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    Bike to Work Week - Young Lust and New Love

    Today's post comes to us from Patagonia E-mail Maestro, Steve Wages. Steve's the kind of cyclist who celebrates Bike to Work Week every week of the year, finding a way to stay true to the saddle despite obligations as a professional, a husband, and a dad. His story gives us a little peek into the passion that keeps him pedaling.

    _MG_7871_crop Since I can remember, my brother and I saw our bikes as key to our personal freedom. We could go where we wanted when we wanted, and the faster the better. I still recall - ummm - "borrowing" my friend's 10-speed Huffy while she was on vacation. I was about 9 and trying to set new land-speed records: that bike with its drop bars and skinny had to be an order of magnitude faster then my single-speed red Schwinn. My lust prevailed and I rolled it out of their garage....

    As the younger brother, Dave's relation to bicycles was initially about keeping up with us older kids. Pretty soon, he surpassed us all and discovered the world of competitive cycling. His life became centered around riding and he'd draw intricate sketches of bikes for high-school art class. He worked his way up through the ranks of repair-monkey at the local bike shops, until he got a call from a friend at Serotta in '94. Although he started out in the shipping department, his love of cycles was apparent and soon they let him loose brazing. His first attempts were crude, but with guidance from the frame builders, he picked up the craft of steel bikes and began to see what separated a good frame from an exceptional one.

    [Steve's hand-built Ellis Cycles road bike. Begging to be stolen. Photo: Steve Wages]

    As Serotta transitioned toward exotic materials like titanium and carbon, he moved on to Waterford Dave_at_NAHBS Cycles, long known for their high-end steel frames. There, Dave crafted some of the most talked-about lugged bikes around. Still, he wanted to push things further, as well as work directly with the customer - not giving them a stock frame, but building exactly for the person who'd be riding the bike. So last year he founded Ellis Cycles and thanks to early clients, the business has gained momentum. His skills have been recognized, most notably at the North American Hand-built Bike Show in February, where he won best lugged frame.

    And that frame just happens to belong to me. Yep, traded web-skills for a frame, never expecting it to be some kind of award-winner. When he asked me what kind of frame I wanted, he gave me three options: cool, cooler and coolest. I allowed him fairly free reign, and what he produced is just ridiculously beautiful, with elaborate polished lugs, little red "windows" and a cool, retro paint job. I am almost afraid to ride...almost. It's still on its way to me, but I have a feeling that when I first walk up to clip in, that same old lust will return. Look out, land speed records.

    [Dave Wages poses with his award-winning hand-built frame. Photo: Drew Tripplet.]

    Ed Note: Parents be warned - what follows is nothing short of lavish bike porn. Bike enthusiasts, get ready to wish you were Steve. All photos: Drew Tripplet courtesy of Steve Wages

    Steve's Ellis #16 003

    Jan 2009 004

    Steve's Ellis #16 021

    Steve's Ellis #16 023

    Wages 953 Road 17 web

    Wages 953 Road 18 web

    Wages 953 Road 8 web

    Wages 953 Road 20 web  

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