Dear friends,

There have been "rumors" circulating around the internet and elsewhere to the
effect that I am planning on retiring from framebuilding. The fact is that I
myself have been making those statements for the past 2 years; but only in
passing during conversations with friends or sometimes clients. Eventually the
rumor escapes the inner circle and enters the public rumor mill.

This is my official announcement of my retirement from professional
framebuilding. I will mark and date my last frame on 11-12-13. (It has been sold
for a while, so no need to try and buy it). My order books have been pretty much
closed for the past 5 years or so, knowing I was going to get to this point. I'm
finishing all orders, repaints, and  frame repairs as quickly as I can.

Why? The answer is, why not? But in addition to that, there are several things
that have "inspired" me to cap my career in 2013. It's a good stopping point. I
began my official first jab as a framebuilder apprentice in November of 1973 at
the Masi factory in Carlsbad. I like the date of 11-12-13, so that will be the
date on whatever is up to start at that time. The first real inspiration to
think about retiring was when I heard that Dupont Imron paint was going to
become obsolete. That was about 5 years ago. From that time the Imron supply
began to dwindle, changes were happening to the paint, and I knew the clock was
ticking. I vowed to not paint bikes anymore once Imron disappeared. It's already
gone in CA and it's not on the endangered list in the United States. We hunted
it down in other states and so on; but I'm done with that. It's over,just got
the inside tip two days ago.

Reason two has to do with the supply of framebuilding materials left to work
with. As some may know, I almost never build frames out of any other material
than standard Reynolds or Columbus tubing. The supply is nearly gone and I have
mostly material for small frames, mainly track. The majority of my orders seem
to be frame over 60 cm. I"m not excited about having to hunt down tubing and
stuff, especially after eBay has put the kybash on good old fashioned trading.
There isn't anybody to trade with anymore. I could resort to making my own lugs,
some crowns, and other parts, but I don't want to get deeper into this deal and
do so while adding a LOT of extra work for myself. The next paragraph will
explain why. I've been making dropouts in recent years and that is quite a bit
of extra work already.

The third reason should be the first reason why I have decided to retire. My
body has delivered several BILLION file strokes in my life over a 40 year
period. I have painted several thousand bikes in my day, and spent a
considerable amount of time with torch in hand. Prior to framebuilding I began
playing the drums at age 12, and have been doing so off and on ever since.
Needless to say, my hands have taken a beating over the past 60 years. All of
the joints from my shoulders to my fingertips have been overworked. I know that
the pain I have now will only get worse as I continue to work, so a cut off time
had to be determined. That time is now.

So what's next? A number of things. First, I must finish my straggling house
remodel project. The project is 5 years old and still not complete. I would like
to get into "warm glass" work or knifemaking. Most of the work is done with
grinders and polishers. I will continue to teach young and not so young people
who want to learn the finer points of the art and craft of making bicycle frames
by hand. I took my first student back in 1978. Since that time I have coached
about 6 students. Within the past 5 years the pace has accelerated to around 10,
with 4 current and 2 more coming on board soon. That way, there should be at
least some of what I have learned over the years passed on to the next
generation of bike builders. I have also passed along a fair amount of frame
crap to get these guys started. Eventually those who persist will have to adapt
to modern materials or quit. I have avoided the frustration of facing that by
chickening out early. But the paint problem actually did the job.

I have a booth booked at NAHBS 2013 in Denver. Haven't been to NAHBS in 5 years.
Just checking it out for the last time and maybe talking to potential students.
Probably won't see those who are friends again after that. Maybe a final good
bye to a few and then I'm on my way.

Thanks for reading this far. It's been real fun.
Brian Baylis


Knife for Raffle at NAHBS