Bamboo Bikes at Concoursvelo 2020
Cecily and the bamboo bikes - The story
Big wheels make me feel like I am riding a donut. They don’t make small bikes anymore, not good ones. What if I am out riding, something happens, and I don’t know how to fix my bike? That bike is incredible. And made of bamboo? I want to know more.
These were some of the diverse bicycle related thoughts going through my mind in 2015. We had been living in Biel for four years, and I had been through hell health-wise. Money was tight, and we relied on our bicycles for transport as well as pleasure. Existence was stressful, and recovery seemed distant. I wanted to be strong again. I wanted to ride further and have adventures. We decided to get married.
After the deepest of health crashes at the beginning of 2016, wedding plans began taking shape. In April 2016, life too began taking shape. An observant psychologist noticed my autistic traits, and a life in which I had never felt ‘at one’ with things fell into place. My mind cleared, logical thought and a future became a possibility. I grew some confidence. I could make a goal.
Rings would never work for us. A ring would be impractical for Przemek when he lifts weights. A ring would be destroyed by me were I to wear it for any of my art hobbies. Or it would get lost. And so bicycles became the answer: To my wandering 2015 thoughts, to marking our marriage, to our transport problems, and to building my confidence. And I wanted us to make them from zero, from bamboo. I had my goal.
The wedding happened on the 16th August 2016. Any gifts went towards the bikes. Work started in July 2017.
The journey the bikes took reflected the upward spiral of our lives. The frames were built in London with plenty of guidance at a weekend workshop. I continued to receive plenty of therapy, and my energy remained limited. Gradually, as I got stronger, I was able to spend more time on the bikes. I became better at making decisions, and could start making choices about components. The group-set should shift and brake well, we have dealt with worse, we are stronger now, weight isn’t critical. It should be durable: Shimano 105. I had energy to give, and sanding the frames smooth was therapeutic, I didn’t want the sort of lumpy lugs typically seen on bamboo bikes. Colour came into the equation, glorious cyan, magenta and yellow; I had more energy. As the process went on, the obstacles came, both in our lives, and in the build. As the frames became bicycles, I gained confidence in my ability to climb over mountains. The bikes carry the scars of challenges overcome: cracks sealed, clearances sanded, callipers re-imagined.
The result: Colour, mobility, strength, completion. The bikes and the marriage.