Aaron Barcheck Q&A – building bikes
Part four of a series of five interviews with frame builders (as published in RIDE #61, volume 3, 2013).
Mosaic Cycles (Boulder)
How long have you worked with your hands and what is your background? “I’ve been making things since I was a child. My father always had some project going for us kids. I’ve been working with frame fabrication in some way for the past 10 years now. Initially I got into it as an engineering student with an eye for design in college even though I finished with a physiology degree. It was my full-time job and, upon the completion of my degree, I knew I was best suited to be a framebuilder which I pursued as a career.”
When did you begin building frames? What inspired you?
“My first frame was built at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon in 2002, I think. I took their titanium framebuilder course as a hobbyist knowing I had always wanted to build a frame, or at least try. After that I ended up working at Dean Bicycles for a good long while developing the skills I started to learn at UBI and that’s where the hobby really turned into a job and something I thought I may do as a career.”
What is your preferred frame material? “Titanium! It’s the most versatile material to build a frame with – from lightweight performance road frames to a full-on touring/adventure bike. When built correctly it’s a bike you should have forever.”
How many frames do you build in a year? “Right now Mosaic Cycles is on track to build about 100 frames this year. That’s more than enough for a small company focused on high quality frames.”
From what other builders, artists or influences do you draw inspiration? “I don’t have many influences that I point to as defining my style. I’ve always been really focused on developing my own style, craft and technique.”
What makes Colorado and its bicycle builders so unique? “Much like the diverse types of titanium bikes we build at Mosaic, Colorado is a place with many different types of riding. From epic mountain bike riding, all-day road riding, there’s a wonderful cyclocross scene – this is a segment where we have seen a good amount of growth and will probably see more this season – and there’s touring/adventure riding… Colorado has it all and this is represented in all the builders you find in Colorado.
“I think you’ll find a very healthy and diverse base of builders that make all kinds of wonderful bikes for different communities across the state.”
What is your favourite thing about attending NAHBS? “Denver was my sixth year as a NAHBS exhibitor.
“My favourite part has always been the opportunity for handmade bicycles to take centre stage in the cycling industry/community for a few days and seeing all the faces that make our small slice of the industry tick. There is a lot of passion crammed into one convention hall that you can’t get anywhere else.”