While I personally feel that posting a frame and fork on an internet gallery is a bit like announcing your engagement before you've proposed, I realize this is a not uncommon practice in the halls of Velospace, and so I didn't let it concern me. And curious as to what sort of butcher job awaited this particular veal calf, I read on:
Trek T1 58cm
Handlebars and Stem:
soon to be... bmx stem and SE mini risers
Fork and Headset:
soon to be... solos with carbon stock fork
black deep v-formula hub
Crankset and Bottom bracket:
soon to be... sugino rd messenger
Saddle and Seat Post:
Pedals and Chain:
gusset heavy duty... primo mini bmx
Cog/Gearing et cetera:
OK, seems like its future is that of a fixed-gear freestyler. I was particularly amused by the "tba" in the front wheel section, as though some highly-anticipated announcement or press release may be forthcoming. I can only speculate as to what sort of revelation awaits us. Has he somehow gotten his hands on an Aerospoke? Will he use a Zipp disc? Or will he blow all of our minds by taking it straight back to the '80s with an ACS Z-rim? Personally, I can't wait to find out, though I admit I was a bit insulted I wasn't invited to the press conference.
But then I read this:
Im recieving this friday and it should be built up by monday
What? He doesn't even have the frame yet? OK, posting just a frame is one thing, but posting a frame you don't even have yet is taking things too far. Forget announcing your engagement before proposing--this is like showing naked pictures of your Russian mail-order bride to your friends before your Paypal payment has cleared. I'm assuming then that the picture we're looking at is the one from the eBay auction, or one that the seller sent him, in which case he's getting way ahead of himself. Assuming he even receives the frame, we all know anything can happen during shipping. What comes out of that box is anybody's guess. It could be like going to pick up your mail-order bride at the airport and finding out she's 20 years older than she looked in her picture, bearded, and missing an eye. Lastly, I can think of no better way of tempting fate than by announcing the completion date of a bike build. Anyone who's built a few bikes knows that even the most straightforward project inevitably hits a few snags. Confidently telling the world that the bike will be build Monday pretty much guarantees you're going to strip your bottom bracket threads.
Unwittingly, though, this bike's virtual owner has raised an interesting question: When does a bike's life begin? It's a question I have asked myself often. Does it begin when the order is placed and the money is tendered? Does it begin with the frame, or does it begin when the final component is in place and the bicycle is rideable? Or is a bike's beginning more intangible? Does it begin with that mischevous glint you get in your eye when you decide to build a bike around that spare 26.8 seatpost you've got lying around?
Certainly if you're going to argue that a bike's life begins before it's rideable, then you've at least got to put some time limit on the gestation period. Every cyclist has some spare parts and a harebrained scheme. But until that scheme is a rideable reality, it simply resides in a virtual world of unrealized bar bikes, beater bikes, and rain bikes.
So why is this even important? Is it because we need to determine when a bike is actually a bike so we know when it is acceptable to post pictures of it online? Maybe. More importantly, though, it's vital that we establish when a bicycle is viable so that we know when it is ethical to abort. And while I'm still not sure what the bicycle equivalent of the third trimester is, I'm pretty sure pulling the plug on this particular Trek wouldn't cause any protests.