Ah, the gestation period of the child in the womb….. nine months, give or take a week or two. Even the most impatient expectant parent would not dispute that those nine months are worth the wait.
In that period of time you could also grow 4.5 inches (120mm) of hair, watch the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy 532 times, or cycle the length of the equator doing 92 miles (148 kms) per day.
Now, did you know that the gestation period of a bespoke bicycle can also take nine months? Well, to be honest, many bespoke bicycles take much, much longer than that. I have heard of two and three year waiting lists.
The broken bicycle I nearly dumped in Melbourne, Australia, nine months ago, has finally found its replacement. The gestation period included my somewhat lengthy search for a frame-builder, the four months it took for my frame to enter Dave Yates’ “to do list” and be built, and the remaining months for the protracted delivery of the parts (from across the globe) and then the kitting out of the bike itself. Of course, I could easily have cut down drastically on the time required for each of these phases, either by simply buying a bike ‘off the peg’, or alternatively, buying a ready-made frame and having it kitted out with parts off the shelf.
Well, that had been the story of my cycling life to date. Every bike I had bought in the past had been ‘off the peg’: ridden and tested thoroughly, comparisons made with multiple other models, before the pin number released money from the plastic card. This time, every minute detail of the final product would be pored over and discussed, measurements would be taken (and then taken again), subtle braze-ons for the frame and colour scheme had to be decided. Would it have disc brakes or V-brakes? 26 inch wheels or 700c? What angle of rake for the forks? Would I be doing off-road as well as on-road? Two or three bottle holders? Front and rear panniers? What finish would I like on the paint?
Never before had I done so much decision-making in the production of a bike. Never before had I acquired a new bike without having test-ridden it several times beforehand, studied its finished profile from several angles, and been absolutely happy with the “feel” of the finished article. Making the commitment before seeing the finished product is, for me, a leap of faith into unchartered waters. But it couldn’t have been achieved without the expert input from professionals in the trade: both Dave Yates and Simon Nix of Grafham Cycling were the backbone to this process, and I owe them both a huge vote of thanks. I also owe a special vote of thanks to Ian Rushton of Cambio Ltd for his company’s generous financial support, both in donations to Save the Children’s Syrian Appeal, and for help in replacing the bicycle that came to grief in New Zealand.