Ahearne Cycles

Digression — Does it matter how a bike is branded?

Joseph Ahearne5 Comments

A brand is a story. It tells us something about the company behind the products we use, and ride.

Digression vs. Primary Concern

When I break tradition by not branding my bike in a certain way, I’m telling a different kind of story.  Or I’m asking a different set of questions. 

Three plate crown

Three plate crown

Why can’t we have a Brand of One?

What is the Primary Concern, and what is Digression?

In the world of hand made bicycles, brand identity is a builder’s reputation. I have to work hard to build the best bicycles I can, and I have to stay true, and pay attention to every detail, from raw material to final, rolling product — this is what makes my name what it is.

What about one-off bikes, artifacts of their own classification? A brand digression, outside the norm. A stand-alone piece. How do we separate, to some degree, the builder from the bike? Not a prototype, but a fully formed idea that starts and ends in one moment; it goes out into the world with a totally unique identity. 

I think there should be a place in the world for such artifacts. Especially in the world of bicycles. 

Staying within tradition shows respect, and implies there’s integrity that goes beyond the individual object, connecting this bicycle to all the bicycles that came before it.

But, I made this by hand. It is unlike any other bicycle in the world.

 It is; and then again, it isn’t. 

Hand Made

Hand Made

When does following tradition stifle a person’s creativity? When we build bikes, are we meant to be creative, or just crafty? They say everything has already been done. Why, then, would I try anything new, if I believed nothing new existed? 

Tradition implies limitation. A set of parameters within which we are expected to stay. Who wrote the rulebook, anyway? Why shouldn’t I amend it, make it my own? Wouldn’t this exploration help me define my own relationship to tradition? 

I’m a bike person; I want freedom. 

I don’t ride bikes because I want to stay on the main roads.