Gather fuel. Grow food. Build a shelter. Weave fabric. Ride that bike.
Somewhere I developed the notion that being alive must mean (in part) to be as involved as possible in one’s own food, clothing, shelter, and mobility. This belief has sort of pushed me against the grain of mainstream society, which seems to be on the opposite tack of persuading us to give up as many of life’s functions as possible.
Gather fuel. Grow food. Build a shelter. Weave fabric. Ride that bike. These are the voices I’ve heard and answered and they have led me on a life of activity, adventure, risk and dream.
I started growing gardens in the early 1970s and discovered that becoming involved in the plant realm is magical and satisfying. In 1980 I bought a hill top covered with sugar maple on the south shore of Lake Superior and spent years building an orchard and garden as well as a home for our family of six out of field stone and hand-hewn timber frame. My wife and I became fascinated with foot powered looms while living in southern France and Morocco in the 70s and returning to the US we decided that we would make a commitment to earn our living on these human powered contraptions. For twenty years we operated Hart Handweaving, making and selling unique clothing and big, flat-weave carpets.
Since my teens I’ve been a serious cyclist, most of all coveting the sensations of flying and independence but at the same time gloating inwardly about being able to create something out of nothing.
Combine a love of the ride with a need to produce something worthwhile with my hands and Voila: Hart Bicycles.
In 2005, I opened a tiny bike shop in Bayfield WI and by maintaining a small fleet of rentals, doing all manner of repairs and reconditioning of older bikes, and (fortunately) commuting 25 miles daily on tough roads I learned plenty about what makes for a responsive, efficient, repairable, fun bike that one can become amazingly attached to. In 2007, after completing an intensive class at United Bicycle Institute, I began brazing hand built framesets and I’m completely taken by the work.