take care of your end of the bargain, and then let other people draw what they will from it. Just doing it, if you’ll excuse the borrowed phrase, is how to answer those who would judge you AND to inspire those who have endured those same judgements.
He finished his first Ironman on October 1st of this year.
We were proud to build John a bike, but he was going to achieve what he has achieved whether we were involved or not. He did not need a custom bike. A custom bike just made him faster and more comfortable than he was going to be.
He is, after all, an athlete.
Images: 1) Mindy Randall 2) Brunswick/Schiffman
Both these bikes belong to Kate. The top one was purchased second hand and made to fit through a series of what we might term “compromises.” You can see that extra spacers have been added under the stem, and the stem itself rises at a steep angle to achieve a handlebar position that works for Kate.
After riding the bike above for a few years, Kate decided to see what we could do for her with a new bike design. We took body measurements. We interviewed her to find out what she liked/didn’t like about her existing bike. We designed a frame that would support her ideal riding position while retaining proportionality, flexibility for future changes to her position AND delivering spot on handling.
Some of this is visible in the photo below of her new bike.
What you can’t see here is the tube set selection we made and how it differs from her original bike, which was stiffer in front and plusher in the rear than she wanted it to be. We reversed that combination by giving her increased drivetrain stiffness and a more comfortable front end. Because we can both select tube diameters and wall thicknesses, and then butt the tubing to give an even more specific comfort profile, we have a massive advantage over every other framebuilder working today.
The other thing you can’t see is the way this bike will handle. When we design a bike we aim to balance the rider evenly over the two wheels. This balance leads to greater comfort, but also to better handling. By designing the frame, via headtube angle and fork rake, to give a very specific relation between rider and ground, we can be sure that every bike we build handles exactly like the rider wants it to, which might be super stable or more twitchy and aggressive, but most of the time in the sweet spot right in between.
Kate’s original bike was a Seven, but it was second hand, i.e. not built for, so in almost every regard it was like any stock bike a rider might get. Those bikes can usually be made to fit by moving the saddle or the stem length, but not without compromising comfort, handling, and ultimately performance. That is why so many of our riders report a night-and-day difference between what they were riding and their new Seven.
By taking control of the frame’s geometry and materials, we are able to build a bike that fits, handles well, and feels good to ride all day. The secret is working forward from the rider, not backward from the bike.
Here are a pair of beautiful builds completed with our good friend Steve at Cycle Logic in Cornwall, UK. Apparently, we charmed Damien thoroughly enough with his first build, the Axiom SL, that he came back for an Evergreen S the following season. Some kind words and great photos below.
I am lucky enough to have two Seven bicycles, an Axiom SL and an Evergreen S. Both are the best bikes I have ever ridden and were sourced via Cycle Logic in Helston, Cornwall. I absolutely love the custom fit, unique quality of the titanium and superb workmanship. Both took me ages to save up for and are worth every penny.
Here are a few photographs of them.
Rode my Evergreen in France the other weekend, I smile every time I am on it.
Thanks and kind regards,
It’s overwhelming, Spring in New England. The flood of riding possibilities that come with better weather leave you wondering what to do first, how much to do, which direction to ride. It’s like a starving person confronted with a Vegas buffet.
And in a minute, it’s summer. The riding becomes regular, more regimented. You know where you’re riding, when, and who you’ll ride with. You start to feel fit, maybe you even are. It’s hard to tell. Everyone else is getting fit, too.
Then the heat sets in. You pay more attention to your water bottles, spend more time, off the bike, making yourself drink water. If you set goals, you begin to know whether you achieved any of them, even if they only amount to riding more with friends.
Although it’s still warm here, the factory’s big tilting windows channeling in whatever air is available, we can feel the change to Fall coming. Conversations leave the road, turn to cyclocross, mixed-terrain, Fall mountain biking. Someone says the words “fat bike.”
If Spring is a beginning, then Fall is one, too. We start to dream about cool temperatures, wondering how much faster and farther we might go. There is an urgency, too, in Fall. Winter is coming. We will ride straight through it, but certain places and certain ways of riding will be less possible. Fall is the time to cram in the good stuff, the things we missed during the Summer’s high heat.