So, as I move on into a new year, I thought I should jot down a little bit about the year just ended. It was a pretty big year for me in some areas, especially professionally.
Late in 2005, I came to the realization that I had come to the end of my career in theatre technology. I had spent over two decades in the business, or in graduate school preparing for the business, and while it was absolutely the right choice for me for many years, I realized I was no longer enjoying it at all. Luckily for me, I knew a great guy who owns a bicycle shop near me, and I had helped him out on a part time basis for a few months at that point. I've loved bicycles all my life, and spent about a year and a half as a mechanic, then assistant shop manager, at the non-profit Community Cycling Center in Portland, OR, but never really considered it as a career. Well, John sorely needed a head mechanic, I needed a new path in life (and an income), so since November of 2005 I have been the head mechanic (or Bikesmith, as John likes to call it) for bikes@vienna (lowercase intentional) in Northern Virginia.
As part of "the plan" to start a new career path, I also took the opportunity to enroll in a bicycle frame building class at United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon. I had wanted to do something like that since I was 16 and living near Proteus Design, back when they were still a frame and bicycle building operation, but $400 fee just seemed totally out of reach back then. Suffice to say, by the time I paid for a place to stay, plane fare, and add in inflation, the UBI class ended up costing considerably more! Ah, how our perspective changes as we grow and live and work and learn. The class was terrific... if anybody reading this is considering learning to build bicycle frames, I highly recommend it, and UBI is a good outfit. There are other options too, and different choices work for different folks, but this class really worked for me. And I now have a frame that I built myself!
What the future holds in that area is still evolving, and I'm sure will for some time. I intend to take a stab at a business... perhaps as a small custom builder on my own, perhaps working for someone else, perhaps building up to a larger operation of my own. I have some ideas, and now that I have taken the first step of gaining some skills, we'll take it forward from here. Watch this space for developments!
On another, very important note... I have to say, all of these changes and decisions would have been a lot harder, had it not been for Annie, the wonderful woman I live with, who has cheered me on and helped me find (and fund!) my new way. I am a very lucky guy.