In high school, one of my favorite teachers looked around the room and announced:
“Well, according to US statistics, at least half of you will be divorced at some point in your life.”
I remember laughing nervously as young, romantic ideas of diamonds and forever...died. In the awkward minute that followed, we all either stared at our desks or snuck sidelong looks at each other, trying to pick out which of us were mostly likely to fail at happily ever after. I attempted to compile a list of half my class based on fickle dating practices, counting from the bottom up, trying to place myself higher on the marital success curve. The problem was that I had no idea where I stood on this supposed forced cuve; I was 17, had barely kissed a boy, and naively believed that love was a deliberate choice. That it wasn’t - as it would turn out - a result of hormones mixed with alcohol or just poor decision-making.
Perhaps because of this history of questionable judgment, I hesitated for about four months when deciding on a road bike to fall in love with. I didn’t want to feel any hint of doubt once I had tied that knot. I wanted something that would’t fall prey to the “seven year itch” or your typical mid-life crisis. So I chose an IF. And since I’ve had it in my possession, divorce statistics haven’t bothered me. Because I believe I genuinely love my IF. I trust it. I rely on it. I spend more time with my bike than with any other human being. I think it’s adorable every time I look at it. I love it, I really do.
But there’s one problem: it’s an IF. Which means I may never need another bike.
This realization tore through my adulterous heart as I stood in the middle of the Seven workshop last week. Actually, it started before that. As a professional [coffee] barfly at RSC, I have been in constant proximity to Sevens. There is actually enough glittering ti in that shop to armour a Humvee. But it wasn’t until I saw the Berlin Seven bike in the Seven lounge that a small hitch appeared in my mental chant of “STEEL IS REAL.”
Because, oh hi, there is a front light integrated into custom handlebars and a back light integrated into the seatpost on this bike. Ti and carbon seat stays. Swoon.
Not that Seven doesn’t do steel [they do], but they also happen to be the second largest buyer of ti tubing in the nation. We got to see the tubes [ti and carbon] in their full length glory as Joe explained how the tubes are cut, where chainstays are bent, and how the frame is carefully assembled. There’s a general sense of obsessive attention to detail at Seven, which manifests itself in constant measuring and checking, making for rare mistakes and amazing bicycles.
Although each frame is handmade, the bottom bracket threads [for steel and ti frames] are cut by a machine. Seven even figured out how to rig the thing so it could cut out the threads without having to flip the frame itself. Very cool, but not as awesome as the fact that Rob apparently used to cut the threads by hand back in the day until he got sidelined by a rotator cuff injury [kidding, kidding].
Rob also show us the inspiration for Ride.Studio.Cafe.
By the time we got to finishing and painting, I was mentally picking out which Seven I’d want first, wearing that scarlet letter like a badge of pride. But as Kanye once put it, “how he stay faithful in a room full of hoes?”
And if you had any question as to the creativity of Seven employees, well, they are also capable of putting together tall bikes, complete with disco ball, speakers, an iPod holder, and a few amps.
By the time I picked up my bike from the Seven office, I was beginning to acknowledge the possible truth of my high school teacher’s comment. Not that I have plans or funds to purchase another bike or divorce the one I have, but that doesn't mean I wasn’t lusting after a Seven. My adorable IF took the crappy roads on the way home in stride and I was glad I had chosen plushy, great steel.
But in seven years, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be feeling an itch for ti, too.
[More pictures here.]