Sunday, April 1, 2012

The inverted bike shop

This is a wonderful five minute short film about a bike shop in Brooklyn. It is 'inverted' because instead of walking in and buying a bicycle that is designed for a particular use - mountain biking, road biking, a fixie, or a cruiser - you sit down with a person who talks to you about what you want to do with your bike. Then they order parts, and either build it for you or help you build it yourself.

I have friends that run an amazing bike shop. I am always impressed by the guys that work in the shop who can build these amazing bicycles for customers. They are also usually building amazing bicycles for themselves. I think this is an amazing thing. To be able to look at a catalog of parts, order a frame made of the material you want. Add the drive train, and the wheel set, and the braking system, and having a bicycle that was designed for you. even if the parts are coming off a shelf and mass produced there may be no other bicycle like yours.

My question is, why doesn't this exist for kayaks? I know there are many more people riding bicycles than paddling kayaks. I also know a basic kayak costs much more than a starting bicycle. You can get a good bike for $500. You can't get a good kayak for $500 - short of used. I could build a wooden kayak, and have all the choices being mine, but why can't I do it with composite kayaks? Why isn't there a place that measures my body, and talks to me about paddling style, and what my paddling goals are, and builds a boat to my specifications? With the type of hatches I want. The rudder or skeg system I want. The Deck line configuration I want. The seat I want.

I am sure the answer is cost. A kayak like that would cost tens of thousands of dollars. But I dream of having that control in the design of my own kayak. I dream of the inverted kayak shop.

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