For quite some time now, Gabriel has been wanting to build a replica of an 1890's bicycle from scratch, taking as models an 1895 antique in our collection as well as 1892 diagrams from our private archive. There are a couple places in the world which replicate high-wheels from the 1880s, but oddly no one makes accurate replicas of the safety bicycles which took over the globe in the 1890's. Many would be quick to claim that the general outline of a bicycle has remained relatively stable since the last decade of the Victorian era, and this perception likely accounts for why no one has bothered resurrecting the older models. Casual observers give a passing glance, remark "a bike's a bike," and move on. But saying there is no difference between an 1890's bike and its modern counterpart is a bit like claiming there's no difference between a persian cat and a sphinx. They may belong to kindred species but they each have their own distinctions and the world would be a poorer place if one were to disappear from the public consciousness altogether.
Beyond the draw of reintroducing something to the world, after years of building up bikes which had been forged elsewhere Gabriel yearned to make one from scratch, brazing the frame together himself. Assembling the necessary tools and equipment was a lengthy process, and then he had to talk a friend into giving him brazing lessons and letting him share his workshop. In the end, though, the biggest hurdle was overcoming his own self-doubt. After years of wanting to build a bike from scratch, when he finally worked up the confidence to try it was a project of a few days. He finished his 1890's-replica bike a week ago, and on Labor Day he took it on an eighty mile ride over a mountain pass, feeling the victory of a job well done and the satisfaction of bringing history back to life.