Reading Matt's blog changed the way I looked at a lot of things, but for the sake of this story, bikes. His bikes were simple, with very little/none in decoration, didn't have extravagant paint, wasn't flashy - just simple, clean lines and welds - all what you needed, nothing one didn't. Something that really spoke to me, like a quote read from an essay by Yvon Chouinard in an old Patagonia catalog:
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint Exupéry
And so I started saving up money for one of his frames, but I realized it wasn't something that was going to happen any time soon. I soon joined my wife in the Alliance, Ohio area and got a job in a backpacking store, not exactly the way to financial wealth. When I had save some money up, it was reality time, either buy a frame from Matt, and not afford any parts, or get a complete Rivendell Quickbeam and ride that. The Quickbeam was purchased and I rode that bike everywhere - road, gravel, trails, touring and long day trips - it was my first allrounder bike, and my first dedicated singlespeed. My Cannondale was soon converted to a singlespeed, and that was great for more technical trails. A year or so after I got the Quickbeam, my wife lost her job and found a new one in the Cleveland area where we both grew up, and we moved into her mom's house while we tried to sell our house, a big change for her as well as us, a married couple, their 2 year old son, and dog and 3 cats all living in a widow's house. When we moved back home, I got a job at a bike shop, and was enjoying it, but bills were catching up, so I sold the Quickbeam (super sad) and when I was able to, got a cheap fixed gear to use for commuting. I really missed having that one bike that could do just about everything, so I still wanted a Chester.
At this time, Matt had moved from Colorado, to Idaho, and finally he decided to stop making frames, just as I had saved up just enough money! I had some correspondence with Matt, and was pretty bummed that he had stopped welding frames, but things change. I talked to a few other frame builders, and ended up ordering a Rick Hunter frameset. And 5 hours after I sent the deposit it, Matt announced that he was taking deposits again for frames - damn. I mean damn, but the bike that Rick made for me was/is awesome, and I still have that bike (for now).
I was still reading Matt's blogs on a weekly basis, his essays on design, parts selection, and of course his music was tugging at me to still get one of his frames. I knew that it would be exactly what I wanted in a bike, and his experience in building allarounder drop bar fixed gears was what I needed to get that bike. So money saved up, I placed my order in December of 2009 for my frame. I have written on this blog about my parts selection, and how I thought that my frame was shipping, but if it did happen the way it was told to me, my frame should be here tomorrow or Saturday....We'll see, with pictures and stories coming
There are lots of parts missing from this story, but they really aren't that important (or I forgot), so until I write again.....