g??ri - since all of the quotes you snip here are from
my posts, i will reply to yours. when you write this: "it
has nevertheless been difficult to get people in the bicycle
business to give me much more than the time of day". what
about this list? isn't this a resource? regarding your other
comments referencing sailors and apprenticeships, etcetera:
i never had an apprenticeship and am unaware of anyone who
has ever offered or availed themselves of one.when i was 18
i uprooted myself and moved to london to work for a year without
pay at a family business. i don't think i held a torch in the
first seven months - and i built only one main triangle before i
returned home. why did i go there? to chase a dream? to become an
artiste? to reinvent the wheel? no! i went because i was restless
and it seemed cooler than going to college. period. it took me a
long time after returning home to find a place to land in "all this".
what i remember about those years is the point i want to make now:
that was then. this is now. in that era - all frames were made this
way, by hand, with steel and lugs. what differentiated all the
lines was the quality of work that was put into it. from a distance,
a framebuilder's frame look no different than a middle tier industrial
made frame. in any event, it was extremely rare that anyone would get
their "good" bicycle, particularly their racing bicycle, from a store
because factory quality was mediocre. the role of the builder in that
era's market wasto fill the orders of those who needed "better".
through the ensuing years and many thanks to the mtb era, technologies
within the manufacturing sector have become soooo refined that the "need"
to bypass the retailer to get your "good" bicycle no longer exists;
factory bicyles are now race-ready and race-worthy. in the wake of all
this, the typical market that once was served by builders has fractured.
it's not what it once was. to wit, that fact has a rippling effect on the
supply of useable ematerial and on the need for some builders to expand
(or not expand) their production. having said that, if you really want"
"...to become part of an established business and participate as a team-
player". have you tried going to a larger manufacturer and getting a job
there or even doing the stint at ubi? i'm not sure where you are
geographically, but have you tried to visit other shops for a look-see?
and there's always the internet and the phone.
i can't speak for the others, but i routinely reply to personal email and take
calls about these matters you discuss in your post below. no matter what
you decide, to come on and offer up your opinion that: "I think a partial
explanation is that some (perhaps many) framebuilders and many in
the established bicycle industry generally have a hugely inflated idea about
what they do..." is not one that i share nor have i encountered. i don't know
where you've looked but, imo, all the builders here are humble and magnamimous.